Nina Zivkovic’s Award-Winning Beer Label, plus a bonus IG/FB Live Interview with Bob McCafferty of North Country Brewing Co. ×

“Beer me.” – Andy Dwyer

Hi, it’s me again, Nina Zivkovic. Here to profuse my love for this actual award-winning project. My illustrated & designed limited-edition beer label for Melinda and the Night Sky‘s Helles Bock Style Lager won Third Place in Thirsty Bastards ARTBREW Top Ten Beer Labels of the Year + Interview with Bob McCafferty of North Country Brewing Co!

Incredibly honored to be in such great company of so many other absolutely gorgeous labels and illustrators – 169 to be exact.

Let’s take it back for a moment.

Lemme tell you… let. me. TELLLLL. you. I’ve wanted to do a beer can design for the longest timeeeeeee. Every time I’d have one, it would get canceled or ghosted, but the absolutely fantastical Melinda Colaizzi of Melinda and the Night Sky reached out for our first official freelance-collab with her band’s own beer! Whattttt?! So flippin’ awesome! This was an amazing project to work on!

And, when I really get to dive into the world of art nouveau [my hero, Alphonse Mucha], my heart soars. And, tarot, and flowers, and just all of it! If you didn’t notice, we played off the beer can design for the Say What You Mean Single Cover Illustration. A little bit of a mini-illustration-Marvel-Universe [if you’ve followed me on Behance or Instagram, you’ll know from my Stage AE posters]. Both the hero of this illustration [which happens to be the amazing, Melinda herself!] and the Say What You Mean and Say It Isn’t So Single Covers have a lightning bolt necklace – which that in itself has a symbolic meaning to Melinda. ⚡️⚡️

I’ll admit I’m having a difficult time wanting to open up my gorgeous 6-pack – made by the amazing North Country Brewing. I’m that kid with all the amazing stickers but they’re not stuck on anything because I don’t want to ruin their beauty… one day.

Fast forward to winning Third Place, and being invited to North Country Brewing‘s Bar Side Chats with Bob! I’ve done plenty of talks with high school and college students, but it was a first-time Live Interview for this kid 😅.

Where to Watch The Interview:

Watch the Interview on Instagram
Watch the Interview on Facebook

Read More:

Thirsty Bastards The 169 Best Beer Labels of 2020 Article
Thirsty Bastards ARTBREW 2020 – The Top Ten Beer Labels of the Year Article

Interview Transcript:


Bob [B]: Well, cheers, Nina!
Nina [N]: [laughs per usual] Cheers!
B: Good to see ya, man
N: Great to see you! Great to be here, excited.
B: Right. I’m excited I have someone to talk to, it’s usually just me a floating head
N: I mean same here, I work from home, so I just talk to myself all done [laughs] B: Oh, right on
N: It’s good to talk to somebody else, too
B: Right. It’s good to see you out
N: Yeah, very true, good to see all the, of your beer cans out here, too. Just telling [them] I haven’t opened mine yet, ’cause uh… I can’t hurt ’em. Just I can’t do it. I love them too much to hurt ’em.
B: Right, I can see why
N: Yeah
B: But then the beers inside and that just like… I’m done. I gotta open it.
N: [laughs] Very true. Very true.


B: [laughs] What inspired you for this logo
N: Melinda came to me to do a Tarot… uh. ‘Cause I do a lot of Tarot. I do a lot of like, I call them ‘Fantastical’… little bit of occult, but not really. I do superhero stuff, too.
B: Nice.
N: But I love Alphonse Mucha. I love him so much, and he is like my biggest inspiration, since I, you know, first saw him. And, that was like the big theme behind all of this tarot stuff. So, seeing that and having Melinda be the main character there, and just like filling it with everything I love. The night sky, gotta get some of this clouds in there, and I was just putting in, the flowers, hops leaves, and lillies. Things that kinda had hidden symbolism. Circles to give that round feel to it. Just all of those little Mocha-inspired pieces to bring it altogether. So I loved it, and then Melinda too, and I’m even wearing my little lightning bolt, she loves lightning bolt necklaces, and it’s a big part of Women Who Rock. So I put that in there as well. Just to tie it all in together.
B: Awesome, right.
N: Little hidden symbolism, which I love that stuff. I love Easter eggs.
B: Yeah
N: And, I Spy Books as kids. I mean, you gotta find that stuff! So I like to do that with all my illustrations, and have like little. Little tiny hidden, hidden little gems in there.
B: Nice. I like surprises like that.
N: Yeah
B: It’s fun looking for them, too
N: Exactly. I always try to hide my name somewhere in there, so like always that. Little, little hidden symbols in there.
B: So I haven’t found your name yet.
N: Hopefully not.
B: I did look! [laughs] N: You did?! [laughs] It’s somewhere in there. I can’t, I honestly can’t remember where I put it in this one. Sometimes I even forget when I do it, too
B: That’s great. [laughs] N: ‘Where did I put it? Oh yeah!’ So yeah. So there might be a ‘Nina’ in there somewhere. Hidden deep.


