In a Cartoony Mood; making a Tee Shirt on Redbubble


Chicken Scratch
Digital drawing on Tee Shirt
Cindy Schnackel

Last night I was in the mood to draw very simply, bold black lines and solid color fill, which I enjoy doing with the mouse, in Photoshop. The results often make for good tee shirt art. I drew this directly into the tee shirt template provided by the site I sell my tees on,

Bold graphic designs work best on Tees, but even paintings and photos can work better than you would think. The main thing is to test it out and see if you need to lighten it or make other adjustments, as the appearance on fabric is different, and the site does a pretty good job of approximating that difference in it’s product view.  To deal with the issue of there being a lot of ink on the shirt with a full painting, I have often carved out the character with one of the erasing tools, or faded the edges etc.

With bold graphic images like this, if I want more air going thru the design, I punch a few holes with the eraser tool, and this creates the effect of colored spots that match the shirt. You can see it here on the chicken’s neck.  Though I don’t think RB’s tees are printed any more heavily than graphic tees in stores, I do like lots of air flow!  It’s hot here in Phoenix, especially this time of year.  BTW I think the heather gray is the coolest color but maybe it’s all in my head.

Learning to use the template was a bit of a learning curve for me, because at the time I made my first tees there, I had an older version of Photoshop Elements that didn’t do what was required.  On a newer version, it was no problem. A main thing to remember is the template is a PNG file not a JPEG.  And though it will print if you “Flatten” the image, you will lose the Transparency of the image, so if you must merge layers, use the Merge, not Flatten, under Layers.  If you flatten layers, all the background, etc, will print white. Ick.

Because of the transparency, and the way the design looks on different colored tees, it’s a good idea to upload the image and check the “private” box, so only you can see it. Then, play around with the colors, check for flaws, make your edits to the image file in Photoshop or whatever you’re using. When it’s good, uncheck the private box and go public with it, (unless of course you are only making it for yourself and want to keep it private).  Some things you might see when you upload a new design, are that colors may need to be adjusted, (lightened or increase saturation etc), or flecks of things you didn’t get with the erase may show.  If you want it to be available on all colors, you might need to make two versions, one for darks, one for lights.  Or, uncheck color options of shirts that do not work with your design, in Redbubble’s editing mode.

Making iPhone cases on Redbubble isn’t much different. It starts with their template and must stay within the size and file type required.  I’ve seen my art on a case someone bought, and it was very nicely printed and a good quality case.

We have a few of my tees and they’re also very nice, among my favorites for comfort, fit and appearance. The site says not to dry the tees in the dryer but I accidentally do all the time with no ill effect so far. I don’t recommend straying from their directions,  just saying I have and nothing happened in my case! (I never use the hot setting, maybe that’s why.)


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