There are lots of different t shirt design techniques out there from photo realism, to abstract patterns to illustrative. This will be a multi part series on different design techniques with different styles of graphic illustrators, drawings and digital painters.
Illustrative T Shirt Designs
Illustrative t-shirt designers are masters of the pencil and Wacom tablet. Often times you will see them drawing out an imaginative design using the traditional pencil and pad. Many designers then scan the design into Adobe Photoshop to digitize the art and make it print ready. They load up Photoshop and grab the Wacom tablet for some serious designing. Retracing the original design sketch to create a digital format. This allows you to edit, add detail, fix errors, rotate and save different layers of your design.
Digital art allows the designer the freedom of adding and taking away elements at the click of a key. The art comes alive with different brushes, stroke widths, textures, and personal drawing techniques. Below there is a sample of an artist using a brush tool to really show the hatching highlights, and adding the lights and shadows to the details. Watch the video to see a Design By Humans artists bring this flat art to life with shadows and highlights to give a 3-Dimensional representation of a skull.
Once you have the pen in hand and cruising around the canvas there are tons of different textures, brushes and line drawings to test out. Check out this video tutorial for a ton of different digital art styles. Check out how just changing your brush can make for a very different style of art.
Detailed Drawings and great line work really make your t-shirt design stand out in a crowd. Developing a cool style of your own allows you to be recognized amongst a sea of artists. Stepping your fine details up to the next level can really elevate your art. A defined illustration style will stand out from the norm and practicing this skill is key. Illustrative t-shirt designs are often top sellers for many reasons. The hand drawn style has an organic and nature feel that people relate to. Extremely unique characters can capture an emotion or more that a viewer will enjoy.
View this Video for more T Shirt Design Techniques
There are great brush and illustrative design tips throughout the video from Wacom