My Process Hand Lettering A New Shirt Design for Redbubble
This week I focused my efforts on completing my 1st commission of the year for Redbubble. They hired me to illustrate a new t-shirt design to celebrate 11 years of them being in business. The creative direction was very open because they wanted something that was uniquely my style. All I had to use was the number 11 and the Redbubble logo, and the rest was up to me.
In this above video, I walk you through my entire hand lettering process from initial inquiry all the way to final delivery. I hope that it will inspire you to create more freelance illustration work from your own lettering.
I started by design process by doing a brain dump of ideas in the form of small rough thumbnails. By deciding first on a "Mind Map Meld" of words to describe what I want to draw, helps me focus on the different ways I can actually illustrate those words in my designs.
Rough Drawing Concepts
After some experimentation, I decided on two different concepts to present to my client. Out of all my ideas, I always like to choose my top two to that my client can choose from.
Concept 1 - Icon Party
After doing some research I discovered the most popular themes on Red Bubble that sell the most products. Things like dinosaurs, cats, space, robots, and ice cream were among the top images used.
So I decided to combine all the best illustrations to create one big party inside the number 11. That way this shirt could perfectly represent red Bubble as a whole and show off the diverse personality of their audience more.
Concept 2: Pizza Please
I made a few options where I choose one of top themes to base my entire illustration off of. But out of all them, pizza was by far the most predominant of the entire site.
So I decided to make the crust as the serif of the 11 and the base as the cheese and pepperoni to keep this design simple yet delicious. Then as a final though took the Redbubble logo, and naturally took a bit out of it.
After some back and forth, we decided to create an additional concept where I would hand letter the word eleven in a script style while encasing the icons inside a circle. It was surprising to see how versatile these characters were and how I could easily rearrange them to fill their new container.
I hand-lettered the word eleven in a thick baseball tee like style similar to some of Red Bubble's favorite pieces of mine that I have on their website. I add a swash from the v so I could have my robot highlighted with "Let's Party" to better drive home the fun aestetic.
Final Color Details
After the final drawing was approved I got started on the really fun part, the details. I inked my pieces making sure that I used varied width strokes in order to give my characters more depth while showing off the details in a subtle way.
Then I started with a rainbow-like color palette in order to get an idea of what characters needed to as for them to be the most recognizable. Then once I had everything filled in, I started to minimize my color choices so the piece could be more cohesive.
Finally, I did a super zoom in on my work to ensure that my line work was clean and I was coloring inside the lines. It's these small details that can easily take a piece from "cool" to "HOT DAMN"!