Tee Categories


Heavyhand aka Jack Lighfoot

Heavyhand is the first designer to be interviewed by Cooltshirtdesign and its a long time coming. Better late than never though as they say and this will hopefully be the first of many…

Hi Heavyhand – thanks again for agreeing to participate in Cool Tshirt Design’s first interview. Firstly, what made you decide to start designing Tshirts?

Hello Simon, I started about 18 Months ago, having been designing my own imagery in my spare time whist in full time employment. It got to the point that I needed a new medium to display and develop my work and T-shirts seemed the ideal next course of action. I discovered Redbubble which allowed me to sell and develop my work and from there I’ve entered the dark realm of the Tee competition!

As an aspiring T-shirt artist such as myself, have you any advice for escaping the dreaded ‘creative block’ and where do you derive your inspiration from?

The internet. There are so many creative’s out there and the internet allows us to see work we would probably never have got to see a few years back. I’d also say keep sketching and trying to improve yourself constantly and try new things. Don’t be afraid to experiment. One idea grows from another and so on.

You seem to have an instantly recognizable drawing style. Have you had any formal training or have your skills evolved naturally?

Naturally from an early age I guess. My drawing style is very sketchy (not slang meaning bad!) and ‘Illustrator’ then allows me to keep things clean and adaptable.


Can you talk us through a typical process of work – from concept to completion?

When feeling inspired I’ll grab my sketch pad and work on some ideas. Usually sketching out an idea/composition. From there I usually scan that, to draw over it in a vector format and it all kicks off from there. Sometimes I like to leave a picture for a while and come back to it which can enable me to approach it with fresh eyes and gain a higher standard.

Which websites, blogs and designers in particular inspire you?

I usually browse the tee sites and places like ffffound for inspiration. I admire Tee designers like aliadotony, AlexDMC, Hydro74, Wotto, amongst others. I’m a fan of Dave McKean, HR Giger, Drew Struzan, Saul Bass, Ben Temple-Smith, Edward Hopper, Escher, the list goes on…

What other projects are you working on currently?

I’m currently working as a Freelance designer and building a Pillow and Sheet Fort in my front room.

You have a range of different skills and approaches, including photomontage, illustration and typographic. Is there any one style you prefer or enjoy doing most?

Not really. It depends on the medium. Because I’ve been concentrating on Tee design I try not to over work ideas (doesn’t always work though) and have been limiting my designs to a certain amount of colours and line work to try and get the best out of the print process and keep them clean and contemporary. I like to use more textures in some of my other work. I think I need to combine/do some more vectors and textures in some poster work as I usually traverse between the two in different mediums. I’d also like to do more one colour Tee designs in a kind of vintage style but with a contemporary edge, I’m not sure these would be too popular though. I’ve been trying a few logo Tees for made up places that are made to age. I’ve done a fair few colourful Tees but I prefer to wear something a little more subdued. Its difficult to gage what would sell as each of the T-shirt sites lean towards different styles, for example I’m not keen on allover belt prints, not that the designs are no good – there are many excellent designs, its just not something that I like on a T-shirt that I would wear. I appreciate the wide selections though.


What are your aspirations for the future?

I’d like to keep doing what I’ve been doing, but obviously keep improving (everyday is a school day) and make some money doing what I love. I’d also like to do film poster design as I’m a massive film lover. I just like making imagery and would like to be paid handsomely for it.

Thanks for taking the time out to speak to us Jack. Have you any final advice for anyone taking the plunge into Tshirt design?

Don’t give up. You can only improve. Learn how to market yourself – something I’m trying to remedy! Thank you for speaking with me. All the best!

You can check out some of Heavyhands work here at RedBubble

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