"Long ago, in the mists of time there lived a man who yearned for immortality so that he could marry a beautiful fairy that he had fallen in love with. He stole from the eternal peach tree and the Lord Buddha changed him into a monkey as punishment...but what happened next? The man was pretty happy being a monkey but to stop others from stealing his peaches, he invented the most lethal and cunning of all martial arts - jiu jitsu + style. Come take one, if you DARE!"
...also in green.
Interested in how this design came about? Read on...
So ages and ages ago, when I first opened up my Meerkatsu Facebook page, I thought it would be a good idea to interact with my readers by asking what crazed jiu-jitsu inspired animal I could draw. Better yet, Scramble agreed that they would make the most popular design. After hundreds of suggestions and an equally staggering number of 'likes', the popular winner by far was a design based on the iconic kung-fu technique and Chinese proverb "Monkey steals the peach".
Actually my original sketch was based on Japanese macaques in a pool of simmering hot water - as below..
But as with many ideas, sometimes designs get drafted, redrafted and then the whole thing thrown out and it starts all over again. In this case, I just didn't feel the monkeys were strong enough. Cute, yes, but as a design that jiu jitsu fighters would wear? Not really, in my opinion.
By now, Jiu Jitsu Style Magazine came in with a proposal to help market and distribute the t-shirt, as long as they could have a little logo on there. Even better I thought, let's make it an official Jiu Jitsu Style Magazine item to offer the readers! It's the world's very first tri-branded-collab BJJ tee design (not an official Guiness Record).
With Jiu Jitsu Style on board, it gave me exactly the direction I needed, and here is the prelim sketch for the final tee:
Next stage was to take the pencil sketch and knuckle down to some vector work. It didn't take too long but my bit was only half the story. Next, Scramble had to place their stamp of authority over the whole concept and I have to admit, we did go back and forth over several incarnations before BOOM! The final design above stuck out as The One! It'll be available via the magazine the moment they arrive from the printers.
I hope peeps like this one. It is very rare for so many hands to make something (in my opinion) very good. Quite often, design by committee can ruin a once great idea. But not in this case. I guess it's a bit like Elton writing the tunes to Bernie's lyrics (we're talking Goodbye Yellow Brick Road and Rocket Man era, not the pap he churns out post 1979).