We are super lucky to work with amazing clients at Get Lapel Pins. We thought it would be fun to interview one of those incredible people and share the Q&A on our blog. So, that’s what we did. Today we’re talking with Jen Bartel about enamel pins, comic conventions, and more.
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Jen Bartel was one of Get Lapel Pins first customers and we have had the honor of working on a bunch of her enamel pin projects. Jen has graciously agreed to spend some time answering a few questions about pins.
Before we get into the Q&A, here’s a short bio from Jen’s website:
“Jen Bartel is an illustrator and comic artist who specializes in drawing strong ladies. Her candy colored work is heavily influenced by media from the 90’s and early 2000’s that she consumed during her childhood, and her biggest creative goal is to breathe life into characters that inspire and empower girls from all backgrounds. She is best known for her ongoing cover work on IDW’s Jem and the Holograms.”
Now on to the Q&A. Enjoy!
Get Lapel Pins: When did you first get into making your own enamel pins?
Jen Bartel: In late 2015, actually! When I found out that I’d be tabling at a convention for the first time (Emerald City Comic Con 2016 was my first show!) I started exploring the idea of making an enamel pin, and I’m glad I did because it really was the gateway into making all kinds of merchandise.
Get Lapel Pins: Why did you decide to start making enamel pins?
Jen Bartel: I wanted to offer something at my convention table that was smaller and more collectible than art prints. Many artists offer stickers, buttons, bookmarks, that kind of thing—but enamel pins felt like a more substantial option that would likely last longer for buyers.
Get Lapel Pins: What was your first enamel pin?
Jen Bartel: It was a little 3 eyed sphynx cat head, made to go along with my ECCC 2016 Monsters and Dames illustration! I later followed up by doing a cosmic wolf head + witch illo. These were the only pins I had done not by GLP!
Get Lapel Pins: How many pins have you made, and if you had to pick, which one's your favorite?
Jen Bartel: Ohhh man. Feels like a hundred at this point, but in reality I’ve only made 12 different designs total. My favorite is probably the Don’t @ Me pin I made earlier in the year on a whim. I just thought it would be funny, I felt like it was pretty niche so I definitely did not expect it to blow up the way it has. Apparently there are people who actually work at Twitter who wear this thing, hah!
Get Lapel Pins: What was your favorite TV show or comic when you were a kid? What’s your favorite now?
Jen Bartel: Well, I grew up in Seoul so I didn’t really start reading western comics until I was older—but when it comes to manga, definitely Sailor Moon. And when I was a kid, the Sailor Moon anime was also my favorite TV show, hahaha. Now that I’m actually working in comics, it’s hard to pick a favorite, but probably SAGA by Fiona Staples and Brian K. Vaughan.
Get Lapel Pins: Where do you sell your pins?
Jen Bartel: My pins are exclusively available on my online shop: www.jenbartel.storenvy.com and from me at conventions. I will be updating my 2018 convention schedule at the beginning of next year on my website, www.jenbartel.com :) My store is actually currently open through the end of 2017, and it’s the last opportunity to get most of the pins I’m currently offering before they’re discontinued.
Get Lapel Pins: What are some of the conventions you’ve been to? Got any fun convention stories?
Jen Bartel: I’ve done most of the major comic shows now—ECCC, C2E2, SDCC, NYCC, but probably my favorite convention moment was at RCCC (Rose City Comic Con, Portland) when things were kind of winding down on the last day and the show floor was starting to slow down—I looked up from my table and suddenly Dante Basco (the guy who played Rufio in Hook) was standing there flipping through my prints. I don’t really get starstruck very often but come on, it was RUFIO. Comic conventions are wild.
Get Lapel Pins: Most of your pins are Hard Enamel, what is it about Hard Enamel pins that draw you to them?
Jen Bartel: I like the high shine you can get from hard enamel, and it also allows for a bit more edge detail, which is important to me because most of my pins are hand drawn and illustrative designs.
Get Lapel Pins: Do you collect enamel pins made by other people? What is your favorite pin made by someone else?
Jen Bartel: Honestly, I sort of end up unintentionally collecting pins from other people because I see them at shows, but my favorite enamel pin is by my friend Truck (aka 100% Soft): It’s his “KAWAII” pin and it just looks great on everything.
Get Lapel Pins: Are there any artists not making pins that you would love to see get into the pin game?
Jen Bartel: Hmm, at this point it feels like pretty much everyone is making them, so no one in specific comes to mind… but I would love it if there were more cool Ghibli pins out there!
Get Lapel Pins: Are there any upcoming projects you’d like to promote (pin related or not)?
Jen Bartel: There are some really cool things on the horizon but I can’t really talk about any of them until 2018…!!! Keep an eye on my social media for announcements. ;)
Get Lapel Pins: Thanks Jen! You're the best.