B: … Everything, everything about it was just like enjoyable. You know Melinda is a Super Hero
N: Yes
B: It was great getting together and collaborating with all you guys. You know. And, plus the music, on top of it all. Beer, artwork, and then music is just great.
N: Which we built like… she and I worked on two other freelance projects for her band. We did two single covers for ‘Say it Isn’t So’ and then ‘Say What You Mean’. So we kind of used this as the base look and feel, like framework of it, and then built of like a theme, which again, I love my themes. I love my Easter eggs. So I kinda of built off of one another. Similar framework. So it’s a lot of cool to have her own little ‘Marvel-Universe’, if you will.
B: Right
N: I always say it’s like a little ‘Marvel-Universe’ to have those together. So I loved that this one was our starting point, and then we grew into the two other types, too.
B: Right on.
N: Very cool.
B: That’s the way to rock [laughs] N: [laughs] For sure! Women Who Rock! Gotta love it!
B: Right! Absolutely.


B: So it’s good to see everybody out there. Hope everybody has a beer in their hand. I’m Bob McCafferty, talking with Nina.

Meg, Off Camera: Larry says Hi

B: Oh, hey, Larry! Tell Karen I said Hello! He might be the farthest watched. Down from Florida.
N: Ou! Nice.
B: [laughs] N: Although it’s nicer now here, so that’s good. But… probably a little nicer in Florida. [laughs] B: Right, right.
N: But it’s definitely… seasonal depression is now hopefully gone. So we get that sunshine and rays.
B: Absolutely. Today was great. This past weekend. Absolutely.
N: Needed a recharge for sure.


B: Did you mention you did that brand as well [points to the drink I have] N: I did, yeah! Ready Nutrition. So, aside from illustration, most of my day job isn’t illustration whatsoever. Which is good, cause I like to separate those, and have like my love love, and get really crazy into with illustration and then have my other love which is design. Like I love graphic graphic design. Ready Nutrition, their uh, we did all their sports drinks and packaging design. So I get to work with Aaron Donald from the Rams, and Giannis Antetokounmpo from the Milwaukee Bucks. So it’s really cool.
B: That’s great.
N: We have a lot of other cool clients. But yeah, they’re out in Wexford. So they’re pretty close by over here.
B: Oh yeah. Nice.
N: Very cool, very cool brand for sure.
B: Right, great. That’s exciting, I mean love creating.
N: Exactly. And I love to have my two worlds. Of like get in the really weird, all sorts of details and spending a lot of time sketching and going crazy, like ‘I hate this I hate this… no I LOVE it!”
B: [Laughs] Right.
N: With design, it’s kinda like puzzle pieces and solving stuff, and then helping with my other coworkers, too so. I like that I get to have both of them and not be like ‘Ah, I wish I was illustrating.’ When I get done with work, I’ll illustrate. ‘Ah, I wish I was designing’ When I [?] designing, so.
B: Right.
N: I like that, I for sure get to have them both. [laughs] B: That’s great.
N: You can’t say that for everything. So I do.
B: And, still love it, too.
N: Yeah. No, I do. I love it so much.


B: [points to Ready Sports Drink] Looks like something that would go well in the morning after a few ‘Melindas’ [laughs] N: [laughs] That’s Right! It’s got B vitamins and Electrolytes.
B: I see that, I’m gonna have to stock up! [laughs] N: Exactly! This is your hangover cure right here.
B: Right! [laughs] N: You’re set, you’re golden. Sweat it out.
B: Good ounces, too. What is that, 20 ounces?
N: Yeah, 28 ounces.
B: Ah, right on, that’s me.
N: Yeah, I feel like this is a commercial. It’s in Giant Eagle. [laughs] B: [laughs] Right
N: And, Market Districts [laughs], you know, here and there. You can buy it online, too. Two separate things.
B: [laughs] N: And then you can get the Melinda and the [?], see all that.
B: Right.


