The Heavenly Footlock t-shirt is a collaborative project together with Tatami Fightwear, BJJHQ and 93 Brand to raise funds for the charities RAINN and Rape Crisis.
When I first began sketching down the concept, I realised quickly it would be quite a task to get it looking as technically decent as I wanted it, and I needed help too....
I first came up with the idea of a geisha submitting a demon using jiu jitsu skills for my Tap Cancer Out charity t-shirt. It's a cool theme that I would like to return to every now and again. I guess the above design is my sequel to the Tap Cancer Out design.
|1. Initial sketches just to play with layout and basic anatomy|
|2. An initial attempt at a proper composition|
|3. The sketched out version was ok, but a little stiff perhaps?|
|4. The re-drawn version improves the geisha body position|
The sketch stage was very hard to get right. I must have drawn and fully redrawn the above composition a dozen times. Each one starting from scratch. I wanted to get the design both technically right from a jiu jitsu point of view, and aesthetically right, from an artistic point of view. Finally however, I felt it was good enough to proceed to the next stage..redrawing the whole thing again using vector pathways on Adobe Illustrator:
|5. Vector work - I mostly use the pen tool|
|6. An exaggerated swirling kimono adds a flourish to the piece|
|7. Photoshopped draft shows the potential as a poster design|
With the linework done, the next tricky phase for me to decide on were the colours to be used for the t-shirt. I played around with dozens of colourways. In the end I chose a fairly traditional blue vs red combination for the subject matter set against a plain black t-shirt base. I felt black would enable the smaller elements in the design pop out.
|8. Close-up of the actual t-shirt, which was discharge printed|
|9. Another close-up shows the excellent printing work (HandPrint Store)|
Finally, I wanted to design something simpler for the back of the t-shirt. I usually dislike dumping sponsor logos on without care and attention so with this tee I reprised a close-up of the foot lock itself and surrounded it with some kanji. The Japanese reads: 天足取り搦み (ten ashi dori garami) which roughly translates as heavenly foot lock. I used a judo manual to obtain the judo term for footlock: ashi dori garami. Apologies to fluent Japanese readers for my probably terrible interpretation of Japanese!
|10. Back design features kanji, footlock art and sponsor logos|
|11. The final t-shirt design|