Sugar and spice and everything nice, as the old saying goes. Add to that a few tongue-out smiley faces and you’ve got a pretty good description of MILKBBI, a clothing, accessories and art line created by illustrator Justin Wallis.
The MILKBBI world is the kind of place inhabited by candy-colored cool girls in space helmets and peace-loving aliens, and these characters often make an appearance on MILKBBI’s trademark 3″ buttons. We spoke to Justin about the inspiration behind his magical illustrations, and why buttons make such great canvases for his work.
What inspired you start making buttons in the first place?
I’ve always been into collecting and buying buttons! They are so many kinds and they’re all affordable. So when I was looking for new products to design it just made sense to make buttons and now they’re a staple in my shop.
Where does the inspiration for your work come from?
I always try to create something that I really love, something that makes me feel like I’ve truly done my best. A lot of my inspiration is found online honestly. The internet lets me explore places that I normally couldn’t. My style is influenced by fashion (current trends as well as 90’s Japanese fashion) and video games I played as a kid and games I play as an adult like CSGO, with the help of sites like mycsgoboosting.com/resources/.
How do you select which designs will work well on a button?
I’m still learning what works best and what doesn’t. Lately I’m into simple designs with small details. Something you can see from far away but also admire close up.
I feel like I’m still learning a lot about what works well and what doesn’t. Probably the most successful button was the ‘angel’ eye button I sold in 2013.
What have your customer’s and fan’s reactions been to your buttons?
They love them! Usually people add them to an order like the cherry on top of their cart you know? It’s cool to see how customers wear their buttons in photos. I’ve seen them worn on bags, hats, shirt collars & even shoe laces.
I know you take advantage of our special finish options. How do you pick those, and what’s worked best for you?
Probably my favorite special finish are the holographic options! I’ve used them several times and they can really add the perfect touch to your design. In my experience it’s best to use bold designs with a good amount of contrast if you really want your design to stand out.
Thanks to Justin for the peek inside MILKBBI!