Mentorship in Cold Fusion

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Feeling Hoth lately?

In a rather new initiative for TeeFury, today’s design, “Coldest in the Galaxy” is the result of two minds brought together in a collaborative mentorship.
Tryaboy aka. Tristian Boykin, a self professed geeky dude and aspiring graphic designer, submitted the idea of matching these two elements that were galaxies apart. Although the original Hoth native depicted transformed from a Rebel allegiance to one with a hungrier nature, the fusion with the classic icy treat remained the same. Let’s get to know these two designers!
We’ll start with Tristian:

Welcome to the TeeFury flock! Tell us a bit about yourself and what you like to do for fun.
Well, where do I start? My name is Tristian and I am from the great state of Texas. I am happily married to the most awesome woman who pushed me into submitting my work. We have three amazing daughters and I hope that we can inspire them to pursue their life’s passion. I started doing design work due to being laid off from my job at the time. It’s led me this far so I can’t really complain. For fun, we enjoy playing lots of different board games. I am also in the process of building my own arcade machine which is more challenging than I thought, but very rewarding. I’m really up for anything… BBQ with friends, playing video games, bowling, enjoying the drive-in theater we have here. All good stuff!

How did this idea originally come about? 
The idea actually came to me when I was at an amusement park. My friend and I were waiting out a rain delay to ride rollercoasters and I caught a glance of someone’s shirt which had a cartoon character slurping a squishee. Somehow my geek brain pieced together Star Wars and ICEEs and here we are.

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(The first iteration of this design concept by Tristian Boykin)

What parts of pop culture do you find have most influenced your style?
I find that any cartoons or movies from the 80s and 90s, I tend to find myself more drawn to. TMNT, Star Wars, the Simpsons (the early years), Superman, Rocko’s Modern Life, Back to the Future. Also anything done in that 8-bit, pixelated style I love. There’s so many great things out there, it would be a list a mile long. I don’t think I have a particular style yet but I am enjoying the process of becoming a better artist.

In your design career, what goal do you most aspire towards?
Video Game Artist. I’ve always wanted to have a hand in the creation process for a video game. That or I would like to illustrate a children’s book. That seems like it would be really fun but also really hard. I love reading the Pigeon books to my daughter.

What part of the shirt design process do you find the most challenging?
The hardest part for me is translating an idea onto paper. I have rough concepts that I am constantly thinking about when I picture a design. Putting those onto paper presents the most challenge for me.

What are some things you learned from this process?
Oh wow. First is to just have faith in yourself. I never imagined getting a design this far. I had aspired to it but didn’t think my ideas were good enough. I held onto the original design for quite awhile, trying to do the best I could with the knowledge I had. I finally hit a point where I wanted to see what others outside my family thought of the design but I was apprehensive to submit it anywhere. My family pushed me to get it out there and I was lucky that the crew at TeeFury saw the potential in what I was attempting to do. Also I learned, that BeastPop is a artist who is genuinely awesome! He gave me so many pointers and an insight into his process which I truly appreciate. I continue to go back to those notes constantly to help improve my own works. He’s a true mentor and a genuinely good guy.

Marks of the Beast

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Now, let’s get to know the mentor for this design, Jared Moralitis aka. BeastPop:
Familiar TeeFurians will recognize BeastPop’s work including “Cthul-aid” , “Mickthulhu Mouse“and the stellar “Bounty Hunter” recently added into our Gallery. The eagle-eyed may have noticed in our photo stream that his art also graces our walls here at the office as well.

Welcome back! Have you done many collaborations in the past?
No, actually. In fact, this is my first. I’ve had plenty of folks come  to me with the proposition of collaborating, but had yet to actually get busy taking anybody up on the offer until now (though I did have someone let me use a bit of logo/text they had worked up for one of my designs).  I have such a huge list of designs of my own that I want to get to, that there just never seemed like time to devote to any back and forth collaboration. The concept behind this one was so fun, though, that I had to say yes. There are other artists out there that I’d love to collaborate on something with (Brad McGinty, ScarecrowOven, Josh Belanger, etc.) but their own styles are so powerful and unique, that I don’t know if it’s a good idea to dilute it with mine

What was it like working with a newer designer relative to your experience?
It was quite painless and pleasant. I’ve seen plenty of rookies and beginner artists get all bent out of shape over constructive criticism, but there was none of that to be found here. Tristian was eager to learn, and I made sure to tell him to let me know if I was being unclear or too harsh at any point in the discussions.  I tried my best to explain my decision making and thought process at every step, but that can be hard to do long-distance, so I hope I did right by him.

Have any of your designs ever presented a difficult design challenge? Any particular favorites?
Printing on shirts can present its own set of unique challenges — detail must be simplified enough to allow for it to translate well in the printing process, you have a very limited number of colors to work with, etc. I used to be able to incorporate the shirt color into the design, but now with so many places offering multiple shirt colors for each design, that can be tricky.  I tend to want to go overboard with halftones and detail sometime, which is why this HOTH design was a nice change of pace — it’s relatively simple with just a few colors and no halftones.

As far as a favorite design, I think my CTHUL-AID design is at the top of the heap right now. It’s just so bright, bizarre and fun

Do you have any particular methods to juggle the creative and not-so-creative-but-necessary tasks of the day?
I am a single dad of a three year old boy, and my son is with me most of the time, so diverting my work schedule around his needs can be a challenge and adds that extra layer of stress to my work day, but I manage well enough.  Some days I end up feeling like I just didn’t get enough done, but I think I’d feel that way anyhow.  I squeeze in some work while he’s playing or watching cartoons in the morning, then power through some work during his nap, and squeeze in a bit more work after he’s put to bed at night.  I like to have three or four designs in various stages of completion at any time, so I can jump back and forth between them when I need to.  It’s good to step away from something every few hours just to get some distance and come back to it with fresh eyes (posting progress work on facebook helps to get other sets of eyes on it, too).  I also just find that it works better for me to flit from project to project if the mood strikes me, and chip away at something over a week or two until it’s done.

Which one of your monstrous characters would you like to see made into a toy? How about a comic?
I would flip my lid if I could have PVC figurines of Cthul-Aid or Mickthulhu Mouse!  I had a fellow who works at a toy company approach me with the prospect of doing just that, but I’ve yet to hear any word back about moving that forward.  I don’t think any of them would work particularly well in a comic book, though I am itching to cook up some characters and illustrations for a comic book based on a toy line that one of my friends owns and is spearheading. I don’t know if I’m allowed to talk about that or not just yet.

Sounds exciting–!
Thanks to both artists for taking the time to share your thoughts. Now don’t be a nerf herder, get this fine design before it melts away in just a day!