40: A Sticker-Focused Approach with Illustrator Eric Z Goodnight

40: A Sticker-Focused Approach with Illustrator Eric Z Goodnight

Posted by Nicholas Ribera on

In this conversation, Eric and Chain Assembly discuss various topics related to the art industry. They talk about leaving Florida and moving to Atlanta, exploring different conventions and events, the challenges of copyright infringement, the importance of building an audience outside of social media, and the benefits of printing artwork at home. They also touch on the impact of social media on artists, the value of commissions, and the appeal of niche conventions. Overall, the conversation highlights the experiences and insights of an artist navigating the art world and finding success in their own unique way. In this conversation, Eric Z. Goodnight discusses various aspects of his art business, including the use of CMYK and RGB color modes, the appeal of digital prints, the creation of art products like canvas prints and stickers, long-term goals and legacy, and upcoming Kickstarter projects. He also shares his thoughts on using BackerKit Launch for lead generation and the importance of having an online presence.


You can listen to the episode here (or wherever you listen to podcasts) or read the transcript below:

A Conversation with Eric Z Goodnight:

Chain Assembly (00:01.489)

So anyways, that's when I just started stabbing him. So, Eric? I think so too. Eric, well, thank you so much for taking some time to talk to me. It has been a while since I've seen you. I know you left the studios at 5663 a while ago, and it was probably an event there. So you're the fifth person I've had from that, no, seventh person, sixth person I've had from that building. So thanks for taking some time to talk to me.


Eric (00:04.622)

Man, he really deserved it.


Eric (00:18.19)

Mm -hmm. Couple months. Couple months.


Eric (00:30.734)

We were a good bunch of folks. I'm still very fond of those guys. But Florida's is a sinking ship and all you rats should get out.


Chain Assembly (00:42.097)

So I take it you're not in the state anymore?


Eric (00:45.806)

I moved to the Atlanta area. I live in Stone Mountain right now.


Chain Assembly (00:50.769)

Okay, cool. So I remember who I had on podcasts before also from that area was Robert Rydell and his wife were talking about the book they recently released and they moved from that studio to Chattanooga, which is probably in your neck of the woods.


Eric (01:08.366)

I did not realize they were living there now. They were doing all kinds of crazy adventure stuff. The last time I spoke to them, I should reach out to Bobby and see if I can't come visit him at some point. Cause I've been wanting to check out Tennessee, um, or like Nashville, uh, than Chattanooga, but you know, it's, it's certainly a state that I've not explored much and pretty much anywhere in the South I'm fond of.


Chain Assembly (01:36.625)

Well, when I first left home in Miami, it was to move to Nashville and I spent a few years there. And at the time, I really loved it. But I've gone back multiple times since and it is a completely different beast of a city. It is. Yeah, it's become like the the bachelorette capital of the world, it seems. So you'll oh, I mean, if you're looking to pick up drunk women, it might be the place. But.


Eric (01:49.166)

Imagine it is.


Eric (01:55.598)

Oh, well shit, I need to go. Yeah.


Well, you know, I'll maybe I'll drive them to AA and then talk to them later. I don't know.


Chain Assembly (02:08.625)

Maybe. Well, let's start by talking about your art. So I know you're also a digital artist, primarily. I know you've done a lot of so I know very little about you. So I'm to start with just the stuff that I do know. And I'll let you kind of fill in the blank. So I know you do. You've done a couple of kickstarters. I know you sell a lot of stickers. You like to do thick, voluptuous women. So you like to draw thick, voluptuous women. You like to draw pizza.


Eric (02:19.278)

Primarily, yeah.


Eric (02:30.958)

Mm -hmm.


Chain Assembly (02:38.403)

It is very tongue -in -cheek fun illustrations you do nothing crazy serious and You also do stuff wrestling related right wrestling related art


Eric (02:51.886)

I soured pretty hard, not on wrestling. I still spend a lot of my free time, you know, chatting and shit posting about it, but just fan art in general. I became so anti -fan art and pro interest in my own brand that it just didn't feel right to keep doing.


I mean, whatever, people gotta do what they gotta do in terms of making a living on art. I don't fault any of my friends, but like, you know, we're bootlegging. Like, I didn't wanna do it, you know? I wanna do my own weird shit and make my own IP, and that was why I do the weird thing that I do.


Chain Assembly (03:29.393)

Yeah.


Chain Assembly (03:41.135)

I totally get that. I was always dabbling in the fan art stuff just because I enjoyed making it, but I never really did it with the intent to sell. And when I did my first Comic -Con, that really soured me on fan art in general. It's like you have to be either all in or do none of it.


Eric (03:56.974)

Oh yeah, it's, it's screwed.


Exactly. And it's just the culture around it's so gross that like, I don't know, like it's artists have become like the Walmart for aftermarket merch. And like, I'm not willing to, you know, I'm not willing to float loans on that and deal with.


the little teeny boppers looking, you know, like, let me get the latest, like, spy family character or whatever. It's just like, it's weird and I don't like it and I don't want to chase that. Like, let me make something that's personal to me and if you like it...


great, you know, we're friends now you're a psychopath like I am. And that's really, that's really all I've been interested in. Like, how can I make the most self -indulgent fun product to me and find people that find that also fun.


Chain Assembly (05:04.433)

That's very well said, and I'm surprised we got so deep five minutes in.


Eric (05:09.358)

I'm the deepest titty artist that you know.


Chain Assembly (05:13.221)

So, related to that, have you been following the Kat Von D story about her tattoo?


Eric (05:22.222)

No, I have not. What is this?


Chain Assembly (05:24.241)

So this is pretty fascinating. So she, someone came up to her, paid her to do a tattoo of a, inspired by a photo of Miles Davis, because this person loves Miles Davis. So she did her own spin on it, made it a little more artsy. And then somewhere down the line, she got sued by the original photographer who took that photo of Miles Davis.


Eric (05:38.574)

Okay.


Chain Assembly (05:53.393)

that the client brought to her to use as a reference for her tattoo.


And so she, this was maybe a week ago, the verdict came in and I guess not, you wouldn't say not guilty, but she was not liable for copyright infringement. And I mean, I was following that pretty heavily because if that means a tattoo artist can't use a reference brought to them by a client that, I mean, that means a lot for not just tattoo, but arts industry in general.


Eric (06:08.834)

Yeah.


Eric (06:13.74)

Hmm.


Eric (06:22.518)

Yeah.


Eric (06:26.638)

No, there's some interesting murkiness legally on both sides of that. I think about the legal ramifications of images an awful lot. I mean, technically, if someone takes an illustration that you do or that I do and they want to get it tattooed, they should pay us for that. You know? Like that's...


just true. Um, and there is, there is, um, the argument that the cat or the person getting the tattoo should pay this photographer, whoever, um, something for the use of that image, but like to Sue cat is ridiculous. Like, I don't think that's particularly fair. And it,


Like how much is she really making off a tattooing one person? You know, you're not putting it on a fleet of trucks or printing a million books or something. You're, you're, you're doing, you're tattooing one human being, right?


Chain Assembly (07:36.401)

Yeah, it definitely seemed like it was them thinking, oh Kat Von D has money, let's see what I can get out of her. But like -


Eric (07:41.518)

Exactly. It was, it feels rent seeking to me.


Chain Assembly (07:46.161)

Like, if it was something that, if it had gone the other way, imagine what Disney would do. Because everybody gets Disney tattoos. My wife has a Disney tattoo. So many people make money doing Disney tattoos, copying Disney art. At Disney, like, you know, they're always vehemently protecting their IP. So that would have been weird to see that transition.


Eric (07:51.778)

Mm. Mm.


Eric (08:12.622)

They are pretty aggressive. You know, there was the infamous story about how they went after like daycare centers in Florida or wherever in Florida it was that had Disney characters like bootleg painted on the outside wall. Like they're very protective of their IP, but like I...


Chain Assembly (08:21.957)

Yeah.


Chain Assembly (08:28.945)

All right.


Eric (08:35.342)

I don't know, like I get it. Copyright law is a mess and it is very much a double edged sword and as creatives, we need it as much as, you know, we can get burned by it. Like I, it's kind of like.


Chain Assembly (08:45.489)

Mm -hmm.


