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Welcome to Compete-tee-tion! This site tracks all the biggest news in the t-shirt design competition world, from reviews of new releases to information on new contest opportunities.

04 December 2019 ~ 0 Comments

Threadless: Orange Cat and more new this week

Orange Cat by kooky love (kooky love) is my favorite Threadless print this week. I love the pure nonsense of it, combining a cat and a peeling orange for no other reason than that it’s fun and silly. Even better, the unraveling of the creature references Escher’s Rind piece and employs a level of detail and skill that is up to the challenge that imitating the optical illusion master invites. With a cheerful sprig of green leaf resting on its head like a hat and clear, beautiful eyes, the cat even manages to convey a demure, innocent personality. If you like a weird shirt, I can’t recommend this one enough.

My Little Submarine by Zhao Xiang (micronisus) creates a classic sight gag by placing a giraffe, neck and all, in the periscope of a submarine. It makes a strong connection between two similarly-shaped objects, and employs its lines smartly to do it. The giraffe is solid white (with just a scattering of light blue shapes on its neck to confirm its species), while the rest of the design plays out in white lines on blue fabric like a blueprint. This style allows the artist to give the submarine’s exterior a thick line (making it the second focal point after the giraffe), and also to full in some technical-looking detail at a lighter line weight that gives the vehicle the feeling of a real, working environment. If you look closely you’ll even spot a scarf and little cap on this submariner- the giraffe is in uniform!

Space Fungi by Joey Klarenbeek (joey_klarenbeek) strikes me as a design that is countering expectations to make an impact. Mushrooms are usually small, white or brown, and like to cover the forest floor like a sheet. So it feels interesting, even a bit shocking, to see them behaving so differently here- stock-straight in stem, blue in color, and visibly towering over the scene in a strong vertical line. It’s an alien experience, made even more so when you notice that these strangely acting shrooms are bursting out of an actual space helmet. Did they learn this from whatever poor soul wore the helmet before it ended up here, or have they merely been inspired? Either way, they’re headed for the sun. My one disappointment with this design is the placement- I think an off-center, side print would have emphasized the art’s oddball qualities and made an even bigger statement.

Eat the Rich by Rodrigo Leonardo Batista Ferreira (rodrigobhz) takes a popular anti-capitalist slogan and takes it to an amusing comic conclusion, slicing Scrooge McDuck like a Christmas ham. By using a cartoon character, and a famously miserly and ill-tempered one at that, the slogan remains playful and amusing, the kind of joke that would resonate with people of a wide variety of political persuasions. In addition to the strong concept, color is used very effectively. The red of the slogan is only used as the head interior and for dripping blood, a grisly choice that helps the art to read clearly and quickly even from a distance.

Plants are Friends by Sanja (odsanyu) pairs handwritten text and doodle style for a very sweet result. In a lot of artists’ hands, a slogan like “plants are friends” would have lead to faces on every blossom and leaves holding hands with stems. But I’m very charmed by the restraint shown here, which invites us to appreciate plants as they really are, not how we imagine them to be. I also like that the illustrations remain white and grey, letting the various green tones of the garments imply the plants’ full color. It feels like bits of a nature-lover’s sketchbook transferred to a tee.

Threadless prints new shirts every week, chosen from the designs submitted by and voted on by site members. Most winners earn $1 to $7 per item sold.

03 December 2019 ~ 0 Comments

Threadless’s Dada design contest

Indulge in some nonsense with Threadless‘s new Dada design contest! Here’s what they’re looking for…

Fueled by disgust for the First World War, artists in Zurich protested by making anti-art art. Satirical and anti-bourgeois in content, their performances, poetry, collages, and art challenged the logic and aestheticism of modern capitalist society. Artists like Hugo Ball, Hans Arp, Marcel Duchamp, and many more rebelled against the traditional values that were held at the time, pushing the boundaries of logic and politics.

