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Nick Thompson - ultra-talented mashup illustrator with an awesome Etsy shop

I am always amazed at the talent we have in our own team at TLD but sometimes I look slightly outside the company – Elisa’s husband Nick!
Behold behold – some instagram images below.

Interview is now here – below the awesome embedded Instaposts!

My Q+A Interview with Nick:

What started you doing these mashup illustrations?

I’ve always drawn, but never had any real direction with my drawings. It’s kind of frustrating knowing that you want to draw but every time you put pen to paper, you draw a blank (excuse the pun). I fell out of love with drawing and a few years back I wanted to concentrate on graphic design and work for a design firm. As I was putting my portfolio together I thought I’d add some drawings and so I did a mini series of Star Wars characters wearing Nike shoes. I posted them on Instagram and people seemed to like them. That got me thinking about other mashups I could do so I started writing down cartoons I liked and how they would pair up with other cartoons. I got pretty good at drawing the Simpsons and so I concentrated heavily on using them as a foundation for a lot of my mashups.

You sell pins and t-shirts on your Etsy – anything else? and what prompted the decisions to choose those elements?

I started with just stickers and took a leap of faith into pins. It was never meant to be something serious, certainly not an actual business! But my stickers took off and I found myself ordering more stock and then pin badges were a leap of faith as they required a bit more of a serious investment. But ended up being pretty popular and I was lucky as pin badges were back on the scene and becoming a bit of a fashion accessory. So timing was on my side! I moved into doing art prints and Tshirts came last. I was printing all my own Tshirts using an old heat press so that was really labour intensive. Lots of late nights cutting stencils and printing the tees by hand, the demand was too high so I stopped using that process, saved some money and found a company in London who could screen print them. The procedure is more of an investment but the quality is great. 2 years on and I’ve got over 70 different pin badges, God knows how many stickers and an increasing clothing line.

What are the most popular item/s?

Pin badges are definitely my best sellers. People like them as you get longevity out of a badge. And the same with my shirts. You can wear them over and over again. I guess with stickers, although they’re cheaper, once you’ve stuck it on something, that’s it! Most of my designs are pretty popular but my Pokemon x Simpsons series are particularly well loved. If you don’t know, there are 151 Pokemon from the original Generation 1 series, so I’ve started to mash each one with a different Simpsons character. I didn’t realise how much of a massive project this would be, but I’ve designed and drawn around 85 so far. I’m releasing each one as a pin, sticker and custom trading card. It’s definitely a labour of love.

What do you think was the tipping point to the great success you’re having?

I think it was good timing mostly. I was drawing 80s and 90s cartoon characters when 90s fashion and pop culture was increasing in popularity. Then I landed on making pin badges as they were becoming more popular as fashion accessories. Plus, I’ve been doing cartoon mashups for a while now so developed a name for myself in that weird twisted little industry. Even the main cartoons are doing their own mashups. The Simpsons did an Adventure Time cross over in one of their opening sequences and have also featured Rick and Morty in one of their couch gags. So it’s definitely becoming more of a house hold concept. When I released my Pokemon x Simpsons series that was met with a lot of popularity. But when I released my third drop of pin badges in the range, I was met with the full force of Reddit. Someone had posted all my badges on a Reddit post and literally over the course of a weekend I was inundated with orders, emails, reposts and blog posts. Pages like Bored Panda, Buzzfeed and Lad Bible had all picked up the post and reblogged it. I almost succumbed to the fabled Reddit Kiss Of Death but with the help from my wife and family we managed to ensure all the orders were packed and sent out. It was way too much for someone of my unorganised nature to handle.

Smartest thing you’ve done?

I don’t think I ever intentionally do anything smart haha. It’s probably all just dumb luck. But I guess going back to college and doing a Graphic Design course was one of my better moves. My wife gave me the kick up the arse to finally enrol. It sparked my love for design and gave me an insight into other areas of the design world. I was 27 when I went back to college and it was definitely one of the best things I ever did. Granted, I taught myself a lot of the Adobe Suite after the course finished but it was really good to be around other creatives and to et a sense of guidance from the tutors as I was able to build off my strengths. In terms of products, I’m very particular about the companies I use to make my products as I use some of the best printers out there. The costs are a little more but my customers and fans get better products and that’s what keeps them coming back.

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  1. Scott Herkes

    It looks like his profile has been shutdown. Probably because of the exposure he’s received from his incredible work. Any way to find his Etsy shop? I’ve tried looking but just find crap.

  2. Jennifer townsend

    I cannot find his work anywhere as well. It’s genius. I hope he is still making these b/c they are hilarious. If he is still, I’d love to know as well. Thanks.