Where do ideas come from? Every artist wrestles with their own creativity which at times seems to disappear. When I really started to apply myself as an artist I had no idea what I was doing so I started to keep a sketchbook. Jotting down words, ideas, images, etc. Looking back on the old books is tough but at some point I hit my stride and I found that this was the first step in the process of creation. Each idea started small and then had to be crafted into something that worked.
This post deals with the process of my designing a shirt. The initial idea was one that I was thinking about for a comic strip. Mr Toast is in his soda pop laboratory where he creates all sorts of crazy flavor combinations. This comes a little from when I was a kid and in our house we had a room called the Lab. In the Lab were tools, electronics, chemistry equipment, screws, washers, lead bricks and all sorts of stuff to make things with. Many hours were spent in this room by my father, brothers and myself.
So I played with this initial idea, trying different poses, expressions, etc. Eventually a little sketch came out that is pretty much captures the spirit of the idea with the right text. To me getting the text right is very integral part of artwork.
The next two drawings are some more subtle explorations of the idea and working a little bit with what the font might be like. At this point I am also thinking about color. With a shirt I try to limit my colors just so the design does not get too out of control.
Next up I pencil the final artwork and then finish it in india ink with a brush. I usually use a #1 script. Then the image is scanned and cleaned up in Photoshop. In this case I added hands and the glass has become a test tube to reinforce the Laboratory idea. Then a try 10-20 fonts to get to one that works.
Then I play around with the colors in Photoshop to come up with a color scheme. In this case I wanted to really keep it minimal so just one color on a tan heathered shirt.
Then the file is sent to my friend Dallas at Monkey in a Dryer screenprinting. He then took my files and gave my design the weathered look and printed them up. I usually print 24-48 shirts. In this case I only did 18, all in men's sizes since this did not seem like a real girly shirt. A few go to friends but most I took to Comic Con. At the show the shirt was a big hit and I sold all I had brought.