Saturday, July 9, 2016

Wear The Fox Hat

A project that was a long time coming, as it was a suggestion made by an acquaintance for years in idle conversation over beverages. I get that a lot: "You should draw a ____" and it usually goes in one ear and out the other (aside from the 1% of the time it sticks and gets shoveled into the mental mulch-pile). But eventually with enough persistence and pulling out a wad of cash, I'll take anything more seriously, and a spot opened up on the studio schedule in between several other gigs for me to work up a design. The tshirt was commissioned on behalf of the Maclaren River Lodge via a mutual friend who essentially wanted to see his idea actually realized as a finished product.

Leaving off the requisite pile of pencil sketches, I did something a bit out of the ordinary in that, after the core concept was approved by all parties, I worked up most everything fully colored. That is of course the most expensive route to take as far as getting tshirts printed up, but on my end as the creator it was a crucial component to help in visualizing the end result, and simplify the process by reverse engineering it down until a decent-looking, balanced compromise is reached. That being said, the traditional rule of thumb for me is ensuring the design can still hold up and function as a black + white image.

The question at this stage was twofold: what style of lettering/particular font is appropriate, and also should it all be on one line wrapped around the top, or divided above & below? Symmetry + balance is important especially with these circular designs, and the contrast of the lettering should be taken into consideration with regards to it's line weight, and organic feel versus hard-edge etc. and not forgetting the basics like legibility. Another speed-bump was mulling over seemingly inconsequential details that actually had a very subtle but important impact as far as any initial impression: how to phrase the statement: "Wear The Fox Hat" vs "Wear The Fox Hat!" vs "Wear The Fox Hat?"

At this point the beard had undergone a bit of a trim, as I pulled it further back up inside the core circle area so as to be able to draw the bottom text further up against it, and make for an overall tighter, more unified composition.
Then it was assembling a buffet of possibilities with color, so some sample swatches help to illustrate variations using a 1-color (dark ink printed on top of a colored tshirt background), a 2-color (black + white ink printed on top of red tshirt background), a 1-color reversal (white ink printed on top of red tshirt background), and my personal aesthetic choice, a 1-color tone-on-tone option (darker red ink printed on top of a lighter red tshirt). This would be awesome on a 100% cotton pigment-dyed garment, and would age really well too as an organically distressed tshirt. It also has the advantage of combining the economic advantage of being only a 1-color print, but still incorporating the crucial element of red.

Along with accompanying emails, everything in the end gets printed out as hardcopy, backup CD's with all the image files (TIFs and vectored Illustrator) are burned, and some bonus signed prints included in the final package ready for delivery. It's a good sign for me to feel excited about wanting to wear one myself!

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