About the T Shirt...
Cool work by T shirt designer Craig Robson for his friend’s band Admiral Arms. He kindly agreed to talk us through his design process step by step…
“When i was asked to create a t-shirt design for Admirals Arms i was very excited. the bass player Matthew Rigg and I are friends and we had talked about putting a merch design together in the past so it was great to finally get the opportunity.
This t-shirt was designed for the recent “evil-tiger-vulture tour” which featured Norma Jean. The Chariot, Dead and Divine and lastly Admirals Arms; with such an impressive line up i knew i had to do something that represented me as an artist and looked fantastic and bold from a distance. Matt and I had talked about a sold out print i had previously released and how he loved the aesthetic of the type and wanted to push for a similar style in the Admirals Arms piece. Aside from that I had free reign to do something cool.
I loosely themed the design around an autumnal/woodland/lumberjack theme but wanted to focus more on the composition rather than the storytelling. Keeping the composition as a loose shield shape helps it sit comfortably on a body and looks aesthetically pleasing. All of my t-shirt designs begin their adventurous life as pencil sketches on paper. Once I’ve worked up something I am happy with I often take a trace of the basic line-work off the top in order to show the client as clear of a “plan” as possible which I scan in and email to do so. At this point we work out if anything is working well and if anything needs changing or adding to. I added some red arrows and pointers to indicate places where I would change things or at least intend to.
Luckily this sketch was totally approved from the outset so I was able to move onto the next stage: Inking. I ink all of my drawings traditionally on a type of translucent paper called Velum using a variety of pens and brushpens and inks. I feel its important to retain a hand generated line quality in my work despite being able to draw competently digitally. The image shows the inks scanned in and cleaned up in Photoshop, ideally I want a stark black and white image at this stage as I intend to pull the line-work onto its own layer in Photoshop. I do this by going to select Color Range then pipette the black. Once selected I open up a new layer and fill the selection with black.
From here it is a simple case of painting under this layer. We decided to go for a two color print on a black t-shirt and went with a creme and blue print (as was Matt’s request). The image below shows the two layers that would be printed and it is important to make sure that you Pantone reference your layers if they are to be screen printed. These two are: 600C and 3245c.
The next image shows the design set up on a black background. Notice the type in the bottom banner says France 2012, we decided to alter this at the last minute to “Chapters Unfold” as you can see on the final print.
Additionally Matt and I had decided to also try and re-purpose the design as a limited edition tour poster that would be taken on the tour. For this i needed to add in some more drawings, and amongst other additions two of them were my old favorite…skulls. By adding these elements into the design the composition became more rounded and a tour poster was born
I had the opportunity to meet up the guys in Admirals Arms on the Sheffield date of the tour and got to see the shirts in the flesh. The print came out fantastic and i was super happy with the entire project.”
Big thanks to Craig Robson – a designer and illustrator from England. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in working with him.
If you are a T shirt designer and would like to share your work with our readers please drop us a line with a link to your work.