Interview: Gillian Japlit

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Published by David O'Donnell in Interview                      Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links


Today I’m happy to present an artist that has only recently come onto my radar. I stumbled across a number of her awesome designs while researching tees for the Adventure Time t-shirt list. Not only is she a skilled graphic artist, she’s also a gamer, loves cartoons, and can play the guitar and belt out a tune! Enough with the intro though, here’s my interview with the very talented Gillian Japlit.

How would you introduce yourself and your art to people who may not familiar with you?

The funny thing is, I would probably avoid introducing myself because I have non-existent, or at the least, terrible social skills. When I’m not stumbling over the things I say, I’m usually just making things awkward. So let’s omit all that, because this is, of course, all in writing, and I have the advantage of editing.

So…onward! My name is Gillian. I like soup, video game music, and books. I’ve been drawing since forever and used to dream as a kid that I’d work for Disney. Now I have a diploma in Graphic Design and doodle in my spare time using my trusty pencil, pen, and Sharpie! Phew!

How did you get started designing t-shirts?

I got into tees just recently. I always get people asking me to draw them stuff so I thought hey, maybe there’s another way I can do this, and with a wider medium selection! Thus, my online RedBubble collection began in the summer of 2012. Why I had not thought of it earlier is beyond me.

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What inspires your work?

Much of the inspiration for the designs I create are based on my hobbies and interests. Video games, music, fan art. Stuff like that. I loooove graphic tees, so naturally I like to create shirts that I would add to my own collection.

Can you give us any insight into your creative process?

The process is pretty straight forward and simple: If I have a design in mind, I sketch it out (sometimes through a series of thumbnails), then scan the image into the computer. I open the image onto Illustrator and manually outline/trace the image into usable vector lines. The final step is transferring that vector into Photoshop and then colour away.

Just as side note here that may or may not be part of the creative process: I never force a design if I don’t have an idea yet. To me this will result in a lack of quality. But that’s just me.

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Which is your favorite design of your own?

My favourite design is unfortunately not available on RB anymore. It was an Adventure Time shirt titled “Balloon Time” with Jake shape-shifted as a giant balloon and Finn hanging on at the bottom. It was actually the very first Adventure Time design I ever did.

Which has been your most successful design to-date?

Adventure Time makes the scene again with being the subject matter of my most successful design-to-date. This design is titled “Bro Time”, a simple adaptation of Finn and Jake as Star Wars favourites Han Solo and Chewbacca.

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Who are some of your favorite artists?

I actually don’t have any “official” favourite artists. But unofficially, I really do enjoy the work of Dan Hipp (Art Director at Warner Bros. who makes quirky fan art) and Natasha Allegri (artist for Adventure Time who draws outrageously silly entertaining things).

What are some of your interests outside of art?

When I’m not doodling, you can find me reading adventure/fantasy books, playing video games, singing or playing guitar. I also have an obsession with cartoons and video game music.

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I noticed you have youtube channel featuring videos singing and playing a bunch of cool songs on acoustic guitar. One of those videos has over 90,000 views!

*blushes* — Yes, from time to time I cover songs on YouTube. I love to sing, but I get all shy when put on the spot. I find that YouTube is a great way for me to share songs without getting stage fright. I started uploading in 2007 and now have almost 35 videos! Even I still can’t believe I’ve done that many. I cover a variety of artists, but what I’m mostly known for are my Coheed and Cambria covers. I like learning fun and tricky songs to become a better guitar player and singer.

What is your all time favorite video game?

This is a tough question. I’m not even going to get into my inner complicated thoughts about this because I’ll end up driving myself crazy. So long story short, instinctively, I would say Uncharted 2: Among Thieves.

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What are your vices?

Ha, this one is easy. I have a book buying problem. I see books that pique my interest and feel compelled to buy them even though I know they’re not going anywhere. A normal person would buy a book, finish it, then buy the next. I probably have over 10 books that I’ve only read partially because I got caught up buying more in the midst of reading.

Hypothetical dinner party, you and any two people, dead or alive, who do you choose?

Is it weird that I’ve thought about this before? 1) Jackie Chan, because he’s Jackie Chan. He seems like a really genuine guy and would be the closest to his on screen character. And 2) Ellen Page, because she’s Ellen Page. It would be a pleasure to get to know her.

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Are you currently working on anything we should keep an eye out for?

There was actually something I started a couple months ago. It kind of resembles the Mr. Men and Little Miss series, except… monsters. That’s all I’ll say for now, wink.

Thanks for the interview, Gillian, you nailed it!

Make sure you checkout all of Gillian’s super-awesome designs at her RedBubble store here.

Keep up to date with the latest from Gillian on
Twitter: @gillianjaplit

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