As of late on instructables you may have noticed that we have become a bit more bright and stylish. This partial due Mark Montano; an awesome fun author who has made things such as Zipper Corsets, which was a Runner Up in our Zip It Good Contest.
Mark is a published author of the crafting world, most famous for his BIG-ASS Books series, but also has an active Youtube Channel. Recently I got to ask some questions about his journey to instructables and his colorful life!
You actually just recently found instructables, how did you find Instructables and what made you start posting projects and have you discovered new things that have kept you coming back?
I had seen the site a while ago but I was a bit intimidated to start posting because the projects I saw were so amazing. People were really blowing my mind with how they used craft and technology together. Also, the woodworkers were amazing, too. I just felt I didn't fit in (like we all do sometimes) Finally I took the leap and people were friendly and supportive and it truly felt like a community. Then I got featured and I was instantly addicted. It was very similar to the first time I had a Snickers bar...
So you’re a book author, a youtuber, and you post full picture step by steps. What would you say is your favorite tutorial method and why?
It's hard to choose a favorite but what I can say is my most successful posts are on Instructables and YouTube. The medium I'm most comfortable with is YouTube because I've worked in television for 10 years and I'm very comfortable in front of the camera. I also think, that done well, showing people how to make something in video can make it more understandable for people who might not glean it from a step by step photo. I love that Instructables allows you to add a video to your tutorials. It's wonderful.
What was the journey of getting your books published?
My first book happened by accident. As a side gig in NYC, I was a contributing editor at CosmoGirl Magazine and wrote an article called COOL ROOM. After 2 years, I turned those projects into my first book. The excitement of seeing my book in print set me off on that path and since then I have written a book every year. I think I'm up to book 11 now. 12 if you count e-books. My most successful books are THE BIG-ASS series by Simon and Schuster. The original Big-Ass Book of Crafts is in it's 24th printing now.....something like that and it's something of which I'm very proud.
What caused you to start posting videos on youtube?
I'm friends with Rob and Corinne from Threadbanger and while having dinner one night and they told me flat out......"MARK, START MAKING YOUTUBE VIDEOS!" so I did. I'll listen to anyone that yells at me. I'm easily intimidated. At first I didn't like the editing and I felt like nothing was right. I was filming by myself and having to paint something and then move the camera and it was frustrating. I finally hired an assistant and she turned out to be an AMAZING videographer.....by accident. She'd never done it before and she was a natural! PLUS, she looked great in all of my projects. Her name is Danielle and she is the girl that models all of my stuff. I lucked out big time with my assistant.
I know that typically the crafting world is dominated by women. What is it like being a “Guy Crafter”?
I don't think about it really. I was a fashion designer for many years in NYC and I had my own boutique and have always sewn. It feels natural for me to be creating and making. I get depressed if I'm not in the middle of a project to be honest. Ok, I'm off topic.......Hm......Being a guy crafter in a world dominated by women.......To be honest, there are times when I feel like the only guy at the bachelorette party. The stripper shows up and I think to myself, this is the perfect time to get more cake and let this poor guy get mauled.
Of all the projects you’ve posted on instructables which one would you say is your favorite and why?
Come on.....can a parent pick a favorite child? I think not! Ok, probably my paper making post. And by the way, I have 5 brothers and I'm the favorite.
Have you ever had a project just go completely wrong or not turn out at all, if so what did you do?
It never happened. I wrap it in newspaper and have Danielle dispose of any evidence and then she hypnotizes me to forget any trace of it.
Your projects are always so bright and colorful, is it because you find inspiration from similar things, or does it come organically from you?
I'm going to be that weird old man who wears colorful Hawaiian caftans and too much jewelry one day. I LOVE COLOR! I think it works well on the internet, too. Your eye is drawn to it and it feels exciting. If someone wants to make one of my projects in beige, they can.
I know you make some of your projects for your awesome assistant Danielle. However, you make so many more things than that, do you keep most of them or do you give them away?
I keep a lot of them but it's hard because even though I live in a house and have a decent amount of space, I'm a hoarder. Yes, I said it....I AM A HOARDER! I try to give as much of it away as possible but it's hard.
If you could give one piece of advice to all of the other authors, instructables, print, or video, what would it be?
Wow, I feel like this is the final question in the Miss American Pageant and I'm standing on stage in a bikini......Let's see......Be true to yourself and make what you really love. Your own personal take on creativity is what will make you special and stand out.....Also I wish for world peace.....Do I get the crown?
Personally, I definitely think that Mark Montano gets the crown. Have a question that I didn't ask? Ask it here!