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dA Gear Store Closed

After 8 years of working hand-in-hand with the community we love, the deviantART T-Shirts & Gear Shop is officially closed. We want to thank everyone who has been a part of this artistic journey. DeviantART T-Shirts & Gear has been a labor of love for us and it truly would not have been possible without the passionate support of deviants from far and wide.

From the very first design to the very last, we have so many great memories. We will never forget receiving our very first Action Shots of deviants from around the globe proudly wearing their deviantART Gear. Some of you sent photos squeezing your new Emoticon Stress Ball while others declared it was time to Quit Work Be a Ninja, or Panda, Robot, or even Wizard. No one can forget when we turned the cameras on ourselves and gave you access Behind The Scenes or when we came together on Earth Day to raise money for charity. Some of our favorite memories were when you took over designing in our deviantART Gear Design Challenges. From deviantART Logo T-Shirts, to Cute Monsters and even 8-Bit Graphics, we were continually amazed at the great talent residing in the community.

It’s fitting that as we look towards the future, we do so with a mention of Design Challenges. As we transition to our next project, we do so with an eye towards giving you, the greatest artist community on the planet, the tools necessary to take your designs and have them visually represented on apparel for you and millions of others to enjoy right here on deviantART.

Until that time comes, we want to again thank you for your support, and remind you that your work and the art of others is still available in our Prints Shop. And, be sure to let us know your favorite deviantART Gear memories! What’s your most prized item from the shop? Celebrate the ending of an era with us, as we embark on a new artistic journey together.

-deviantART Gear

Last Day to Shop deviantART Gear

Tue May 21, 2013, 6:58 PM

It is now official. The deviantART T-Shirts & Gear Shop will celebrate its very last day on Tuesday, May 28, 2013. 

We can't thank you enough for the outpouring of support we've received over the past several weeks and even more so over the last eight years.  

We hope you'll take advantage of what limited memorabilia remains in the Shop over the next week. The Shop will stay open through the end of the day on Tuesday, May 28, 2013 unless we are completely sold out before then. 

In the meantime, we are honored to have shared this product with you, and we hope our products helped to inspire your artistic journey. We look forward to continuing our great relationship with you as we transition to an updated retail program. 

Also, remember that while our deviantART Gear store is closed, our Prints Shop is stronger than ever, full of breathtaking, high-quality items made by deviants just like you! Click here to bring some physical art into your life.

To shop the remaining Gear products and great deals, visit the deviantART T-Shirts & Gear Shop one last time before everything's gone. 

Store Closing Soon

Fri May 3, 2013, 2:12 PM

We wanted to take some time to update you on deviantART T-Shirts & Gear as we quickly approach the official closing of the store. First, we want to thank you for the kind gestures and outpouring of support we have received since we announced the store close. It’s been very uplifting, and we are going to miss designing for such a great community.

To thank you for your support and to give you a small token of our appreciation, anyone who has previously purchased deviantART T-Shirts & Gear has received our brand new "I Heart deviantART Gear" Badge! Anyone who places a new deviantART T-Shirts & Gear order with the Shop will receive one as well. That's right -- all previous and future deviantART T-Shirts and Gear purchasers will receive this special badge! Be sure to keep an eye out for it appearing on your Profile Page.

It's a great time to buy! We are selling through products quickly, and, depending on how quickly it goes, we may be closing the store before the end of May. We still have $25 Camera Bags, and $25 Messenger Bags as well as Buy 2 Get 1 Tees and 25% Off Hoodies.  So pick up some great gear and a new badge to boot before it’s too late!

Click here to visit the T-Shirts & Gear Shop. And as always, browse from thousands of fantastic Prints made by deviants from around the world in our Prints Shop!

Here's the new Badge! 

Store Closing Update

Tue Apr 2, 2013, 2:02 PM

After eight awesome years of artistic adventure, deviantART’s T-Shirts & Gear Shop (formerly deviantWEAR) has decided to close its doors. It has been an amazing ride. Seeing hundreds of concepts through to full production, developing the brand with the community, listening to all of the feedback, and designing to suit our deviants’ dynamic tastes has been an honor.

We have genuinely enjoyed sharing our concepts, workflow, designs, and final products with you. We would like to thank all of you for your support, heartfelt commentary, and constant tide of love and deviousness. It was certainly a labor of love outfitting deviants from around the globe. We have decided, unfortunately, to move on. It's with a heavy heart that we bring you this news, but now is your chance to take a physical piece of deviantART home. We don’t plan on restocking, so grab your bit of deviously artistic history before it’s gone!

Thank you for your many years of fandom! We look forward to the next chapter and your continued support.

Remember our store will remain open until we have sold our last piece. Our customer service team will be available at anytime, long after our doors have closed.

Click here to visit the T-Shirts & Gear Shop.

A Fashionable New Set
Working with New Styles & Materials

There are many times as an artist when you get to work on a set of illustrations that work equally well on their own and as part of a larger set. Although the individual pieces may be thematically different from each other, they follow a common visual look and feel. This is where the individual artistic style that you’ve practiced for hundreds of hours really gets to shine. Recently I was lucky enough to find myself in this situation, and I’m honored to announce the resulting set of illustrations printed on really cool HoodieBuddie™ outerwear.

The three different garments are very different in material, cut, and area for print, but the illustrations on each have visual harmony with the current collection. Wise Wings is printed on a lightweight Hoodie with many pockets across the front. For this piece, I decided to make a two-part illustration to be printed on the hood as well as the back hip. The second piece, called Circles and Lines, is a unique horizontal-striped crew reminiscent of a sailor sweater. For this piece, the illustration has a similar style of linework to the others, with really rich hues overtop neutral, grey bands. Varsity Crest, the third of the series, is a garment cut and dyed in the fashion of a letterman jacket. My goal was to maintain the line quality of the set while creating a unique graphic illustration to be printed on the double crest panels.