B: Yeah, today we chose Harmony Inn. It’s kind of an even-steven point from Nina up to, well meeting us halfway from Slippery Rock. And, beautiful day, like, lot of people on the patios and dogs out and about. It’s good stuff today.
N: [Nodding] I feel the positivity in the air. [laughs] B: Abso–Yeah, Right.
N: Yeah, definitely do. I’m so excited.
B: I just can’t stop listening to bagpipes ever since like Wednesday. [laughs] N: [laughs] Nice, yeah.
B: Right, so just now I’m like into it now. Driving fast [laughs] N: [laughs] they’re having a lot of Scottish shows, I’ve been watching like Vikings and stuff, and they have that or like Outlander, I think, too, they have all bagpipes. I think it’s that time of year for bagpipes.
B: Right, yeah.
N: Yeah.
B: It’s good energy.
N: Yeah. It does feel like a springtime. Irish Festival.
B: Equinox. Absolutely.
N: Gotta coming on. It’s good. It’s very good.
B: Right. Well, you know, tend to, tend to drink like Irish up here. [laughs] N: I mean, you know. I’m Serbian
B: Right on.
N: We drink a lot–
B: We drink like Serbians too sometimes
N: Exactly [laughs] B: [laughs] N: So there you go. That equals out a little.
B: Right.
N: I gotta cousin who is Serbian and Irish, so I feel bad for her. So she’s good. [laughs] B: Right [laughs] N: For sure, for sure.


B: [To IG/FB Live audience] So how’s everybody doing out there. Did everybody try the ‘Melinda’?
N: With the Hibiscus in there, I believe, right?
B: Right.

[Bob reaches for the ‘Melinda’ Beer] Meg, Off Camera: Melinda’s on here

N: Oh, yay!
B: Hey there! Alright. It’s time to hear it. [opens up the beer]. Ah, beautiful. Great. [Drinks it] Ah, good job everybody.
N: Mmhmm.
B: And, a lot of folks thought so, too.
N: That’s Right.
B: Your label won awards.
N: Third Place, we got.
B: That’s great.
N: You know, I think it was a 179 or 169 labels. I don’t know how that even happened.
B: Right.
N: We didn’t enter it. You know, usually all those contests–That’s why I don’t like contests–you gotta enter, you gotta pay fees, and it’s like ‘Ahh’ you know, but that Chicago, I think they’re from Chicago, Thirsty Bastards, ’cause they found us that way. So that was exciting, you know, just to see that. And be like ‘oh my god’, we didn’t even try and they loved our stuff.
B: Yeah.
N: And then everyone else who voted, ‘Thank you!’ That was, insane. And, I know my mom voted a lot, but [laughs] B: [laughs] N: Which I appreciate, she’s my fangirl, so you know, shout out to her for sure. Hey, we got third place, so it worked out really nice.
B: Right. Thank you, Thirsty Bastards and Nina’s mom [laughs] N: [laughs] Yeah, for sure. She’ll appreciate that.
B: Right [laughs]


Meg, Off Camera: Someone just asked ‘What kind of beer is in that’

