September 3, 2020
What is your name / organization / title?
Ernie Zielsdorf / Lightning & Arrows
What motivated you to become a maker?
Honestly, I’m not exactly sure, but it’s legitimately the only thing I ever wanted to be since I was a kid. I just knew I loved drawing and doing creative stuff.
Looking back on the early stages of your journey, what advice would you give yourself now?
Do more art, more consistently. It’s one of those things that I knew I wanted to do, but for the longest time never did it in my free time. And the more you do, the better you get. Doesn’t matter if it’s “real” paid work for a client or anything, just practice doing what you like.
What is your favorite thing you’ve ever made? Why?
It’s hard to choose one, but the first thing that comes to mind is when I was a kid I did this collection of freehand drawings of different characters from Doug. I was so impressed with myself that I hadn’t traced and thought they looked really good. I at some point soon after that misplaced them, but I always think back to those because I think it was a little project I did for myself that gave me a lot of confidence in what I was doing.
What’s the next evolution for you (or your industry) going to look like?
I’ve seen some short animation stuff popping up more lately, and it’s something I’m definitely intrigued by. It seems like something that could become a bigger thing, like not just having a logo or something, but having some of those motion pieces as a part of the package to use in various ways seems like something that I could totally see becoming more popular.
Who would you partner with (living or dead) for your dream collaboration? And what would you work on together?
This is a funny one because the things that I always think would be fun are working with local places that I enjoy, like a small coffee or ice cream shop, which is probably totally doable if I just threw it out there to some of those places. Haha. So if I’m dreaming bigger, I think it would be fun to do some merch with Zac Brown Band.
You're on death row and it's time for your final meal. What'll ya have?
Honestly pretty much anything BBQ. Some big spread with ribs, brisket, pulled pork, creamed corn, mac & cheese, corn bread, sweet tea…that would be perfect.
In a world where you have two hands, all of your pets and loved ones are safe, and your studio is on fire, what do you try to save?
So I have a couple of shoe boxes with things I’ve collected over the years and I’d probably go for those. One’s got any card or note my wife has ever given me, one’s just packed full of stickers, one has my Inch X Inch button collection, one has a bunch of old hang tags I’ve collected from different articles of clothing and whatnot. But they’re all just stacked together, so I think I’d go for those.
What is one piece of pop culture (movie, tv, artwork, song, etc.) that no matter how many times you return to it you still draw excitement, movement, or inspiration?
If I had to choose just one, it’d be Lords of Dogtown. I love that movie, and feel inspired in some way every time I watch it.
I love useless facts. Impress me with a seriously useless fact!
The Beatles tried to purchase the rights to The Lord of the Rings to make their own movie, but JRR Tolkien wouldn’t sell to them, because he didn’t like the band.
If you could try any profession other than your own, what would you choose to do?
I think it’d have to be woodworking or video. I’ve tried a little of each, and they both seem fun.
What is your personal strategy/philosophy when it comes to using social media for your work?
First off is posting consistently. That way, my work should be popping up in front of people on a regular basis, however often that may be. My realistic goal I gave myself has been to try and aim for every 3 days. That also helps keep me thinking about what I need to be working on in between those posting times to keep hitting that goal. And I also try to interact and have meaningful conversations with people. Without that part, trying to grow a social media following seems pointless. I don’t always follow these things exactly like I want to, but you know, it’s good to have something to aim for!
Speaking of social media, where can people find you?
(Seriously, send me a message! I’d love to meet you!)