Eric (08:53.134)

A lot of this stuff, like when we go going back to fan art and bootlegging, it's basically a gray area that they just they they could shut every one of us making it down, but they just don't, you know, because it's. Legally very onerous to go around and chase down all this stuff and annoy all these people and send the MCA's that it costs money and there's no return on it for almost all of it. So like, what do you do? You just sort of let you sort of let the the.


Chain Assembly (09:09.425)

Mm -hmm.


Eric (09:21.934)

the 19 year old artists sell their silly fan art of whatever in the fuck.


Chain Assembly (09:27.505)

I actually just recently trademarked chain assembly and that was such a hassle. Just a hassle to get through. Have you tried anything like that?


Eric (09:31.662)

Mm. Mazel tov. Oh, I'm sure.


Eric (09:38.606)

I haven't messed around with it much. I took a business course back at St. Pete Community College, like maybe in 2019 or 2020. They talked about that sort of thing, but I feel like in a lot of ways it doesn't really offer me a lot of protection. I'm looking to ramp up some things, but...


not that i probably will have to um file claims for the you know the trademarks and the various things i want to do to go to the market like the logo that i use and things like that it's a it's it's a good idea but it's like you said it's a it could be a massive pain in the ass you get a lawyer involved several whole ass adults you have to get involved to figure this shit out


Chain Assembly (10:27.313)

Well, I did it without a lawyer and that's probably what the nightmare was. Just the website is designed in a way that you want to cry and pull your hair out. It's the smallest font. There's like no spacing. They do not hire interface designers to put together the government websites. It is so...


Eric (10:44.942)

Yeah, it's definitely not for us creative types.


Chain Assembly (10:49.585)

But like it it it ended up becoming kind of worth it I feel like because the way it's designed is you pay a fee per category and within that category There's tons of subcategories that you also get protected So I ended up printing selecting the printing category because that includes adult coloring books stickers digital prints art prints Kids coloring books scorecards golf books


graphic novels, like all of those things are covered in the printing industry and I thought that really made sense to now consider Chain Assembly a printing company, I guess. Anyways.


Eric (11:28.078)

It does seem to line up with the way I've seen you go to market. So that does make sense. Yeah.


Chain Assembly (11:34.641)

Well, let's let's kind of talk about your art style and how you present yourself at a market. So what these days, what are you working on?


Eric (11:44.558)

Gosh, I have a lot of projects and I'm juggling a lot of things at the moment. I'm also, you know, I'm coming off the long period of, you know, struggling with a lot of things, obviously moving, obviously like some pretty serious health scares that I'm coming off of and, you know, thankfully getting a lot better. So like working consistently is a little challenging.


Eric (12:12.942)

But I mean, I do have, I do have two large scale paintings that I'm working on. I have two kickstarters that I want to do this year that all the work is basically done for. Although I do want to like, you know, create some additional content for some stretch goals. Um, one of them is a, a, uh, a couple of posters that I've designed that I'm going to be working on with, um,


Mike Toth of St. Petersburg. He does alleyway screen print. Solid dude, if you don't know him. A massively talented printer and artist. He's a lovely guy.


Chain Assembly (12:45.937)

Mm -hmm.


Chain Assembly (12:49.905)

Yeah, I know Mike. He's in my neighborhood. We're both in the artist's enclave.


Eric (12:55.374)

Yeah, he's a lovely guy, super talented dude. And I need to get back in touch with him about printing those two things. Primarily I want to have them done and have the Kickstarter fulfilled because I just got accepted to like my first big travel convention. It used to be called Waifu Expo, which that got my attention. But it is called Kimochi -Con and it is


Chain Assembly (13:15.057)

Mm -hmm.


Chain Assembly (13:20.593)

He he.


Eric (13:25.328)

in Dallas. So I'm nervous and very excited about taking a big risk like that. Because obviously, you know, if I can, you know, going from Tampa to Orlando to drive and do a show is one thing. Doing a show in Tampa when I live in St. Petersburg is one thing.


but going all the way to Texas to do a show, you know, all of a sudden you've got a lot more overhead and you've got a, it's on a completely different level in order to make it work. I'm probably gonna fly, which that's big cost. I'm very fortunate. And then one of the reasons I applied is I have some folks that'll put me up so I don't have to like sleep in the street or in a rental car or...


Chain Assembly (13:58.257)

Well what's your plan? Are you gonna drive or fly?


Eric (14:18.09)

You know, because I'm certainly not one of these guys that's making ten or fifteen thousand dollars a show. It would be really great, maybe one day we'll get there, but for me it's still a slog. And it doesn't help that I refuse to compromise on building my own brand, which is considerably harder than doing a bunch of fucking fan art.


Chain Assembly (14:46.001)

So the two episodes ago, I had a conversation with Zach Owens, who does a lot of conventions, gaming conventions. And we had a really good conversation about the value of going to something like PAX East versus going to your friendly local neighborhood show. And it's like, even though one might have 20 times the amount of attendees, your overheads can be a lot higher because you're staying in a hotel, you're renting a car, you're doing all this stuff.


Eric (14:53.838)

Mm -hmm. Mm -hmm.


Eric (15:07.03)

Mm -hmm.


Eric (15:11.79)

Yeah.


Chain Assembly (15:14.865)

So he says that he usually gets his biggest margins from large, relatively local shows. Something that he can drive to every day. So.


Eric (15:22.766)

Yes, I guess, and I find that I want to do travel shows because I want to travel and, you know, one of my goals is to use selling art as a vehicle for going around the world. Like I want to sell art in the UK or Ireland or Germany or...


the Netherlands or like Japan is really the big one. Like I had my friend Ben who does central Florida Comic Con is like, dude, you need to do, you need to do comic cat. And like, that's very exciting thinking about doing comic cat. And, you know, going to Japan and being bad at speaking Japanese with real native speakers. But really, it does seem like the money is made in the places where it's


you know, it's the least struggle and you do need like a base of places to sell rather than, I mean, I don't know. It's, it's, you have to be a big name and people need to be coming for you. I think if you're going to a lot of these shows and really making a killing, you know, like people are showing up for, for Adam Hughes or whoever in the hell they're, uh,


You know, no one is showing up for me. I have to make the impression right there and then, but it is, I think, important to build an audience, um, outside your, your initial circles. And I think, social media limits us in a lot of ways. I think that it's definitely getting worse and definitely getting more toxic. I have not shared a lot to Instagram.


for that very reason, I'm disenchanted with a lot of it, but I am not disenchanted with going to good shows and meeting good people.


Chain Assembly (17:26.385)

I get what you're saying. Social media kind of started with the idea of you're going to see what your friends are up to. And then it became, we're going to develop algorithms to gatekeep what you get to see. And now that we control what you get to


Eric (17:32.876)

Mm.


Eric (17:38.158)

Yes. Well, even, even beyond that, it's a, it's a, it's a model that like we exist for them that when, um, when Rupert Murdoch bought MySpace, it was the idea of MySpace was sold to him as here is a thing where your users will generate you content for free that you can monetize with advertising. And that is the model that everything is.


That's what Facebook is. That's what Instagram is. We are the product. We are the product and we're the advertiser eyeballs.


Chain Assembly (18:12.273)

Well, I mean, I've been on the other side of that and I've been on the other side of that and I don't necessarily hate that it's delivering ads that are more relevant to you. And for example, just a few days ago, I ran ads on Reddit for the first time and I really liked that I could choose specific Reddit groups to post my ad in.


Eric (18:27.724)

Mm -hmm.


Chain Assembly (18:41.041)

And when that ad shows up, people are actually, it shows up as a post. So people are actually commenting on it. And then I can comment back with them. And I get to start a dialogue in a way that I can't do on an Instagram ad, a Facebook ad. I mean, I know Reddit is its own problem as a universe, but...


Eric (18:47.022)

Mm -hmm.


Eric (18:57.294)

It has its own problems, but I think it's significantly less toxic. Like Facebook is just very omnipresent and it's not necessarily about communities. And I think that it pushes people apart and hurts people more than the good that it does in society. But like at least for me, they have a monopoly on.


all of my friend groups, you know, I don't have friends on Instagram. My friends are on Instagram, but I have whole like massive conversations and backlogs with folks on Facebook, you know, Reddit is more that kind of thing. But I don't know, I like it because it is inherently community based. I think that's a cool thing.


Chain Assembly (19:22.353)

Mm -hmm.