B: Right on. Well this was a collaboration with Melinda and the Night Sky and Women Who Rock and Nina was kind enough to be the artist that won the label award. [to Meg, off-camera] Meg, would you like to speak about the beer
Meg: [off camera] It’s a Helles Style with Hibiscus
B: Hibiscus, yeah. I was actually wishing I would of had a [to Andy, off camera]–Are you using that cup, Andy?
Andy: [off camera] No, you are.
B: Right on. [grabs cup] Yeah, cause you gotta
N: It’s got a little pink look to it.
B: Right, yeah you gotta see… I guess I should do it up here [moves his hands up higher to fill up his cup] And it is. It’s delicious. It’s smooth. Um [smells it] [Meg, Off camera: [?] pink] B: It is. It’s great. It’s like [?] on the pint glass really well.
N: yeah. That’s why we wanted to bring in those little hints, cause usually I’m either like ‘black & white’ or I’m ‘super-colorful’, but we wanted to go with that nice timeless kind of feel like the Mucha period, but then with those hints of pink to bring in the hibiscus feel. So having like that in there kind of ties it again all together. It’s the little subtle things, you. know.
B: Right.
N: Those little things that I don’t care if anyone doesn’t even notice, it makes sense and it’s all there and I took the time think about it and that’s alright [laughs] B: Yeah [laughs] Right
N: I appreciate it. So Yeah.
B: Yeah it has a real silky body feel and the whole way through it’s just smooth. I like it.
N: Good choice for sure.
B: [Looks at can] 7.3…
Meg, off camera: yeah, oh yeah
B: Little sneaky. [laughs] N: Yeah, not messing around. Like we said, we’re women who rock, so [laughs] B: Right, right [laughs] I’ll try to keep up
N: Yeah! Can’t rock on 5%?! [laughs] B: Right [laughs] N: Gotta go a little harder [laughs], It’s true


Andy, off camera: Nina Melinda says ‘who are some of your inspirations?’

N: Oh uh I was saying Mucha for sure. I mean that’s hands down like my favorite. I mean all of his art nouveau period, all of that is just like drop-dead gorgeous and it’s still timeless. Like some art, you know it’s…it’s still… like… you gotta love art, but that one is just like no matter what year you’re in it, it’s just like gorgeous and you can like adapt it to like nowadays, too. And, you can make it more fresh and new, and like I said like a lot of my art has that base feel of it, even you know like hair that I do. The little details, but then I expand off of it and I know you, combine it with comic book art, too, so it’s melding all those together. So I would say my huge one is Mucha, followed by just in general comic books. Love… I’m a nerd, I’m a geek, and I’m proud of it. And, tarot cards. Love that, love that style, love that feeling. And, that was one of the things that we kinda wanted to bring in with this for sure.
B: Yeah, definitely see that in the front.
N: Yeah.
B: Yeah, it’s good.
N: Yeah, exactly, and I’ve been doing a tarot card series, too. And, like I was saying before this, sometimes when you do like that free side work is the best way to get other new work because, you know, you’re doing, you’re putting your heart into it, and your passion.
B: Right.
N: And, that’s what my tarot card series was. Like I just wanted to do it so bad, and I just did little bit by little bit, and then… just get freelance work randomly from it. ‘Cause they’re like “Oh, I saw that…” And, I’m like ‘Yes, it worked!’ [laugh] B: [laugh] N ‘I loved what I did, and I also got work from it!’
B: [laugh] Right.
N: ‘It’s all good!’ Very good. So, yeah, I try to, try to bring that into anywhere into my illustrations.
B: Nice.


Andy, off camera: ‘How many hours would you say you put into the label?’

N: … You know what. I just started using Procreate, so I can actually track a lot of my hours. Cause before it was… and I still do hand-sketching, everything starts out with a sketch no matter what. I would say for this… when I have like a client like Melinda, who knows what she wants and also at the same time is like ‘do what you want’, it’s great because then I can be like, alright, I listened–for this one, it wasn’t with the single, but for the other ones that we worked on together there was her music covers, kinda like listening to words, like I was saying, kinda like hearing things and understanding the those little subtle things… so I would say this one probably at least took 10 to 20 hours, I would say overall. And it’s those little details, and it’s making sure sizings right. Those little things that you don’t really think about. I think we had a couple label size changes throughout this, too [laughs] B: Right.
N: It was bigger then it was smaller. It’s like ‘ah!’ Because at first we didn’t even have this side panel here, too. It was a lot smaller and taller, and then all of sudden we’re like ‘okay now we have to figure out what we’re going to do on the side’ and I’m like ‘well, it’s perfect, it’s Melinda and the Night Sky, we have to have a Night Sky in there”, So yeah, I would say most average a lot of my bigger pieces at minimum 10 hours, if not, 20+. I’ve tried to get a little more efficient when I can, but you still don’t want to rush and then make it look bad.
B: Right.
N: So, that’s about–about it.
B: 20 hours. Well, it’s well done.
N: It’ doesn’t feel like it. ‘Cause, it’s not–I don’t spend all day on it. [laughs] B: Right.
N: Although, I get really into it, I’ve been doing a new side series, it’s like four hours straight of just like ‘oh I’m so happy, I could just like draw… Oh it’s 3 am. I gotta go bed’ [laughs] B: [laughs] N: So sometimes that happens. And that happens you know
B: Yeah, when feel it
N: Yeah
B: You gotta like use it
N: Yeah, I can’t go to bed now. I’m gonna wake up tired, and that’s totally cool. I don’t care. I’d rather, I’d rather get that energy out now [laughs] B: Yeah, right.
N: For sure.
B: Awesome.


