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Pandemic Hobbies: Branded Screen Printing

This quarantine is testing the best of us. As a photographer and web strategist, my work, hobbies, and now social time is all online. I've been seeking new hobbies that allow me rest my eyes. The solution? Finally committing to taking screen printing on a long promised date after years of empty, cheeky flirtations.

The problem?

I'm not an illustrator.

So I commissioned my dear friend and brilliant illustrator, Marina Li. (While you're reading this, you should peep her instagram and website. I've hired her to make me logos for different projects, including a workshop series I was doing as well as drafting stunning illustrations of friend's pets for well deserved surprises).

The Task.

I've been trying to think about what would make sense. And like most things, in the shower, I landed on it. Bandanas. My clients are going through a year from hell and I wanted to take a stab at small, personal, and funny gifts for those struggling to adjust to the constant changes of this year. I wanted to show both my pets: Milo, a scruffy terrier terror that looks like a roadkill Muppet, and Maggie, a pitty mix who oscillates between a majestic regal bean to a derpy goober. Inspired by an amazing bandana by Ocean Alliance for their Snot Bot program (which you should absolutely check out). I was hoping to frame out the sections in my camera while merging dog imagery and cameras. I sent Marina these two pitches/rough sketches with very little context.

Marina selected the tiled design to move forward with before kicking back draft one after a couple hours of work.

"I started with the mid tone/dark grey because that's how I naturally draw. I do the line art first, block out shadows / patterns with black and white and choose colors from there. But for this one since we are setting it up for screen printing, you have to think about what is going to register." - Marina

Three tone draft of the bandana being made as the first step before the draft one deliverable.
Three tone sketch before first draft deliverable

"So I then converted all my gray areas into black and went in with the eraser tool to block out the white areas that help achieve details within shapes." - Marina

Draft 1

A blueprint for a screen print bandana with pets and cameras on it.
Bandana Draft 1

I was instantly in love with her ability to capture my pets in their goofy, shaggy charm with a thickness in line weight that should screen print well. But, the elements felt disjointed in a way that made it feel more crowded despite the space between each element. So I tried to articulate the idea of tiled, framed space better and did what I should have done in the beginning, sent the Snot Bot inspiration. I also had an ask to better link and flow the elements by adding Mag's signature tongue and Milo's furry mitts on the camera. I also asked for a beefing up of the logo so it really sat in the center square made by the negative space of the elements.

I loved having the logo elements hand drawn so that there was greater unison through the piece, so those elements matched the hand drawn style without looking like an after thought or a copy and paste addition too straight to have that bespoke, illustrated quality.

Crudely done revision request for draft one that uses the camera straps to frame tiles
Revision request draft

We then had some back and forth on Milo's hand positioning as his image degraded to more and more abstract gestures.

The Final Deliverable

The final deliverable of the bandana sketch with each tile framed by the camera strap
The final deliverable with each tile framed by the camera strap

I'm absolutely in love with the framing and flow and will be attempting prints for my clients. Updates to come once I make my screens!

For those interested in hiring Marina, she's currently $40 an hour with this work taking 3 hours from initial consult to final deliverable. I strongly recommend her for all illustration. She has a flexible and adaptive style and while I wanted my furry goobers to be the fully expressive little gremlins they are, that's not the case for everyone! Luckily, her work can also be soft and highly polished without as much spit drops and fly away strands added.



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