Chain Assembly (19:45.457)

Well, taking a bit back to conventions, farthest I've gone was Origins. Back in 2021, 2022, I vended there. They had this like special area for the entrepreneurs. It's like, if it's your first time vending there, you get half off on your booth fee. So it was absolutely worth it at the time. And I drove from St. Petersburg to Columbus, Ohio and back. Had a wonderful time.


Eric (19:48.044)

Hmm.


Eric (20:12.302)

Ooh, that's brutal.


Chain Assembly (20:14.065)

Oh, I enjoyed the - I like road trippin' with the wife, so hope you had a good time.


Eric (20:17.71)

I do too, but I'm worried that my old car would explode at this point. I've been...


Chain Assembly (20:21.585)

But like, I definitely overestimated how much I would sell. I packed way more than I needed to. I also didn't consider the fact that I'd be buying a shit ton of board games as a business expense and then bringing them back. So like if I were to do it again, I would pack half as much, but I still made plenty of profit to cover the hotel as well as all the money I spent there.


Eric (20:44.524)

Okay.


Chain Assembly (20:46.897)

And more than just that, as a convention, I did a lot of networking and met with people who I've had on the podcast and been able to do business deals with and expand my connection through. So if you're thinking of it as. Yeah.


Eric (20:51.15)

Yes. Yes.


Eric (20:58.558)

Loads of the people, loads of the people that I meet at these things are, you know, like bar nothing. They're just, they're just friends, you know, like they, they understand the difficulties of that kind of carny lifestyle. And they, you know, they get it. Like we, you have a connection with these people almost immediately. So like someone that is just happens to be next to you in a booth, you know, they, they might end up being the best man.


at your wedding years down the road. Like, it's just wild how the culture works. Like, people are, the people that vendor these things are pretty consistently some of the best people I ever meet. They're lovely.


Chain Assembly (21:41.617)

Well, okay, so let's talk a bit about then looking at Eric Z. Goodnight, Incorporated, LLC, whatever you are, the pie chart of your business income. What percentage comes from events, pop -up events, local markets, conventions, whatever.


Eric (21:59.63)

Almost all of it, I would say. I don't really chase online. It's been pretty mid. I do a fair amount of sales on Facebook when I'm chasing it.


Chain Assembly (22:01.745)

Okay.


Chain Assembly (22:15.857)

What about commissions?


Eric (22:18.264)

Commissions I've been avoiding, but I think commissions are going to be big for me this year. I'm actually working on a really cool project for a friend of mine that I want to do more of. So I'm getting very big into the retro gaming scene. I like it very much. Like in my, I write articles for retro RGB .com as well. So like I really like the tech and the subculture a lot.


But a friend of mine, he he's part of these guys in St. Pete that they restore arcade cabinets. And he has one and he he came to me and he's like, I want a bunch of I want a bunch of goofy, sexy titty girls on this. And like, like he's, he was willing to put his money where his mouth is. I'm like, you know, the way that I would want to do this, I'm going to require.


X and X amount and he was super cool about it. He didn't balk. He did say, do you want to trade for some some game equipment? Like no, man, I'd have to I have to pay for the repairs on this damn house. I need the cash, but I would like to do more of that in the future, just because I think retro gamers and like pinball nerds are like really rad and I like it's a big.


Chain Assembly (23:24.849)

Hehehe


Eric (23:41.678)

part of my origin story as an artist is like looking at video game art. So like, I feel like I have a good knack for like recreating those looks and making graphics that have that kind of pop. It would be a thing that I would love to have a book of business of that for this year. But.


It would be nice if it was 50 -50 this year for commissions and shows, but so far shows are shaping up slow. I've only just recently added two that I want to do. One locally and the one Kimochi con that accepted me recently, but I'm going to try for a few. Unfortunately, my favorite kind of cons are game conventions because I, you know, I love the culture.


but a lot of the organizers are very confused about what I do when I'm not just doing Street Fighter fan art or just stealing IP. They're confused because I'm making an original product and it's a little bit more adult oriented even though nearly everything I sell is very PG -13.


Chain Assembly (24:57.361)

So yeah, I've definitely learned that if it's a comic con or an anime convention, people want to buy shit they recognize. If it is like a hor -


Eric (25:05.23)

It's there the well, they're the worst buyers, you know, I don't like doing comic cons anymore because it's it used to be passionate, interesting, interesting people that were interested for the culture. And now it's just people that want to they want to buy shit with the Joker and Harley Quinn on it like they're the worst, most boring people.


Chain Assembly (25:09.297)

If it's, yeah.


Chain Assembly (25:32.433)

So I've noticed like you have a better chance with original ideas at a board game convention or a horror convention. And I think part of it too. Now I've been I've been really wanting to do Spooky Empire. I used to go all the time when I was younger when it was Screamfest. I went like to Screamfest one through six back in just out in my college years. So I've been wanting to check it out.


Eric (25:38.71)

Yes.


Yeah, I did. I did spooky empire. And did you do either of those? Spook hola or spooky empire?


They were.


Eric (25:54.71)

Yeah.


Eric (26:00.398)

It was, it's a, it was a, it was a decent experience. I would say both of them. If I, I mean, it's a, it was very hard on me traveling to Florida to do two shows last year, especially like one month on from moving to fucking Georgia. Like that was a really rough end in my 2023. Um, I ended up doing like six round trips with all the, all the moving and everything from, um,


basically from St. Pete to Atlanta. It was really awful. But gosh, where were we? We were talking about spooky. Yeah, yeah, just basically the thing that I find is the more the less mainstream the culture around the con is, the more people are interested in some a new idea, you know, because they're there for the culture. They're they're interesting.


people that are thoughtful and they're not there to get Darryl from Walking Dead's signature. They're not there for the most boring possible reasons.


Chain Assembly (27:08.625)

Mm -hmm.


Chain Assembly (27:14.257)

it's partly an age thing. Like if you go to a comic con or an anime con, it's young kids and young kids are all about discovering things that exist and being like finding their community with things that are already popular. I think older people have already seen that and they're really trying to discover something new. So that's I mean, again, I've done no research in this, but I just feel like the yeah.


Eric (27:17.07)

Yeah, definitely. Yes.


Eric (27:30.574)

Yeah, that's interesting.


Eric (27:35.852)

Mm.


Eric (27:40.622)

I mean, I think you have something there, but at least when I discount the kids at anime cons, yeah, they're looking for fandom. They're looking to fit in, but they also they also only have three nickels in their pocket. You know, they ain't they ain't really they ain't really walking around and they're not going to buy a three or $500 canvas print from me.


Chain Assembly (27:57.737)

Yeah.


Eric (28:07.662)

you know they're they're they're not too interested in that they they want something cheap um which is fine you know sell them something cheap but


Chain Assembly (28:13.553)

Well, I consider myself a little bit lucky because I have been exploring the tarot and divination space. So I've been able to sell decently at metaphysical events, which happen regularly. And in those situations, I really stand out because I'm not waving chimes over people as they lay on a massage table. I'm selling original tarot decks and it's like, hey, come meet the guy who drew the shit.


Eric (28:25.07)

Mmm.


Eric (28:28.942)

Yeah. Yeah.


Eric (28:34.7)

Hmm.


Chain Assembly (28:43.779)

and


Eric (28:44.232)

You know, I have to admit, like, um, thinking on your art, I would have not before you started doing it, I would have never recommended for you to start doing that, but I have to admit every time you stepped up and done it, it's been a home run. Like I have been, um, I, I very well.


Chain Assembly (28:55.025)

Ha ha ha.


Chain Assembly (28:59.345)

Thank you.


Eric (29:03.79)

I don't want to say jealous because you know there's an element of haterism in that but you know like I've definitely admired the success you've had in realms like that I think that it's been really well deserved you've been very smart and very calculating about a lot of the things that you've done it's been very admirable.


Chain Assembly (29:22.385)

Well, thank you. To be totally honest, the original tarot deck started because the pandemic began and I didn't want to not know what to draw. So I figure if I'm going to start a big project where I have to do 78 original illustrations, I can force myself to do that. And then I don't need to stare at a blank screen wondering what to do. And I wouldn't waste the time because I have an exact plan of what I need to do. And on top of that,


Eric (29:27.406)

Hmm. Hmm.


Eric (29:43.596)

Yeah.


Eric (29:48.334)

Yes.