B: May I get you one? Beer.
N: Sure, yeah.
B: [Opens Beer] Would you like a glass?
N: Yeah, yes please. Now I don’t feel bad. I can leave my other ones intact back home. [laughs] B: [laughs] Right.
N: Alright. [?] B: See, now you get to taste it. [Laughs] N: [laughs] B: Yeah, they actually open [pointing at top] right here. [laughs] N: Right. [laughs] I thought that means I can’t open it open. Uh, this whole time, who would have thought
B: [laughs] Thanks Andy, appreciate it, man. [gives cup to me] N: Thank you so much. Moment of truth here. [pours beer] So what did we say, this is 7.3, yeah.
B: Yes.
N: I typed that a million times, I should know. [laughs] B: [laughs].
N: I looked at that… [takes off mask] B: I found that on there, I couldn’t find the… everything else you put in there. [laughs] N: Oh yeah. I should have put the little hibiscus on there.
B: Do you ever, we were live when we were talking about the gems, right?
N: The, uh, the gems?
B: [looks off camera] Were we live when she was talking about the hidden stuff?
Meg, off camera: Yeah
N: Yeah! Yeah, yeah.
B: Awesome.


Andy, off camera: “Do you have any favorite beer styles?”
Meg, off camera: Besides this being your favorite beer.

N: This is actually really, it is good. Thankfully. Side note, has anyone seen that, what is it, I think it’s Kate and Leopold, when Hugh Jackman has to like try the butter that he’s like advertising for and he tries it and it’s super gross, that’s always my fear.
B: [laughs] Meg, off camera: [laughs] N: Even with this [points to drink], I don’t want to have to design or illustrate for something that’s gross, that’s so terrible. But thankfully everything that I’ve tried, including this is good.
B: [laughs] N: Like, I was so afraid [imitates spitting out], but it’s not, it’s good, it’s good.
B: [laughs] Meg, off camera: [laughs] You can’t fake those micro-expressions
N: yeah, yes.
B: Been putting off this Facebook Live for how long [laughs] N: Yeah, uh! But favorite type? I–I like… I haven’t found my favorite type yet. I try to try a new beer every time that I go out with, or new beer or new alcohol anything because I’m still, I like to try new things, so I haven’t, I couldn’t settle on it, but I like this [points to ‘Melinda’] B: Right.
N: It’s a little bit of… a hint of… not just plain ol’ beer.
B: Yeah, it seems to always be the one that’s in my hand that’s my favorite [laughs] N: I like that! I like that a lot.
B: I’m not a horrible critic, actually
N: Yeah
B: It turns out.
N: Yeah, like I said, thankfully I haven’t had one that I had to spit out yet, but
B: [laughs] N: I was like ‘If this is it, that’ll be so terrible.’ [laughs] B: [Laughs] N: [?] Just trying to get it down.
B: So this is the first time you ever sipped it
N: It is!
B: That’s awesome.
N: Because like I said, I’m like, I’m like the kid with all the stickers. I have a million stickers, and I love them too much. Besides, actually, [bends over to get iPad], since we’re talking about it. Besides here. [holds up iPad]. This is like… I’m 30 years old, and this was like the first time I took stickers and put it on… I was proud of myself. I was like ‘I did it… I did it.’
B: [laughs] Meg, off camera: [laughs] N: So [laughs]. So now I’m trying this [Beer], so there we go, little baby steps. Little baby steps.
B: Great. [laughs] I like your stickers, too. We’ll have to get some. I mean we produce some.
N: [shows the iPad again] This one I did ‘creative juice’ for ocreations where I work. So I did that. And this my, my co-workers did that one. This one’s a college student. This is just Dribbble. Doce Taqueria in South Side. So good.
Meg, off camera: Mm.
B: Right on, yeah.
N: [Bob’s dog, Finn, who has been quietly and patiently sitting down, perks up by me] ‘Helllloo!’
Meg, off camera: So good.
N: Yeah, and this just [?] B: Yeah [to his dog Finn] Finn likes them too, don’t you buddy?
N: Yeah, creative juice, we love uh, we love our alcohol you know? We based it off of that. So our little theme there. [Softy to Finn] ‘Hi, buddy’
B: Right. Hm, we’ll [?] gonna have to get some stickers.
N: Yeah. I’ll have to send them to you guys.
Meg, off camera: yeah.
N: I just did little keychains for us, too. They’re so adorable little guys.
B: Nice.
N: It’s the small things.


