Wednesday, April 9, 2014

"T" Time

So there was this idea I had a long time ago. I originally planned for it to be a t-shirt design but I wanted to do the art in my preferred working style, which is not screen-print friendly. The concept of the design revolved around a tee, within a tee, within a tee but with a twist. I wanted to have some characters characters having tea time (drinking), while golfing (tee time), on a tee shirt. Then I thought about how this would be rather boring with people and brought animals into the process. Call it inspired, or WTF, but I thought about how it would be awesome to have whales playing golf. How could they do this? With mechanized exo-suits of course. What would they use for a club? Why not a giraffe. Since we are now in Africa, a pangolin would also make a nice ball. Plus the animal club and ball would be a bonus reference to Alice in Wonderland.

 Here is the original sketch.

Once I had an idea and sketch put together I researched some whale, giraffe, and pangolin images, then drew the whole thing into a composition. Okay, fact-check reality is the drawing was so huge that the two whales on the left were on one sheet of paper and the whale on the right was on another sheet, and the composition came together in Photoshop.

 Original composite drawing.

 Detail of whales on the left.

 Detail of Whale on the right.

After the drawing phase was complete, I set about finding textures that would work for all the different elements. For the whales, giraffes, and cephalopods, I referenced actual photos of the animals but altered the color and manipulated the shapes to fit within the drawing. I found other textures to fill in the nonorganic areas which were also color and shape manipulated. I then added shadows and highlights to all of the elements. Finally, I found and manipulated background elements to work in the composition.

 The art at this point.

I removed the pencil lines here so you can see what
the texture/color looks like without the pencil work.

At this point I was really happy with the results. The problem was that this would not print well on a t-shirt. The idea was scrapped, as far as shirts go, and the image was added to my portfolio. 

On a whim, and mostly to see how it would score on Threadless, I submitted another design called "Speed is Relative" (see previous post) in this same non-print friendly style. It was my highest scoring design and it ended up printing months after it was submitted. They managed to print it beautifully. 

For this reason, I started considering submitting "T time" for scoring. I had to make the design blend into the tee better so I used a nice Photoshop brush to round and fade the bottom on the composition a little. It also made the composition more vertical, and less square, and brought more emphasis to the characters.

Design to be submitted?

I have not submitted the design. I was thinking it might work well in a drawing contest. I think I will get some feedback before I decide.

Thanks for looking and let me know what you think.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

A Reprint at Threadless

 I never said it here but I was printed again at Threadless. In fact, it did so well that it was just reprinted.

Here is the screenshot.

Here is an image of the art from the submission called "Speed is Relative." It was originally on Olive green but it was actually printed on a natural colored tee. I bought a coupe and the print looks really amazing for a t-shirt print.

Click on either picture for details.

For good measure, I thought I would post the original drawing of the design. I drew it in pencil first, scanned it into the computer, and added digital color/texture (wizardry) to it.

As always, thanks for looking.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013


When I was in college studying design I also created ceramic masks as another creative outlet. There is something primitive and freeing in forming something out of clay. I was also intrigued by the idea that cultures all over the world have created masks and that masks were frequently used in religious ceremonies.

Today, I still try to make a mask every so often. There is a local place that fires ceramics and has glazes artist can use. I go there when I have 2 to 3 hours to spare; With a full-time job, night school, and young children, this means pretty much never.

I am still intrigued by the idea of a mask. Hiding behind the face of another, or becoming someone you are not, is another interesting tangent to consider when making a mask. Can the wearer of the mask really separate themselves from that other person they are pretending to be or does it become another expression of the wearer's own identity buried within? Or maybe the power, or change, the mask wearer feels is from the reaction they get from other people who see the mask. The viewer of the mask will certainly have a different reaction to the mask wearer even if they know who the wearer is. You may think that changing one's visage does nothing to the psyche yet it is still an odd thing to consider why so many people, over time and all over the world, have used masks in some form or fashion.

These questions and thoughts were brought back into my mind when I went and picked-up my most recently fired mask. I have been so busy that it sat at the art studio for a month before I picked it up. In the old days I would pick-up my masks as soon as they were available. Times certainly have changed.

Most recent Mask

The first in my Mask series I created in College

I plan to make more masks when time permits but it may be a year or two before I make one. In the meantime I just put my plethora of masks up in the attic to be unearthed when the right time presents itself.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Old School

So, I have not posted in a long-time and I think it is high time I did. This is a new illustration for a challenge to do a design for the word "School." I wanted to do something with Old School but I was not sure which direction to use. I went with the concept of Old School Hip Hop Dinosaurs at the suggestion of a friend Tiffany Ambrose. Old School Hip Hop is really awesome and so are Dinosaurs, so how could I lose. The picture below is the final piece and the process follows.

Click on image to see bigger version.

First, I started with a basic sketch for composition and to get the idea on paper (below).

After finding some Hip Hop references (Ice T, Run DMC, LL Cool J) and Dinosaur images, I did a pencil drawing which then I scanned into the computer. Notice how I drew the background figures on a separate piece of paper. I did this because when I draw overlapping figures together I tend to get unintended line interactions that are hard to fix later in the process. In this case, I was also not sure whether I wanted to use a Stegosaurus or a Triceratops. Also notice the drawing is half only half inked in this image. I inked it with a wacom tablet using a 16 inch wide canvas at 400 dpi; I make it overly large so my lines will look better when the art is scaled to it's correct size.

I decided to go with Stegosaurus in the end. I really like the Triceratops by itself, but compositionally the Stegosaurus made more sense. Below is the fully inked art.

The next step was to add texture. Since this is limited color design (White, Red, Gold, Green and Black on Gray) I saved each color on a separate layer in PhotoShop. This was so I could easily adjust colors as needed. Below is a close-up of the final artwork.

It is scoring at, although I am not sure if it is printable. If you want support it please follow the link.

Thanks for looking.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

War Pigs

If you have ever seen this blog before, you will know I have been submitting designs to for a while now. After all this time, and with much jubilation, a design of mine has been printed. It was a design titled War Pigs. The idea came from the song War Pigs by Black Sabbath and also derived from Orwell's Animal Farm. The anti-war overtones of the song and design are just as important today as they were in 1970, when Black Sabbath released the song.

I used public domain (creative commons) photos of Generals, and Leaders from WWII, and pigs. I combined them and matched the graininess of the newer photos with the old. I also tried to emulate an old time vignette to crop the bottom of the image.

 This is the image from the original submission.

This is a screen shot from Threadless' home page.

Go and check it out if you get a chance. I am grateful for the community at Threadless and everyone else who has supported me thus far. Thank you for looking.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Children's Clothes Designs

It has been awhile but I am back with a set of Children's designs. It is for a contest sponsored by Wittlebee on Threadless. For all of these I did a literal, and cute, interpretation on commonly know themes.

 The Cat's Pajamas.
Ideally this would be placed on a kid's pajama shirt
and the pajama pants would be a print of the fish pattern
I created for the design.

Click for details. 

Turtle Neck.
Would be best on an actual turtleneck shirt. 

Click for details. 

The Sea Cow jumped over the Moon Jellyfish.
I was thinking this one would work well on a Onesie.

Thanks for stopping by and looking. Let me know what you think, if you feel so inclined. I will have the links for voting available once they are all approved.