I teamed up with super talented comic artist Bong Abad, of Gawakoto fame, to create this sequel to the original Raspberry Ape t-shirt (first produced by Scramble). This t-shirt went on sale today and we're nearly all out already. But let me take this opportunity to discuss the design and background anyway...
Long time readers will recall my first effort at the Raspberry Ape t-shirt. The tee was a huge success - co-designed with Scramble - and one of my most endearing memories is witnessing hundreds of people wearing the t-shirt at Daniel's big fight events, notably the Submission 1000 grappling tournaments and the ADCC in Nottingham last year. To see something that I have had a hand in creating enjoyed and worn by a lot of people really gave me a proud feeling.
For those unfamiliar with my friend, team mate and instructor Daniel Strauss, then in a nutsell I think it is safe to say Daniel is one of the most exciting and accomplished young British-born grapplers in the UK right now. Just this year alone, Daniel won the IBJJF European Nogi title at brown belt and also the NAGA European Elite division title.
Here is a video of Daniel in action. Blink and you'll miss it, but he does at least check if the guy is okay and tries to recover him before the ref intervenes and, um, sort of faffs around...
Daniel mentioned he was keen to see if a new Raspberry Ape t-shirt could be made. I took the hint and drew the front panel you see below. I drew the ape face in pencil first, then re-drew it using Illustrator. Once the clean version was complete, I found some splatter textures on the internet and applied them to the ape art. It crashed my computer three times (each tiny splatter takes up a lot of memory when vectorised in Illustrator) but I think the very gritty and grungy result was worth the extra effort. I also hijacked the slogan 'Ape Shall Always Submit Human' from Scramble's original t-shirt, which itself paid homage to that most classic of SciFi movies, Planet of the Apes.
But it needed more I thought. Something to give the tee that extra bit of irresistable wow factor. Daniel had a very strong concept of what he wanted the back design to look like. So I asked Bong Abad - the designer and artist - to draw his interpretation of Dan's vision. The result is this highly impressive piece of hand-drawn art:
As of writing, the t-shirt is flying fast off the Gawakoto shelves. I'm very proud of this collaboration - my first ever with Bong, and I think it's both the perfect subject matter and a great joining of abilities into one project. I hope you guys enjoy it as much as we do too.