LLAME by Mathijs Vissers (Demented) is my favorite print this week, largely because of that tremendous expression on the llama’s face. With his bored, heavy-lidded eyes, turned neck and open mouth, he looks like he can’t even believe the lameness he’s seeing right now. You can almost hear him bleating out the word “Llame!” in his unimpressed llama voice. That great bit of cartooning pairs well with the hand-drawn text to create a really memorable shirt.
High Seas by sebastian (sebasebi) sailed away with the top prize in Threadless’s Nautical challenge, and is a strong choice because of this design’s emphasis on the ocean. What I love about this one is how that twisting mess of waves is really the star of the show, drawing the eye into its tangle of activity. Looking at this feels harrowing, like the water is conspiring to take that boat down into its depths, dark clouds hinting that there might be even worse weather on the way. Even the birds seem eager to get out of the area. Interesting stuff, and the line technique of the waves works very well.
Dream On by Mathiole (mathiole) ought to be irresistible to Beatles fans with its spot-on tribute to the psychedelic animation of Yellow Submarine. It feels like a mashup of elements from the video, arranged in a way that enhances their surreal charm. Using the phrase Dream On as a focal point in the face is a smart move because it’s both a nice song title reference and a whimsical tag line that helps the rest of the illustration to feel more, well, dreamy. There’s even a little vintage touch in the way the coloring is distressed slightly to let the golden glow of the shirt peek through.
Space Travel by CARBINE (digitalcarbine) is a novel take on the astronaut shirt. While I’ve seen the planets used as balloons before, this approach injects more fun into the idea by having the planetary balloons literally taking the explorer along for a ride. It’s a very childlike sense of wonder being communicated, with the astronaut’s arms spread like he’s playing airplane. I like that there’s a real roughness and heavy texture to the planets, making a nice contrast to the clean but wrinkled look of the space suit.
COSTUME PARTY by NARNIAZ (NARNIAZ) is definitely the weirdest shirt of the week, but that’s exactly why I love it. It feels like a high-concept take on the very idea of dressing dogs in silly costumes, magnifying the dog’s complete lack of interest by parking his tiny body at the bar. “Hey, it’s a living,” his eyes almost seem to say as he drowns is sorrows and tries to forget the day’s humiliations. In addition to a great expression on the dog’s face, scaly texture in the dino costume helps the scene to come alive. That said, it’s not a complete success- for instance, I think the dog’s antlers are a weird choice that doesn’t really pay off (it’s more of a relatable scene to keep the costume normal, something a pet owner might actually buy). The texture of the dog’s fur doesn’t quite work either, as it’s too dark and dotty to read as hair (instead it feels more like a weird Photoshop filter). That said, the appealing oddness of the concept ought to ensure that this tee still has plenty of fans.