Monday, 29 September 2014

$110 T-shirts! Tell me I'm dreamin'

It's taken a few weeks and a total of $221.50, but I finally have SoulStrike T-shirts!  Two of them.  And I've spilled coffee on one.
The cost of having my A3 size drawings scanned was $35.  Not so bad and they were lovely hi resolution (600 ppi) TIFF images that I've been able to work with since.  However, I baulked at the copy shops' prices on having t-shirts printed, and decided I could find cheaper online.  Which, of course, I did.  I promptly ordered a few different sizes and styles and uploaded my lovely scanned images.  Then waited 2 weeks.
What arrived was, well, disappointing, and the pic beneath illustrates why.  The colours were either way too dark or light or not even close to the originals, and the quality of the t-shirts themselves was quite poor.  Not great for a $186 outlay, including postage within Australia.  I had been experimenting with ways to make my pencil sketches look better once they were in the computer, and had discovered that I like the smudge tool for smoothing out the colour, blending it and even making it look a bit more like a painting.  I applied this to the scans and took them back to the copy shop that had done a good job scanning the originals (and who are the only copy shop open on a Saturday in Hobart!).  I had learned my lesson and only asked for 1 of each design, costing a total of $84.  The results were much better this time, the colours brighter and more true to the original, and the smudge tool made the image look smoother and cleaner.

The top pic is of one of the first shirts (on the left) and the final shirt on the right.  The bottom two pics are the pencil drawing scan and the smudged versions (both resized down so they don't take a year to load and lay waste to your data cap.  You're welcome!)

So, basically, I've gone and proven the whole 'get what you pay for'/ 'poor quality is remembered long after a bargain price is forgotten' thing.  And now I have a bunch of t-shirts I can't do much with (except perhaps to use them as Pinterest hacking practise) and two t-shirts that have cost me a total of $110 each!  So it's back to the drawing board in terms of what I'd originally envisioned for SoulStrike.  I have some new ideas, some of which might actually lead me to doing some sewing!  Scary!

In regards to my progress on making 10 designs to submit to DENY, I have one completed image (well 2, but I just completed the second one, and I'm practicing leaving them for 2 days then looking back at them to see if I'm happy with them or if they need more work.)  I'm working on combining drawn and digital elements to make composite images.  I'll be working out co-ordinating patterns from each main picture to be applied as repeats, potentially for uploading to Spoonflower as fabric and paper.  The first completed image is below.  Again, part of it was a pencil sketch that has had the smudging effect applied to make the flowers look more painterly.  The second piece also uses this technique, but has a completely different mood to this one.

This is a very different way of working for me, and I'm enjoying the results so far as it combines some digital effects which I think are cool, but also traditional mediums that I feel I can control better than straight up digital painting.  Let me know what you think!

Cheers, Emma

Friday, 5 September 2014

Can't DENY it

Apparently, people are supposed to be up, out of bed and conducting actual business prior to 12.00pm on a Saturday.  Whoever made up this arrangement obviously didn't have to stay up Friday night to 3am drawing and watching SBS PopAsia, or they would understand how crazy it is.  As a result of this travesty, SoulStrike has remained confined to the pages of a sketch book, for an extra.  Hopefully tomorrow, with my alarm set, I will be able to get to the only copy shop that seems to be open at all on a Saturday in Hobart and get a clear scan of the work to be applied to t-shirts and promotional items.  Looking forward to seeing and wearing the first SoulStrike T-Shirt by tomorrow afternoon.

In the meantime, I have been busy researching ways for Liliflora Pretty to become a real business as well.  The aim of the Liliflora Pretty brand is to create artwork for licensing.  This means artwork that can be used on anything from fabric to homewares to giftwrap and cards, to wall art and basically anything else that can have art printed on it.  There's a fantastic free publication called MOYO, which explores the varied and wonderful world of Surface Pattern Design and Illustration.  It's founders also run a website called, which features artist galleries and directories, as well as an e-course which seems to be very popular, and the students' work featured in MOYO is of a very high quality.  I'm considering the course, along with Lilla Rogers' Make Art That Sells e-course and bootcamp.  I will also be adding work to the MOYO directory which allows me to build a profile and upload portfolios of design work, as well as connect with other designers.

Through MOYO, I found out about an amazing company based the USA called DENY designs who make unique home wares, by hand as much as possible, and then print them with art provided by a large group of artists from all over the world.  The quality of their products looks amazing, and the best part is that they're always open for submissions from artists to add to their collection!  So my next goal for Liliflora Pretty, is to create 10 pieces of work (to fill the slots available on the submission page), that really express the unique personality of my work.  Given that I'm still working out what that personality is, this is going to be really interesting!  Above is a WIP shot of my first image "Something Poignant About Life."  I have a small collection of 4 pieces in mind with similarly vague (and, let's face it, slightly sarcastic)  phrases aimed at parodying the hand-lettered 'truism' and 'put a bird on it' trends.  Whilst not being mean about it, of course!

This weeks' Illustration Friday theme was Metamorphosis, and as tempted as I was to do something butterfly related, apparently so was everyone else (except the genius who drew about the evolution of Charmander through to Charizard, which is just genius)!  So I decided I better practice some hand-lettering by illustrating fonts changing from a classic 'carnival' style, to a gothic graffiti style instead.  Hopefully I'll just get this in on time!