Join the art movement! Create dada-esque designs for this reason-defying challenge. Draw from sculpture, sound art, collage, literature, dance, and any other form that inspires you to design something altogether new. Blur the lines between mediums and mix up techniques. Layer photos and colors, cut and paste words, and break free from society’s expectations of art. Let humor and the spirit of art guide you on this anything-but-normal, dadaist pursuit.

This contest opens to entries on December 6th and ends on December 20th, 2019. One winner will earn $1000 cash and a $500 Threadless gift code. Also, all designers printed will earn up to $7 per item sold (learn more about Threadless artist payments).

02 December 2019 ~ 0 Comments

Shirt.Woot’s New Christmas Stuff: Gift sacks, tree skirts and aprons

Shirt.Woot ushered in the Christmas season with some holiday products the site has never offered before: gift sacks, tree skirts, and all-over print aprons. This was great news for participating artists since these unusual product types are a rare opportunity and have unique sizes and proportions to tackle, but it’s also very cool for customers since holiday gear tends to be quite traditional, making these designs that approach the holidays with geeky humor stand out from the norm.

Best of the Gift Sacks: “Sack of Crap” Large Gift Sack by Fishbiscuit5 is my favorite because it’s so perfectly suited to the Woot audience. The art and slogan directly reference the site’s famous Bag of Crap tradition (in which random mystery items are sent to buyers at a low price, with some receiving useful items while others get broken or useless ones). But even those who have never nabbed a BOC can appreciate the low key, playful sarcasm of calling the gifts you hand out enjoyable crap.

Also of note: My design “Reading Reindeer” Large Gift Sack makes Rudolph not just Red, but Well-Read with a pattern of books and pairs of reindeer sharing a read. This would be an especially good choice for those gifting a lot of books this year, or looking for a festive way to store holiday reading material.

Best of the Tree Skirts: “Catmas” Tree Skirt by DoOomcat circles the tree with a whole bunch of cats enjoying holiday decorations in different ways, whether they’re stealing a candy cane or sneaking into a present. It’s a great concept because it plays into the habit cats have of climbing Christmas trees- if they’re going to be in there creating chaos anyway, you may as well celebrate it!

Also of note: “The Nice List” Tree Skirt by DoodleToots has a lovely sentiment, and hand-drawn text that feels warm and retro, like a Christmas card on your grandparents’ mantle. I really like the way the art curves around the tree on a scroll.

Best of the Aprons: My design “Gingerdead” Apron makes some cookies into zombies, for an all-over print that mixes holiday cheer with pure cookie carnage.

Also of note: My design “Merry Drinkmas” Apron and its companion piece “Merry Feastmas” Apron are for folks who know that the best part of the holidays is all the food. Rows of beer, wine, meats, and desserts are translated into stitched sweater style for extra winter coziness.

The Complete Set: “Merry Christmas” by Simic is the only design to be offered on all three product types, offering a unique opportunity to match all your holiday gear. I like how the art evolves to fit each format, curving around the tree for the skirt and squeezing in a snowman in the extra space of the apron.

This promotion will only last until 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday. So if there’s something you like, grab it fast!

30 November 2019 ~ 0 Comments

Shirt.Woot Derby #738: Pop-y Product Labels

Shirt.Woot has a new derby theme in store…

Starting Monday at 8pm: Derby #738: Pop-y Product Labels

This week’s guest editor is @Wheels03! Impress him with your mighty swords pens!

Your design must be in the style of a product label or product with a label on it. Those product labels must be inspired by pop culture, think the Han Solo’s hair gel, the killer bunny’s toothpaste or Inigo Montoya’s favorite soup!

No cream tees, no politics.

This derby begins Monday at 8pm CST and continues through the following Monday at 8pm. Three designs (determined by votes and editor input) will be printed as daily offers on Tuesday through Thursday and earn $1000 and $2 per item sold after the first day of sales. Other designs may be selected for a Plus sale, with each selected design earning $2 per item sold.

