Saturday, November 24, 2007

Dragon Skins

Well I finally got around to making some t-shirt designs, which you can get online.
My favorite, so far is this Lambretta, which I think looks best as white ink on a black garment.
I predominately buy and wear black t-shirts, so while I'd been thinking about doing t-shirts online for awhile, I was stuck on finding a way to do quality prints on black shirts. I'd come across Spreadshirt sometime ago, who will allow you to do plot printed images on colored shirts, in addition to the digital prints which are more common. Digital prints are swell and all, but are delicate. I wanted to do the plot printing because it works better on dark garments, and holds up better to repeated wearing and washing. The problem was for this type of print they want a vector graphic file... ala Illustrator. While I'm something of a wiz with Photoshop, I just never successfully picked up Illustrator until recently.
Luckily that changed, when I discovered VectorMagic, a beta site put up by Stanford. It's an online tool which converts jpgs and other raster files to eps files, with all the paths and such ready to go in Illustrator. So I've been playing with this for the last week and a half, bouncing images between Photoshop, VectorMagic, and Illustrator. If like me, you're experienced with Photoshop but have been intimidated by Illustrator's learning curve, I recommend dinking around with VectorMagic, it really helped me transition into the different mindset, and allows you easily start with images you already have.

I'd been hoping to do a Honky-Tonk Dragon shirt, using some of the images I've already created. Unfortunately these are all comprised of many smooth gradients of gray, and require a lot of tweaking. The above image was the easiest to get transformed into something that would meet SpreadShirt's printing requirements. While I like the image in its original form, I'm not sure how I feel about this incarnation.
This last image (the above is the black-on-white version, it's also available white-on-black) is something I've been playing with for a few months. A version of it appeared in a dream as a kind of spontaneous graffiti glyph intended to guard against psychic warfare... Give me a break OK, it was a dream. Actually any dream where you turn the tide from being a nightmare by busting out a spontaneous spray-paint sigil is pretty good.
Anyway the image stuck with me, but I hadn't been able to satisfactorily capture it until now. I'm calling the design "I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts" after the great song by the old-school punk band X. Wear it and let the world know "evil to those, who evil think."

Stay tuned, I've got a few more designs in the works, scooter themed, steampunk themed, and hopefully even steampunk scooter themed. Till then check out my shop, Spreadshirt's cool, you can put these designs on different garments, change the color of the ink or even of what it's printed on. If you come up with a cool combination I've missed, let me know.

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