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SDCC 2018 Interview with Castle By Design

Ruth and Ed make up Castle By Design, the couple bring you amazing illustrations and stunning handmade jewelry.  Ed does the illustrations, which are ultra realistic and will someone be a mashup of different geeky things.  Ruth does all the geeky inspired jewelry by hand, each piece is made with incredible care and detail.  We had a great time interviewing this SDCC power couple… please stop by their booth CC-14 at SDCC 2018
You are a couple with one of you doing the jewelry and the other doing illustrations, when and how did you come to the decision to work together? 

RUTH: We started in 2011. Castle By Design was primarily set up for Ed to sell his artwork and prints. I built and maintained the website. Eventually, my photographs made its way onto the website. We offered note-cards created from Ed’s illustrations and my photographs. The jewelry was added to the lineup in 2016. It’s a natural progression when you have two people in the household who want to create and share. The work itself is separate but we give each other ideas and feedback. A quality that we share is that we’re both inspired by pop culture like Disney and Star Wars, to name a few.  Ed and I met at Wildstorm Productions where we worked in the production department in 1996 until I left two years later. Ed continued to work at Wildstorm then DC Comics. You can say that we’ve always been working together in work and family.

Since your jewelry is all handmade, how much prep goes into SDCC? And how difficult is it to stock up for a Con the size of SDCC? 

RUTH: I begin by researching what movie or character I’d like to see as jewelry. Then I find materials to create jewelry from. I’ll shop at craft stores, and I’ll even repurpose jewelry as long as they’re in good conditioned. Family and friends have given me their like-new jewelry. It’s difficult to stock up because my main goal with jewelry making is to have fun and to be happy with each piece. I usually don’t make more than two jewelry pieces of the same design. Despite having said that, I will offer a variety of necklaces and bracelets at SDCC.

You have some work mixing up Disney characters and Star Wars scenes, can we expect more of that? 

ED: Yes. I’m currently working on a piece that will debut at SDCC. We posted a preview on our Facebook page.

What exclusives are you bringing to SDCC 2018?

RUTH: I’ll be bringing character-inspired charm bracelets. Characters such as Superman, Batman and a few Marvel characters. Each bracelet will be different. No two are alike. To get an idea what the bracelets will look like, we currently have a selection available on our site, www.castlebydesign.com.ED: My exclusive isn’t really an item. It’s a painting I will start on the first day of SDCC and work on it until the last day. Attendees enjoy seeing how the painting progresses. Some attendees take art classes and they ask me art questions. For those who cannot be at SDCC, we post updates on our Facebook page.

What sets SDCC apart from other cons? 

RUTH: SDCC is an incredibly huge event. It takes center stage. Big name movie, television and toy companies are present. A-list celebrities are expected to show up. Everyone has the opportunity to be a part of it with or without a badge. No matter how many times I’ve seen it, the sight of downtown San Diego carpeted with people, and the hotels and Petco Park plastered with movie and TV ads during Comic-Con is such a cool spectacle. Even the trolley has ads wrapped around it. The cosplayers come out in force. They’re celebrities! Everyone wants a picture with them.Other cons are fun also. They are more intimate and calm. You’re more likely to attend a panel without having to camp out overnight. It’s less mainstream but it’s nice to see companies and celebrities supporting these cons because for some folks, these are the cons they’re able to attend.

What’s one thing you wish attendees understood about artist that have to work a booth? 

ED: Artists are creative talented people that work long hours each day of SDCC. Some people think it’s easy working the con because it looks like fun. Not to say that it’s not fun, but it’s hard work as well.

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

RUTH: Since we live in San Diego, we really don’t look forward to anything. However, this is probably the only time we visit Seaport Village. 🙂What’s a typical day like for you at SDCC? Is there a typical?

ED: I get up early in the morning and drive to the convention center. I usually get in as soon as the convention opens for the exhibitors. I get started on one of my paintings and settle in before the doors open. Then I paint until around 12:00, go have a 2 hour lunch and return to the table and paint until the convention closes. It seems really strict but it works. I also love painting.

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

RUTH: Since I started making bracelets this year, I look forward to sharing them. I’ll be wearing the jewelry each day of SDCC. I did this last year and the pieces got noticed, especially when I walked through the exhibit halls. I make a set just for myself so I can wear it when I’m out and about not only during the con, but all other days. It’s a good way to advertise.ED: Seeing some old friends and meeting other artists. Fortunately there are a bunch of my old friends from DC/Wildstorm that I get to see. I have a good group of friends that I meet up with every year for a lunch, kind of the annual comic-con thing. Talented people that I have worked with and some friends of friends that I have had lunch with for about 10 years now. We all work at different places and we share all of the triumphs and troubles with each other over some beer. I also meet some fantastic new artists every year that have really unique skills.

What’s next for you after SDCC 2018?

RUTH: We’re thinking about being in Artist Alley at WonderCon next year.
Ed: In addition to the WonderCon, I hope to continue teaching art at the the recreation centers in Chula Vista and Coronado.

Dave Hisaka

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