29 November 2019 ~ 0 Comments

Shirt.Woot’s Winter Wander derby voting highlights

Shirt.Woot‘s Winter Wander derby is their first contest to use the new Monday to Monday competition timeframe, and between that shift and the holiday week, it has to be said that participation, both in number of entries and voters, seems to be a bit down so far. Which is too bad, because the theme (and its pop culture restriction) has a lot of opportunity for fun, snowy designs. Luckily a lot of the work that has been entered is fun and interesting, though I’m hoping more entries will trickle in by the end of the weekend. Here’s a look at two current voting underdogs that I think could use some more attention…

Are We There Yet? by Spiritgreen evokes nostalgia with both retro video game styling and a pixel-perfect wood paneled station wagon.

Expect Delays by ChuckleNorris somehow manages to make the bear look even sleepier by omitting his eyes entirely and highlighting his slumped posture with the background circle.

This derby continues through Monday at 8pm. The top three designs (determined by votes and editor input) will earn $1000 cash and $2 per item sold. Additionally, other designs may be selected for future plus sales and sold for $2 per item each.

28 November 2019 ~ 0 Comments

Happy Thanksgiving!

27 November 2019 ~ 0 Comments

Threadless’s Wakeup and more new this week

Wakeup by Tobe Fonseca (tobiasfonseca) is my favorite Threadless print this week. It’s simple but effective, contrasting the wide, round form of the coffee mug with the narrow, sharp lines of the heartbeat monitor. The message reads loud and clear- the injection of coffee immediately raised the heart rate. For the legions of people who rely on a morning coffee to wake them up in the morning, it’s a very relatable concept. And even better, it’s been expressed in a clean, one-color composition without any extra frills or distractions from the main story. Solid work.

Badass Cat by Joel Robinson (obinsun) stands out with its fat lines. Their thickness gives the art a unique character that softens the subject matter, making everything feel a bit overstuffed like a big, fluffy pillow. That means that even though this tough little cat literally sits with a skull and array of weaponry at his feet, you can’t help but want to give him a hug. With its use of simplified cartoon imagery and short dashed lines, it strikes me as a fresh, modern descendant of Keith Haring’s work.

Sushi Persian Cat by Chalermphol Harnchakkham (huebucket) puts a variety of cats into sushi rolls, with hilarious results. I think the concept is strong because, as most sushi involves fish, it’s easy to see a cat being curious (and hungry) enough to get mixed up in it. Each cat reacts a bit differently, some scared, others mad, or even just plain resigned to their new fate. The size difference between the cats and the food they inhabit adds a kind of absurdist charm. To me, this is the kind of cat shirt that appeals even to those who have no strong feelings about cats, because it’s more about a silly approach to sushi than something aimed squarely at pet owners.

Wrong Vacation by Elizabeth (Agimat ni Ingkong) is an especially cool vacation snapshot, imagining a futuristic, spacesuit-clad fellow taking a trip to the very distant past. While our lead character waves at the camera obliviously, dinosaurs of all shapes and sizes roar behind him and a volcano ominously puffs thick clouds of smoke. It looks crazy dangerous… but also kind of like the most amazing vacation ever? The vibrant colors of the background, especially that warm red, help the scene to come to life, and the fact that the traveller’s helmet obscures his face helps the viewer to imagine themselves as part of the story.

Grandma’s Territory by kooky love (kooky love) perfectly captures the odd status of many grandmas, cute and frail yet somehow also extremely fierce and impossible to defy. Personifying these qualities in an elaborately styled tiger with reading glasses captures the spirit of the paradox, and surrounding the creature with very grandmother-y, crafty, and homey things like flowers and cross-stitch lettering works well to soften (or at least camouflage) the tiger’s fangs. The slogan hits on the universal theme of grandmas wanting to over-feed their visitors, granting the design even more relatability and appeal.

Threadless prints new shirts every week, chosen from the designs submitted by and voted on by site members. Most winners earn $1 to $7 per item sold.