No matter what the medium or even the intention, I feel it really benefits an artist to complete multiple pieces in a series. Whether you incorporate a common thread through multiple commissions for different people or simply spend your time sketching out similar graphics, it can really make your body of work feel more cohesive and gets you to think outside the box, even within self-imposed design limits.

Circles and Lines

Much like riding a bike, making a great piece of art is about balance of many elements while, sometimes bravely, moving forward. This energetic mass of circles and lines on fashionable stripes can inspire the artist to follow an adventurous creative path on any number of two-wheeled transports. As an illustrator, I depend on the quality of my linework to carry through my pieces of art. The line quality that I’ve developed in my work greatly defines my style. It carries my work in a cohesive way and has hundreds of influences.

Bikes are such fun things to draw. Their geometric shapes are so perfectly designed and really interesting to abstract a bit, warping the balance so they really have character. I enjoy taking a perfectly round wheel and making it wonky and off-centered in just the right way. The frame, which is engineered to be super strong, gets drawn in a more organic way, giving it a much more animated quality.

Drawing in my sketchbook is so beneficial because it allows me to be playful with ideas that would look too overworked on the final canvas. With this piece, I pushed the idea of horsepower combined with bikes, and that sketch evolved into the wild herd of horses corralling the bikes to keep them under control.

Bikes show up in my work a lot, and after we chose this cool, striped HoodieBuddie™, I knew I wanted to print them on the garment. The yellow and red colors look really nice together in China Crayon, but the red would be too dark of value to work on the stripes, so I pulled out the pink “Mean Streak,” and with one mark on the paper, I knew that this would be the perfect hue for the job. The final linework would be drawn with one of my favorite pens ever: the double-tipped Zig Writer. It produces amazing lines on Bristol board with a flexible tip that stands up to really heavy strokes. I am a pen nerd!

After I filled a number of pages with these fun drawings, I transferred the project to the digital space, carefully scanning in each 11x14-inch drawing in two parts to be seamed together. At this point, I felt like I had a herd of bikes moseying about, so it took a lot of shuffling and some weeding out to determine which ones would make the final cut. Bike herding aside, I then needed to explore which font would work best for the project. Should I use a hand-written font, or stick to something more “professional”? I tried many different options to more clearly show similarities in form, and in the end I chose to use another designer’s beautiful font work.

I mocked up the final composition with just the right colors to make sure everything was in order and looked correct with all pieces put together. Both the yellow and pink pop from the neutral stripes. Which bike is your favorite?

The outcome of this piece is printed on the garment, and I’m very proud of the piece. I love seeing it worn, especially by someone on his beloved bicycle. Enjoy your artistic adventures!

Varsity Crest

My goal when starting this piece was to make a letterman-style graphic reminiscent of both a medieval royal crest and a contemporary varsity patch. “The Artistic Wizard College of deviantART” was my made-up inspiration. Crests are pretty interesting historically, and I researched many types throughout many cultures to find which style best suited us at deviantART. Some are long and tall, able to fit on flowing upright banners, and some are wide, fit perfectly for horizontal flags. Some are construed of simple shapes for the most efficient visual recognition, and others are so ornate that the symbolism is almost indecipherable.

Many elements were sketched in the process of finding the right composition of symbols. I knew I wanted the classic “dA” initials as well as a solid font for the top of the shield.

It’s good for my creative process to try out many line weights, like the ballpoint pen pieces above and also the thick Sharpie lines below. The different lines make me consider things within the design differently just because the spacing changes so much with different tools. The ballpoint is so energetic, providing me with the conceptual space to see which ways to push the elements, while the solid, smooth lines of the marker really define the weight of the piece. They all inform each other along the process, and the more information you can sketch out in advance, the more you understand how to make your materials do what you want, rather than letting chance decide. This is a perfect example of how to get over a common roadblock in the arts: if you’re not sure where to begin with something, simply try everything!

One really interesting way to conceive illustrations is by looking at your progressive sketches through inverted values – swapping the colors for their opposing color. This method makes the design look new and fresh to your eyes if you’ve been struggling with it for a while. In these sketches, I‘m really trying to figure out the various textures I’d like to use and seeing if the elements are all cohesive.

The complete graphic was an interesting amalgamation of many process sketches. Every part worked itself out, and I felt the final design was a good balance of space and tone.

I finalized the piece and sent the files off to the printer with the chosen Pantone colors and final graphic dimensions.

When we received the garment back, the print colors went great with the local color of the weave of the cloth, the sporty accentuating trim, and the headphone drawstrings.

Wise Wings

The best way to start an artistic adventure is to dive right in! This bold graphic symbolizes the fact that your creative eye is completely open, actively searching for inspiration. Listen to your favorite music AND your artistic intuition as you create masterpieces in this stylish Hoodie!

Many of these physical pieces were born from rough sketches found in the tightly packed pages of a notebook. Oftentimes, it’s the result of many ideas drawn over time that make a concept so rich. Finding what will inspire something that may inspire something completely different is the Artistic Adventure.

There was a good amount of variation to the sketches that would eventually develop into Wise Wings. I got the idea of drawing a character portrait with bushy hair and wings sprouting from his head. This might make a great illustration for another time, but it was not really an image I would want to wear. The ideas progressed further after deciding to draw a skull instead of a head. I was torn between making a big skull patch across the shoulders and making a large, energetic graphic for the front of a Hoodie, with the skull as the focal point. A third idea arose from those two ballpoint-pen drawings that focused more on the energy of bikes and skulls, like a motorcycle jacket. Next, a powerful element that really stood out was the winged skull on the hood with the 3rd eye.

Skulls have always been a subject matter of interest to artists, and there have been innumerable versions created throughout art history. Personally, skulls have intrigued me since I was a child, and I have one displayed in my studio for constant reference as I draw and stylize the form.