Chain Assembly (29:49.457)

I thought building a tarot deck would be an easy stepping stone into more complex things like board games, which I really wanted to do. And I just enjoyed the process of creating the tarot deck, building a physical product, making 3D mockups, working with the manufacturers in China, that I got hooked on that process, no matter if it's a board game or a tarot deck. I just enjoy every step of that. So that's kind of how I've ended up in that world. It wasn't because I have a desire to create a tarot deck.


Eric (30:09.998)

Mm -hmm.


Eric (30:14.956)

Let's.


well i mean making anything is really cool it's a thing are you um jake parker i think was the person who said this advice he's the guy who um uh created inktober a gazillion years ago but um his philosophy was um


Chain Assembly (30:34.417)

Mm -hmm.


Eric (30:39.15)

I think it was, you don't need a project. You need a product. And I think, you know, capitalism is what it is, you know, whatever it's fine. But I do think that there is something at least that's worked really well for me in terms of thinking, like thinking about, uh, that, that person who is going to buy this and how I can make something fun and relevant to them. Um, and how, you know, how I can turn it into like,


Take a dumb, silly, fun illustration and make it into a thing that fits into someone's life. You know? That is a mindset that helps me a lot. It helps me get a lot more work done. And it helps me be kind of happier with the things that I make, even though, like, I don't know, like I make a bunch of shit that's just like so stupid and self -indulgent, you know? Like it's just, here's a mashup of three incredibly stupid ideas.


Chain Assembly (31:31.281)

You


Eric (31:38.446)

and I make it into a really goofy illustration and like, I don't know, people that like me like it, but it's like, what the fuck do I do with this? But it is, it helps me to find an application for it, to find that product and that end goal. And, you know, having lists of things like you're describing with the tarot, having that boom, boom, boom, boom, boom list of stuff like that, that, um, that mentality I think is, uh, really helpful.


Chain Assembly (31:47.377)

Well, I...


Eric (32:07.406)

It's certainly done me a lot of good.


Chain Assembly (32:10.065)

Well, I definitely see what you're saying about think of a product, not a project. And that's something I've absolutely, I've started to understand more about myself as a process of doing this podcast is because I'm a digital artist. You're a digital artist. I mean, you said you work on some large paintings, but as a digital artist, you often do a piece and you're like, now what? If you're a painter or a sculptor, it's, it's, you it, it's a thing. Yeah.


Eric (32:14.67)

Hmm.


Eric (32:21.838)

Hmm.


Eric (32:32.974)

Yeah, all the time.


It's a thing. Yeah, it's a thing.


Chain Assembly (32:38.673)

So as a digital artist, seeing a physical product from the hours I put into drawing on a screen, it's just a feeling that like, I don't know, it just, I don't know. It's a feeling, it gives you the feels.


Eric (32:44.59)

Yeah. Yeah.


Eric (32:52.43)

It's realizing all the hours that you put into it. Like I can make a dumb illustration and like it's a dumb thing that's imaginary that's in my screen, but I make a canvas print out of it and like, whoa, holy shit. You know, it's like completely different. I will say one thing that I'm excited about doing more of is I got a Black Friday super high -end photo printer. Holy shit, this stuff makes my work look so good. Holy shit.


Chain Assembly (33:20.369)

Oh, oh yeah? What'd get? I also got myself a really good one on Black Friday.


Eric (33:23.744)

Oh yeah, oh yeah. It was the one of the Canon PIXMAs, one of the higher end ones. It was like $200 off. And you know, I could have done without it, but like, you know, to have to have to own the supply chain, you know, to, to own the manufacturing process. That's


Chain Assembly (33:28.881)

Yeah.


Eric (33:46.446)

That can be huge. Like, I don't know that I necessarily want to start stretching my own canvases or whatever. I'm happy to have business partners that take care of stuff for me, but like, you know, to be able to print stuff on demand and do all these little shows and find an opportunity at the last minute and make a bunch of product like that's, uh, that's awesome. You know, and they,


I'm also very good at printing things with my long background in print so I can I can make I can make my work look really good.


Chain Assembly (34:19.153)

So I bought the ImageProGraph 1000. No, sorry, the Canon ImageGraph Pro 1000, which is, it's also Canon. It's not the Pixma, but it is, it prints up to 17 by 22. And it's so good. It's so good. And so I did a couple prints last week of cards from the new tarot deck that I'm working on at size 12 by 18.


Eric (34:22.892)

Mm.


Eric (34:27.694)

Okay.


Eric (34:34.83)

Oh, that's beautiful. That's so good.


Chain Assembly (34:47.153)

So they're pretty big ass prints and they look so nice. So I also bought, I bought mats and sleeves. I've got local Topia this weekend, which is a huge event in St. Pete. And so I got these giant prints I'm selling for 50 bucks each. I'm really looking forward to that and they look so good. Thank you.


Eric (34:49.518)

Yeah. It's so cool seeing that stuff.


Eric (34:57.626)

Oh yeah.


Eric (35:05.07)

I hope you crush it. I never really liked doing that event. It never really worked out so well for me. I don't know. I hope you smash it. That's really cool.


Chain Assembly (35:16.945)

Thank you. So one thing that I noticed too about the printer is the software that Canon makes. For some reason, it's just broken. I can't open it on my computer and everyone's complaining about how it just doesn't work. So I bought a different software. Yeah. So I bought a third party software called Q Image One that everybody swears by and I've had no trouble with it. It's really nice. So it...


Eric (35:30.222)

I... I wouldn't trust it. Yeah, I wouldn't trust it.


Eric (35:41.006)

What are you doing with it?


Chain Assembly (35:44.049)

Because you can print 17 by 22, I can put a 17 by 22 paper in there, and it helps me like fill that page with different prints.


Eric (35:49.078)

Mm -hmm.


Oh, that's interesting. That's really interesting. OK, I mean, I would just do it. I would just do it in like Illustrator or something. I don't know. I would at least for me like this is a. I feel like technology keeps trying to reinvent the hammer every year.


Chain Assembly (35:54.225)

Yeah. Yeah.


Eric (36:13.966)

most of this most of this stuff with with printers and profiles and things like that this was all solved decades ago and adobe still does it as good as anybody so i just print everything from photoshop and i use the profile that i like and i adjust my levels and it's all really easy and it comes out beautiful i but you know like whatever like you know everybody can use whatever tool suits them


Chain Assembly (36:27.089)

I probably, yeah.


Chain Assembly (36:39.697)

I probably could do it with Illustrator, but I've been enjoying the software because it knows what printer type is in there and it mirrors what it's going to look like on my monitor. So I can do adjustments from there. But yeah, I probably should just try Illustrator. I'm just always kind of scared printing out of Illustrator.


Eric (37:00.11)

I think they're they all they all like they use like you can load a profile for the paper that you're using and you let Photoshop manage colors and there's there's less guesswork you know and that's the that's the main thing like and I think there is some trial and error science that you need to do to dial it in but I just find like


Chain Assembly (37:07.825)

Mm -hmm.


Eric (37:21.038)

there's a specific adjustment I make to my mid tones and I use the the the luster paper profile for the paper that I use and it looks like the color fidelity is perfect like it's so on point it's ridiculous um like I I've never seen a print that dead on


printed anywhere. The colors are just exactly what I expected them to be. And I'm working with a fucking RGB file too. Like I'm, I feel like it's honestly insane to work with CMYK. Do you paint in CMYK?


Chain Assembly (38:02.737)

It's funny you bring that up because since I started doing prints myself, I've noticed that my RGB files look a lot better than my CMYK files.


Eric (38:12.43)

I've I have I mean, you know, obviously I've worked in the print industry and stuff like this and I was the thing I feel passionately about but like I've read a really great book about it, you know, and you think about like, what are these printers are made for? They are made for reproducing photographs and there ain't a camera on earth that takes CMYK pictures, you know, and if there is it's a piece of shit and it shouldn't exist.


Like it's stupid. Like light exists in RGB. The thing that they say is, you know, you have RGB and CMYK, man made one and God made the other. Which one do you want to use? And I make all my shit in RGB.


Chain Assembly (38:55.729)

It's funny.


Yeah, like, so I feel like maybe if you're printing photographs CMYK might make sense, but if you're doing illustrations, you're going to be using crazy ass colors.


