L. the Third

L. the Third

The thing about wearing an anime shirt is that there are certain assumptions that go along with. True, there’s less and less of a stigma associated with anime each year, nevertheless it still has a certain- juvenile association. The interesting thing about this design though is it comes about as close as an anime design can of escaping the judgement while still employing a cartoon style.

Stylistically this image feels both retro and modern in its use of shapes and cell shading that almost in a way that suggests cutouts and papercraft. The former is growing in popularity in anime fan art, and the ladder is slowly making its way into more and more museum collection. The pallet is unique, and the skewed rectangular background gives the composition an interesting mid-century kind of feel. The fact that lupin is rather obscure, within America at least, actually works in the designs favor. The image is fun, stylized, and dynamic; in sporting something slightly obscure you’ll escape the eye rolls and perhaps more easily find those in the know or worth knowing.

Design by: Idriu95
Price:  $22.00 @ Teefury
Colors: Black, Navy

Mouse Explosion Cheese

Mouse Explosion Cheese

Packaging and character design are two criminally under appreciated forms of art, but if one were going to make a vinyl figure out of this character they wouldn’t have to do much of anything to use this image for the box. The character design is interesting, if admittedly a little impractical looking. The fashion design is certainly unique; somewhere between medieval armor, cybergoth, and 90’s rave wear. Ren Wei Pan seems to have developed a whole series of these anime pinup girls in animal themed costumes. With a little bit of world building there’d probably be an interesting story.

The reason ‘Mouse Cheese Explosion” was chosen as oppose to the 10-15 others in her store is that of all of them this was probably the least risqué. In thinking about that one might ask why it is that men generally wont wear shirts with hot, naked to semi-naked, women on them, but they will and regularly do get tattoos of naked women. Perhaps it’s that they can be covered up in most instances./? There also doesn’t seem to be this hesitation of female nudity on shirts for women themselves, though it’s admittedly not super common. With enough artistic merit, as is the case here, maybe it wouldn’t matter in any case.

Design by: Ren Wei
Price:  $20.00 @ Teepublic
Colors: Black, White, Grey, Red, Pink, Green, Purple, Blue, Light Blue

Rainbow

Rainbow

Shirt design featuring the bust of a dark skinned woman, in anime style, and with multicolored/ fauvist style hair

The hair gives the design its energy. Theres something Fauvist about its jarring shifts in color, maybe late 80’s- early 90’s in its wild pattern. The colored outline that starts in the hair and works it way over the shoulders gives the image a fun youthful expression. Perhaps in the way that cyberpunk has grown to dominate our visual representation of the future, by channeling elements from the same decade the artist has tapped into futurism without having to be as explicit.

The bottom half of the design is more dreamy, more retro, and comforting. The head and the body, what is revealed and hidden are complimentary, but one is not as bold as the other. Thematically it ads interest. Compositionally it ads contrast, but not so much as to take the eye from the focal point.

Then There’s the face and more strikingly the eyes. The Blending in the skin is dramatic rather than naturalistic. The artist definitely tips her hand as far as the work being digital, which is not a bad thing. Expressiveness of stroke wont normally blend this well/ softly in a physical medium. The distinctly digital aspect of the face and eyes is what makes this image contemporary. It’s too bold to be a museum or an academic piece, but it feels too complicated and nuanced to be commercial. Lastly there are the eyes with their highlight approaching lens flairs. Very well done in terms of depth and expression. The Framing of the eyes with the bow and hair is masterful.

Whether or not the placement and scale of this image is hard to say. Teepublic is one of the few sites that doesn’t use a model to preview their designs. It’ might be a little big and too much on the stomach, rather than centered on the ribs. Regardless, GDBee has made a great design, and her entire oeuvre is worth a glance or follow.

Design by: GDBee
Price:  $20.00 @ Teepublic
Colors: White, Tan, Black, Navy, Grey, Hot Pink, Teal

Chihiro Spirit

Chihiro Spirit

While Ostensibly this image is about Spirited Away, upon closer inspection one can see that the subject become more a canvas for stylistic exploration. It’s easy enough to convert a character from one art style to the next, and were that all that was occurring this work wouldn’t be all that remarkable. Within the surrounding imagery though is a confluence of disparate styles and references that allow the viewer to plum the depths of their own personal pop cultural knowledge and associations.

The orange moon with the tapered edges seems like it wants to be east asian inspired, but the vertical lines, the grid that it forms seems to make it 80’s à la Patrick Nagel. The plants however are in a decorative, possibly art nouveau, style and completely incongruous with the rest of the image. The way they’ve been colored is incongruous with this forms themselves and seems closer to modern psychedelic art, which true, did borrow from art nouveau, but wouldn’t have used this particular motif do to its intricacy. The pink outline of the smoke could be cyberpunk neon, or indie inspired line work. The central figure is reminiscent of soft cell animation, particularly that of the Capcom variety. In short, there’s a lot going on here, and that’s what makes the composition interesting and more than a simple reference piece.

Design by: Heydale
Price:  $22.00 @ Teefury
Colors: Black

3-2-1 Let’s Jam

3-2-1 Let’s Jam

Cowboy Bebop Tee

The Show ‘Cowboy Bebop’ does not suffer a lack of good t-shirt designs. One of the hallmarks of the show was the way in which it blended genres and styles such as noire, scifi, westerns, or jazz. Over the years this genre bending has proven fertile ground for designers and Cowboy Bebop provides artists a lot to work with. Of all the shirt designs I’ve seen ‘3-2-1- Let’s Jam’ has always been my favorite.

Compositionally this work Reminds me a lot of the movie posters done by Drew Struzan [Blade Runner, Indiana Jones, The Empire Strikes Back] with its stacked figures and distortion of scale. This makes sense as the poster would have preceded the shirt, and likely would have been influenced by the history and nature of that media, but it’s surprising just how well most of Iaccarino’s poster designs translate to t-shirts. Those who use the rectangle of their canvas, by cropping specific elements for the purpose of creating balance within the composition, as is done here, will struggle along the borders of their work when it is transferred to apparel. Thankfully Iaccarino has chosen to avoid what is, in my opinion, the cardinal sin, of slapping a large rectangle on this shirt. This never looks good and I don’t know why anyone does it. Through the use of shrewd editing has managed to avoid this pitfall, and the silhouette of the design is very strong.

In terms of color, the design utilizes that pared down palette that seems to be in fashion with the ‘limited edition movie poster‘ set. The palette while perhaps being a little closer to cyberpunk in its saturation comes across as more of a personal take on the show’s ‘space noir’ art style then a perfectly faithful reproduction.


Design by: Artist| Alexander Iaccarino, Username| thatkidwhodraws
Price:  $20 TeePublic
Colors: Black