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Making what Matters Stick: Q&A with Appleminte

July 9, 2019  |  
Making What Matters Stick: Q&A with Appleminte

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Appleminte’s sticker art pulls from many different types of anime and cartoons, she channels her inspiration into adorable artwork and different mediums of design. We caught up with her to learn more about what she’s passionate about, and what got her into this amazing hobby and business.

When did you first become interested in art?

I’ve been drawing ever since I was a kid. Beginning in middle school, I taught myself anatomy so I could draw the anime characters I wanted to draw.

How did you know to study anatomy to do that?
I watched a lot of cartoons and anime, and I wanted to draw like that. I knew that I needed to learn how to do that, and anatomy was part of it.

Which animes inspired you at the time?
The first was Fruits Basket, and the second was The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. I liked Fruits Basket because of the story, and while the story of Melancholy was good too, I really liked the art style.

On Youtube I saw animators drawing anime, and I liked the aesthetic. I liked drawing people in general, and then adding elements and being creative with that, like you do in anime, adding flowers or fantastical things.

Appleminte Quack Stack Sticker

Did you go to school for art?
I didn’t go to art school. I went to school for marketing and psychology.

That must help when building your business.
It does help me know how to put the business out there more.

I always wanted to have a name online, to have an online following. I posted under DeviantArt for a long time, starting in high school. Then I started putting my art up on Instagram, and then I started posting YouTube videos whenever I had the time in college. I had only posted about ten or so that didn’t get that many views. Then, one day I put one up that got quite a few views. It was a video of my first sketchbook tour. Overnight I got about 1,000 views. Then in a couple of days it was 5,000, then it grew. I was kind of confused. Like, where was this coming from?

I decided to make the most of it and challenged myself to post one video per week. I had just left a job, and had the time to dedicate to making one post per week. I’ve been posting weekly ever since October 2017, so almost two years. I’m doing art full time now.

When did you start selling online?
I was laid off last August, and I opened my online store around the same time. I had just been to my first anime convention, and I had made a bunch of charms and prints of my work to sell. I used what was left over to start my shop on Etsy. I also opened up a shop on Teespring for clothes with my work on them.

I built it from there. I’m planning to attend more conventions this year. One this month, another in the summer, and maybe a few more.

Appleminte Totoro Sticker

Are conventions good for business?
I’m just satisfied in general with conventions. It’s a great way to meet other artists. You pay around $100-400 for a table, depending on the convention. From the one I attended last year, I learned what items sold more, which ones people weren’t interested in. But before I went, I had no idea. It’s a gamble. I just did it. You have to go there to know what’s possible, and then go from there.

Which artists inspire you?
There are too many to count, but one artist I’ve always admired is Baylee Jae. I went to a YouTube event, and I met someone and started talking about art and collaborations. I mentioned that I’d love to collab with Baylee Jae, and this person, I think she knew her, was like: “Just reach out to her!” And I thought: “Really? I can do that?”

So I did, and we ended up doing a collab where we drew each other as Disney princesses. It was really cool. I definitely want to do more collabs in the future.

Appleminte Luna Sticker

Any business advice for artists?
If you’re going to do it, you have to enjoy it. Don’t do it just for the money. You have to care. You’ve got to keep positive, keep putting it out there with that hope in mind. It’s a combination of hard work and luck. If something you do goes viral, you have to capitalize on it right away. If you don’t it’s a waste of an opportunity.

Never get too comfortable. Keep up with your own work and keep pushing yourself. Ask for help. Reach out the community online for advice. Some people won’t want to share their vendors with you, but some will. Be self-disciplined. There are always other artists who will push themselves to learn new things and do new things. If you don’t do this, you’ll get left behind. A lot of artists are trying to make it, too. Which means you have to keep going. That’s how I look at it.

How do you keep motivated?
Just keep producing. Don’t worry if it’s not well-received. People won’t care about every single thing you put out there, but they will care about some things. Sometimes, I put a lot of effort into a video, and no one seems to notice. Then, I’ll rush through one because I didn’t have much time to put it together, and people will love it. You can never tell.

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