Eric (39:11.918)

My my my whole my whole thought process is CMYK is an uglier bad color space and even I mean especially nowadays like the printers that you and I both have are like they're eight cartridge printers or something at least. Yeah, and that's even better.


Chain Assembly (39:26.991)

Everything looks muddy in it.


Chain Assembly (39:32.119)

Mine's got like 14, it's ridiculous. Yeah.


Eric (39:36.142)

Because all it's doing is it's making that color. I don't know if we're recording video right now or what I'm doing hand gestures. The the the the color gamut, the color space is just bigger in RGB and CMYK it's uglier. It's smaller and these printers are trying to expand that color space.


Chain Assembly (39:41.073)

Yeah, we are.


Eric (39:55.278)

you know, and to recreate RGB color. So why the fuck would you like, why would you hinder yourself and work with CMYK color? Like if you're, if you're like, I have friends who they work in the comic industry and they're doing, they're doing stuff that is going to be digital and for print. And it needs to look roughly the same.


in both circumstances. Like I understand painting in CMYK, but it still just makes me feel, it's just gross. It feels bad. You know, like I understand why you would want to work around a certain color space and not go beyond that. But like for, for what we're doing, you know, where we control what we're making and we're proofing it ourselves and we're working directly with, with printers.


Chain Assembly (40:40.625)

Mm -hmm.


Eric (40:47.054)

No, why would, why? Why would you make any, it's just so insane to me. I don't know. I think about this shit a lot. Like I'm just a nerd.


Chain Assembly (40:52.017)

Well, the files that I do deliver to the manufacturers in China, those I do CMYK because their machines are four -color machines where they have the giant cyan roller, the yellow roller, the magenta roller, the black roller. So if I need them to replicate what I'm seeing on the screen, then that makes the most sense with their machines.


Eric (41:02.028)

Hmm.


Yes.


Eric (41:15.79)

It does make sense, especially if they're asking for it to be delivered that way, but you're kind of putting part of like there's, there's a little bit of a letdown process, you know, between every, um, every part of the, you know, like you have it in your mind for the way it's supposed to look. And then what it is the way that it is on the screen and then you proof it and it is the way that it is on the proof and then, you know, but like kind of.


Chain Assembly (41:26.447)

Mm -hmm.


Eric (41:44.974)

converting it or making it in CMYK, you're kind of pre -letting yourself down, you know, and I kind of feel like I think it's better to start with everything and cut down, you know, rather than starting in the smaller space or cutting it down yourself in the smaller space. But I think that it's still logical, especially if they ask you for a CMYK file, you know, like if...


Chain Assembly (41:47.089)

Mm -hmm.


Chain Assembly (41:53.201)

That's a good point.


Chain Assembly (41:58.351)

Mm -hmm.


with less.


Eric (42:12.526)

If they just ask you for it, then you can't talk them out of it.


Chain Assembly (42:17.809)

So going back into using your art to create a product, what are some of the products you have made in the past and what are the products you're looking to make in the future?


Eric (42:27.662)

Gosh, you know, the thing that I wish was more viable, because I love the culture and I love the people that collect this stuff is the screen print posters. You know, I have to design like I mentioned earlier that I'm going to do with Mike a little bit later this year. Hopefully very soon. I wish that we could be more of a thing. I did a series of.


Risa graph prints working with Caitlin Crockett at print St Pete. And those have those have actually done pretty well. Do what?


Chain Assembly (43:03.537)

I did too, I got Rizograph prints from her. So I also got Rizograph prints done by Caitlin at Prince St. Pete and I absolutely love them. I got a hundred of them made and I've only sold like 14. So I'm disappointed that they don't move but.


Eric (43:11.438)

Hmm.


Eric (43:19.854)

I've mine have sold mine have sold relatively well and I think that it's just the strength of the series has clicked for people. No one like the I've done other Risa graph prints with her and zero of them is sold like I did a I did. I did one that was called scary movie date night. I think it's like such a cute illustration. It's on my Instagram.


and it's like this girl and she's like grabbing her boyfriend but her boyfriend looks like fucking Jason Voorhees and he's got like a bowl of fucking like cheese puffs or some shit. It's like, it's a very fun illustration and I have sold zero of them. It has been death. I put it up at every horror con everyone looks at it. Everyone is like, ha ha, but no one buys it. Everyone buys the, everyone buys the kitchen series that I, you know, designed for.


I don't know, you can't...


Chain Assembly (44:24.273)

Well, I think part of the issue is like, you and I get excited about the process of Rizograf and how it looks. We look really close, look at all the dots, like, wow, look how cool that is. Average consumer doesn't care, give a shit. They just see it as the image, not as the process.


Eric (44:29.132)

Yes. Yes.


Eric (44:33.622)

Yes.


they don't they don't notice no they they can't it doesn't mean a damn thing to them and I it was definitely a process for me to learn those things because my whole introduction to Rhizograph was at Heroes Con I met Ryan Cecil Smith and Nat Anderson there and they were both doing Rhizograph stuff like they were some of the fucking


like earliest pioneers I know doing it in the United States. This was like fully a decade ago, I would bet. And like Matt Anderson is like a massive, a massive name in the fucking like Risa Graff scene now. And they're just, I don't know, they were doing such cool shit. And I'm like a big print nerd even then I'm like, wow, what the fuck is this? Tell me about this. And I would just geek out with them about it for like hours and like.


I don't know guys like you and me aren't coming along every day. We're really unusual.


Chain Assembly (45:37.969)

But I mean, I also, I can't justify getting more prints made until I sell at least another 40 of those, so.


Eric (45:41.966)

No, no, I, I would, um, I would chase whatever's going on, um, with that series, uh, and why it's working. And that is, that is kind of my, it'll probably be an all digital series because my digital stuff moves, you know, the canvas prints move. Uh, people like my digital stuff.


Chain Assembly (46:02.833)

Mm -hmm.


Eric (46:07.214)

And that is a big thing that makes me very sad is I want to do the alt print stuff. I want to do screen print. I want to do Rhiza graph. Like these things are difficult. You know, like when I go into Caitlin's place and print, like it's taxing, like I'm running around the place and doing all this hard work to print myself. Um, when I'm, when I did my last screen print with Mike Toth, I spent eight hours.


at least just just doing the separation because I did not want to deliver something substandard to him. You know, I want like, I want Mike to have something easy to work with. So I bust my ass to make this stuff work. And, you know, some of my best work doesn't sell because people don't get it. But people see the digital prints and they're like, wow, this pops. This is incredible. You know, this is really special. I'm like, it really ain't.


Chain Assembly (47:03.537)

I know what you mean. Well, I want to take a little opportunity here to fully shout out the Rizegraph effects and tools from Retro Supply. I've been using the hell out of those for Clip Studio Paint in this current tarot project I'm working on. So like, for example, I'll get a photo. I will convert it to black and white and then I will...


Eric (47:23.414)

Mm.


Chain Assembly (47:30.961)

change, I think I showed you this before in Clip Studio Paint, there's an easy menu item to just do convert brightness to opacity. And then so it becomes an image where the black is opaque and then the whites are more translucent. And then I'll convert that whole thing into a mask and then do a Rizograph brush on the layer so that it becomes a Rizograph print basically of that image. Then I will.


Do the whole thing again, but invert it first, so now the whites become the opaques, and then do that as another Rizograph layer with that mask with an alternate color. So the whole thing becomes a duotone Rizograph print based on a photo, and it looks so believable, amazingly. Definitely check out Retro Supply. I love their shit. I've bought everything that they've made for Clip Studio Paint.


Eric (48:09.388)

Mm.


Eric (48:15.918)

you


I know I've seen a lot of a lot of the ads whizzed by. I am such a fucking hipster with this shit that like if I'm going to use an effect, usually I make it myself. But frankly, like, you know, like, frankly, you get a lot of shit done and probably outsourcing something like that is probably would be better for me in the long run. But


I don't know. I haven't had much interest personally. I'm sure it's worked out really beautiful and you've made something. I don't know. Your shit works for me. You know, whenever I see it, I'm like, yeah, that's, that's good. You do a good job. You know, I, you know, no shade for me.


Chain Assembly (48:53.041)

Thanks.


