By now you know that there are a ton of bookish stores out on the interwebs, and Erin and I have been trying to think of a way to bring them to you your attention for quite some time… we know not all of you are on instagram and twitter… so we’re trying a new feature!
This week we’re talking with Ruthie from Dust & Pages. If you’re reading this blog, then you love books and if you love books, you’re also going to love her store.
We love everything and well… I’ll let you check out some more details for yourself! Check out our interview with Ruthie below!
What is the story behind Dust & Pages? Where did the name come from?
I guess that’s basically asking the story behind me since currently I’m the only employee of D&P haha! Never in a million years did I think I’d make art into a living. I’ve always been very right-brained, loved math, got my chem. engineering degree in 2013, and worked a few jobs in the engineering world right out of college. Art was always just a fun thing I did on the side to de-stress and get out of the logic box. I dabbled a little in acrylics, macrame, and revamping old furniture, nothing I felt serious enough about to call myself an artist. Along with gobs of reading, another activity I used to de-stress was bookstagram. For those of you that don’t know bookstagram is a small and really amazing community on instagram of makers, readers, and writers that love to share their love of books. Little did I know that starting a bookstagram would set me on this unexpected path I’m on today. After I started showing photos of custom bookish funkos on my feed, people really responded to them! The job I was working at the time just happened to be going through layoffs and I needed some extra money to get me through until I could find more work. It was kismet that all of this happened at once, otherwise I don’t know if I ever would’ve been brave or desperate enough to do it! When I was contemplating names I definitely wanted a name that immediately brought the sense of old, unexplored shelves filled with books waiting to be read. Pages is quite obvious in it’s meaning as the pages of a book, but Dust actually refers to a few things. The dust on an old book yes, but also the dust that comes from pieces I work on whether it be a custom funko or chalk dust, and of course fairy dust because anything to do with books is magic.
How long has Dust & Pages been open?
I always have to go back and look at my instagram photos for this one otherwise I’d never remember! I’m terrible with dates. I started the shop instagram page on February 20 and stocked my first set of funkos on March 1st.
I fell into a Youtube spiral one night! If you’ve been through it you know what I’m talking about. I came across this great couple on Youtube called Team Super Awesome Art who makes really incredibly detailed, beautiful customs and I knew I wanted to attempt it, I just didn’t know what I wanted to do. Then of course book characters immediately came to mind, and the first I ended up making was Manon. I think that was in November. I even made a youtube video on how I made her haha! Looking back now I’d not do 90% of the things on my current figures that I used on her. It’s crazy how much you can grow and change your process without really even realizing it.
What was the first custom Funko you made and how did it go?
Manon was a pretty simple custom, it was basically just a head swap, minor sculpting, and repaint. For being my first I think it went pretty well! I’m all about research so I made sure the products I was using were all compatible with each other. As for the original Rhys I did.. I don’t like to talk about him 🙂 looking back I kinda cringe a little and just say what was I thinking?? BUT I learned a lot from it and they were sent as gifts so thankfully no one’s hard earned money was spent on them.
Can you tell us about your process in coming up with the concept for a new funko?
New characters are my favorite to imagine! I always always reread/relisten/rewatch the book/movie/show first. I have a notebook that is designated for character attributes and sketches only and that is always within reach with a pen or pencil to take notes. From there I will look at fanart for the more popular characters since people tend to form associations of certain features with characters that make them immediately recognizable, most especially if it’s a very popular artist. Next I will sketch in pencil in my notebook including a pose I think will work, any items the character might carry with them, hairstyle, weapons, typical attire, and make note of skin shade and eye color as well. After that I will go through the Funko index and find a base that can be modified without a ton of work with what I’ve sketched. I’ll order the base and get to work cutting, sculpting, sanding, priming and painting and hopefully end up with a really awesome custom!
What does a typical creating day look like for you?
It depends on the day really. They are always started with a big cup of Earl Gray or a London Fog latte! I’m a tea addict! Most of the time I’m working on Funkos, but every now and then I’ll take a day to sketch up ideas for new chalk art. Lately I’ve been going 15-16 hours working on about three different projects, so some days I’m spread pretty thin and probably look like I haven’t slept in week but such is the life of a small business owner and I love it!
On average how long does it take to create a custom funko?
It really depends on the character and how much modification has to be done for the finished product. Rhys (the winged version) I could probably make in my sleep I’ve made so many of them, I think I’m up to 85 now? He only requires sculpting the ears and boots, making the wings and wing joint, and of course painting. I’ve never made only one of him at a time but just estimating maybe 4 hours? Not including dry time. For more complicated figures it could take anywhere from 1-3 days to finish. The Buckbeak figure I did awhile back I think ended up taking me over 30 hours.
Do you have a favorite Funko you’ve created so far?
It’s hard to decide! When you put your heart into things you make they are all really special. I guess I’d have to say Buckbeak since he helped raise money for a very sweet couple!
I know you also create custom prints, what is your process for creating these unique designs?
Sketches are always first! Depending on the design, I either draw them on my small chalkboard, a 5×9 chalk wall, or I’ll draw them on pastel paper. The most detailed drawings, like my Always design was done on the wall, several of the bookmarks were done on the smaller chalkboard, and the Reigntime bookmarks were done on pastel paper. I’ll photograph the art when it’s finished and upload it to my computer for digital painting (if it’s done on chalkboard) then run lots of test prints!
What are some of your favorite bookstagram accounts?
Oh gosh this might take awhile!! I have so many amazing friends on bookstagram who happen to be crazy talented along with some others I admire from afar. A few of them in no particular order are: sk_levy, fandomfeelscollide, lulumoonowlbooks, carafoshizzle, vixenreads, xenatine, accio_library, booksandpops, nomilia, pikamikareads, _livelaughread, eden_hammond, myfriendsarefiction, thebookferret, bluestockingbookshelf.. gosh I could go on and on and I know I’m missing about a hundred people!
Since I’ve done Buckbeak I really want to tackle Fawkes! Basically all the characters from HP that Funko hasn’t made yet. Also Kady Grant is on my list, Kell and Lila from ADSOM, Sarai from Strange the Dreamer, Adelina from young elites, yet another list I could go on and on about!
Can you give us some spoilers on anything new we can expect in your store?
One thing I’ve been working on for months now that’s coming hopefully late October/early November is super top secret, but I can give you a hint on a collection that will be added soon and it’s something you can wear. It’s very pinteresting!