• Photographed my own hand for reference, then sent this initial sketch to Adobe.
I was approached by my friends at Adobe to get some input on a tshirt design they wanted to do for the San Diego Comic Convention. They wanted a little limited edition thing to give out to people who dropped by their booth, but something a bit more interesting than just the Photoshop logo. Something people would want to wear with pride.
So my kneejerk, knuckle-headed response was “We should make an ’80s metal shirt!” and to my complete surprise they jumped at the idea. The only reason I blurted that out in the first place is because I wanted that shirt for myself. After I stopped laughing I got right to it. Chrome text, fist, red brush text… this design got it all. Tour tshirts always have the tour dates listed on the back, so for this one I listed all the dates of Photoshop’s major version releases and the actual codenames. So nerdy, man.
Once I started building that chrome hand I thought I may have bitten off more than I could chew. Never tried anything like that before, but it all came together in the end. Picked up a few new skills along the way, can’t sneeze at that. Above you can see I took a photo of my own hand for reference.
As of now, this shirt will only be available at the Adobe booth (#4145) at SDCC, and only through my man Daniel Presedo. Hit him up on Twitter. Very limited supply, so if you’re going to be there and want one of these silly things, you’ll need to act fast!
Much to my surprise at the time, around 5 years ago I was contacted by MTV and asked to develop a line of cool tshirts that played on design motifs from the 60s through to the 90s. A number of shirts representing each decade. Obviously I was wildly excited and dove into developing some visuals, seen above. Everything you see here is still in the conceptual phase, nowhere near complete. Never showed these before.
The project ended up skidding to a halt and ultimately cancelled, which was unfortunate as I was having a great time exploring these styles. One of those cool jobs that got away, y’know? I look back fondly on this work as it was one of my first big Signalnoise client jobs and really forced me to into a number of different styles all at once. Very challenging. But it’s kinda bittersweet. I wish I’d gotten this call NOW as I know I could handle the work much easier, and develop designs and concepts that I wasn’t capable of 5 years ago.
Maybe MTV and I will give this another shot someday. Who knows?
Leather jacket mock-up.
Over the last little while I feel like I’ve been mired in paperwork and administrative stuff. Necessary evil I understand, but I’m a creative guy and my interests will always lie in making things. The craft of it all. So when I’m forced to deal with taxes and forms and whatever else that takes away from my creating, it puts me in a quiet and pretty foul mood. Just want to make things, man.
That said, I wanted to create something a bit rebellious this week. Call it therapy or whatever, but a lot of times my state of mind translates almost directly into my work. Couple that with getting into SONS OF ANARCHY recently and we end up with the Signalnoise Biker design. I wanted this one to look like it was drawn by someone in an MC, then photocopied over the years. Degraded. Last thing I wanted was something “slick” for this one, y’know? A few people said it looked like Skeletor, which is fine. Was going for a laughing Reaper. Very inspired by the SOA patch.
I’ll be arranging a sticker and t-shirt pressing this week. Watch for this one in the Signalnoise Store soon.
Here are a couple more things I worked on recently for Kevin Smith, which you might have seen at the merch table if you saw Kevin live during his UK/Ireland tour. Here we have the UK/Ireland tour poster as well as a t-shirt designed for Jason Mewes featuring his favorite saying, Half Half Whole.
Kevin and his team are always a pleasure to work with. Real nice people, enthusiastic about their shows and always positive feedback when I send them designs. Absolute dream client. I never get the impression I’m working for them, rather working along side them. That goes a long way, man.
I even had the pleasure of meeting Kevin and Scott Mosier when they were in Halifax a couple of weeks ago. Super nice guys, really love what they do. They invited me to hang out and watch the show from backstage. Amazing time.
If you get the chance to see Kevin and his friends speak live in your city, I highly recommend it.
Here we go. On the list of “cool stuff I hope to do during my career as a designer”, this project lands right at the top, filed under “1. Design a shirt for my favorite metal band”. Enter the heavy as hell, talented Texans known as The Sword.
