Thursday, 19 July 2012

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle

For those of you wondering about the title, I'll take it that you didn't read the initial post about the t-shirts, and for that shame on you.
Yes, you.
I know who you are.

For those of you who've just had a hearty chuckle, due to remembering the Officer Barbrady reference I made before, welcome back.

It's been just over 7 weeks since I thought of making a little doodle into a piece of free advertising, and I'm glad to say it's finally come to fruition. So here's how it all happened

You may have noticed that often my work draws inspiration from film, sport or other strands of pop-culture, and this occassion followed that trend. A friend at work had mentioned the Jack Johnson song "Better Together", and I began to think of the world's great double acts, Petit and Vieira, Bert and Ernie, Bangers and Mash etc, but then I got a bit hungry, and moved on.
The next day, on a train journey to work the idea from the day before flashed into my head, and I could vividly see tea and biscuits as a cute couple, so I knocked out a quick sketch, and it just seemed to fit. Perhaps the food theme had stuck in my head, subconsciously.

Power couple

I thought that from this doodle I could come up with a quick animated sketch, and possibly do some sort of promotion around it. For those of you that know me, I love clothes, and had a bit of experience screen printing, so everything seemed to fall into place.

Layout phase
I contacted my secondary school's art department for a bit advice on how to set up a screen print, and they graciously offered their facilities. I headed over with my sketchbook and spoke about how I planned to layout the design, and once that was settled, photocopied it. Sizing was a bit of a problem for me, as I wasn't sure how the design would finally look until the print was done, so after a bit of guesswork we blew up the image by 180% onto acetate for it to be laid onto the pre-prepared silkscreen. I must give thanks to Karen Plummer and Graham Sayle for their help on setting up the equipment, as my printing skills are somewhat rusty, having not been put to use for about 10 years.

After a good 5 minutes of shining a bright lamp onto the image, I was almost ready to go but I had to ensure that only the necessary areas of the screen would allow the ink through, so started covering the borders and any gaps with brown tape, and left it to dry over night.

Coming back to the screen today, with it having dried out overnight, I decided to test the print out on a pair of vests, some t-shirts and a tote bag. I used black textile printing ink, that I picked up from Cass Art. I put a couple of sheets of newsprint inside each item, in case the ink pressed through to the other side of the fabric, and then applied the ink with a squeegee. I let them dry for about 20 minutes, took them home and ironed on the reverse of the design.

Pretty straightforward stuff, really.

Here are the end results

Hot off the press

L to R: Vest, T-shirt, Bag
Like the handwriting?

I think the first batch came out fairly well, but I've already realised what I want to do to tweak them. Mainly to do with the positioning of the design, and how much pressure to apply with the squeegee (I love that word).

These were intended for my own use. but I've had one or two of you guys ask, so if enough people are interested, I'd consider making a couple extra to sell on, but I'd need to know by Saturday, as I'm printing again on Sunday.

Let me know what you think of them, here in the blog, or on my new Facebook page, or Twitter feed. I'm all over the place.


 Karl(DrawsStuff). x


  1. I thought Petit & Viera WERE Bert & Ernie..

    Great idea by the way. Perhaps you could turn this into a running theme.

  2. Love it! What can I do to get a bag?!?!

  3. @Maliha: The bag was initially a one off, because it was just given to me as a test to make sure that the screen works.
    However, to answer @Daniel's point, I have set up a survey poll on about another product line for my designs.

    If there is sufficient interest I will seriously consider it.