Fin of the FinsGraphics channel has youth and talent going for him — two key components of success on YouTube nowadays. While the rest of us are guzzling gin and waiting for a slow death that never seems to come, Fin has turned a knack for colorful pictures into a fully realized career. And at age 16, he’s got the whole crazy carnival of life still ahead of him. Turning a lucky interaction with Tobuscus into an opportunity that blossomed into a job and a cool YouTube page, Fin is clearly doing everything just right — and keeping his wits about him in the process. Starting a banner business with his digital design skills, Fin is now offered a very real possibility to ditch school in favor of a career far more lucrative and exciting than anything he could gain from the soul-crushing grind of the modern education system — not that he’s really exposed to it: he’s homeschooled. And he lives on an awesome rural compound up in beautiful, snowy Canada, so even if life as a designer-to-the-stars doesn’t work out, I’ve never seen a better location to start your own cult. Fin is genuinely likable — he seems earnest, fun-loving and excited by the opportunities he’s created for himself. He’s one of those people that, if I were a father-type figure, I would totally council my kid to hitch his stock to Fin’s wagon — just be a suck-up toady and hope that some of that magic dust rubs off. But since I don’t have a kid (damn narrow tubes), I will counsel the lot of you instead: get to know Fin and his channel. Solicit his services and become best friends with him if you can — this kid is going places. And to think NMR got to interview him back before his rocket really took off.
Okay, how did you learn to draw so well?
Fin: Okay! Well, I actually don’t think I am very good at drawing, and everything I do know about “actual” drawing I learned from my brother Sky (@Skypercane), who, as a matter of fact, does all our drawings on paper before I bring them into the computer and do all of the linework, colouring, shading, typography, compositing and videos. So basically everything I’ve learned about how to draw on paper came from working off of him! As for all the graphic design, shading and everything else that I do, I’ve never been taught traditionally. I’ve learned everything I know from images and tutorials on the internet! But above all else, I have definitely learned the most from long hours of trial and error figuring out what works, practising with cheap tablets, deciding what looks good and what doesn’t, etc.
You won some sort of contest for designing Tobuscus’ banner — how did that come about?
Well this is possibly one of the craziest things that has happened to me! Basically I’m working on a thumbnail one morning, and I’m checking Twitter, and Toby tweets in a panic that YouTube had changed their layout and he needed a new YouTube banner for his channel! So I just finished up my thumbnail and took a couple minutes to draw him up a banner! And when I went back to Twitter to send it, I saw hundreds of other people who had already done banners using the hashtag #TobyBanner. So I sent him a tweet with the hashtag and the file, and two minutes later he follows me and sends me a DM saying he loves it and wants to use it! He goes on to email me and we talk back and forth for a bit, and I do a couple edits for him, etc. And now ever since he has been getting me to do his new YouTube banners for all his channels and other design jobs, his streams and other random stuff he needs. So yeah! I have no idea how it really happened but I ended up working for my favourite YouTuber ever, so … I’m pretty happy how it turned out!
You’ve turned your banner-drawing abilities into a job. Are you going to quit school and build an empire?
The thought has crossed my mind a lot more than once. So I think its going to happen soon, especially because of how freaking busy I am right now. I’ve been asked by Disney to be on their new gaming show for Disney XD, and I’ve been going to a few conventions like Minecon and Vidcon. Plus I’ve been working every other spare minute on the flood of design work I keep getting! So at this point, school is really just making things even more crazy, but I am homeschooled, so it is much easier for me to do it alongside my crazy schedule. So I might keep it up until I’m all done.
You’ve designed banners for other YouTubers as well. Have any of them just hated your design?
This is actually a really good question! Because it has a really short and a kind of crazy answer, at least It seems crazy to me. And that is … no! I’ve never once had anyone who wasn’t REALLY happy with our initial banner design. Me and Sky have of course had people want small edits or additions, but overall we have been really lucky!
What graphic program do you use and why do you prefer it?
I use Photoshop CS6 and the reason I prefer it over things like Sketchbook, Illustrator or CorelDraw, is that it is an extremely versatile program where you are in complete control of what you do. Other programs specialize in certain areas and have fancy tools to help you with them. Photoshop, however, uses a very manual approach with its pixel-based canvas and layers. Overall, Photoshop is what I’ve used the most, and for so many things. It is also very easily compatible with other programs so If I do need to use some special tools from something like Illustrator really quickly I can.
What has been your best and worst experiences as a YouTuber so far?
I think the best experience has been getting to work with some really amazing people like Toby (Tobuscus), Jordan (CaptainSparklez), Chimneyswift, BebopVox and so many more! It really is amazing, and I love that my own channel is growing so much and these YouTubers I’m working with are supporting it so much! Even though I really am just a behind the scenes person doing these designs, I haven’t had many bad experiences, but I think my worst experience was probably getting kicked out of the YouTube “Minecraft Ultra Hardcore” Game group because no one wanted to be on a team with me in the next season. So overall, not that bad!
Do you get emails from girls wanting to date you or is it mostly design/”Minecraft” fans?
Haha! I don’t get many emails like that to my business forum — it is just full of hundreds of fans asking for avatars and banners. But like any other YouTuber I do get a lot of tweets and comments from girls saying silly things. And when I go to conventions like Vidcon where I meet tons of girls who are huge fans of me and Sky it is pretty weird!
What is your favorite/least favorite food?
Favourite I think would have to be pulled pork with mashed potatoes and gravy, and maybe some brussels sprouts on the side! And least favourite … hmm … fish! Anything from the ocean really, yuck!
Which YouTuber do you most want to meet/work with?
Um … Tobuscus! And I have already worked with and met him. So yeah, I’m pretty freaking stoked about that! Other than him though, I think Jack and Finn from JacksGap! I have met and talked with Finn at Vidcon, but doing some work for them or some kind of collaboration would be amazing!
What YouTube girl do you think is the cutest?
Haha, this question is just asking for trouble! I can see the Tumblr posts and hashtags already … so I’m going to have to pass on this one. But If you rephrase the question to “favourite girl YouTuber,” I would say Karen Kavett (Xperpetualmotion) because she is totally awesome and makes really sweet videos on graphic design and being a fellow geek.
You showed off your house when you hit 5,000 subscribers … what are you going to do if you hit 500,000?
Explode my house … I really don’t know! That seems way too crazy to even think about. Right now I’m at around 120,000 subscribers, which is absolutely astonishing! I’m so amazed by it. I really don’t know what Ill do if I get to 500K.
What are your plans for growing your channel?
Well me and Sky really want to get into doing some animation, and I’m trying to expand more into traditional graphic design. I started out by doing logos, brochures, posters, and flyers, etc., and I’m still really passionate about that type of design. So I could see myself doing more of that, and also more of our “Minecraft Real Life Edition.” “MCRLE” is definitely a fan favourite and has hit over 1 million views right now! So more episodes of that coming in the future I’m sure. Other than that, I would like to just keep doing what I’m doing — maybe do some more vlogs or maybe short films — and continue to grow my gaming channel (FinsGames) and play more “Minecraft” with my friends. Share because this kid is pretty cool. Here are some other good interviews: YouTuber Ken Tanaka Wants You To Know You’re Doomed (And That’s Okay) With His Book, ‘Everybody Dies’ [INTERVIEW] CinemaSins Scores Neil Degrasse Tyson For ‘Gravity’ Review; NMR Scores CinemaSins For Interview NicePeter Talks Tour Life and Those Epic Rap Battles [INTERVIEW]