Chain Assembly (48:57.361)

Well, I think it helps that their tools are made based on doing... So there's like four main... This is way talking inside shop, but they did a... That's true. They did like a 10 % opacity Rizograph print, just full color on white, did a high quality scan of that and turned that into a brush, a fill brush. Then they did a 20%, then a 30%, 40%, all the way up to 100. So now you've got...


Eric (49:08.494)

That's okay. Who the fuck else are they listening for?


Eric (49:17.07)

Hmm.


Chain Assembly (49:26.865)

10 different brushes. Then they scanned ones that were wet, not fully dry. So they have wet versions of everything. Then they did the pattern version of everything. So it's not just the random. And then they have a wet version of the random. And then they also have a line version. So there's wet and dry, 10 for each. Yeah. And it's all based on real scans. So everything looks incredibly realistic.


Eric (49:45.262)

They put in the work in. Yeah.


Chain Assembly (49:51.889)

And then there's also a whole set of mistakes. Like you can do like misalignment, you could do a dry drum. And these are just little like stamps you put on the image and it makes it look so realistic.


Manneous.


Eric (50:04.814)

I don't know. I just do all this stuff manually. And I just the way that my brain works. I mean, I love everything that you're talking about. I love that they took the time to scan all that. I just, you know, back in the day when I got the wasn't the nasal brushes. That's even older school. It's, um, Kyle, Kyle, what's his name? Kyle Webster is his name.


Chain Assembly (50:34.257)

I'm not familiar.


Eric (50:34.766)

I bought his first brush pack and felt so let down. Everything just felt so average. And I'm just like, I could have made all of these things, but you know, there is a lot to be said. Like it's just convenient when you're painting, just like grab something and go and not have to think about like, well, how do I make this or that? Like, it's not like he makes a poor product. It's just...


Chain Assembly (50:40.209)

He he.


Chain Assembly (50:46.737)

Is that Photoshop brushes?


Eric (50:58.382)

my stupid nerdy brain doesn't work that way. I'm like, why am I not artisanally crafting everything so I can paint this girl's butthole? You know?


Chain Assembly (51:07.761)

Well, okay, so let's talk about those canvas prints. You said you have a partner. Where are you getting those made?


Eric (51:17.07)

Oh, they're in there. Actually, I think they have an office in Clearwater. I used to think they were based out of Clearwater. They're based out of Miami, I think. And I won't put them over too much because they have unfortunately changed up their product line. Like it's an okay product. If I'm giving away a trade, do you do you want me to tell you the name?


Chain Assembly (51:44.625)

Yeah, if you want to. If you don't want to shut them out, you don't have to. I've just gotten some really garbage canvas prints in the past, so I'm always curious to find a place that's not garbage.


Eric (51:48.192)

Well...


Eric (51:52.462)

I think that, I mean, I, I think, um, oh gosh, canvas people I've used first, but they don't make it at a price point. They're like, I think their quality is higher, but they don't really make it at a price point that is incredibly viable. Um, canvas discount is the one that I was discussing. That's in Miami and they make, uh, they make a reasonably good product. Um,


Chain Assembly (52:20.529)

Do you have to order in bulk or no?


Eric (52:21.134)

unfortunate thing is they've started offering a bunch of sizes that were really good sellers for me they stopped offering them in the the the thicker like inch and a half gallery frame size which I just think is a hundred percent nicer than like the thin like half inch quarter inch ones those just feel so cheap to me you know it it it


it feels very much like, like I want my art to feel like museum quality as much as I can provide to people as opposed to something that you know feels like it should be like paint smeared on a canvas in a small shitty cafe you know even if it is in a small shitty cafe


Chain Assembly (53:07.825)

So if you're say if I walk into your booth or no, I guess better way to put it. Say you've had a good sales market event, whatever. Looking at the pie chart of sales within that, what percentage would you say are canvas prints? What would you say are original drawings or what would you say are other products? What are the items in that pie chart and which ones are doing best for you?


Eric (53:16.738)

Mm.


Eric (53:31.246)

I mean, canvas prints are a relatively newer item for me. And I like doing them because they have crept up to being about a third. And maybe the other third is stickers. And then the remaining third is split amongst everything else, which is like.


Chain Assembly (53:55.281)

Interesting.


Eric (53:56.16)

Screenprint posters and raza graphs and anything else I'm trying to introduce new stuff Without kind of destroying my pricing structure Because it shows I try and keep things as simple as possible You know to where it's not like well, this is this is one dollar and this is two dollars and this is three dollars and this is like


you know and on and on and on and on like to have a million different price points is just confusing for people so it's like boom boom boom boom you know you need to be able to say it in like a second


Chain Assembly (54:38.417)

I feel like I've actually stopped selling stickers. I'll bring them every now and then, but I don't feel like they're worth the space they take on my table at the booth.


Eric (54:50.414)

I mean, for it's, I would not, I would not break even. I would not do well. I mean, and I might even be more than a third. It might be fully half of my profit being stickers. Cause I get, I get great margin. People love like, and most of the people that are wanting art from me, they want.


Chain Assembly (54:57.679)

without them.


Eric (55:12.686)

uh, something inexpensive, but like, and then they'll buy like $80 worth of fucking stickers. Um, people love my shit on stickers and like it even, I think it even like it, it harkens to that tradition, you know, like I think about like 90s skate graphics and, and, uh, like, you know, like really crazy offensive, uh, pop art like that, you know, it, it lends itself to that kind of tacky product.


Chain Assembly (55:19.057)

Wow.


Chain Assembly (55:29.905)

Mm, that's true.


Eric (55:42.606)

So it's like, I really love designing around the sticker shape. You know, have to, things need to be condensed. They need to, they need to fit into like a certain shape.


Um, like if, if you're going to draw a character, like she can't be like standing straight up tall, like maybe she's crouching, maybe she's bending over. Maybe she's pulled her knees up to her chest or whatever, just to sort of condense things. One of the reasons people do chibis, you know, it just works on that form factor. Um, but it's a, it's an interesting, like medium to work around in terms of a product. Um,


Chain Assembly (56:13.105)

Mm -hmm.


Eric (56:25.102)

but people, people love me for it. I would not want to do markets without it. And it's, oh gosh, it's one of the things that has definitely, um,


It's made it abundantly clear to me that, you know, the, the, the, the posters and the Rezos are nowhere near as viable. Um, just because people don't see the value. I'm not, I'm not going to Mondo con and selling out of an edition of a thousand, you know? Um, like I just, you know, I, I, I feel like I can make a screen print. That's as good as anything in there, but.


You can be the most talented person in the world and no one will give a shit. And that's just the way the world works.


Chain Assembly (57:15.793)

So I've never heard of MondoCon, but I've always kind of thought that my business had inadvertently started copying Mondo and publishing. I didn't know they had a convention. I need to get in on that.


Eric (57:19.094)

Mm.


Eric (57:25.164)

Mm.


I don't know if they still do.


Chain Assembly (57:31.281)

I know they got sold to or they sold to Funko Pop and then Funko Pop just got bought by someone.


Eric (57:33.942)

Oh yeah, I did forget about that. I feel like they're, yeah, I wouldn't even, I wouldn't even, I feel like the, God, I went to MondoCon in like 2017 and spent entirely too much money on stuff and rubbed elbows. Like I met Drew Struzan and Becky Clunen and all the, like I just saw.


some of the coolest screen print stuff that I've ever seen in my life. And I've, I've met screen printers from all over the world, some of the best in the world. And like Mondo, the people that were doing Mondo in 2017 were,


absolutely outstanding like the artists that I worked with and the people that I met like I met people from Valhalla and Cyclops I'm trying to remember there's another printer I bought some test prints from that I have sitting right over there that I'm not hanging up because my house needs electrical work and I don't want to hang up stuff multiple times.


Chain Assembly (58:39.473)

Well, I mean, speaking of Nashville, there's a big history of screen printing there with the Hatch Show prints. But anytime you go see a concert at the Ryman, the Hatch Show place is going to make some like limited edition prints for that show. I've got one from when I saw garbage. Yeah.


Eric (58:49.742)

Yes.


Eric (58:53.934)

I very much want to make the pilgrimage to Hatch. They were not on my radar as a young printmaker, but that's definitely my loss. It's very much in keeping.


Chain Assembly (59:04.113)

Yeah. Yeah, I've got one from when I saw garbage there. I saw Fiona Apple at the Ryman and those they only had like 100 prints they sold out immediately. But but the garbage print I have is great. Hanging right over there. And I got one from Tristan another singer I saw there. So so like I know a lot of people who like their businesses are built around stickers and it does really well for them.


