12 Animals (That are Definitely Not an Octopus) by Gabe Pyle (GyleDesigns) is an easy pick for best of the week because it does so much well. For starters, it does a great job of reading in two very different ways, depending on the distance of the viewer. From afar the 12 Animals headline and colorful creature shapes make this seem like a really straightforward piece. But when you get closer, there’s a real jolt of humor in the new story that is revealed- as the title’s caption reveals, every animal is really a contorting octopus! The silliness doesn’t stop there, either, because it’s genuinely fun to see all these increasingly creative caricatures that the octopus manages, especially when they’re complicated like the T-Rex or monkey. A neon color palette sets just the right fun, fresh tone.
Sunset Wars by mu (MU_ART) definitely feels new and exciting with its intense oranges and teals on purple fabric. The sheer vibrancy draws you in, leaving you eager to explore every ebb and curve of those colorful, cloud-like shapes. But at the same time as the colors are what attracted me to the design, they’re also a major concern- I’m very skeptical that the DTG printing of this image will come anywhere close to the brightness shown in these mocks. For that reason, this is one of those times when I really wish Threadless still posted real product photographs. That said, even if the colors don’t turn out quite as promised, I think in terms of form there’d still be a lot to like about the art because of the way those undulating, organic forms are contained in the sharp confines of a rectangle- it feels very dramatic, like we’re seeing a thin slice of a massive event.
Bubble Town by Arkady (Arkzai) takes the idea of houses that look like they have faces and turns it all the way up to eleven. In this world, everything seems alive and full of personality- sometimes even in ways you wouldn’t expect, like the weird dog-faced building and the laughing blue sun. Part of the genius, though, is that some of the faces aren’t fully realized. For instance, the middle left green tower just has two dots- is it a face or just a couple of ordinary windows? A similar game is played with the yellow buildings at the bottom middle- the right one definitely reads as a face, but the left one just has one eye-like window. That creates an ambiance of wonder, where buildings might become something more before your eyes, feeding off your imagination. There’s also some very smart work happening here with color and tone, creating areas of shadow and dimension that almost make the eye dance across the canvas. Seriously good work.
I’m a Little Horse by Michael Buxton (DinoMike) takes an old pun and transforms it into something newly funny with some skillful cartooning. This little horse is a character you can’t help but immediately take a shine to, with his smiley look and pose that implies he’s jumping and skipping his way through life. It looks like 1) it would definitely be fun to be this horse, and 2) he would 100% love to say hello to you. I like that in this design, even the text is pulling its weight- while most would have probably kept the font consistent through the whole phrase, the artist manages to eke out some extra charm by putting little in cursive. It’s a touch that also makes you emphasize the phrase differently as you read it, which is a smart move.
Eclipse by Benji (Benjamin Ang) is another design that goes the extra mile. I feel like the genius here is all in the characterization. Once you see it, it seems utterly right for the sun to be scared of the dark, and overreacting terribly. And of course the poor moon is totally over this whole situation, bored and angry that he has to deal with the sun’s scaredy cat nonsense every few years. It has the feel of a fed-up parent dealing with a kid who just will not go to sleep, and that’s the kind of frustration that I think a lot of people can relate to.
Threadless prints new shirts every week, chosen from the designs submitted by and voted on by site members. Most winners earn $1 minimum per item sold (learn more about Threadless artist payments).