10 August 2018 ~ 0 Comments

Threadless: Groovy Rubber Monsters and more new this week

Groovy Rubber Monsters by John Tibbott (quick-brown-fox) is my favorite Threadless design this week. It immediately made me smile, an unexpected burst of nostalgia that centered around a very common toy (those old monster finger puppets) that I hadn’t thought about in years. The illustration captures the whimsy of the toy, the way it feels in memory with its loose, wavy arms, wide fanged grin, and charmingly bulging eyes, while cleverly avoiding the less appealing reality of the toy (nicked paint that often made the characters more ghoulish than silly, and rough, webbed edges where the mold wasn’t precise). The rainbow type treatment and rounded cartoon letters amp up the retro feel, leaving the viewer with the impression of a weird, wild kids program in the style of Sid and Marty Krofft. So fun!

Feel Better! by Katie Lukes (k_lukes) won Threadless’s Over It challenge, which asked artists to draw over photos. While the concept of a bandaged earth is nothing new, the sheer amount of bandages, especially when paired with the planet’s very innocent, optimistic face, manages to make it still feel funny. A single bead of sweat, almost lost in the blue of the ocean, is the only clue that the earth does understand it’s plight- and once you see that, it’s hard not to view those eyes as panicked instead of merely wide. I really like that character choice, because it makes you truly emphasize with the earth and how it’s doing it’s best… no matter how much we try to destroy it. That kind of perseverance is admirable.

SNOOZER by Ian Byers (ibyes) is a nice bit of sloganing, changing the common phrase from “you snooze you lose” to a message more appropriate to a sleepy sloth. And indeed, the sloth is so tuckered out that he literally naps on top of the word Snooze, using the lettering like a kind of makeshift hammock. His long limbs and bulk block just enough of the lettering to create interest, not enough to affect readability. Although both the tree branches and the sloth are largely filled in with textural dashed lines, by shifting the lengths and spacing of those lines both are still made to feel like different materials. I also like the way a butterfly makes an appearance in the upper left- it’s a nice moment that gives the scene an observer, and also helps to fill in the environment that the story takes place in.

Retro Radio by BullyandBunny makes a great first impression with its bold shapes and cool spin on a famous lyric. The big, bulky old-fashioned boombox is like a time machine taking you back to hip hop’s early days. The hand-drawn style reflects the roughness of the era, with the hand-lettering feeling like an aspiring rapper’s scrawled notes, carefully considered but with individuality pumping through each line instead of clean vectors. The very thin flecks of black in the white of the piece make me think it may have been created with a scratchboard technique, and if so it was an excellent choice. It helps the design to read as more gritty than designed or cartooned, which works well with the theme.

Make Fun, Not War by Rodrigo Leonardo Batista Ferreira (rodrigobhz) makes little green plastic army men even more playful by equipping the toys with water weapons instead of the real deal. So instead of grenades, the figures lob water balloons, and instead of shooting guns, they’re pumping out rounds on colorful supersoakers. It’s a design that feels instantly exciting and energetic, like a water battle you’d love to be a part of. The contrast between the dour green of the toys and their new neon accessories (along with some extremely blue water) makes the joke pop out right away. My favorite touch is the way that some toys have pretty unfun jobs, like the poor guy mopping up a puddle and the flag signaler- it’s a nice callback to the weird, boring choices for some of the figures in the original toys, like the radio operator.

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).

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