Home / Interviews / SDCC 2018 Artist Interview with Squid Kids Ink

SDCC 2018 Artist Interview with Squid Kids Ink

Squid Kids Ink will once again be at SDCC with their own brand of unique collectibles.  They have become a highly recognizable brand by having fun with those old Nintendo cartridges we all used as kids.   This year they are debuting a new Mini 10-Doh! series at SDCC as well as their amazing exclusives.  Their booth is always a must see at SDCC… please check them out at Booth 5150.

You have a long career in toy design, what finally made you want to do your own thing?

I spent around 10 years doing licensed products for mass market toy companies. It was a lot of translating movies or cartoon series IP’s into toys. Lots of being told what to do and how to do it. I had a great paying job, but it wasn’t creatively fulfilling. I started SKI in 2006 as a creative outlet, and have been doing it full time since 2012. I took a while to learn all the in’s and out’s of making toys. Importing and distribution were the last pieces to fall in place for me.

I’ve also seen Squid Kids Ink get bigger and more recognizable at each SDCC, what does a con like SDCC do for business?

SDCC is so massive, that it’s easy for a small 10×10 booth to get lost in the shadows of all the multi million dollar companies. The wait list to become an exhibitor is huge, so just being there gives a bit of legitimacy to any company. For me, several artist collaborations have happened because of chance meetings at SDCC.

What exclusives are you bringing to SDCC 2018?

This year I’m making an Infinity Guantlet inspired  Mini 10-Doh! figure called 10-Finity. I’m also debuting a new Mini 10-Doh! series. It’s called the Extra Life Series and will have 12 figures by 8 different artists.

I’m sure you get this all the time but why 8bit Nintendo cartridges?

We started doing conventions in 2008, and I wanted to develop a platform toy that people didn’t have to paint. I had this idea to bring some life back into some of the old tech that I grew up with. That led to a sketch of a floppy disc with hands and feet, as well as a dozen other 80’s tech based figures. I could only afford to make one figure and the NES cartridge is a very iconic shape. It was also a great canvas for artists to reinterpret classic game art, so that’s the one I went with first.

What are some of the keys for having a successful exclusive?

I wish I knew. Ha. It’s such a challenge every year. I’ve only had a couple that sell like hot cakes, and plenty that were flops. Every year is different and I try to make things that I would like to buy. That doesn’t always match up with what other people want to buy. The competition is fierce at SDCC. Fans have to prioritize and plan out their purchases. Most attendees have a budget, and if they know they can get something online later, they’ll get it another time. That means exclusives take priority, but then if they don’t sell out they’re kinda considered failures.

What sets SDCC apart from other cons?

Cost. Ha. Even if you disregard all the Hollywood noise, SDCC is still a massive show. But, if you don’t have a desirable exclusive, it usually ends up being an average con with extremely high costs. The size is also a huge difference. There’s just too much stuff to see in 1 or 2 days. Especially if you get stuck in the sea of people trying to get a glimpse of a celebrity.

What’s something in San Diego you look forward to that isn’t SDCC related? 

That’s a tough one, because the whole Gaslamp District transforms and really embraces SDCC. It’s hard to escape SDCC during that week. We do always get Carnitas Fries at Lolita’s. It’s a good amount of food for the money.

What’s a typical day like for you at SDCC? Is there a typical?

The mornings are all pretty typical. Fans boys and fan girls rush passed our booth towards all of the giant companies with the hot exclusives they’re desperate to get. About  10 minutes later, they slowly walk back by disappointed about not being able to get what they wanted. Ha. The days at SDCC are really long for us. Usually 8am to 8pm, with some busy and slow times, but only after that morning rush right by our booth.

What’s one thing you are looking forward to at SDCC 2018?

The highlight is always getting to see friends and fans from all over the country and world. It’s always a great feeling when someone chooses to buy something I made. There are millions of other choices right in front of them, and they decided to support me. That’s amazing.

What’s next for you after SDCC 2018? 

A nice little vacation. Ha. The next show is Designer Con in Anaheim, but that’s not until November. It’s our favorite Con, because it’s more focused on stuff like what we do. I also hope to do another Kickstarter to help fund some new figures. Fingers crossed.

Dave Hisaka

Hello, I am the Creative Content Director. I don't like talking about myself.