Sarah Cave hails from Boston but is currently living the American Dream in La La Land. She works in visual effects and has some impressive movie productions on her resume. Sarah is also the first Shirt List interviewee with an IMDb profile.
Sarah uses the name Little Blue Studios when submitting t-shirts to the daily t-shirt sites that were introduced to her by her friend. She is a relative newcomer but her background in visual effects helped her to start off strong.
She works in the movies, she designs awesome t-shirts and she has a children’s book almost ready to be published. Her parents must be even more proud of her than she is of them. Read more about the talent and hard work behind Little Blue Studios.
Sarah Cave Interview
How did you choose the name Little Blue Studios? Does it have a special meaning? What’s with the penguin?
The name and the penguin both come from a combination of two of my all-time favorite things; penguins and my favorite color which is blue. Coincidentally, ‘little blue penguin’ is also a name for the smallest breed of penguins on earth which I love.
What was it like growing up near Boston? How is life different in LA?
Growing up near Boston was great and since moving out west, I’ve found plenty of similarities and differences between Boston and LA. Each city has their ups and downs, and I love them both for that reason. I do miss autumn in New England with the changing and falling leaves, and yes, even the snow a little bit from time to time. But I also love being able to sketch outside on Santa Monica beach in mid-January.
What do you like to do in your free time?
Free time is a rare and precious thing for me, so I simply like to relax. I hang out with friends and family, play video games, read, sketch etc. and just chill.
I believe you are a visual effects producer and you have some impressive titles on your resume, like Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and the recent Maleficent. Would you say that you have made it in Hollywood? Are you living the dream?
I’m not a full-fledged VFX producer quite yet, but getting there. Coming out to LA on my own, I feel very fortunate to have navigated the shark filled waters of Hollywood to get the chance to work on many great projects with some amazing people. I still pinch myself that I’m here.
I certainly feel like I’ve made it into the industry, working in feature film, animation and visual effects were all atop my to-do list when I moved out to LA, but I feel that I still have more to do and achieve in film and design.
What is your typical day like?
There’s usually no typical day for me, whether I’m working on a production or at home designing, each day brings a new challenge or surprise. Generally when I’m on a production, the work day may be anywhere from 10 to 14 hours and then I come home to work another few hours on my designs.
When to you find the time to design t-shirt art?
During my time off between productions is when I get the most design work done. But when I’m working, I try and design a few hours every night after I get home, even if it’s just 10 min, I make an effort every day to at least sketch. It not only helps me figure things out and move ideas forward, but it’s also relaxing. Sketching helps me come down from the day.
About the Artist
When did you know that you wanted to be an artist?
When I was very, very, young; around the same time I fell in love with penguins.
We know you are involved in some big productions but could you tell us about some more personal pieces you have worked on?
Last year I helped co-produce my talented friend Niles Heckman’s amazing short film ‘Auroras’ and for the past few years I’ve been working on a children’s book I’ve written and illustrated myself. I’m just a few pages away from finishing and it’s my goal to finish it this year and then get it published!
I see you have a BFA in Film Video and Animation. Has this kind of formal training helped in your t-shirt art?
There’s a lot I’ve learned from FAV that applies to my design process, such as the importance of a strong composition as well as different ways of telling a visual story. Whether it’s with just one image frame or several thousand frames, it’s important to let your visuals and characters do the talking – show, don’t tell.
Where do you usually get your inspiration?
For me, inspiration comes from many different sources such as film, history, nature, literature, music, penguins, comics, science, pop culture, robots, animation, friends, and family.
What is your favorite medium?
I still love using Prisma soft colored pencils, but for shirt design and my more recent concept work, I’ve embraced digital.
About the Tees
How did you first hear about daily t-shirt sites like TeeFury and RIPT?
A dear friend of mine told me about these sites this past summer when she found out I’d been doing crew gear designs for some of the film productions I’d worked on. She encouraged me to go for it and helped jump start me on this journey. Less than a year later I’ve been fortunate to sell on sites like these on several occasions.
Do you remember your first print? If so, what was it and how did you feel?
One of my firsts was ‘Pro – Bending’ at RIPT Apparel. It felt so amazing to get it printed, and to see that other people were excited about it too!
Of the t-shirts that you designed which is your favorite?
‘Pro – Bending’ is perhaps my favorite so far. It was my first big print, I’m a huge fan of the show, I love video games and 8-bit and this print’s taken me to some cool places, even to a juried gallery show sponsored by the show creators and Nickelodeon.
Do you wear the t-shirts that you have designed?
Definitely! I make designs I’m passionate about and would want to wear or hang on my wall. I feel that if I’m not excited about the design, no one else will be either.
Have you seen somebody wearing one of your t-shirts in the real world?
Yes! A few times actually, adults and kids alike. I love that all ages enjoy my designs!
About the World
Do you have any role models?
My folks – They moved 3,000 miles across the Atlantic to pursue their dreams and never looked back. That’s always inspired me.
What is the most exotic location you have been to?
I’ve visited much of the UK since all my family is from there. Wales, in particular, is my favorite area to visit.
Where would you most like to visit? Why?
I would love to visit Japan, I have friends there and the country has so much amazing history, culture, and art to experience!
About Other Designers
Read the Medusa Dollmaker interview.
Have you done any collaborations for t-shirts?
I haven’t done a collaboration yet, sounds like fun!
Who would you like to see featured on the Shirt List next?
I was going to pick from the designers I listed above, but they’re already here! I would like to give a shout out to my friend Becca C. Smith, she’s the one who introduced me to the daily shirt sites and is quite a talented author who’s also created a few shirt designs herself.
About Tee Design
What design trends have made you go WTF?
So far, nothing’s made me exclaim WTF…yet…
Any advice for other designers/artists?
Do what you love and to stay true to yourself. Art and design take hard work, but anything worthwhile does. Just keep drawing, writing, painting, filming, sculpting, and scribbling and have fun!
Photoshop or Illustrator?
I use them both.
Live action or animation?
Actually, I love both. At school, I studied animation and live-action together while most focused on one or the other. I find they overlap in more ways than most realize. It’s also why I gravitated towards visual effects. It brings together live action and animation among so many other disciplines.