In pushing this idea forward, I knew I wanted it to be the piece that connected the fall and spring collections of deviantART T-Shirts & Gear. So it had to have elements of the previous line with the theme and direction of the new line in the making. “Artistic Adventure” is a key theme in the new line, so I thought this would be a perfect place to preview that playful theme. Flying skulls and flowing handwriting? Check!

I headed back to the sketchbook for more pages of development; this time hand lettering was the focus of the practice.

There was one drawing created in the development that didn't make the cut, but it was really entertaining and worth sharing. It shows just how far the creative mind goes when advancing toward a final piece of art - the deer and llama/sheep with art tools as legs. I can’t explain it, but it was fun to draw!

Sometimes you have to write something a bunch of times with a number of different media before the beautiful subtle elements really come to life. In this case, one of my favorite little features is the first “e” in “Adventure.” It is so pretty coming down from the “v.” It’s these little things that really make practice less about work and all about fun.

Finding the right font that would complement and accentuate the illustration happened a few pages into the process, and I combined the two developing ideas to ensure their cohesiveness. Since the garment is the final canvas, it’s important to measure the live area, making sure what you’re designing will fit the intended space.

The final pieces were cleaned up digitally and finalized as a strong graphic set for this Hoodie.

The graphics are a strong match with each other when printed on opposite sides of the garment. This will be a fun piece to help you start your own Artistic Adventure this spring.

Shop deviantART T-Shirts & Gear for this collection of fashionable headphone designs!

All dA T-Shirts For $12 or Less!

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 11:18 AM

Apparel Collection: Beetle Blocks

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 12:05 PM

Beetle Blocks
The Art of Legible Worker Beetles in Motion

Beetle Blocks is an exciting visual drama where determined insects interact with a blocky font that reads “deviantART.” Are these insects building with the letters, or raging against them? That is the ultimate beauty of art is that it’s up to the beholder to translate the piece and determine its intention. Put on this shirt when working with a powerhouse team, where the minds of many are more successful than just one. Channel the worker insects, rally your squad, and go make ART!

This exciting piece is the third in the collection where I had the honor of collaborating with another artist to bring the design to life. It’s very exciting to collaborate with artists who can bring an idea to life from something as simple as a sketch. tonybricker led the way with this pursuit, and we were able to go a few rounds of development to end on an outcome much more robust than either of us could have developed on our own.

Please enjoy tonybricker’s telling of how Beetle Blocks came to be!

“The beauty of having a sketchbook is that you always have a vast resource of ideas and drawings you can reference at any time. I had this unused sketch for a different project, and I really liked the concept of insects interacting with bulky, robust letterforms.

01.1 Ants 01 800px by =tonybricker

After getting the primary concept approved by Forest, I decided that ants were cool, but beetles were my real love in the insect world. They had more volume and would be easier to see on a shirt, especially next to chunky 3D letters. I researched exotic beetles and pulled out my bug books, and after finding the right photo reference, it was time to draw. I'm still not very fluid on a tablet, and I have more fun drawing by hand anyways, so I went to work using some of my favorite drawing tools.

01.2 IMG 2128 600px by =tonybricker

Among other things, I found a nice soft pencil, a few weights of black ink pen, a few Copic grey markers for shading, and some red and yellow pens to denote where the brightest colors and highlights might go. Some version of these tools is my usual setup no matter what I'm drawing, be it beetles, logo sketches, or website wireframe thumbnails.

I did a few warm-up sketches, and as usual, I couldn't resist completing a few of them in way more detail than I needed to if not solely for the sheer joy of putting inky marks on paper.

05 IMG 2115 800px by =tonybricker

I really liked the way the beetles were looking in this style, but I realized they probably weren't going to translate well on a screen-printed T-Shirt. I decided to step back and draw some cleaner versions, knowing I could add detail later in Photoshop. I began to sketch a variety of clean beetles in dynamic poses, as they were going to be crawling all over the 3D letters.

01.3 IMG 2113 800px by =tonybricker

The guy in the back is a Rhinoceros Beetle, and in front is the majestic Stag Beetle.

Disclosure: I freaking LOVE Stag Beetles. I have a radical recurring nightmare where a Stag Beetle the size of a car comes out at night, making the wildest clicking and hissing sounds you can imagine, eating its way through my walls while I’m sleeping and chases me at very high speeds around my neighborhood. Even weirder than this dream is the fact that I love having it, and the more beetles I drew, the more I wanted to only use Stag Beetles for the shirt. Plus Stag Beetles have the advantage of having huge jaws that could interact with the blocks a lot more than the single horn on a boring, old Rhinoceros Beetle.

I traced over these cleaner drawings of Stag Beetles one last time so I could get clean scans with no pencil marks and no weird line thicknesses or double lines. The results on tracing paper looked like this.

04 StagBeetle 02 600px by =tonybricker

With the lines clean enough to get to work in Photoshop, my beetle drawing was ready to roll. Now I needed to think about the typography. I went to Adobe Illustrator, because I like its 3D tools a lot more than the ones in Photoshop. I picked a few fonts that I thought would look nice in 3D.

I was very focused on readability and proportions. The typeface would need to be readable even when tilted at all angles, and the proportions needed to look solid, balanced, and aesthetically pleasing in 3D. A lot of fonts have too many strange angles, serifs, widths, and so on to be functional for what I needed. I picked the three best options and did a little isometric angle test on them.

06 LetterformStudy 800px by =tonybricker

Then, referring back to the original sketch, I tested them in a layout generally similar to how they would likely end up on the shirt.

07 LetterformStudy v2 600px by =tonybricker

I was glad I had tested out a few things, because it let me make my final decision with confidence. The top row was a mix of the two fonts seen in the next two rows, but the letterforms were clearly from different families and, at least to my eye, they looked weird together.

The second row read well but was a little too chunky and cartoonish.

Skipping to the bottom row, it had a lot more going on visually because of the serifs and reminded me of letters you might see in a toy box. I found it to be a bit too visually distracting.

