Bookish Shops and Subscription Boxes- Interview with Alexis from Nerdy Post

Recently, I’ve fallen in love with Instagram and since I became more active there I have come to find out about so many amazing Bookish Shops and Subscription Boxes. This is the start to a new series of interviews I’m doing with my absolute favorite bookish folks. I hope to introduce you to new bookish obsessions and highlight shops you might already be a fan of.

Note: some of these are companies I help represent on Instagram and some I don’t.

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Up first, Alexis who owns Nerdy Post. I happened upon this sub box early on because of my bestie, Crystal (bookiemoji) gifted me the Doctor Who box. I immediately fell head over heels and became a fan. Each box is full of beautifully hand lettered items with quotes and the like all related to that month’s theme. I love that Nerdy Post covers all fandoms (not just bookish ones). Upcoming for January? STAR WARS. How exciting is that. I can’t wait to see what she has in store for us.

This beautiful picture is from Nerdy Post's Instagram. Click image to see more

This beautiful picture is from Nerdy Post’s Instagram. Click image to see more

Interview

What inspired you to start your subscription box for fandoms, Nerdy Post?

I started getting subscription box obsessed a few months into my bookstagram experience, and was simultaneously trying to build my own brand, hoping to find a way to make enough money to quit my 9-5 design job and stay home with my freshly baked baby girl. She had just gone into daycare because my maternity leave was over and I hated it. She was too young and I wasn’t ready. So the idea crossed my mind that maybe the way to get my art to a bunch of people would be to get involved with the boxes. At first I was just hoping to get featured in one, as I figured the logistics and coordination with companies and behind the scenes aspects of running my own box would be a nightmare. But then we did the bookmarks for The Bookish Box and my husband suggested we keep everything in-house and paper goods and suddenly it was a real possibility. Obviously my obsession with fandoms and my need to push everyone I ever meet into becoming obsessed with just one show or book or movie I am obsessed with meant that this is what I would base my box on. My goal is really just to convert new fans every month! I’m only 5% kidding.

Do you have a favorite box you’ve done? If so, which?

My favorite box so far is the Classic Novels one. I have never worked so hard for so many hours in all my life but it was totally worth it because every item is my favorite.

Have you found one box to be the most popular or a group to be the most enthusiastic?

img_0640It’s hard sometimes to tell what’s most popular because we are growing steadily bigger each month but that has more to do with our reach growing than each month doing a more popular theme than the one before. But I would say the Doctor Who, Harry Potter and Outlander ones have been the most enthusiastic. Outlander actually surprised me. It was our biggest growth month and one I was just hoping not to dip too low with subscribers, so that was nice!

What would you say has been the hardest part of getting Nerdy Post up and running?

The hardest part is keeping up with customer service aspects. I’m an artist with ADD and sometimes my brain just doesn’t want to compute with replying to a billion emails and I’m constantly worried customer issues will slip through the cracks with my busy self-employed-mom-of-a-toddler lifestyle and heavy work load. But I also just can’t get to stuff on a normal time schedule and thus slips happen. Luckily I’m a nice person and genuinely want my customers to be happy, so I haven’t angered anyone that I know of, and am able to make right any issue that come up. But customer service is still hard. It’s just not my forte.
The other thing is budgeting. I would literally be broke if not for my husband keeping me in check. He’s the numbers guy. So you can blame him for not getting 15 items every month because “we really ought to try and make a little money this month, Alexis, or we won’t be able to buy any items next month at all.” Haha

Can you give us any hints to what you have upcoming?

The next few months are going to be so much fun. We have several extremely popular fandoms ranging genres from SciFi to Animation and everything in between! Something to keep in mind if you really want hints is that I do try and coordinate with releases of new seasons or sequels or movies when I can.

Questions about Lettering…

In each box you include the most beautiful prints, bookmarks and hand -lettered goodies*. You create all of these images- how long have you been hand-lettering?

I have really been lettering all my life. I always liked to “write pretty” and experiment with the styles of the letters I wrote. But I didn’t consciously understand that what I was doing was lettering until about 8 years ago. I just always chose to use my own “fonts” when I couldn’t get the actual fonts do behave the way I wanted them to in my artwork.

fullsizerenderDo you have any tips for anyone wanting to start lettering?

The biggest thing, and probably the most disappointing for a lot of people, that I recommend is to practice. Haha But I am dead serious. When I started Nerdy Post and was lettering every single day I started to see a rapid improvement on my skill and style variations as well as how quickly I could complete a design. {I’m still super slow, but that just means I was scary slow before}. Practicing every day is now a must. Also, find styles you like and emulate them. Copy everything until you can reproduce each style without looking at it, then be sure to use it often so you don’t lose it, but rather it becomes a staple in your bag of tricks. Another aspect to that is to challenge yourself by picking different words than whatever you are copying, so you are forced to try and recreate the style in letters you can’t see and still make them cohesive. That’s probably the step between straight up copying to finding your own style.

*Be sure to check out Alexis’ account on Instagram for videos of her lettering. She makes it look easy and I’m certain she’s magical.

Thank you Alexis for your time!

Before this interview had you heard of NerdyPost? If so, have you ever gotten a box?

