Home Interview Indie Artist Interview Emma Harckham

Indie Artist Interview Emma Harckham


A designer of t-shirts and part of the wider community ever since, Emma Harckham first discovered the joy of selling her tees on Redbubble and has not looked back since!

Who is Emma Harckham?

This year I became the answer to life, the universe, and everything. I sometimes take photos of minifigs, and I also design T-shirts. I joined Redbubble in 2009 and was surprised when a design quickly sold and I made a (very) little money. That’s all it took to get me hooked.

Do you have a favourite design you have created to date? Which of your designs has gotten the most attention?

Would wear – ‘Think‘, for the subtle Sherlock reference, and general style.

think! boomerang logo

Pleased with – ‘Pain‘, for personal sentiments and I think it’s quite striking.


Guilty pleasure – ‘Detroit Rock City‘, makes me smile each time I look at it.

My ‘Zombie Weapons‘ design has by far the most views and sales at Redbubble, (well, who doesn’t love zombies?), and it was printed by the fab Nowherebad. ‘Yippee-ki-yay Muggle Lover’ is a close second in popularity, it features Alan Rickman, so that explains why.

zombie weapons

Describe to us how a typical design, goes through the process of Idea > sketch > digital > available online.

Oh dear, this is gonna sound lame but it goes like this;

Idea = ‘leave the bag in’ quote from Doctor Who.

So, can I draw a tea bag? yes –> can I make it cute? yes –> can I draw a teacup? yes –> put the tea bag in the cup, add quote = ‘Tea but make it strong’ design

Tea but make it strong by Emma Harckham

I’ve already mentioned I have a long list of ideas. Usually, I’ll be reading a new tutorial and some part of that will have a method I think would work for one of them. Similarly, I might come across a way of creating a vector of a suitable item. After that, it’s a matter of combining things digitally to achieve the desired result. I rework things a lot 🙂

What do you work with the most to bring a design to life? Sketchbook? Tablet?

I don’t sketch anything, I leap straight into a vector drawing, preferably working from an image. Sometimes the resulting design is nothing like I first conceived, and quite often a design emerges from creating a successful vector image.

What inspires your work and designs?

My own sense of humour and limited skills and these three talented guys;

  • Teo Zirinis, ‘Hands off my dinosaur’, manages to strip a design to the essentials and make it stylish and witty.
  • Matthew Dunn is extremely talented I love his edgy designs and grainy style.
  • Sebastien Millon blends a clean but edgy style with pleasingly violent humour.

What plans do you have in 2013 for your designs and tees? Is it hard to keep yourself fresh creating new designs?

Last year I culled some older and less accomplished designs, an action generally perceived to be a bad idea, but I’m striving for a more cohesive body of work, to find my ‘style’ if you will. I hope to make inroads towards that goal in 2013, …I want to get better is all. I have a long list of ideas that await my discovery of a technique or mockup I can use to make the designs work for me. Ideas have never been my problem, whether I can produce something people want to buy is an entirely different matter.

In the future would you hope to print and sell your own tees without a middle man, sell at comic con shows for example?

No. Putting myself and my work out there at all is incredibly uncomfortable for me. I think I’d probably freak out if a design got picked up by one of the big shirt-a-day sites! I’m happy for now to continue learning and love that there are people out there who like my work enough to put it on their wall or body or whatever.

Who are your favourite people to follow on twitter?

@Shirtoid Jon has given such great exposure to many designers and his regular tweets are a perfect way to keep up with the trends and bag yourself a limited work of art.

@Captain_RibMan is kinda funny, don’t tell him.

The Top Gear guys, their kind of tweets are the reason I like Twitter.

What are your favourite tv shows and films?

I don’t watch a great deal of tv, but I’m currently immersed in the box set of The West Wing (somehow managed to miss this fantastic show first time around!) and I’m anxiously awaiting the return of The Newsroom. I truly loved the BSG reboot and am a huge Sherlock AND Elementary fangirl. Black Books, Spaced, Black Adder, Monty Python, The Walking Dead , Doctor Who, and Top Gear are also favourites. Tom Baker was my (jelly baby wielding) Doctor btw, but I do have a soft spot for Matt Smith. I love David Fincher’s work, almost anything sci-fi and I’m a sucker for American political dramas.

What would be your dream job?

Chief Official White House photographer for the President of the United States.




Follow Emma on her Tumblr | Facebook | @EmmaHarckham | Redbubble


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Six Questions With

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