Meg, off camera: Is there any type of medium that you prefer to work on or like create?

N: Uh, I’m definitely in Procreate right now. I’ve been like teaching myself a lot. And, I’ve been trying to do like a daily sketch series, which is very is… very not daily sketch, but I’ve been doing it the past couple days. Uh, cause I would say digital, but I used to do pen & ink all the time. I had Micron, pencils. I don’t like painting. Um, I can paint a fence, I’ll do that, I’m totally cool with that.
Meg, off camera: [laughs] B: [laughs] Meg, off camera: [?] after this
B: [Finn is taking over the show, as he should. Up on Bob] [Bob to Finn] What are you doing here?
N: But. I will paint a wall, I will paint whatever else, but I can’t do actual art that’s paint. It frustrates me. Um, way more than even pen and ink. Like you could make mistakes or whatever, you know, with pen and ink, but… paint… it’s… I’ll let the painters do it.
B: [laughs] N: You know you can’t do everything. And there’s a right part for everybody and I’m not in that part, I’m in this part.
B: Right. Right.
N: And I’m happy for that. So painters, you’re just, you amaze me. That is not me.
B: They have a lot of patience.
N: Yeah. I mean I have, I have patience. This stuff is not even as like detailed as like I have gotten before, um, it’s just… it’s a skill that I can’t master. And, again, it’s cool. I’m fine.
B: [laughs] N: You know. Can’t do it all. [laughs] B: Right. [laughs] N: Like I said, I’m a designer and illustrator. And, omg, you know.
B: Yeah.
N: Can’t be perfect.
B: Yeah, less labels if you did more painting. [laughs] N: Yeah, so. Can’t do it all. I’m cool with that. But. yeah.
B: Right on.


B: We usually have a live feed. I don’t see anything. The…
Meg, off camera: I know, yeah, we have it facing us. We’re keeping track of everything.
B: Oh cool. Yeah, as long as somebody is. [laughs] Meg, off camera: Yeah. We’re doing it from our end.
N: That’s all fine. [laughs] B: Just out here…
N: [in-audible]

Andy, off camera: ‘You need to drink more beer and then paint’
Meg, off camera: [laughs]

N: You know what, that’s right. You know what I did that with though with my mom, again, cause I, last year – I used to live in a 200 square foot apartment, so I guess TMI in a way – um, and then so I was like ‘if I stay in here during COVID working from home, I’ll probably go crazy, and end up like Jim Carrey in Yes Man! And on the couch and all like [tries to imitate his petrified body] B: Yeah. Right. [laughs] N: And so, I lived with my mom until I found a new apartment and, I think that was when we did our little painting thing and like I did an ‘N’ and I’m like ‘oh, I’m gonna make a cool galaxy or whatever’ and we’re drinking and doing it, and it looks so terrible. So. [laughs] B: [laughs] Meg, off camera: [laughs] N: It was just like little glittery dots, and I’m like this is not what’s in my head at all. So. She does great like little wood, little R’s and stuff. And, that’s awesome, again, you know, more power to anyone else who can do it [laughs] B: Right, right [laughs] N: I’m vision won’t come through for some reason. I don’t know. It’s broken, I don’t know. I’m just.
B: Yeah, I probably would have just had a hash-mark for every day that I stayed in that apartment [laughs] N: [laughs] yeah. yes.
B: After a year, it’s the whole way around the room. [laughs] N: Yeah, oof. yeah. It was great while it lasted. You know. Cause I was never there. So it worked out, it was cheap and it was cool. But you know, once this COVID stuff hit, I’m like there’s no way I can be the same person…
B: No, right.
N: and be alive at the end of this [laughs] B: Right [laughs] Yeah, right.
N: I’m just being like ‘Alright, okay’ [rotating in chair] ‘Here’s my living room. Here’s my bedroom’ [laughs] So.
B: Right [Laughs] N: Mmmm, no.
B: Well Cheers to that leaving us.
N: yeah, yes. For sure.
B: Not soon enough, but it’s on its way so. Thank Goodness.
N: Yeah. Yes, exactly. Like I said, sunshine is already here. So that’s a good sign.
B: Right.


