25 October 2018 ~ 0 Comments

Threadless: My Imaginary Friends and more new this week

My Imaginary Friends by Steven Rhodes (blue sparrow) is my favorite Threadless shirt this week. As with others in this series, the retro vibe is strong, and here it’s reinforced by the near clashing of the color palette as those bright shades interact with the maroon shirt. I appreciate how nerdy the protagonist looks, his 70s style augmented by some especially large glasses and plaid stripes on his flaring trousers. But the real joy of the piece is in the motley crew of imaginary friends, who are such a diverse and strange group that I think most viewers will be able to quickly find a favorite. They’re from very different kinds of fantasies, from the sweetness of the unicorn to the mystery of the bigfoot and warrior spirit of the dwarf, the kind of creatures who would never be seen in the same story. The way their energies bounce off each other makes the group feel even more odd, particularly because they’re also so physically different to each other from the towering green alien to the diminutive eyeball. It feels wacky and fun, and you can’t really argue with the premise- real people can’t compare to these weird fellows!

Rabbit, Resting by littleclyde (littleclyde) is a beautiful illustration. I’m pulled in by the way it feels like two arcs intersecting, with the rabbit leaning into the breeze as the wind bends flowers and blades of grass in the opposite direction. It’s a refreshing image, and the simple restfulness of the bunny’s face makes me almost feel the cool breeze myself. I’m also enjoying the way the foliage has been treated, with subtle watercolor-like textures making their geometric forms still seem organic. Other touches such as loose petals caught on the wind and dashed lines contribute to the sense of motion. Very nice.

Marble Planet by kooky love (kooky love) makes the solar system a playing field for a game of marbles. The artwork is well-done, with a vintage quality to the illustration (and style of the space helmet) that suits the game’s era. And the act of propelling one marble into the others feels right in terms of the planets, like a chaotic asteroid wreaking havoc on an ordered system. There’s even some halftoned starry texture behind the drawing to add depth and further support the interstellar theme. My only question is, are marbles still relevant enough for this design to find an audience? There are so many universe designs out there that I think the specific theme of this one might leave it with an uphill battle.

Worship Coffee by Steven Rhodes (blue sparrow) hits just the right conceptual note. A trio of robed cultists bow before a mysterious caldron filled with an energy potion? Yeah, sounds like coffee! I like the way this piece uses the trappings of occult imagery and applies them to an every day thing most people enjoy, magnifying the importance that coffee has in people’s lives. But when it’s the first thing you start your day with, and you can’t stay awake without it… how much exaggeration is there, really? It’s a smart idea, taken to the perfect conclusion and with details (like The Dark Lord caption and symbol under the fire) that help the design to feel complete.

Don’t Fall Asleep by Steven Rhodes (blue sparrow) definitely starts with a great idea, as there are certainly children’s books that make for terrible bedtime reading. But while I feel like most designs in this series do an excellent job of getting the details right, to me this one misses the mark. One element that I find frustrating is the way the beds are drawn- that high, curved structure of the back of the bed seems more like a headboard that a footer to me, which would put the pillows at the wrong end. I’d argue that putting the pillows at the far end, near the closet, makes the art more suspenseful and scary- the children ought to be in bbed (maybe even with books open) with wide eyes and the monsters lurking behind them. The current arrangement feels too straightforward, more focused on the monsters than on the bedtime story element that I think makes the concept so relatable. Still, I doubt those quibbles will prevent too many fans from picking this one up- it’s still a great illustration.

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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