The third row, however, seemed to be the one that best met my needs of readability and proportion: nice and clean, dynamic enough, and it didn't have any associations that I didn't want in my piece, like cartoons or toy boxes.

Next, I rotated each letter individually, making sure each letter stood out from the ones around it for maximum legibility. I also assigned a four-tone shading scheme to the letters, based on a general "behind-and-to-the-left" light source, being careful that none of the letters were going to blend into each other.

I had to limit myself to four colors because I could only use seven colors for the shirt, and I knew the beetles were going to require three. I used greys at this point because even though I didn't know what my color scheme was going to be yet, it was very important to get the values right. I also decided to make the type more vertical than horizontal so it could be more of an all-over print on the shirt than just a smaller horizontal piece across the chest. Here is the final typographic design.

08 LetterformStudy clean 750px by =tonybricker

I copy/pasted the type into my Photoshop document by color so that all the darkest greys were pasted onto a single layer and so on, because each color was going to be a single screen at the screen printer.

It was time to work more on the beetles. Here's what they looked like after the first round of clean up in Photoshop from the scans.

09 BeetleColor 800px by =tonybricker

They cleaned up nice, but they were very flat looking and I wanted them to have nice 3D volume like the letters. I added highlights, and settled on a shading method of dots and lines that was graphic and striking and would translate well to screen printing. It also had a nice relation to the actual dimpled texture on a Stag Beetle carapace.

Forest and I went back and forth during the development of the concept to make sure it was evolving successfully.

09.2 BeetleColor shading 800px by =tonybricker

From here, it was a matter of positioning everything so it made sense dimensionally. I needed to preserve legibility, be sure the beetles looked like they were roaming around with the type, and decide on a color scheme. I also gave the type some texture because it now looked very flat compared to the textures on the beetles. At this point, I sent the piece off to Forest for approval on its artistic direction.

10 BeetleBlocks Color 01 800px by =tonybricker

He liked the layout and said it was almost ready for print. He added all of the scratchy motion lines around the beetles, which really serve to ground the whole illustration instead of making it look like everything is floating in space. He also changed the colors around to work with the rest of the shirts in the line and use a shirt stock that was readily available.

Thanks for reading through all of that. I hope it was as inspirational and educational as it was fun to collaboratively illustrate!


Behold: the final artwork for the Beetle Blocks shirt that deviantART sent to the printer! Tony did such a great job bringing the beetles to life.

It really makes for a lively addition to our product line.

Shop More, Save More

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 11:59 PM

Cubism Messenger Bags At All Angles

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 6:42 PM
Pioneers of achievement, artists RainbowMoonJuice and Layerth, are finally able to share with you their abstractly designed works of art in final form. 

These multi-dimensional works with abstract views won your votes and the final approval of deviantART's esteemed judging panel. Thank you to everyone who contributed and without further ado, enjoy these winning bags!  Stop by the deviantART T-Shirts & Gear Shop to check out every angle of these winning messenger bags. Click here to visit the Shop.  

Cubist wishes was my first attempt at more abstract art, even more so my first attempt at cubism. Read More.
With this design, I tried to play with the perspectives without losing the concept of cubism. Read more.  

All messenger bags feature an adjustable strap, a padded compartment for a laptop or tablet up to 15", a clip to secure the messenger flap down, a top "grab" handle, and two internal pockets for storage.

To read more about the artists and these awesome bags, visit the Design Challenge category in the deviantART T-Shirts & Gear Shop.

Apparel Collection: Monster Talk

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 11:47 AM

Monster Talk
Character Design on Simple Shapes

Together, we are deviantART, an amazingly diverse community of fantastic individuals from all reaches of the globe. It’s a beautiful, creative ecosystem where the wildest voices can speak their minds and share their expressions. When designing this collection, I wanted to celebrate that diversity. When you’re at a concert, on an airplane, or sitting at a café, it's sometimes fun to look at the people moving and talking around you, each with their own unique style and outlook. Be part of the big conversation, where all voices matter and everyone can be involved.

The characters in this piece spawned from a conversation I had while teaching a high school class on character illustration. The topic was making interesting-looking characters, and everyone seemed to agree that you have to make a complex contour shape in order to satisfy the goal. I countered by simply drawing a line of jelly bean shapes on the board. At first, it looked boring -- just a bunch of wonky ovals. Then, I made each into a character by giving them features, paying close attention to their placement within the composition.  The idea went from the chalkboard to my sketchbook, where I played around with it through many sketches. 

The idea of having a series of characters with the same basic shape was really intriguing to me. They became known as the “thumbheads,” and I had a ton of fun coming up with personalities for each of them.

I was doing my best to observe the characters in my everyday life, mixing their attributes with fantastical forms and exciting patterns.

I even went so far as to fill the shape with an entire character’s body, which was an interesting thought, but it got lost in the complex linework.

It's really gratifying to draw a subject so many times and in different ways that you suddenly realize you've got a whole series of related images.

The intricate linework of these drawings made them great candidates for a T-Shirt design, so I began digging in my sketchbook for other ideas I’ve had to more cohesively tie this group of monsters together. I came across this lockup drawing of the dA logo, where a bird and worm are having a funny interaction inside it. That doodle was enough to spawn the idea that the letters could be filled.

Searching for another level for the graphic, I came across a page in my sketchbook where I had slapped a dA nametag over another character, which gave me the idea to have each characters inside a speech bubble. I’d seen this basic concept before, but it was a great opportunity to explore it in my own style.

My mind was racing as I sketched each curious character. Should I put the characters in speech bubbles? What size should they be? Should it be characters talking about characters? Should it be sharp or hand drawn, solid or full of chatter? The only way to discover the answers to these was to try out every possible option!

A lot of the time, I will write random words in a consistent font to give me an interesting starting point to draw from. Most of the time, they make no sense, but they’re great for inspiration. I recommend trying it with your own sketches!

