Tell us about the book “She Loves Me.”
I got to team up with a friend, Trevor McDonald, who is the son of Christina Amaral, my favorite teacher at Orange Coast College. When Trevor was little, he wrote this story about finding a flower and playing the game “She loves me, she loves me not.” I said, “I don’t draw people, but how about I take the story and turn it into animals?” I teamed up with Parker Jacobs, my longtime collaborator, and I designed the characters while he did the illustrations.
What other projects have you been working on?
I’ve been working as a fine artist and selling art pieces in galleries. It’s cool to be invited into that world and not just be thought of as a guy who makes T-shirts. I’m the creative director in residence at the Origyn Foundation, a Swiss-American blockchain team, where I design NFTs (non-fungible tokens), which are becoming a popular way to collect art. And I’ve been teaching classes at OCC and ArtCenter College of Design, as well as doing some fun workshops.
Are the workshops open to anyone?
Yes, we did some recently at Muzeo in Anaheim. It’s an elevated craft class. You get all the materials and tools, and I help you make your own thing. It’s pretty unique. I’m planning to have more for Halloween and the holiday season.
Are you still working with the Paul Frank brand?
I design stuff for our global licensing—everything from my characters in astronaut suits for NASA to Julius the Monkey-shaped waffles in Asia. And I get so many young people tagging me on Instagram toting their vintage Paul Frank handbags or wearables. The fact that I can still make people happy is really rewarding.
The Orange County Children’s Book Festival is Oct. 2 at OCC.