Doug Solomon received his MFA from Ohio University, where he became the embodiment of the Groucho Marx quote, “I don’t want to belong to any club that will accept people like me as a member.” This Etsy seller and freelance illustrator likes to draw unamused rabbits, which are currently on display as part of our Twitter Artist Series. As a bonus, the design is available as a free download for mobile and desktop devices (scroll down for available formats). But first, here’s a quick chat I had with Doug about Mel Brooks, design inspiration, watching mindless television, and his best tips for Etsy sellers.
It’s been said that the best designs are ones that punch you in the gut or at the very least stop you in your tracks. Talk to us a bit about your design process and specifically your contribution toward Etsy’s Twitter Artist Series.
I’m more interested in having people do a double-take than stopping them in their tracks. My process is pretty straight-forward: I draw an outline in pencil and then ink in the lines and tones. For Etsy’s Twitter art I wanted to do an Easter theme and thought it would be interesting to draw a parallel between the fertility of rabbits and the fecundity of the super-extended family of Etsians.
Your work often includes a lighthearted, witty sense of humor. I totally appreciate that, but I’m wondering, where does it come from?
I was weaned on people like Mel Brooks and Woody Allen. I probably get my dry sense of humor from my mom. As an artist, I like the idea of taking something harmless and subverting it in some way. An odd juxtaposition or subtle facial expression is enough to make me laugh rather than things that are overtly silly or slapstick.
You’ve been an Etsy seller for some time now. Any tips or words of advice for up-and-coming designers that are interested in selling their work?
Find your niche. Develop your own distinct style and maintain a consistent point of view throughout your body of work. It’s also important to have at least enough work to fill a page on Etsy — I think the average buyer shies away from empty shelves.
How do you currently market yourself as a designer? Does social media play a factor?
I currently market myself on Etsy and Blackbook. I just joined Twitter (which I love) and Facebook (which I’m finding rather a hot mess).
What’s something people would be surprised to know about you?
I have three digital tape recorders full of hundreds of absurdities that I have created or captured from movies, television, etc. I usually have one in my pocket and get an abnormal amount of joy from them.
Pick up your free mobile or desktop download of Doug’s exclusive design below. And be sure to check out his sweet Etsy shop.
1. Pick your device above and save the image to your computer.
2. Sync your device and click the photo tab to include your pretty new wallpaper.
3. After syncing, view the photo and click the lower left button to use as wallpaper.
4. That’s it! Now show off and tell all your tweeps to follow @Etsy.