Wednesday, 12 February 2014
Ministry of Jiu Jitsu
The Ministry of Jiu Jitsu is a government department I invented that would be solely in charge of furthering the development of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. The coat of arms was heavily inspired by the Royal Coat of Arms and the Ministry name was inspired by the UK's Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Justice.
Here's how I put it together...
Heraldry and coats of arms have a long history here in the UK and Europe. The coat of arms used in the UK by Royalty and the Government features a lion and a unicorn. My logo features my own hand drawn lion and unicorn, the former wearing a BJJ gi and the latter wearing fight shorts.
Here is one version of the coat of arms used by the courts of justice:
In the photographed example, the emblem is incredibly detailed and complex. I wanted my version to be reasonably detailed but not as complex as this one, as I knew it would not really print too well.
So I began by sketching the base design in pencil on paper:
This was the chance for me to try out embellishments and layout. I wanted the ribbon that the lion and unicorn to stand on to actually be a BJJ belt. Due to the central position of the belt knot, I couldn't really use the official coat of arms as a guide.
Once I was happy with the basic layout, I re-drew the design on paper, but this time the drawing was a lot cleaner - for tracing purposes.
Once the final draft pencil sketches were completed, I scanned them into my laptop and opened up Adobe Illustrator. Here I traced over the pencil drawings using the pen and blob brush tool.
I drew each element individually - so for example, I drew the lion and unicorn separately. The crown was most tricky and took a lot of time. Finally I was able to assemble all the components into the frame you see above.
I still had to draw the central shield and couldn't quite decide what to include in there. I researched coats of arms from various parts of the UK, as well as other countries. As an aside, did you know Brazil has a lot of coat of arms. For the country as well as the various regional centres. This one is particularly cool: -
For my central shield, I decided to reprise some older favourite drawings of mine: gorillas, koi, shaka and bear.
I wanted my coat of arms to be printed onto a black background. But when I inverted the line art, it looked like this:-
It was okay but just not as I had imagined. It needed to look fuller, thicker and fatter, to use some non-technical terms.
To solve that problem, I played around with fills, keylines and other tricks in Illustrator. The result was that the original line art could still remain black...apart from the belt and a few other bits, which I left as they were.
The final t-shirt was printed using metallic soft inks. The printer was worried some of the really fine detail I used within the design would not come out through the mesh. He was correct, however I felt it was not a disaster. Few people would scrutinise the t-shirt at microscopic level. From a distance, the design succeeded in creating impact, while looking 'official' in some capacity.
Go to my website and the store to buy this t-shirt. www.meerkatsu.com