Eric (59:12.43)

Right.


Of course. Why wouldn't they?


Eric (59:20.716)

Mmm.


Eric (59:32.172)

Yeah.


Chain Assembly (59:32.977)

So I imagine it is taking up a big amount of real estate in your booth space. You have probably like an elaborate display or do you have them in a book? How do you show them off?


Eric (59:39.15)

No. No, I I tried those things and I don't like them. This is definitely giving the game away, but you know, I feel like that's probably part of what we're doing here is we're trying to share information for people, but I I like people to be able to see it directly. I just.


Chain Assembly (59:55.993)

Yeah.


Eric (01:00:02.83)

I just spread shit out on my table. I liked it because I did it on accident like punk rock style. One time I was doing a show and people really responded to it. People can. Yes, well, I mean, and that's part of it too. And I mean, you know the time of post covid.


Chain Assembly (01:00:15.249)

I know people like to dig, so yeah.


Eric (01:00:23.726)

maybe it's not the best, but people want to put their stupid little fingies on everything, you know, and the that's what they say in psychology is, you know, like the psychology of buying or whatever, like don't, it's not going to be in your fucking psychology one on one textbook or whatever. But like, if someone can hold something, if they can touch something, they can imagine themselves owning it. And I like to let people


touch the stickers and pick them up and look through them just because it gives them that tangible connection to the product. It's less abstract to them at that point. But like people just like to go and find something that speaks to them. Like I honestly like I'm going to reprint my stickers and things, but I don't even care about what's a best seller because usually if something that is my hottest seller, like if it's sold out,


someone's gonna find something else weird that I did and they're gonna laugh and they're gonna like it and they're gonna be like, oh my God, she's so cute. She's so fun. She's got big titties, you know, like they're gonna say that and they're gonna buy that one, you know, like generally people enjoy me and the interaction with me and they're ready to, they want something, you know.


Chain Assembly (01:01:49.553)

So when it comes to selling those stickers, do you track which ones, specifically which designs sell? Okay, yeah. Yeah, for me, I didn't either. I just...


Eric (01:01:56.416)

No, not anymore. No, it doesn't even it doesn't even enter into me. Like I go through and I think, well, I need to reorder these like these did fairly well, but like in general, you get a sense like I'm I'm okay playing it off the cuff, you know, like, well, this this this one's a dog. This one's whatever. And if it never gets reordered, you just kind of know, but no, I'm not keeping tight inventory. Like I I don't have.


Chain Assembly (01:02:04.273)

Okay.


Eric (01:02:26.03)

the brain space to keep up with everything. Like I can't be an artist and a madman and an accountant, you know, like I have to, I have to lean into those other things and let the passion push me around. Even doing something that makes a lot of sense, you know, to track.


what is selling the most and have that data, it would fry my brain. It would stress me out so much. So I just do what I can and I observe what I can and have a good sense of it. I know what's sold out.


Chain Assembly (01:03:12.497)

So when it comes to your business, do you have only short -term goals or do you have long -term goals? And if so, do you try and plan out steps to get to those long -term goals?


Eric (01:03:25.068)

That's a good question. I feel like it's tough because for the longest time the goals have been very small. You know, it's just like, yeah, I want to do a heroes con. Like I did my first one in 2016. I'm like, I just want to do a heroes con. So I'm going to get these posters together. I'm going to do this and I'm going to go. I'm going to try it.


And then it's like, well, I want to do better. I want to do more shows. And it's been granularly building on stuff. And really the past couple of years have been just about surviving. Um, like, you know, like let's get over these health hurdles. Let's, um, you know, let's buy this house. Let's fucking move closer to family. Let's, and, and, you know, right, right now,


small goals are finding new art community and finding new local shows to do and building that network and kind of building that bridge between Atlanta and St. Pete a little bit more.


Eric (01:04:40.654)

But yeah, I mean, long -term goals, like they always are abstract for me. You know, a lot of them have come true. A lot of the older ones have come true. Um,


But like it's the things that we talked about, you know, traveling to traveling to sell art, um, and building the brand to be bigger because in a lot of ways, the brand that I'm making is a big part of, um, future -proofing myself and, you know, some sort of legacy, some sort of retirement, you know, um, at least that's the way that I look at it.


Chain Assembly (01:05:17.201)

Yeah. Well, yeah, so I mean, I, my hypothetical super long term goal is I sell the company to someone else and all the IP I've generated within it. So that's one of the reasons why I don't put my name, Nick Rivera, on any of the shit I make. But your business name is Eric Z. Goodnight, right?


Eric (01:05:24.814)

Mm. Yeah, of course.


Eric (01:05:38.862)

Well, I have, I do have the meet cute brand and I don't know that I'm fully divorcing me from it. Um,


I do kind of go back and forth about that. Like it is the more that I go on, the more I work on it, the more I'm interested in only doing neat, cute stuff. And I want to create a kind of lifestyle brand around it, you know, to make like, I want to make like t -shirts and panties and fucking shit, just because like, I think it's fun and people will vibe with it at a show.


Eric (01:06:23.662)

But like, I don't know, ultimately people are buying me, you know, and I try and go to a show, I try and be in character. I try and give people a good experience. I don't know that I'll ever fully be divorced from it, but like, you know, it is conceivable that like, if I sold it as an IP, that like someone could do their version of it, or I could start.


collaborating with people and have other people do their meet cute girls. Like that would be a really fun project. Are you available, Nick? It'd be really fun.


Chain Assembly (01:06:59.089)

Sure. Well, so I mean, I so I know a lot of your stuff, though, is consistent in style. With me, I try to do a different style for every project. Well, I mean, because because I try to do every project, make it look completely different from the last, I then try to promote the idea that chain assembly is a bunch of people, that it already is an organization, it already is bigger than it actually is. But it's just me.


Eric (01:07:07.47)

It is completely by accident, let me tell you. I don't even try.


Eric (01:07:19.82)

Mm.


Eric (01:07:24.492)

Yeah.


Chain Assembly (01:07:29.073)

So that's, I guess, me planning for the future, even though I didn't sit down and say, this is what I'm going to do. This is just things that I feel comfortable doing. And I feel like they're all in service of some ultimate goal that may or may not.


Eric (01:07:32.748)

Mm -hmm.


Eric (01:07:37.262)

Yeah.


Chain Assembly (01:07:43.409)

But yes, I would love to do some meet cute stuff with you.


Eric (01:07:47.726)

I think it'd be super fun even if it was just for funsies. It would be really neat to see it. I mean, I was thinking, I was driving somewhere or another and I just started in my head naming all of my cool artist friends and thinking, oh my God, I would.


love to fucking collaborate and I don't even have to think hard and I named like 25 people, you know, and it would be amazing to herd cats and make something like that happen. Like a great big meet cute collaboration. I think it'd be tremendously fun. I mean, and what, what black hearted person doesn't like drawing boobies, like really sad people, you know,


Chain Assembly (01:08:12.977)

Yeah.


Chain Assembly (01:08:31.537)

You


I guess so. So let's, speaking of goals, tell me about these two Kickstarters you got coming up this year that you're planning on this year.


Eric (01:08:40.972)

Oh man, I'm really excited about both of them. Like I've done, I might, I might work back into one now that I looked at it again. I'm like, Oh, I can totally cram a whole bunch more detail into this. Like it almost it's so true. It's so true. It would be such an insane thing to work on it more, but it looks, it looks really nice. It's a set of two things. Um,


Chain Assembly (01:08:53.763)

Nothing's ready until it's gone to print, so...


Eric (01:09:07.63)

that kind of continue on the poster brand that I did before. I mean, and it's, you know, like that, those posters, like I sold enough to pay for pay for the edition and then some, and this will also probably do well enough, but like, you know, it would still be nice to sell out of them. It would be nice to have that.


like whatever that the kickstarter is about producing that initial order and maybe some other merch like I have a coloring book that I started that I did proofs for that I've just sort of backburnered and that will probably be thrown in the mix either as a first stretch goal or as a second one with the final poster being like the last one but the thing that I'm the most hype about


is I've been working with some sculptors and printers and some some people that do like casting and toy making and I have a whole line of toys that I've started on. I've done the first one. I just need to you know I need to do the photography for the Kickstarter and make a really killer video.


