Thursday, 14 November 2013

Typhoon Haiyan Fundraiser T-shirt

I collaborated along with my BJJ artist friends Bong Abad (Gawakoto) and Matt Benyon (Scramble) to produce this t-shirt. All profits raised will be donated to aid relief organisations who are working right now to bring help and repairs caused by the devastation of by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.

The t-shirt is available to buy here -

Here is a little more information about the creative process. This was my first involvement in a three-partner design collaboration.

In the aftermath of the devastating typhoon Haiyan, Bong, who is himself Filipino, approached both Matt and myself with the suggestion of producing a fundraising t-shirt to help the survivors. The BJJ community is traditionally incredibly good at mobilising support for good causes so I was very glad to be a part of the project.

Bong, Matt and I threw around ideas. In the end, we settled on the Kalabaw (water buffalo) as a symbol of strength for the Filipino people and a demon. The kalabaw would be submitting the demon using a rear naked choke hold. It was our visual metaphor to show support and strength through adversity. Matt would supply his type treatments and overall layout.

I began the process with lots of demon heads. Since the characters would be viewed cropped in quite tightly, it was important to get the right facial expression and detail:

After settling on the head, I traced over with the body detail. I had to imagine the kalabaw behind the demon but with his arms around the demon's neck performing the submission.

The pencil line art above was scanned and sent over by email to Bong so he could take over with his kalabaw. The image below was what he sent back to me - as you can see, my demon was very conveniently re-coloured in blue and placed on a its own Photoshop PSD layer:

The next stage was for my to brush over the rough layer with Photoshop. This was made slightly tricky in that I had injured my arm during jiu jitsu class just prior so my hand strokes were very slow and shaky. Thank goodness for the erase tool!

Once I had inked up all of my demon, I sent the PSD file over to Bong who proceeded to tidy up all the layers and merge them as one. He also applied a neat layer of half tone dots as shading. We knew that we only wanted to print this on the t-shirt in one colour, so halftone is a very useful tool to use where colour is not an option.

The artwork portion of the design was completed over roughly 6-7 hours - most of it very late at night. In the morning, Matt took over the file and played around with text and layout for the eventual t-shirt. Wording was important too. Bong and Matt liked the following tagalog verse:

Ang bayaning nasusugatan, nag-iibayo ang tapang.
Which translate roughly to:
A hero that is wounded, becomes braver & stronger

Bong just altered one word to the following:
Ang bayang nasusugatan, nag-iibayo ang tapang.
A nation that is wounded becomes braver and stronger.

After some discussion over pricing, quantities, PR and other logistics, the final design was approved by all parties and we unleashed the news to the masses. We all decided yellow was a neat tee choice. It is a colour from the Philippine flag and it is a colour of hope. It is also the first three-partner collaboration design project I have ever been involved with. I'm very proud and happy with the final product.

Braver & Stronger is available on pre-order at Gawakoto Clothing Store until Monday 18th November 2013. T-shirts will take roughly two weeks to produce.


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