Some say she has a thing for spaceship captains. Others say her pop-culture nouveau and steampunk stylings have made female sci-fi characters even sexier to geeky males. All we know is her name is Karen Hallion…and it was her designs which inspired this site.

This week T-shirt Roundup was lucky enough to catch up with Karen Hallion, the artist whose Malvin and Cobbes designs inspired the creation of this very site.

Who are you and where are you from?

I am Karen Hallion, and I am from Swampscott, Massachusetts.

What are you currently working on?

A Scarlet Witch Nouveau, a Doctor Who/Cinderella mash up, a Legend design with my friend Bamboota, another Leia Nouveau, a few My Little Pony designs…

What inspired you to become a designer?

Honestly? The movie “The Little Mermaid” Actually, that inspired me to become an artist, and an illustrator. I started doing shirt design last year because I just happened to stumble on to it through Red Bubble, but now I am hooked.

How would you achieve world peace?

Hand out chocolate. 🙂

Where did you get the idea for the Malvin and Cobbes mash-up?

Cliche, but I just woke up one morning and thought of it. I had just started designing shirts, and was trying to think of clever mash ups. Both Calvin and Hobbes, and Firefly are ingrained deeply in my brain, so I woke up and was making coffee, and the thought hit me that Calvin and Hobbes would love to pretend to be space cowboys.

Books, movies or games? What are your favorites?

All. All favorites. I don’t have as much time for books and games right now, but I have a lot of movies and TV on in the background when I am working. favorites are Firefly, Star Wras, Doctor Who, Disney movies, Totoro, Dexter, Community, MarioKart, Hunger Games, Harry Potter….

Who would you most like to see in one of your designs?

Nathan Fillion wearing a Malvin and Cobbes shirt…with me standing next to him!

Han Solo vs. Malcolm Reynolds – who would win?

They would form a smuggling team and take over the ‘verse.

You’ve got 24 hours before the world is annihilated. What do you do?

Well, if it’s a nuclear war, I spend my last hours with my family. If the zombies are on their way, I start stockpiling, and boarding up the windows!

What would you be doing if you weren’t designing?

Unfortunately, waitressing. :/

Who are some of your favorite designers? Who should we feature next?

So many! Chris McVeigh, Matthew Parsons, Ian Leino, Megan Lara, James Hance, Jimiyo, Winter Artwork, Bamboota, Beastpop, John Sumrow, Aaron Fimister, Billy Allison, Captain Ribman, Ruby Red, Tom Ledin, Castlepop, Jublin, Tim Schumate, Matt Deardon, Anna Jung, James Mitchell, Kari Fry…there are like 50 more I could name! So many talented, awesome artists out there!

Tell us something about yourself that we don’t know.

Hmmm…I don’t ever eat vegetables. Ever.

Which design has been your most popular? Which are you most proud of?

Malvin and Cobbes has been the most popular, but close behind it has been my original Princess Leia Nouveau, and it is definitely what I am most proud of.

What advice would you offer to aspiring designers?

It’s a very competitive environment, and it’s tough to not compare yourself to other people. Try to learn form other designers, but do your own thing. If you want to get a print somewhere, be persistent. Took me probably 20-25 submissions before I wore Tee Fury down and they printed me to shut me up. I have gathered a lot of rejection letters/e-mails in the last few years…makes the acceptances that much sweeter. Find a group of other artists and band together, form a group for venting and support.

Anything else you’d like to share?

I have been doing licensed work though Mighty Fine, and I am really excited about it. Some Star Wars, some Marvel, some My Little Pony, and hopefully some Adventure Time. You can check it out here.

Any shout-outs?

To Jimiyo and Tee Fury for so much support, and Glen and Mike at the Yetee for being awesome. The group of artists in the RBA, also for so much support and awesomeness. My fans on my page for putting up with me. My husband and sons…also, for putting up with me. And T-shirt Roundup, for asking me for an interview, and for all the support! 🙂

Where can we find you?


Twitter: @khallion