Meg, off camera: I don’t know if anyone asked, is there any places you find inspiration or do you try to like make it subjective to who you’re working with or what kind of things do you find that actually spark a lot of inspiration.

N: I think it depends on what I’m doing. Like a lot of it, I’ve been on actually Pinterest to just like accumulate a ton of stuff all at once. So I can kind of just like meld it in my head and be like ‘alright what am I seeing. What do I need.’ Uh, like for a lot of Melinda’s stuff she, of course, had the music with it so I would, I listened to it like. The one day I just took like a, an hour drive around, cause I had just moved to USC, so I’d never been there so like I’m like ‘this is perfect. I can do two birds, one stone. Listen to her music, get inspired. And, also, learn where I live.’ So this is great. [laugh] B: Right.
N: So I just like drove around and every once in awhile, I had a little notepad with me, I’d write down something that inspired me, like you know, she was saying like ‘hear no evil, see no evil’ that kind of stuff, and it was just like these images that would pop into my head, of like ‘alright I can see how it is’. Even like, I think, the one, for the first one we did, ‘Say What You Mean’, I was in a car wash, too, and I had, I always would carry my iPad with me and be like ‘okay, I hear it. I hear it. And I was like sketching. [closing eyes], this is it, alright. okay.’
B: [laughs] N: And it was like a terrible thing of like circles and stuff, but I’m like I could see it—And that’s when I can see it. Again, painting. I can’t–[laughs] but like, I saw it out of all this stuff and, that’s I think the most of my inspiration is depending on what I’m working on, which if it’s a music-based thing, it’s 100% music, and I just like ‘I see things’, you know? I just see all those images in my head.
B: Had to get them out.
N: Exactly.
B: [laughs] N: I just take ’em out. [?] Sometimes it’s just, you know, researching into stuff. Because of that designer background, we’re just so used to researching, that that’s I kinda of melded those two together. Um, sometimes I know right away, sometimes… like last night I was working on a Harley Quinn thing, and I was just like ‘I can’t get this right. I can’t figure it out’ And it just takes like five or ten sketches to be like okay ‘now this is what I’m looking for, this is the placement. I’ve got it.’
B: Right, get to know it. Yeah.
N: Yeah. It depends. Sometimes quick, sometimes not so quick. Which is fine, you know. Again, can’t be perfect.
B: Right. Yeah, there’s no on/off switch for creativity.
N: I want to keep learning. My whole thing is just keep learning, keep growing. If I’m still the same as I was yesterday, that’s, that’s a bummer. [And, even Finn thought so because he softly cries…] So.
B: Right, yup.


Meg, off camera: Bob, you should talk about how [?] early years where [?] you talked to me about it and how you were just like very sporadic [?]