After working out the concept and translating it digitally, it quickly took shape in the graphic that you see in finished form: characters within the dA logo encapsulated by a speech bubble, inspiring conversations amongst each other and around the world.

To shop this and other new Apparel Collection designs in the deviantART T-Shirts & Gear Shop click here.

The printed garment and an energetic model really set the mood for the completed piece during the photo shoot. The journey of this piece really drove home the importance of combining ideas and cross-pollinating concepts. I hope it helps you in your future artistic endeavors!

Apparel Collection: Sunset Burner

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 1:16 PM

Sunset Burner
Legibly Balanced Design

The celebration of letterforms is a timeless and globally universal art form. When pushed towards the abstract, the individual letters become more about the overall shape than the words they form or meaning. The graphic becomes about the marriage between the whole design and composition and the letterforms seemingly hidden in plain sight.
Contemporary graffiti is often done in this style. As you may know, artistic graffiti is powerful global art movement where artists choose more non-traditional ways to execute pieces and more publicly accessible places to display their artwork. 

This specific piece is done in a linear Wildstyle fashion and symbolizes the wearer’s proclivity for pushing the boundaries of abstraction and taking risks with their work. In this garment, you can feel free to take your style, put it in a blender, and mix it up with your inspirations, influences, surroundings, and emotions. Pour this concoction into a cup and paint with it, do the unexpected, and develop new ways to say things that are perceived as banal. Enjoy the creative explosion! 
There are a million ways to write our comparatively short alphabet. In the art form of graffiti, many fundamental styles have been developed and are universally recognized. In my first rounds of work on this concept, I was really pushing for the letters to be abstract. This piece below really has a lot of energy, but it was really hard to read and was more composed for the rectangular orientation of a sketchbook, not the anatomical features of the body under a shirt. 

The second piece I developed was in a style of letter that is much more legible. This version was conceived on a trip to Art Basel in Miami, where deviantART had a pop-up art gallery. I was able to paint a bunch of graffiti pieces there and sketched a number of different letter styles for the name “deviantART.” 

After many exploratory sketches, I found the right composition, and I wanted to flesh out in color. Of course, there’s a huge difference between hand-drawing a piece based on graffiti style and actually painting a huge beautiful graphic with spray paint. Making this illustration digitally gave me the ability to really explore the colors and attitudes of the letterforms. When painting with cans, you usually hatch your plan and stick to it. No control-Z on the wall ;) 

This was a nice piece, but, if you can believe it, I thought it was almost too legible. Graffiti lettering often has the curse of not having enough Style with a capital S, and I didn’t think this version was up to deviantART’s style standards. I was on the right track, but I needed to head back to the drawing board with a more stylized eye for this graphic. 
At this point, I reached out to one of my favorite artists, sonnywong001, and he gave me some hints on how to push the piece in the right direction. His sketch added on some landing gear, ticks, and letter connectors. It’s always valuable to talk to other artists and get critiques on your work during the working process. A fresh set of eyes can make all the difference when you’ve been staring at so many variations that you’re not sure what to do next. 

I really appreciated his input and wanted to start fresh with his ideas in mind. So, I jumped ship and went for a totally different thought process. The intention of the next version was to make a piece in a Wildstyle lettering where the overall dynamic movement and composition would supersede any hope for legibility. 

I was able to settle on the final outline of the new version’s lettering rather quickly. The color scheme was a whole different story. It took many tries to find a happy medium between too many colors and too few colors, not to mention which hues worked best with each other. Here are six of what felt like 50 colorway attempts. 

After what seemed like an eternity of trying different color combinations, the clear winner emerged, and the sun set on this design process. I couldn’t have been happier with the outcome. The Wildstyle lettering is legible after a bit of searching, and the color scheme is reminiscent of a sunset, giving it an overall solid composition. 

Connect with your inner wild style, and wear Sunset Burner with pride. 

Apparel Collection: Raining Ideas

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 1:07 PM

Raining Ideas
Create Your Own Storm

It’s so exciting when you’re in Creative Mode, and the ideas are just flowing out of you. It’s almost electric how one idea can spark the next and the next, and you’re creating as fast as your body can keep up. Don't hold it back! I created this shirt to shout from the clouds that it’s okay to let the ideas well up and storm onto your media! Share your ideas with your team, and let your collaborations really fill your mind and canvas with a deluge of output.

This illustration started with the intention of making a cute cloud into an energetic storm. I wanted the cloud to have the contour of a brain so the importance of the mind in the brainstorming process would be prevalent at first glance. The preliminary sketchbook drawings in ballpoint pen were a mix of adorable thunderheads and raining brains. Experimenting with the placement of the eyes and the shape of the cloud was fun. It was harder than I expected to get the sizes right and actually make the brain cute.

The lightning started off looking almost like earrings for the character, which was interesting, but I wanted the bolts to read as more energetic – the kind of electrified jolt that chatters your teeth! The brain went a few rounds as well, and I studied up on the anatomical structure of brains to make sure the simple shape would translate to the viewer. The shape of the brain and the forming cloud really accentuated each other and gave the visual effect of a cloud moving forward in space.

Seeing this natural movement, I pushed it even further by making the pattern of the rain push diagonally backwards as the storm rapidly approached. It was a conscious choice to misalign the outline and the inner texture of both brain and cloud, so the layering would create some tension between the colors and line work. Along the way, I toyed with the idea of having some text printed on the shirt, but I decided the graphic spoke for itself. And they say to keep it simple, so I pushed on and tried to figure out the final eye placement.

This proved to be difficult. In the original permutation, I considered putting the pair of cute eyes in the middle of the cloud’s “face,” but it looked too high up, especially with respect to the brain. After dropping them down, my new artistic hurdle was to the make the eyes interact with the action without being too big and pulling too much focus. There needed to be another element to make the graphic come together.

Since it was a studious brain, I stumbled across the idea of adding some big reading glasses, and it really worked! The momentum was successful, and the concept really worked as a serious thinker.