If not, it’s really easy to subscribe- Head to the site and create an account and hit subscribe. you can choose to get a month here and there or get it monthly. I am honored to help represent NerdyPost on Instagram so, if you are interested, I invite you to use my promo code to save 10% just enter FICTIONFRIENDS

Interview with Designer Erin Fitzsimmons + Giveaway (INT)

CruelBeautyInaHandfulofDustnewbirdnewbird

Since I’ve begun my blogging adventure I’ve become more and more interested in the people and process behind creating the beautiful covers that help to draw my attention. I’ve interviewed a couple of artists and wanted to see things from the designer’s prospective. …

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Interview with Michael O-Artist Behind the Lunar Chronicles Covers+International Giveaway

Cinder (Lunar Chronicles, #1)Scarlet (Lunar Chronicles, #2)Cress (Lunar Chronicles, #3)

I think it is safe to say that when the cover of Cress (Lunar Chronicles #3) by Marissa Meyer was finally revealed a collective gasp occurred. I love the juxtaposition of ‘Rapunzel’ and all her hair sweeping the bottom of the book—just perfect and breath-taking. After getting over my ooh’s and ah’s I thought, who is the artist behind the cover? The artist is Michael O and book covers are just a small sampling of the artwork he’s done.

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Interview with Artist Nathalia Suellen


We all know that you can’t judge a book by its cover but I’m not sure it’s possible to avoid doing just that when you see a cover that is breathtaking. I know that I’ve taken covers for granted even though I fall deeply in love with them. I wanted to change that and find out who was behind them and a little about the industry. Most importantly I wanted to learn about the artists and their inspirations and artwork aside from what they do for the covers.

Nathalia Self Portrait

Nathalia Self Portrait

What better place to start than with Nathalia Suellen the artist behind Splintered and Unhinged.

After visiting her website I was completely amazed with her talent and creativity. I knew that I had to interview her and honor her work on my blog.

Thank you Nathalia for agreeing to take the time to answer my questions.

Concerning Cover Art:
What book series have you produced cover art for?
Oh there are so many series, I don’t think I could say all of them but to name a few:  Otherworld Assassin by Gena Showalter ,  The Last Year by Trisha Leigh , The Grisha Trilogy (uk) by Leigh Bardugo, Splintered by A.G. Howard among others.

As for the process: what knowledge do you have prior of the storyline? Do you get to read the book, talk to the author or are you given requirements for elements that have to be included?
I don’t read all the books I work for, that would be really exhausting for me.  That was not different with Splintered, I had no contact with the book story and not even with the author.  I knew roughly about the story through the art director and of course I had some requirements to comply but nothing too specific. I remember of starting the first sketches thinking in three essential things: bugs, strangeness and eye-catching colors.

Many of you don’t know, but the very first Splintered sketch was a full body Alice with gothic clothes, striped socks, windy hair and a scenery full of bones, mirrors and bugs around (the model was insanely beautiful too). We spent a month or so in this first idea but things got too nice and serious that they decided to move the whole idea for a close up Alice, which I think now was one of the most important things for achieving this “special” thing, it somehow turned the cover more powerful and movie-like.

Do you have to offer multiple conceptual covers for them to choose which to pursue or do you get free reign?
We basically do things together. My clients guide me, they show me exactly what they want and I try to make it as close as I can to what they imagine.  Of course, I can’t do everything I want like in my personal works; we need to work as a team and I need to respect the story and their idea before anything.  Sure, if they give me some freedom, I try to make it even better, always.

Are you a fan of young adult fiction?
Strangely enough I’m not the kind of girl who loves to read, I have the necessity of feeding my eyes with pictures and movement all the time, maybe that’s what keep me creative.  (I can’t even read magazines; I’m just like a child who just looks at the book drawings and then close it.)  However I would say I love anything that drives me out of reality for a period of time. Being a book or not, I love fiction.

I recently had the opportunity to meet Anita Howard and thought that your image of Alyssa on the cover of Splintered resembled her…is that intentional?
Not at all. That’s another big coincidence… you know, it’s happening very often with me, so damn weird.

I love your interpretation of Morpheus on Unhinged, what inspirations did you draw on to create him?
While creating Unhinged, I had to keep in mind that Morpheus was NOT the Mad Hatter and my very first task was to find out the differences between the characters.

Steampunk was the first thing that came to mind regarding Morpheus’ style before knowing he was such a GOTHIC and strange “guy”. I got some inspiration from the author’s Pinterest, and I was shocked how different he actually was when compared with the Mad Hatter. I mean, Morpheus is way more gothic and MUCH more mysterious and strange.  My duty was to show as much as I could on the second book: He is NOT the mad hatter!

General Art Questions:
How long have you been expressing yourself with art?
Professionally, almost 6 years.

It appears that there is photography involved in your artworks, are you a photographer too?
No, sometimes I take my own photography but just for fun.

I was absolutely amazed with your collection of work on your website; I read that you are self-taught. How did you get started in the industry?
I started as anyone else, promoting my art and working HARD. In a beautiful day, God blesses your effort and you get discovered. I still have lot to learn and to improve but you know, I really love what I do.

Giveaway:
I am giving away ONE (1) 7×10 art print of one of Nathalia’s gorgeous works. This is an international giveaway if Society 6 ships to your local. Visit HERE to see which prints to choose from and if they ship to you.
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