B: Oh Right. Yeah, it was all. And, same way actually. Like I, like somebody, I had my tool-belt on and we had just framed up the bar, and we put slabs on it, but it wasn’t put together at all yet.
N: Ohhh.
B: And, um, somebody walked by and gave me like an antler, and it had like a one-point and a little, uh, another point coming off of, well two-points, antler. So it was like just a small uh, you know, wow it would make a good tap handle, you know.
N: Yeah!
B: And I had to put it in my tool-belt, while I walked around all day.
N: Mmhmm.
B: But it was time for beer, and we took the tool-belts off, put the antler on the bar.
N: Uh-huh.
B: I said ‘Man, that would make a nice tap handle.’
N: Mmhmm.
B: And then a couple beers later, it was just like ‘Wow, Buck [?]’ is a good name for a beer
N: Yeah. That’s smart.
B: And like a couple beers after that, it was like a ‘Guarantee this drink your antler and warm your doe’ [laughs] N: [laughs] Love puns.
B: But, TTD, wouldn’t let us put that on the cans
N: Ohhh!
B: Yeah.
N: Shame.
B: They actually said it would insinuate the consumer would have that effect.
N: Oh!
B: So [laughs] N: Man, that’s a bummer.
B: You can be as creative as you like sometimes, but um, it just ends there.
N: Yeah. Aw. That’s a bummer.
Meg, off camera: Yeah, we can probably submit it again now and it could be totally fine.
N: True!
B: Right. Yeah.
N: Yeah, some of clients can get like that.
B: Andy’s been doing the cans, so. We should give it a shot.
Andy, off camera: We could do whatever we want on there.
N: It could be like a tagline. Yeah.
B: We should just keep sending one just for fun.
Meg, off camera: yeah.
B: Oh let’s see if they approve this one, [covers mouth, imitates laughing] N: Yeah. Just try. Why not. [laughs] B: Make the meetings more exciting. [laughs] Meg, off camera: Make my life more interesting
B: Yeah [laughs] N: Yeah, mmhmm.
Meg, off camera: [in-audible] B: And, then like at the end of the year we’d have like 365 that didn’t make it. [laughs] N: [laughs] But then you can like do something, like if there was like a mural on the wall that has like all those rejected headlines, there you go.
Meg, off camera: That would actually be amazing.
N: That’s the designer in me.
Meg, off camera: Have you ever seen when they do mean tweets.
N: Yes. See.
Meg, off camera: Okay, really bad TTD comments.
N: You should.
Meg, off camera: I’m gonna start copying them. Oh my god.
B: [laughs] N: We always wanted to do that with like headlines that were rejected. We work with Primanti Brothers, like I was saying earlier. And, uh they let us get super creative with the headlines. I mean some of them, we get a little bit more,you can’t do that, but a lot they let us get pretty free with some of it, and I’m like this is super great, we can really push it a little more. So, we’re always like ‘uh these are really great ones we can’t use. It would be so great to have like an Instagram or something like Rejected Headlines.’
B: [laughs] N: Cause they’re so funny. Those are great ones. Some of them are so terrible, it’s embarrassing, let’s put it up. You know. [laughs] B: Right, right.
N: That was horrible… I mean, I’m a muse. Like I’ve told all my co-workers, I’m a muse. I’ll come up with a good idea, but it won’t be the right words. I’ll do the design good, but the words the part, I mean, I know, again, I know my strengths and weaknesses. So.
B: Right.
Meg, off camera: [laughs] N: I’ll inspire them to be like ‘that was terrible, Nina. Here’s a better one’ And I’m like ‘you got it’.
B: [laughs] Meg, off camera: [laughs] N: We’re all here for a reason. [laughs] That’s the art director in me. [laughs] There you go.
B: Right.
N: I got my three sections. The Designer, the Illustrator, the Art Director. We’re good.
B: [laughs]


Andy/Meg, off camera: We’re coming up on thirty minutes. Do you wanna maybe, we can wrap up and see where we can plug you? And see, find yours stuff.
N: Sure, cool.
B: Yeah.
Meg, off camera: Do your magic!
N: [laughs] B: Get my magic. Well, we’re wrapping up right? Well it was a quick half an hour with Nina.
N: Yeah.
B: And, um, it’s always a good time having beers with people, and very nice to have one with you tonight.
N: For sure. Great to finally try this. [laughs] B: Yeah, and it’s great to, you know, meet the person behind this label, I mean, I’ve been looking at it and drinking it all since last summer, and I love it. So good job.
N: Yeah, and I agree, it tastes really great, guys. So, you can trust me. [laughs] B: [laughs] N: I would of spit it. I woulda spit-take’d it.
B: Right. And cheers to you all out there. Thanks for spending the time with us. Thanks.

Meg, off camera: Where can we find you?

N: Mostly on Instagram, you can find me, it’s ninazivkovic11 and then ocreations, like I said, here’s the other part is design stuff, so their out in South Side, and we’re all working from home, but we’re all getting stuff done, so, find me in those two places.
B: Nice.
N: Yeah.
Meg, off camera: Awesome!
N: Sweet, sweet.
B: Thanks everybody!
N: Thank you!

Curious what fonts I used? If it’s not my own handwriting or illustration, it’ll be in my very first blog post