The lightning fell right into place after the glasses were figured out, adding visual balance to the piece. My original intention of the cute storm was met, and I was really happy with the outcome.

I dubbed the cute, little brainstorm to be called Raining Ideas and printed it on a beautiful sapphire T-Shirt. The models immediately took to the inspirational design, and it looks great on everyone who wears it.

Check out this T-Shirt in the deviantART T-Shirts & Gear Shop. Click here to see all T-Shirts.

Whenever you’re in a creative drought, the only solution is to stand underneath the perfect storm of Raining Ideas!

Apparel Collection: ALL dAY EVERY dAY

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 11:44 AM

Design for Words with Meaning

“ALL dAY EVERY dAY” represents the artist’s constant love for making art. This drive and determination is always working in the back of our minds, always noticing inspiring things, always adding notes and drawings to notebooks, and always thinking creatively. DeviantART is a wonderful, swirling artistic ecosystem with a fertile breeding ground for this never-ending creative spirit.

Recently at deviantART, we tried out a small-scale collaborative program, bringing in outside artists to illustrate pieces for the seasonal clothing line. For the piece ALL dAY EVERY dAY, I’m proud to introduce Tony Van Groningen, or tonybricker here on dA. It’s always a pleasure to hand an artistic brief off to an artist and have them come back with an exciting piece that can go a few rounds in collaborative sessions to make final. Working collaboratively brings multiple viewpoints to the drawing board and adds a great deal of richness to successful pieces.

So, for this Journal, we asked tonybricker directly if he could outline the creative story behind making ALL dAY EVERY dAY. Enjoy!

"Hello, Deviants!

My design brief was wide open on this one. I was instructed to do something typographically cool with the phrase "All Day Every Day," which, in the world of deviantART, is encouragement to make your art and work on your skills all day, every day!

I started by going through my typefaces and trying to pick fonts that were sturdy and thick enough for the bluntness I was going for. I wanted to be sure it was a pretty legible font, since the whole shirt was type-based, but I also wanted it to have somewhat unusual proportions. This was not a job for your standard Helvetica Light.

Experimenting with different fonts on the page, I was able to consider each one individually.

These might look really similar to some people, but I was trying to pay attention to proportion and individual letterforms. I printed these out individually at large sizes, hung them on the wall, and looked at them from a range of distances, including about 15 feet away down my hallway. This might sound silly, but it's a really useful thing to do to make sure your eyes and brain aren't locked into "on-screen" mode, where things often look huge and super high-contrast.

After doing this, the one that had the right funky and legible feel to me was the upper-right option, using the lovely Apex Sans typeface.

 From there, I went through and made each of the letters look even and balanced. Never trust default spacing in any program! For example, the gap between the "D" and the "A" was too large, the "D" felt like it was floating off the rest of the word.

I flipped it backwards because I wanted to work with the digital letterforms off the computer, but I also wanted to add a traditional twist by using wet artistic media like ink and watercolor.

After copying the backwards letters on tracing paper, I laid the tracing paper graphite-side down on top of my watercolor paper, and using a pencil, transferred the typography to the watercolor paper by rubbing it, so I‘d have a template.

I did this process a few times so I’d have several templates to work from, since I doubted I would do something I liked the first time. Here's what the tracing paper looked like after the rubdown.

Now, it was time to get to the artsy fun part. I pulled out a ton of tools to experiment with. I didn’t know how it would end up, but I felt I’d know what I liked when I saw it, and no better way to get there than by trying everything.

One of my all-time favorite techniques is using gouache with India ink, so that had to be in the lineup. The Japanese squeezebrush pens are amazing for spontaneous linework. Whiteout pens can be fun, and the weird-shaped bottles in the back are refill containers for Tria pen ink. I often like to drip it straight onto the paper for supersaturated color. 

I just started mixing things up and working intuitively to see what happened. Here are some results.

I scribbled notes underneath some of my favorites so I could recreate the effect later if I needed. I need to do this more. I often look at some of my older sketches and tests and can't figure out how I once made something cool! 

Ultimately, I decided that I really liked the mostly uncontrollable effect of brushing water over the letterform, adding some drops of India ink, and gently swirling the entire page around so the ink actually travelled around inside of the water droplets.

The results looked great and interesting, and I really liked that, since there wasn't a lot of real control over how the letter ended up looking, all the letters looked different.

I scanned in each letter and cleaned them up digitally. But I didn't feel that this alone was enough, so I played around with the visual contrast between the blobby ink letters and the super-rigid structure in original letterforms.

I went back to my Illustrator file where I’d typeset the quote with Apex Sans, and using some vector magic and some typography skillz, I redrew the Apex Sans letterforms to be a super-hairline mono-weight version that would sit nicely inside each letter.

Once I had done that for every letter, the backbone elements of the shirt were ready, and it was just a matter of composing everything. As mentioned earlier, I was interested in juxtaposing the flowing edges of the letters with precise vector lines within each, so I created a vector pattern to use in the background, to create a balanced, interesting composition. Here’s one of many patterns we tried.

At this point, I sent them off to Forest. He had the great idea of making the uppercase "D"s in my piece into lowercase "d"s so they would read "dA" on the shirts, which was a brilliant idea. I was excited to go back and redo the watery-ink trick one last time to make the lowercase "d"s.

We decided that reversing the black inkletters out to white on a black shirt created a nice, ghostly effect. I adjusted the background pattern to a muted purple and sent Forest the working file.

As any individual designer would do, this design went through many more revisions, including shifting the alignment of the words around, deleting the background pattern, and changing the colors, until we finally decided on the awesome design you see before you.

And that's about it! Thanks for reading. I hope it was at least educational if not inspirational! Feel free to leave a comment or note me to ask any questions you might have about any part of the process. 



This was a
n inspiring process outline from the primary artist of the piece. As Tony mentioned, this design came a long way from the perceived final version, but we ended up with a very successful piece and a great collaboration.

