Threadless’s recent Try a New Design Style contest produced an amazing winner with this week’s Fixing a Broken Heart by NARNIAZ (NARNIAZ). What’s great about this piece is that it’s not just a technique the artist hadn’t tried before, it’s a style that I’m not sure I’ve ever seen tried on a shirt before. That’s part of why this feels so fresh, and there’s something wonderfully soft and subtle about how the artwork comes to life with shadows. The concept being illustrated is a bit of a trope at this point, but it’s performed well and the thin strands of paper feel like wires as they weave through the action. I also like that there’s some similarity between the robot’s claw hands and the claw hands that mend his heart.
Colour Rebel by Natalie Zawadzki (nrzed) is interesting to me because I expected there to be some kind of message hidden in the lines of the smoke, but instead it all seems to be purely decorative. That’s not a bad thing, as staying away from clear messaging probably widens its appeal. Instead of being about bikes or pollution, it feels like as ode to street art packed with color. I think the best touch is in how the watercolor splotches are handled- there are these thin, freeform white lines running through it that remind me of a topographic map. It adds depth and makes that area really fun to look at.
Water Melon by Jaco Haasbroek (Haasbroek) is the second major shirt design I’ve seen that combines a watermelon with the idea of rain, the first being Summer Melon Rain at Design By Humans. But this new version has a totally different feel, incorporating the cloud and rain into the slice itself. It’s a genius move because the cloud becomes a bite mark and the seeds being contained in the melon adds to the story that this rain is making the fruit so watery and juicy. Plus, how great is that cloud’s little face? I love how it looks like he might have just sneakily grabbed a bite.
Attack of the Cutest Monster by Nana Dalla Porta (Oktomanuba) keys into the fact that the only thing that prevents tiny dogs from being absolute terrors is their small size. Anyone who has ever been around an out of control little dog understands the chaos in this design- those dudes have boundless energy, and will eagerly lick and/or bite anyone or anything in their path. They can’t be contained! So it’s easy to see a giant version of a cute little dog being more destructive than Godzilla when set loose in the city. It’s a funny image in large part because there’s such a strong kernel of truth to it. I also like the realistic style of the drawing, which heightens the absurdity of the situation, and the angle the dog’s tongue is drawn it- it really feels like he’s about to drool all over someone!
O Deer by Rick Crane (The Paper Crane) is the design that most caught my eye this week, and the one I’d most like to wear. The art style makes it feel like a vintage woodcut, but framing it in that bold O adds a fun modern twist. I love that the hole in the center isn’t filled in, cutting right through the deer. It gives the piece a mysterious quality, like whatever is in that missing section could change the story entirely (maybe an arrow?). Definitely one of those times where what you don’t see feels just as important as what you do see. The only part of this design that I’m not totally keen on is the way the deer’s front legs almost seem to rest on the log. I feel like if that log’s angle was adjusted slightly, it could have been a little more obvious that he’s clearing the jump. Unless he’s meant to be tripping? After all, I guess that’d make him say “Oh dear…”
Threadless prints new shirts every week, chosen from the designs submitted by and voted on by site members. Most winners earn 20% royalties based on net profit (paid monthly) and a $250 Threadless Gift Certificate.