Chain Assembly (01:10:10.609)

Wow.


Eric (01:10:24.792)

because you know you need to have a good presentation for that it needs to be really thought out and well presented having some nice high quality video shot of the of the toys is going to justify the unfortunately very expensive price tag because all that stuff's mega expensive these days but that's the that's the second one that's the one I'm the most excited about but


You know, that's going to have like, I have to be in the 10 to $20 ,000 range in terms of sales on that one. The first one, I think I can get in a walk. The second one. I don't know. I really need to, I really need to go hard on it. You know, um, uh, like people, people have seen the prototypes, people like them. Um, if you met, um,


plastic pizza. They really liked the toys that I had made when I showed them to them. And we had kind of talked here and there about doing collaborations and maybe them helping me sell them. But I'm excited about bringing this stuff to life and certainly about building more of a brand around that because I feel like...


The the meat cute brand would really lend itself to it being a whole line of funny little fun silly horny like sculptures and toys. I just I would be excited to bring that into the world.


Chain Assembly (01:12:11.921)

So with these projects, do you already have anything set up on Kickstarter yet or BackerKit launch or anything like that?


Eric (01:12:17.87)

I have started the the the poster one as in I've actually started putting it together so it'll you know we're talking about like maybe another week or two for me to get all the graphics together and record a video something like that and then however long it's going to take them to approve it and then probably like a 30 day campaign.


Chain Assembly (01:12:23.185)

Mm -hmm.


Eric (01:12:47.286)

I feel like it's pretty standard. Although like, I don't know, like it is one of those things where you're already hyping people up that I feel like the first goal will be met relatively soon. At least I hope so. I don't want it to go to like day 29 to get the first goal, but I don't think that'll be the case. I think people will show up for me.


Chain Assembly (01:13:07.665)

Yeah, well, one thing I always tell people is like, you've got to hit that funding goal in the first 48 hours because nobody will pledge to a project that's not already funded. So.


Eric (01:13:15.502)

for sure.


Eric (01:13:19.992)

That is the way that it works is you get everything at first and then everything at the end. And like, it's just dead air in the middle.


Chain Assembly (01:13:30.865)

And so I don't know if this will be a system to you when it comes to the toy making project you're working on. But for me, my first step always is I create the project on Kickstarter, even if there's nothing in it, I just give it a short title, even if I'm going to change the title later, because that short title becomes the domain. So like it might just be Giallo instead of Tadoki Giallo, a tarot deck inspired by Italian horror films or whatever. I give it a short title, create it on Kickstarter. Then I head over to BackerKit launch and create a landing page.


So have you used BackerKit Launch before?


Eric (01:14:02.798)

I'm not, I'm gonna Google that right now.


Chain Assembly (01:14:05.105)

So BackerKit is a whole bunch of tools for crowdfunding, but Launch specifically is great. It's a landing page that you can put multiple images and text and graphics in, and it asks people to put in their email address. So it just generates, it's just a lead generating tool. After they put in their email address, it then takes them to the Kickstarter page if it's live or if it's at the pre -launch page. But the most important thing is you can see who has made it to that launch page.


So you can run ads pointing to the launch page and you'll see how successful those ads were. And then it has a whole set of like email templates and gives you a timeline on like, we recommend sending this email a week before your project launches. We recommend sending this email a day before it launches. And it has some texts that it can fill in automatically, but it really helps easily control all of the lead gen leading up to the Kickstarter project. So that by the time your Kickstarter project goes live, you've


hopefully have 200 or so people who have clicked to notify me on launch. So, because on the Kickstarter page...


Eric (01:15:09.166)

You've definitely become an old hand at these Kickstarters. You've become a definite pro at it. Certainly for the toy Kickstarter, I could definitely use a dude like you in my corner. I might be sliding into your DMs there. You don't know.


Chain Assembly (01:15:18.961)

Yeah.


Chain Assembly (01:15:22.801)

Thank you. Thank you.


Well, you - you -


Chain Assembly (01:15:38.193)

I just, I recommend you having like that. You should be collecting leads now, even if you're not launching this till October, there's no reason to not have that page up because it's searchable in Google. So if someone's like cool designer toys, you might show up. They'll read whatever information you have, even though you're probably going to change it a week later. And then they'll be like, Oh yeah, why not? I'll put my email address in here. And that's just one more person who you can reach out to when you do have more information about the project.


Eric (01:15:43.278)

Okay.


Eric (01:15:56.76)

Yeah.


Eric (01:16:04.462)

That's really smart. I like it.


Chain Assembly (01:16:06.961)

Yeah. Um, and then you should probably even also just have, so one thing I always do too is I'll create a sub domain for my website that I can choose where it redirects to. So during all the lead up, it redirects to that backer kit launch page. When the Kickstarter is live, I change it to redirect to the Kickstarter.


Eric (01:16:21.934)

Yeah. Or then you change the redirect for the Kickstarter winner. Yeah. Yeah.


Chain Assembly (01:16:26.961)

Yeah, so that way you can have business cards you hand out. One thing I do a lot too, probably have some here, is whatever, I'll grab them later. But like Moo, I don't know if you've used Moo, but they can print business cards with different images on each one. I'll put a QR code to that subdomain from my website on it. So I can be like, oh, here's a new project I'm working on. If you're interested, hit this QR code and there'll be a different image on the back so that I can let them pick one and that'll help them remember it.


But anyways, that's a lot. So if people wanna fuck with some of your art, thank you. I mean, I'm not quitting my day job yet, but each project I learn a little bit more.


Eric (01:16:59.278)

dig it. No smart. You're definitely you're definitely the pro at it. Good advice.


Chain Assembly (01:17:13.617)

So if people want to fuck with your shit and see your art, the best places to do that are your easy good night on Instagram, Twitter, Blue Sky, and you have a Facebook page too that I'm going to put in the show notes too, right?


Eric (01:17:28.206)

I mostly posted that that Facebook group into I mean I need to get back on top of Instagram but just like it social media feels so bad lately I just hate the meta company so much but I would I would old man grouse about it all day you have to stop me


Chain Assembly (01:17:45.297)

And so do you have a website?


Eric (01:17:48.942)

Yes, I have two I need to kind of reinvent them. They're they I mean, they date they date back to the fucking like George W. Bush era, not in their current form, but the domains do when they're not doing me any favors. Probably the most relevant one is Eric z goodnight calm. But I'm I'm that would I would kind of like I'm studying.


List of Linux system administration right now and I think a fun project would be to host my own website and build a CMS in it and and and like you know like host forums and do all this stuff so I kind of want to roll all this stuff in together but it's like


It's like a, it's almost more of a distraction than probably what I should be doing is focusing on all this stuff and seeing that the shows that I'm prepping for are going to be a success.


Chain Assembly (01:18:51.697)

Well, I mean, if you needed to put them together in a hurry, Adobe portfolio is a pretty easy way to throw up a good website. I use it just for my chain assembly dot com, which is my main online store that is done through Shopify. But I have Nick Rivera dot com and that's basically my online portfolio to solicit commissions. And that is just done through Adobe portfolio because you can really easily just choose like a


Eric (01:19:00.832)

Legit.


Eric (01:19:08.706)

Mm.


Eric (01:19:14.318)

Yeah.


Chain Assembly (01:19:21.899)

gallery in Lightroom and it instantly uploads to the portfolio website. So that way I can manage all the files that are in that gallery on my local machine and it just reflects on the site.


Chain Assembly (01:19:36.591)

All right. Well, with all that in mind, Eric is great catching up with you. Hopefully we get to work together again soon on that meet cute thing. Yeah. And it's been wonderful talking to you, hearing about your journey and kind of like how your business is structured. So thanks again for taking some time to join me on the podcast.


Eric (01:19:43.886)

I hope so, it was a pleasure.


Eric (01:19:55.31)

I greatly appreciate you, Nick. It's been a blast.


Chain Assembly (01:19:58.737)

Thank you.


Outro

Chain Assembly: Art for profit sake is recorded through Riverside FM, distributed through Spotify for podcasters, and edited on Adobe Audition. The music is provided by Old Romans. If you learned anything useful or found this podcast helpful, please rate and review us five stars. If you want to learn more about me or my art, head over to ChainAssembly.com.

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