Back in 2006 or something I came across a link to their Myspace and immediately thought “The Sword, that’s a cool name for a band” and decided to give them a listen. I fired up Iron Swan for the first time, which is a funny introduction to the band’s sound considering the fairly long subdued intro. I was sitting at my desk with headphones on, then the song tore into the heavy and almost took my head clean off. Fan for life, right there. No foolin’. Been listening to the boys consistently ever since, throughout their albums Age of Winters, Gods of the Earth and their most recent space epic Warp Riders.
“Man, I’d love to work with those guys someday.” said James, years ago.
Last February I sit down at my computer and a tweet from the band pops up “Hey, we’re looking for an artist”, or something like that. 20 seconds later I had my website link over to them. 2 minutes later I shot over an email. Suddenly I’m emailing back and forth with the guys in my favorite metal troop, developed a poster that was used on 2 of their tours (Australia and Europe), and now a brand new t-shirt the boys will be having on-hand as they tour with Kyuss Lives this fall. So damn proud.
Shown above is what I created for the guys. Total artistic freedom, they let me run hog wild on this thing and offered some helpful tips along the way. You can definitely hear a vast metal influence in their sound so I wanted this design to be thrown back to the roots of metal … way back, talkin’ Black Sabbath days with a twist of The Sword in there. I used their older logo because it just reeks of old school metal. Love that thing. Shown here are 4 different colorways.
Be sure to check out the tour schedule, and watch for this shirt at their merch table and their online store (I would assume). Also, go listen to them. Now.
Small moral of the story. You never know what will happen when you try and chase down those dream projects. Sometimes it’s just an email away.
Throw this one into the “good people doing good work” file. At the beginning of all my broadcasts you will hear me say something like “Coming at you live from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.” Well, that’s where I live. We are a rough and tumble little crew holding down the shores of Dartmouth. A proud crew, who may or may not carry switchblades.
Well, allow me to introduce you to the small but mighty Dartmouth Clothing Co. Owned, operated, built, muscled and chiseled by my mohawked pal Eric Miller. He works his ass off on his designs, screen-prints all of these shirts in his basement by hand, then packs and ships everything on his own. This is homegrown, people. This is where it’s at. Brute force Eric. Not to be messed with.
There are 2 reasons why Eric and his Dartmouth Clothing Co. are landing on the blog. First off, Signalnoise supports this guy and what he’s doing. All on his own, just getting it done in 1-color awesomeness. Secondly, Eric and I had a meeting a little while back about a team-up, which I’m really excited about. Dartmouth Clothing Co. vs. Signalnoise. Designs are flowing and I’m excited to see these things on shirts. More details to come, so stay tuned.
In the meantime, swing over to the Dartmouth Clothing Co. website, visit the online store and drop Eric a line on Twitter.
Fun fact: Gottigen is a street here in Halifax, which is why that pistol design is so damn awesome. If you’re from here, you know what I’m talkin’ about.
Here is another design originally intended for a Nike Air t-shirt. This was created around the same time as the previous Los Angeles 1984 design, presumably for the same campaign. Once again, I was tasked with taking a previous illustration Nike had in their archive, and redesigning with a modern flare. This was a fun one, and I had a good time working with the gradients.
Once the job was complete I once again took it upon myself to finish the design with some textures and lighting. I enjoy doing the straight textures but the design really comes to life when those additional details are added.
The specific poster design you see here wasn’t used, just something I did after the fact. I’m not sure where the molecule design itself landed in the campaign, if you see it let me know.
Hey Halifax! I’m happy to announce that you now have easier access to the Signalnoise line of designer t-shirts. All of the designs are now available to purchase over at Strange Adventures comic shop on Sackville Street. If you live here in town, there is no need to order online and pay unnecessary shipping. Just drop into Strange Adventures to check out my wares. Made local by a local.
There is a display set up on the counter, tucked between the toys and comic books, exactly where I pictured my apparel to be in the first place. Big thanks to my buddy (and owner of the shop) Cal for setting all this up.