Ninjabot is a Portland based husband and wife team: Arnel is the illustrator, and designer. Estefania is the social media marketer. Together they create fun, cute, geeky art for everyone to enjoy. From prints to posters to buttons to art books, Ninjabot has so much to offer, and their booth at various conventions has become more popular than ever!
Where are you from? Growing up, what did you geek out on? What books, comics, tv shows, movies characters were you into?
I was raised in Guam. Growing up I really loved comics, especially Superman, and X-Men comics. I loved watching the Saturday morning cartoons, that’s something that I remember looking forward to every week.
What are you geeking out on now?
The same things almost, haha. I definitely love Star Wars, Star Trek, and all things superheroes.
How long have you been creating your designs & illustrations? What made you decide to start creating them?
I’ve been creating designs, and illustrations for The Ninjabot for about 5 years now. We started this because 5 years ago my wife and I didn’t want to work our 9 to 5 job anymore. We really wanted to do something that was more creative and wanted to do work that we enjoyed.
How did you learn your craft? Is this something you taught yourself? Or did you attend school for it?
I taught myself for the most part. I started drawing when I was 9 years old, and haven’t stopped since. I went to college for Graphic Design, and learned some very useful things there. It really gave me a chance to polish my skills.
How do you decide what to create? Where do you draw your inspiration from?
I draw inspiration from anything and everything. It can be movies, people, friends, art, nature, etc. I decide what to draw when I feel an urge to draw and can’t get it out of my head.
Ninjabot is a husband & wife team: Arnel is the illustrator/designer and Estefania is the social media marketer. How did you two meet? What has it been like developing a business as husband & wife?
We met in art school in 2007. It’s been great honestly. We work really well together, and we are able to help each other out a lot. We still have our days when we don’t agree on things, like every other married couple, but we work well together.
On your website, I saw you have your first art book! Congrats! Can you tell us about it? What all is inside?
Thank you! That book is our Origin Series art book. It’s a book collecting a series of art prints that illustrates the origin story of iconic comic book characters. We did a Kickstarter for it a few years ago, and thankfully we were able to fund the printing of it.
I stopped by your booth recently at WonderCon 2016 and picked up some Star Wars buttons. Back at ComicCon 2015, you were giving away one-button-per-day and I was there every morning, first thing! But one of the days I was too late and missed one! (the Poe Dameron). So I had to pick it up at WonderCon 2016 to complete my collection! As a collector of your buttons, I’m curious how you come up with your designs? Is there a difference when designing a button vs an art print?
Thank you so much for that. I’m glad you liked out buttons! The buttons is something that is really fun for me to make. I like to do people for the buttons. I choose the people based on stuff I like. Their size makes it easy and fun to design because of it’s limited space, and size. There is definitely a difference designing a button vs an art print. Not in a bad way, it’s just different because of the size of it.
How many conventions do you attend every year? Do you travel all over to attend them?
We travel to 8-12 convention shows a year. We also do art shows on top of that. We travel wherever we are able to go for a good show.
How has your experience been at Conventions? What’s your favorite thing about Cons? What’s your least favorite?
It’s been a lot of fun. It’s definitely a lot of work too, but it’s good. My favorite thing at the cons is people new people, and getting to talk to our fans and meeting people who have supported our work. Least favorite I think is the being away from home from our dog, cat and bed, haha.
How long does a new illustration take to create?
It depends on the size, but it’s anywhere between 4 hours – 30 hours.
What’s the hardest or most challenging illustration you’ve ever created? What made it so difficult?
It’s really hard to pinpoint my most challenging illustration, but I can tell you that illustrating something in Adobe illustrator is incredibly challenging. Its really tedious work, but the results are just amazing. Most of our prints are created with Illustrator. Having said that, I am now trying to incorporate traditional media like watercolor and gouache into our art prints!
What has been your most favorite illustration that you’ve ever created?
It’s hard to choose, but I will say that my current favorite is our “The Martian” piece. I really like how everything came together on that one.
Besides conventions, where do you sell your work? And do you accept commissions?
We sell our work in our website, www.theninjabot.com. There is also a comic book shop in Las Vegas called MaximuM Comics that carry some of our products. Yes, I do take commissions, but only a few times a year. We mostly take commissions during certain shows, and in the holiday season.
What are you working on now? Can you give us hints to what your next creation will be?
I’m working on a little bit of everything. I’m actually trying to work on some original concepts and illustrations!
Do you have any upcoming exhibits? Or art shows? Or conventions?
This year we’re going to MegaCon(Orlando), Planet Comicon Kansas City, Amazing Las Vegas Comic Con, San Diego Comic Con, Rose City Comic Con, Baltimore Comicon. It’s quite the list, haha!
You’ve been very generous with your time! Thank you for this interview, and we look forward to seeing your next creations!
Be sure to check out the various Ninjabot websites: