2 Jun 2011

T-Shirt Design: Grappling THING!

I was kindly invited by the organisers of Ground Control to design the competitor T-shirt for their next event - Ground Control No Gi, Manchester, June 26th.
All online entrants will receive this T-shirt free. It's strictly limited edition and exclusively for competitors - it will NOT be available to buy.

Here's how I designed it...

First of all, it's important to state that credit must be given to Jason who commissioned me. I agreed to the job only on condition that I be given complete artistic freedom and he was cool with that. Most clients get nervous when I make such a request, perhaps expecting me to go all weird on them and knock up some piece of 'modern' art installation. Luckily for them, I only know how to draw monsters, so here we go:

Ground Control Manchester is a nogi event so my character could not wear a gi. I love old B-movie posters and vintage comic art (although I am not a comic collector) so the first image that popped into my head was The Swamp Thing. I don't know why, but it just did.

I wanted the face to be more detailed than my original sketch so I re-drew it:

Once I was happy with my pen sketches, I placed it as a layer into Adobe Illustrator. Since I knew the only application for this design was as a screen printed T-shirt, I decided to use a different workflow. Normally I ink up the drawing with the pen tool in black and then colour it layer by layer. But this time, I decided to reverse the process and colour it first, then etch out the shadows using various brush and pen tools. It's harder this way because I could not see the template below the coloured layer (although making the layer transparent helped). But I think the end result is worth the extra effort.

A free Swamp Thing font was easy to find on the internet and voila! The whole project took just under 5 hours from start to finish. I will put up the actual T-shirt on this post once it is printed.


About the Author


Author & Artist

Meerkatsu is the artist name for BJJ black belt Seymour Yang.


Anonymous said...

love the shirts!!


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