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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.

08 October 2007 ~ 0 Comments

New Shirt Monday at Threadless


I had a hard time picking a favorite new Threadless shirt this week (so many great ones!), but in the end it had to be Derby of the Damned by Leon Ryan (d3d). It’s a fun mash-up of two popular ideas (roller derby and zombies), and the pinks really pop on the dark grey shirt.


When I was a Pumpkin by Jeff Tuininga (tuniguts) is really expertly put together- from the dripping wax to the trick-or-treaters in the background, everything is rendered well. Additionally, it’s a cool twist on a type of shirt that’s been done before. Instead of the typical view of a jack-o-lantern, we’re peering at the world from inside the pumpkin. It all sounds like the recipe for a great shirt, but unfortunately the subject matter limits the possibilities on this one- while costumes, zombies and skeletons are concepts that can be work year round, carved pumpkins are too strongly associated with Halloween to make that leap. It’s basically a shirt for one day (or maybe one month, if you celebrate early and often).

The Revenge by Black Rock Collective (aka Legion of Doom) is totally sweet- it’s a piece that is a mash-up of drawings by many of the group’s members, much like their recent win Robot Attack at Design By Humans. Three mash-ups were submitted, and I’m glad that my favorite of the bunch got printed. Oh, and this finally cleared up some confusion for me on Black Rock and Legion of Doom- I’ve been wondering for awhile i they were two groups with a lot of overlap or two independent groups, so I’m glad to finally have an answer on that.


Transfarmers by Ole Ivar Rudi (OlliRudi) deftly mixes eighties nostalgia and traditional country living. At first the idea of mixing giant transforming robots with the farm setting is a bit terrifying- I picture huge, brooding, metal beasts that work not only from sun up to sun down, but all hours of the day and night to create substances that they will never taste. But then I recalled hearing that agriculture is often one of the first places to see new technology in use (due to competition and low profit margins), so maybe robots on farms isn’t that impossible.

Impatient by Clayton Dixon (Pee Pee) depicts a tooth fairy who has grown tired of waiting for the tooth to fall out and has taken matters into her own tiny hands- with a huge pair of pliers. I’m not in love with the concept, but the way this uses the space of the shirt is fantastic. It’s a great illustration as well, I think the way the metal of the pliers is shown raised the quality level on this one.


How sweet is Heavy Metal Listening Party by Ed Pincombe (Edword)? I will answer that for you, it is the most sweet possible. Nothing but hands, mouths, lightning and a huge mass of hair, I can’t picture a more accurate visual of heavy metal. This was also a very serious contender for my favorite shirt this week.

Hide and Sheep by Steven E. Hughes (Castle) is a shirt that really rewards the viewer. While a casual observer might just notice the cute sheep, a deeper look reveals wolves hidden everywhere (including the clouds, trees, and the herd itself). The sheep have started to catch on as well, and their facial expressions telegraph a sense of impending doom.


This week’s Select is The Seeker by Maxwell Holyoke-Hirsch. I love the drawing style and color palette, but the structure (a triangle) and contents (tree, bird, star and heart imagery) really gives me the impression of winter holidays. This may be my own weird issue, but it would prevent a buy for me. I’m not huge on white shirts, either, but because I’m a fan of the drawing style I wish this guy would get another crack at doing a shirt. There’s definite shirt potential there, even if this shirt isn’t all I’d like it to be.

Imposter by Aaron Hogg (hogboy) is the perfect Halloween reprint. It has it all- a great visual joke, fun dancing skeletons, and most importantly it GLOWS IN THE DARK. Good stuff.

Overall, this was a kick ass selection of new shirts, easily redeeming the awfulness of last week. I had three major contenders for my favorite this week, and four total shirts that I’d consider buying. Pretty nice odds.

07 October 2007 ~ 4 Comments

New This Week at Design By Humans

Here’s a Design By Humans coupon code for 15% off: YP1B6M.


The Birdman by Ky11 is undoubtedly my favorite shirt this week. It is a gorgeous, textural piece, and I can imagine that the blue foil used on the eyes looks spectacular in person. The character is intriguing, as he seems world-weary yet hopeful.


Tree People by a_mar_illo has the same unique style as the artist’s other works: a color palette focused on browns/blues/pinks, disembodied heads with hollow eyes, and textural linework. It’s a beautiful shirt, and I hope to see more prints from this artist in the future.

Attraction by akoelle shows moths hovering around a light bulb. It’s a cool image, and a bit disappointing to see that it is only available a womens shirt. I think some adjustments to the placement and colors could have made this a nice shirt for guys as well. Still, it’s nice to see DBH is printing shirts with females specifically in mind- at most other shirt sites, women seem to be more of an afterthought.


Bad Pet by nesk is probably the most adorable poo shirt you will ever see. The dinosaur’s owner admonishes his pet, and further to the right you can see why- a passer-by has been crushed underneath a huge pile of dung, his briefcase flung uselessly to the side. Obviously, this is a very funny, very cute shirt… for people who lack my hangups about wearing poop.

A Pirate’s Tale by robsoul is a concept that I’m a little more on-board with- a pirate sits on his treasure chest, recounting tales of his exploits (with pipe in hand). What makes this shirt for me is the look in the pirate’s eyes… there’s a real sense of wonder there, as if he can’t believe that he got out of the situation he’s describing alive and intact (or as if he can’t believe he’s getting away with the lies he’s spinning).