Shop ALL dAY EVERY dAY in the deviantART T-Shirts & Gear Shop. Click here to see this and all T-Shirts!

Apparel Collection: Soundwaves

Wed Dec 19, 2012, 2:01 PM

Design Inspiration that Flows

It feels really good to be surrounded on all sides by music, feeling it pump through you like an electric pulse! This design would be the perfect complement to a carefree night of dancing with friends under the stars or boogying down alone in front of a mirror using the build-in headphones.

This illustration was inspired by my love for music and science together. Sound waves are pretty amazing in the way they move ever forward, undulating up and down outwardly from their source. I love the way scientific textbooks illustrate natural phenomenon, because, of course, my artistic mind wants to SEE everything, even things that can’t be seen by the naked eye without special tools. Scientific subject matters are a fun challenge to many artists as they dive into the shapes of nature and physics and apply to them their own styles and techniques. 

Like many pieces of art, it can sometimes take the simplest concept to inspire a whole thought process to be expressed on a canvas. I dove into studying sound waveforms and went to town drawing many concepts.

Music is one of my favorite art forms, and it was really fun to translate that into a graphic.  With so many ways to illustrate a wave, by the time I had gotten down to the bottom for the page, I knew I wanted to use a jagged calligraphic style to write “deviantART.” In manipulating the colors of the drawing, I got to see color schemes develop that I wouldn't have been able to visualize on white paper. 

After transferring my sketches of the waves to the digital realm, I started adding more fuzzy, chattering, dramatic marks. This was a bit too much visually, and the multitude of colors made the music seem really loud. I added “deviantART” in this phase, and its clean lines were a nice juxtaposition to the contrasting visual.

The letters were really interesting to me, so I pushed the sharpness of the waves and laid them over a halftone pattern to accentuate their bold line. The rounded ends were really pleasing to the eye and made the halftone dots visually correlate with the underlying pattern. These colors were really exciting and vibrant, but they didn’t end up being the final palette. 


The final graphic was pulled back to a clean set of overlapping sound waves – one of which was very crisp, while the other looked much more organic. 

Holding true to the original concept, I was really interested in the idea of waves literally moving through the design and around the wearer as they listened to the sounds emanating from the drawstring’s earbuds. To help manifest that visually, the decision was made to add a design to both sides, effectively wrapping the garment in sound. 

Thrilled with the looks of the final digital mockup, we sent the piece off to the printer. 

The models were quick to put on the piece on our brisk day of shooting, and they were so comfortable, they were the first to see that it’s truly the perfect Hoodie to take with you anywhere you might need to snuggle up or listen to some tunes of your own.

Visit the deviantART T-Shirts & Gear Shop's Hoodies Category to shop this and other HoodieBuddie Headphone Hoodies in the Holiday 2012 Collection. Click here to go there now.

Apparel Collection: Better Chemistry

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 1:09 PM
Read About the Artistic Process Behind Better Chemistry

Better Chemistry Through Artwork
Exploring Science in Design

As artists, it is really important that we venture outside of our comfort level and look for inspiration in a multitude of places. DeviantART is a great place to find all sorts of different types of art that are as different or similar to your own as you can imagine. Beyond the arts, it’s good to look to other fields of study and other thought processes for creative insight. Bringing in elements from unconventional fields of inspiration can really broaden your audience and help make your art a rich experience for all who view it.

This shirt was designed with science in mind. I often study science books and watch nature shows for ideas to bring into my work. Better Chemistry is a nod to the science of chemistry and its beautiful visuals. This illustration can be worn while meticulously testing out your artistic ideas and solving your creative theories. Be an alchemist of art! Explore with your art tools and document the journey. Remember to show your work ;)

One morning, I was experimentally building sculptures with a molecular model set for organic chemistry. I thought it would be great to build a molecule chain that looked like a cluster of characters connected in these chainlike ways.

These characters are fun, but a bit grimy and not clean like these orbs were. Suddenly, I had an epiphany when I made the molecules look like the letters “dA.” I was super excited about this realization, but it needed something more. Sometimes, though, all you need is a spark to send you down what will prove to be the path to a breathtaking work of art.

While building this entire collection, I was working with tonybricker, who I know to be a science-loving artist as well. I did a quick sketch for him of “dA” as a periodic table element. Whether for inspiration or to tool with until he went down a different road of his own, I’m not sure, but this would go on to be the basis of the graphic, and the other ideas floating around like molecules in our heads would be shelved for future use.

Our science-meets-art conversations went back and forth as we did more sketches to develop this new idea. We looked at the Periodic Table of Elements and researched how scientists have used it over time, even delving into how scientific illustrators themselves have tackled this topic historically. Research is fun when you’re interested in the subject matter and inspired by the outcome of your project.

It made sense for this design to be super clean and straightforward with a devious twist. We added a tagline that we’d come up with along the way, too.

From the sketchbook, the graphic went digital, and it was time to talk about color. Since we were dealing with science, we did want the color scheme to be “serious.” We explored many colorways and landed on grey and red. As you can see in our Shop and in the pictures below, both the grey-on-red and the red-on-grey T-Shirt versions are rich and vibrant without being too flashy. The Hoodie in blue followed, and we went with a colorway a bit cooler in temperature but just as strong.

It’s always a suspenseful time when we’re finished with our design and send it off to the printer. Will the end result come out looking like the vision in our heads? 

The models donned the clothing at the shoot, and we were able to really appreciate the finished product. Success! Which colorway is your favorite?

Check out the Better Chemistry Through Artwork Hoodie here. Also, shop both colorways of the Better Chemistry Through Artwork T-Shirts here.

Apparel Collection: Never Normal

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 3:42 PM

Never Normal
Deviating from the Norm

While we should regularly observe and study traditional art and its history to inform our own pieces, deviantART exists as a community to encourage those within it to push the limits of “normal” and loudly embrace the title of “deviant”!  

