Sunday, October 30, 2011

Sweet Baby Jesus! Check Out The F***ing T-Shirt!

Pinned Image

See, this is the kind of thing I was talking about last night. That's the kind of copy I wish I could use on my Etsy stuff. Except, you know, I want to sell it. But it would be awesome. 

OK, here's my very slightly sought after post on the process of one of my t-shirt designs, from the original photo that served as the inspiration to the finished product. Currently I'm working on a series of very minimalist portraits of early punk musicians, primarily the ones from the New York scene in the mid-70s, though obviously Joe Strummer was British. The original one of these was a drawing I did many years ago of Jules Shear, from an article or maybe even an ad in Spin magazine. Jules isn't  particularly punk, I know, but it was a good drawing.

 I don't have any photos of the actual embroidery in progress, because frankly I don't find that particularly interesting. If you dig that sort of thing you can look for some of the billions of embroidery tutorials that are on the internet.

So here's the photo of Joe Strummer that's the basis for my design. I found it on Pinterest, and I liked the effect of the contrast between the smoke and the curls in his hair, though I knew I wouldn't have the smoke in my final design. 

I did some sketches and came up with this one that I didn't mind too much. Still liking the curls. 

I wanted to refine the design even further, to make it as minimalist as possible while still keeping it representative and fairly recognizable.  If I may be self-indulgently arty, (and I may, otherwise why have a damn blog?) currently I'm into making things as linear and gestural as possible. How little can I actually put down on paper and still retain the essence of whatever it is I'm drawing? (It's awful, isn't it? Soon I'll be going on about "mark-making". Someone please kill me if that happens.)

I decided to go with the design above, and then all I had to do was the embroidery, which is the fun and easy part. It's getting easier and faster all the time, which is good from a production standpoint, and makes it more relaxing and therapeutic from a mental health one. Lord knows I need all the help I can get.

Here's a closeup. I went with red and black, because the Clash, you know? Also I had a black t-shirt. All these designs are done in stem stitch, because it's nice and linear and lets me keep some of the sketch-like quality I want. I'm getting a lot better at it, too. I hardly ever have to rip anything out anymore, and if I do, it's usually because of a mistake in the design and not the quality of the stitches. 

I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out. In fact, I won't mind if nobody buys this, because I'll happily wear it myself, though seriously, check out the fucking t-shirt!

1 comment:

Rob Bokkon said...

If you go on about "mark-making" at ANY point, ever, don't worry, I'll be the first one in line to kill you, by the Sweet Baby Jesus himself. Who, by the way, wore a whiskey barrel to the Hallowe'en party, hillbilly-style.