Definitely a great week of shirts. One of last week’s batch, Chaos came from the Ocean by Steven, was just named Shirt of the Week. Shirt of the Month was also announced, and was awarded to Revelations by jimiyo. Nice choices!

If any of these shirts caught your fancy, use this coupon code for 15% off: YP1B6M.

06 October 2007 ~ 0 Comments

Camiseteria Prize Increase


Hey, did you know that Camiseteria recently increased the winner’s prize package to R$600 and R$400 in Camiseteria products? Well, they did. And it’s pretty awesome.

While I was there, I noticed that they’ve got some really interesting shirts for sale- Banditismo por uma questao de classe by Rodolfo Franca and The Roots Cage by Aey are totally unique. They definitely stand out from the kinds of shirts available at other contest sites, which have been trending a bit too much towards puns for my liking.

05 October 2007 ~ 4 Comments

Inspiration vs. Plagiarism

T-shirt contest sites are always plagued by unoriginal work, it can be a nasty side effect of the voting process (which asks the public to rate their favorites, sometimes leading to a mediocre focus group-style result). But it is worth the aggravation of seeing endless penguin, pirate and pun designs to see truly great, artistic works beat the odds and get printed.

So it’s a real shame when those original works turn out to be heavily based on the work of other artists.

Exhibit A in this debate is The Magical Zipper to Weiner Man Land by John Barthell. Soon after it was printed, a fan of artist Spencer Hibert realized that it was heavily based on a Hibert painting. Not only that, others soon noticed that the hand itself appeared to be traced directly from the painting:


Is borrowing a theme from a painting (and using a traced element of that painting) plagiarism? The debate rages on in the forums, as many believe that the styles of the art involved are divergent enough to qualify as independent works. Threadless, meanwhile, is taking no chances- The Magical Zipper to Weiner Man Land has been removed from the Threadless catalog.

Exhibit B in the debate is What’s Yo Flava? by Fabio Girardi (and a number of other illustrations by this artist). After his work was published in Ideafiza magazine, friends of artist Audrey Kawasaki noticed some very striking similarities:


As you can see, not only is the style modified from Kawasaki’s original paintings, there is a strong enough similarity between facial structures that many believe tracing was involved. Girardi denies tracing images, but admits to being inspired by Kawasaki. For her part, friends of Kawasaki have stated that she isn’t interested in pursuing legal action, as she feels the art is dissimilar enough. Perhaps motivated by Kawasaki’s attitude about the situation, What’s Yo Flava remains available for purchase at Camiseteria at this time.

In both examples A and B, some very talented artists created work that borrowed heavily from others in their field. Each person who looks at these examples will probably have a different take on what constitutes plagiarism and what is merely inspired by other works. The real tragedy is that two artists who are capable of some really amazing work will now always have people wondering how much is original and how much is borrowed.

04 October 2007 ~ 0 Comments

Shirt.Woot Derby #11: Cryptozoology


This week’s Derby theme is a doozy: Cryptozoology! Head over to Shirt.Woot and post your best shirt design featuring non-existent animals. Submissions and voting will open up Friday at noon, so start getting your designs ready now- fortune favors the quick.

The prize was upped last week and now stands at $250 for any winner that sells up to 500 units, or $500 for any winner that sells 501 units or more. As always, designers can earn more (in the form of $2 per shirt) when their design sells at the higher $15 price on the days following the first day of sales. As always, the three most popular Derby winners will be printed next weekend, and they’ll all be getting paid as described above.

Designers who are capable of setting up print-ready vector files of their t-shirt designs have the opportunity to bypass the derby and submit shirt designs of any theme directly to Woot. Check out the What is Woot? page for details. If selected, you’ll be getting paid the same $250 or $500 (plus $2 per shirt for shirts sold after the first day of sales) as the Derby winners receive.

If you’re a fan of the Derby, make sure you check out the Derby statistics page and the Derby fan blog Best Losers.

03 October 2007 ~ 2 Comments

UT Grand Prix


The UT Grand Prix website has been updated to show 1000 designs. Of these, one will be the Grand Prize winner of 3,000 yen. You can help determine who the top 100 finalists for the prize are by voting on the designs you like.

And there’s a neat little prediction contest for voters- 100 people who correctly predict the Grand Prize winner will win a copy of that shirt. Pretty cool, you don’t see sites offering prizes for the voters very often (although they definitely should!). This part of the competition continues until October 24th, 2007 so register your votes and predictions before then.

02 October 2007 ~ 0 Comments

T-Shirt Contest from Drawn! and Bountee


Bountee (artist-created tees) and Drawn! (illustration blog) have joined forces to create what I believe is Bountee’s first contest. Users are encouraged to upload shirt designs with the theme of “creativity and inspiration.” Just tag your entry with “drawn.ca” and you’re good to go.

There are some cool prizes in the mix. First place gets 31 free shirts (a shirt for each day in the month) and a $75 gift certificate for BlueFlip Art (a site selling great art prints). A runner-up will earn 5 shirts and a $25 BlueFlip Art gift certificate.

Submit before October 31st for your chance to win. Or, check out the submissions so far and vote here.