In life, there’s a lot of black-and-white. To maintain order, things are sorted into categories and organized into piles. Signs all around us dictate what we can and can’t do, but rarely do they inspire us to create and imagine. When brainstorming this shirt, I very clearly imagined standing in front of a stark door, and on it was written “NORMAL” in black and all caps. Simple. Nothing fancy. Serious. 

Another vision appeared in my mind as I was brainstorming. The same door, the same authoritarian font, but this time, someone had scrawled something over the text, taking “NORMAL” right out of the equation, and leaving a beautiful, dripping reminder that sometimes it’s the right thing to deviate from the norm, go outside of the mainstream, and be DEVIANT!

This philosophy is exactly what I was going for when I set out to design Never Normal, and I really like how it turned out. Starting with a silver brush pen, I practiced drawing a simple sentence in my sketchbook. This proved to be too elegant, so I experimented with other methods, designs, and emotions.  

Pages and pages of my book were covered with different variations of the word deviantART or some version of it. I experimented with many different fonts in black marker and inverted the colors digitally, just to see how the silver would look against a dark surface. 

The experimentation of different thicknesses, tips, and inks went on thanks to a full quiver of pens. It’s always good to have a host of tools at the ready. 

With a broad silver marker, I experimented with Krink Ink on a blue surface. It looked beautiful on the rich hue, and the piece’s name was coined.

Next, I added wet drips and splattering to the piece. I turned it yellow digitally to test out that color scheme. It was striking for sure and definitely worth remembering for future projects, but I ultimately ended up with a few different color combinations as my favorites.

The final shirt colors were chosen to be mailbox blue and brick red. Metallic ink was specially ordered, and the design was sent to the printer. We were so excited to see the outcome. 

The metallic ink was more successful than I expected. It was printed straight over the “NORMAL” text and dramatically dripped down the front. 

These shirts help prove that striking through convention, breaking out from the norm, and finding comfort and strength in making your dreams come to life is the most powerful thing a deviant can do. And it’s never normal.

Deviants play well with others!

Apparel Collection: CMY

Fri Dec 7, 2012, 1:55 PM

A Celebration of Color Theory

The most difficult part of putting a piece of art on a printed surface is making sure it translates successfully. This design came about after I created a presentation for my co-workers on color theory. A lot of studying went into the lecture, and because I was presenting to deviantART staff, I wanted to make sure everything I was saying was on point. Color theory has everything to do with association -- in other words, how the colors live next to each other on the color wheel in the visual spectrum. When looking at your screen, it takes the three colors – red, green, and blue added together on a black canvas -- to make all of the colors you are seeing. But in traditional media and print technologies, it takes three other colors starting from the white canvas to make the infinitely wide gamut of hues: cyan, magenta, and yellow. In theory, mixing the three colors (referred to collectively as “CMY”) will make black, but in most cases, it makes an organic dark grey. For this reason, we add black (K) to the mix to get a robust spectrum. 

Starting with a sketch, I knew I wanted to make a piece that only used the three hues -- C, M, and Y -- to make an interesting piece of art. Having a light bulb in the center of the spectrum was a primary thought, but I kept going back to the three main colors. 

There are many theories on how to think about colors and how to artistically use them. Color wheels (like the ones below) show different and exciting examples. The Color Bias wheel on the left (painted from an art lecture) shows how neighboring hues react together when the same color's temperature is warm or cool. On the right is Grumbacher brand art materials' color wheel, which is a much more dynamic illustration of the three-dimensional interaction between opposing colors on the wheel and how they make neutral grey when added together. It also shows examples of how colors react when black and white are added. These are only two examples of many ways color theory can be visually explained, but they're some of my personal favorites -- simple and thorough. Isn't color theory fascinating? 

The color wheel inspired me to pull out the traditional media and mess around with limited colors. Even in simplicity, there are some beautiful and playful moments. 

Watercolor, markers, colored pencils, and hard crayons all use the same hues, but have different features on the media. It’s really fun to mess around and just experiment to find interesting outcomes

These colors are everywhere in nature, and I found examples of them just by looking around outside. Sometimes the best way to find a color scheme for a piece is simply to look at Mother Nature. Beautiful. 

If only I could paint as well as this tree does!

Traditional media was an insightful adventure, but my creative intention was to represent the color much cleaner with crisp levels of transparency. I knew I liked the concept of the hues with some graphic splashes of black and white. You can see here that I even pulled in some found objects to conceptualize with. 

Fully inspired, I jumped back into the digital space where RGB is king…usually. First I made a wheel of CMY divided into thirds and cut it into many pizza wedges. Those were turned transparent and, while trying to keep them pointed toward the center, I overlapped and scattered them, which created subtle color changes of secondary colors orange, green, and violet. 

A really tricky part was translating these little pizza slices of color into solid, printable screens. After I had mocked the piece with transparent layers, I got word that the printer didn't print transparencies, so I had to figure out a way to fake it so it appeared transparent. Sometimes the creative process throws you a loop -- POW! – and you gotta go with the flow and get real tricky to make your vision work! 

This was a totally successful experiment.  I used the halftone tool to make different value frequencies with tiny dots, so the forced “transparency” would still interact with the neighboring color. It worked! Here is a close-up of the detailed halftone dots. I really learned a lot on this piece!

For some graphic accompaniment, I added some white and black shapes and did some hand-written letters. This was definitely the piece in the collection that was furthest from my comfort zone, and it’s one of my favorites printed in those strong hues. 

The models looked great in the piece as well. 

Lesson learned. Allow yourself to push your boundaries, because you will always learn from these experiences. Whether outside your comfort zone or within the confines of something that appears to be a roadblock, seeing a project through to completion can yield beauty you didn’t even know you were capable of.

Visit the deviantART T-Shirts & Gear Shop to shop CMY and the rest of the Holiday 2012 Collection. Click here to shop now.