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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.

30 May 2019 ~ 0 Comments

Threadless: Radish and more new this week

Radish by Lili Batista (spookylili) is my favorite Threadless print this week. It’s a silly pun, and I love the way the illustration leans into this by also capitalizing on the silliness. The veggie’s leaves peek through the gap in his backward cap and then literally flowing backward in the breeze created by his forward motion. Instead of a skateboard, he’s riding on a long scooter- and being extra safe with bulky knee pads. The expression on his face is happy, but also decidedly derpy. In other words, this is a character who aspires towards Rad, but only attains Rad-ish. A perfect depiction of the pun, all done up with a bright color palette that would be perfectly at home in the 80s, the eera of rad.

Never Trust an Atom by Michael Buxton (DinoMike) is a new spin on a slogan that has been on t-shirts before in various forms, but there’s something pretty charming about the framing of this one. While every other version I’ve seen is slander aimed at the atom, in this piece the atom owns up to his fibbing. The atom’s huge eyes look a bit manic, and it’s easy to see the electrons above his out-stretched hands as lies he’s trying to juggle. This is a character who feels like a liar and even readily admits to it… but you can’t help but kind of like him anyway.

Eat the Rich by Legend Derry (Legend_Derry) uses a loose, rough style that looks as quick and violent as the scene it portrays. The style is the main selling point, and does a commendable job of conveying both the action involved and the texture of the wolf’s fur. The colors are also well-chosen, since thee pink outline reads as stylized blood while the darkness communicates a mood and gold hints at glamor. But for me, the piece is less successful when it comes to its story- the violence feels random rather than targeted at the rich as the title suggests. I’m not even sure what type of jewelry the bauble on the hand is meant to be- too high for a bracelet and too large for a ring, I’m guessing some kind of fancy brass knuckles? Some more clarity in this area would help the shirt to have wider appeal, though I do enjoy the way the look of the circle on the jewelry echoes the look of the wolf’s eyes.

It’s OK Not to Be OK by Hope For The Day was created by artist Steven Rhodes for the mental health charity. While it uses a veery similar look to other designs the artist has created, there’s one big difference- those designs were all satirical, poking fun at strange or dangerous elements of the past, this design is completely sincere. It’s a switch that works surprisingly well, and I like the idea of this nostalgic look being used to show that this is a message people could have used then as well as now. The attention to detail is another strength, including even minor elements like woodgrain on the cabinet, a corduroy pattern on the pants, and even realistically rumpled stripes on the bed’s comforter. It all combines to feel like a relatable space, and a relatable moment.

Robot Problems by Grant Shepley (Gamma-Ray) shows Futurama’s Bender being stymied by the web’s bot detection technology. It’s not a new concept (the most popular version is probably this one), although this version differentiates itself with lots of detail (the artwork on the wall helps to set the scene) and a rear view of Bender that might help steer clear of copyright issues. A potential flaw of this large scene, though, is that the captcha element is so small that it consists only of the “I’m not a robot” check box, and it feels unlikely that Bender wouldn’t be able to outsmart something so simple. Not being able to check a box just isn’t as funny as not being able to decipher barely distorted text.

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.

29 May 2019 ~ 0 Comments

Shirt.Woot’s Derby Editor’s Choice: Vacation collection

Destinations, luggage, and flights of fancy packed Shirt.Woot’s Derby Editor’s Choice: Vacation plus sale. With designs for both pop culture fans, avid travelers, and those who’d rather avoid the whole thing, there’s something to suit most buyers. Here’s what caught my eye…

Best of the Bunch: The Happiest Place in Westeros by kg07 creates a Magic Kingdom for the dark fantasy fans.

Nicest Surprise: Castle in the Sand is like a smorgasbord of references for Miyazaki fans, giving each character something fun to do at the beach.

Shirt(s) I Am Most Biased About: My design Beermuda is for those who like a beverage at the beach, while Desert Surf Club makes the most of global warming.

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

28 May 2019 ~ 0 Comments

Shirt.Woot’s American Vintage derby voting highlights

Shirt.Woot got into the Memorial Day spirit with their American Vintage derby. Keeping to a more classic style proved to be a good way of distinguishing from past America-themed contests, with many artists stretching their usual techniques to incorporate looks from the past. Here’s a look at two current voting underdogs that I think could use some more attention…

Freedom to Grill by jrberger does a solid job of combining grilling imagery with Americana, and I especially like the talons gripping ketchup and mustard.

Celebration by mekazoo nails the neon style, right down to its washed out color palette.

This derby continues through Thursday at noon. The top three designs (determined by votes and editor input) will each earn $1000 cash and $2 per item sold. Additionally, other designs will be selected and sold for $2 per item each. Both top vote-getters and selected designs will be sold in a future Plus sale.

27 May 2019 ~ 0 Comments

Threadless’s Gross design contest

If you like yuck, then you’re in luck with Threadless‘s new Gross design competition. Here’s what they’re looking for…

You’d be lying if you told us you’ve never been in a situation that has made you want to gag and run for shelter. We all have our triggers! Like the words ‘moist’ or ‘phlegm,’ or when you’re enjoying a nice swim at the pool and a used band-aid floats by. Ever pull a hair out of your cheeseburger at a sketchy restaurant? What about pouring yourself a nice glass of cold, chunky, expired milk to go with your cookies? The disgusting possibilities are endless.

But hey, maybe you enjoy gross stuff. We aren’t here to judge! Show us your best version of the Garbage Pail Kids or your messiest Pig Pen creation. Think about what really makes you squirm and grosses you out to your very core. Trust me, we love a good fart joke – but we want you to take this to the next level. Now get your finger out of your nose and show us your worst crusty creation!

