Posted by josh hooten on February 24, 2014
My favorite part of my job is doing designs for our shirts, stickers, buttons, and whatnot. Some of the work I do can be tedious (hello setting up inventory tracking software, a POS system, researching shipping modules, and routing ethernet cables around counters, shelves, and people!) so when I get to sit down and make art, it's a nice break from those other things.
My design process has changed a lot over the years as my personal interests have evolved. Most of our designs for many years started on the computer and ended on the computer. Which is great, but you get a very consistent look and feel when everything is done digitally, I think. You also don't get the happy accidents you get making art by hand.
One of my favorite quotes about the creative process, which I cannot attribute to anybody because I've forgotten where I heard it, is "Mistakes give us insight into the creative process of the artist." I've been leaning on that quote for a long time (because I make a lot of mistakes!). I like the little spaces where inks overlap, or the gaps where they don't. I like when a line breaks apart, or the line quality varies. I like the smudges and specks from using pencils, paint, ink, and other messy tools. Sometimes I clean it all up for the final product, often I don't. Of course you can fake all this digitally, but that isn't my style and isn't any fun. Of course it all has to get scanned and fiddled with in the end so it can be made into the films that get made into the screens that make the shirts, but I try and keep it out of the computer as long as possible and use the computer for as little as possible.
It's like some of my favorite old records where you can hear the chains on the bottom of the snare shake when the other instruments are playing (like the opening to Turnover by Fugazi). Or the Thelonious Monk record where you hear him yell "Coltrane! Coltrane!" (at 2:21) because John Coltrane didn't know when his solo was supposed to start. It all adds that special thing where you know there were human beings in a room together making that music and the imperfections (so called) are just part of the character of the date and the song.
So, with that being where my interests lay right now, almost all of my designs for the past couple of years have been done by hand. I've been posting a lot of the drawings on our Pinterest page, but I'm going to start posting them here as well. Below are some pictures from the piles of drawings for our next design. And if you need to see some footage of Fugazi playing one of my favorite songs, here you go.