This contest opens to entries on May 31st and ends on June 14th, 2019. One winner will earn $1000 cash and a $500 Threadless gift code. Also, all designers printed will earn $1 to $7 per item sold (learn more about Threadless artist payments).

25 May 2019 ~ 0 Comments

Shirt.Woot Derby #710: Camp Wootashirta

Prepare to down some bug juice, because Shirt.Woot‘s latest derby theme is…

Starting Thursday at noon: Derby #710: Camp Wootashirta

EDIT 5/20: Please no politics!

We’re packing up our flashlights, boots and graham crackers for camp! Destination Camp Shirtawoota! Or any other imaginary camp you might want to visit! The theme this week is camping, campsites, sleepaway camps and all the fun and dangers that come with visiting nature. Bear got your marshmallows? Is Camp Shwirtatoowa the best sleepaway camp you’ve ever imagined? What do you do there? Get ready for this wet, hot summer with camping themed designs, real or imagined.

Remember that real names, places or things need to be parody or fan art. Also remember we don’t do cream tees.

This derby begins Thursday at noon and continues through next Thursday at noon. The top three designs (determined by votes and editor input) will each earn $1000 and $2 per item sold after the first day of sales. Those winners will be sold on Friday (1st), Saturday (2nd), and Sunday (3rd). Additionally, other designs may be selected for a Plus sale on the following Monday, with each selected design earning $2 per item sold.

24 May 2019 ~ 0 Comments

Uniqlo’s UTGP2019 Pokemon winners

Uniqlo’s UTGP2019 Pokeemon winners have been announced, although not without some controversy. Fans have noticed that the creator of the Grand Prize winning design appears to have violated the rules of the competition by selling the artwork on another marketplace prior to winning the UTGP’s $10,000 prize. As a result of this violation, the design has been disqualified.

But, rather than focus on a rules violation, it’s more fun to focus on the art itself. In this year’s contest none of the top three captured my imagination, and my favorite piece is one of the special selections…

This design by MiekoNeko of Hawaii struck me as a really fun way to celebrate Pokemon- many of the game’s most iconic characters are shown, all drawn in a minimal style of the artist’s creation that gives the piece more sophistication and individuality than a more direct copy of their likenesses might have. It also takes advantage of the ability to print on both sides of the shirt, giving the back corner another smattering of characters. Really well done, and the drawings are so cute you’ll want to reach right out and hug them.

Check out all the winners at Uniqlo. These shirts will be available online and in stores on June 24th, 2019 at 10AM ET.

23 May 2019 ~ 0 Comments

Threadless: Natural Melody 2 and more new this week

Natural Melody 2 by Christopher Phillips (cpdesign) is my favorite Threadless print this week. While the concept of tree branches sprouting from a guitar is a fairly common one, what sets this rendition apart is the artistic skill it is done with and the attention to detail throughout. There are a lot of great moments in the piece, particularly in how the birds interact with the design’s other elements. There’s something very playful about the way some birds carry off musical notes, while others find comfortable perches (the guitar’s center looks especially cozy). While outlines can be somewhat hit or miss in shirt design, this one is an excellent choice because it both interacts with the other elements (I love how the roots extend around the framing) and helps the balance out the bulk of the guitar’s body, which might have otherwise made the illustration feel too bottom-heavy.

Flightless Bird by Scott Narjes (Scarjes) is thee kind of design that seems thick with story, every detail adding a new understanding to the bigger picture. The oddness of the spacesuit, with its massive airpack and flimsy wings, seems doomed to failure. The technology it exhibits, along with the age of the TV he totes, paint the portrait of a man with big ideas that the science of the time can’t yet achieve. His bowed, disappointed head is matched by the expression of the facepalming woman on the TV screen. He’s packed for a journey, but this plan isn’t going anywhere any time soon. It’s rare to see a shirt that focuses on such a bittersweet moment, but for me it really works.

Brave by Mike Koubou (mikekoubou) should definitely appeal to cat fans. It’s a cat at its absolute best, curious and determined as well as cute. Its kittenish features look even more small wrapped in the aviator’s helmet, and there’s a brightness in the eyes and alertness in the pose of the ears that helps to sell the story. You could imagine this intrepid animal taking to the skies as an explorer, looking for the sunniest, warmest spot to land and take a nap… or as a hunter chasing birds in their own territory. Either way, the soft background adds a cloud-like texture that reinforces the theme without distracting from the character work.

Book Reads by Alexander Medvedev (GoToUp) is clever, noting a resemblance between a lounging human and an open book to create a book that reads the way a lot of people do. This is such an unusual characterization because books are usually portrayed as uptight, nerdy, and sophisticated- by making this book kind of a lazy slob, the kind of fellow totally willing to drip soda on the carpet and get Cheeto stains on the pages, this becomes a reading design that appeals to a wider crowd. He’s not reading to gain knowledge or experience great literature, he’s just looking for something fun to pass the time and make his imagination go wild. And that’s pretty relatable!

Botany by Brent Schoepf (wowrainbows) is a gorgeous bit of design, using overlapping colors and shapes to create a piece that celebrates the precise beauty of both nature and science. The swirling textures in the leaves and test tubes are very effective in moving the eye around the piece, while differing leaf shapes and plant heights create interest. The use of two shades in each leaf for a dappled effect reminds me of light reflecting on water, a choice that emphasizes the design’s nature inspiration. It feels really fresh and different, apart from the humorous cartoons and outdoors-y minimalism that is more common to the Threadless catalog.

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.