How I design a T Shirt – Clothing Art Tutorial
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How I design a T Shirt – Clothing Art Tutorial


Hey, what’s up y’all! I’m Ten Hundred. I’m an artist from Seattle, Washington, and today I’m gonna talk to you about how I design my T-Shirts. T-Shirts are a huge part of my business, aside from murals, it’s like the biggest part of my business and it’s a great way for me to make my art affordable and accessible, and so that anyone can afford it, and support it. So, we’re gonna talk a little bit about how to design a T-Shirt. I’m here in my shop Statix, got a whole lot of t-shirts right behind me. But first, this video is brought to you by my favorite sponsor: Skillshare. I think most of you who clicked on this video are probably into learning. You want to learn how to make a t-shirt? Well, I’ve got another place where you can do a little bit of learning. Skillshare is a super awesome online learning community. They’ve got thousands of tutorials on art and design and business and technology and the list goes on and on. Their premium memberships give you unlimited access to lessons from experts working in their field. So you can improve your skills, unlock new opportunities, and do the work that you love to do. Me personally, I have a ton of experience in Adobe Photoshop, but I’ve always felt a little bit weak on Adobe Illustrator, so I popped over to Skillshare, checked out some of their classes on Adobe Illustrator, and I learned a whole lot from these awesome tutorials that they have. Skillshare is also a whole lot more affordable than other online learning platforms out there. An annual subscription is less than $10 a month. So here’s the deal, there’s a link down in the description, and the first 500 people to click it, and sign up for Skillshare, get two free months, and also each person who signs up supports the channel. So check out the link down in the description, it’s special just for you guys, and the first 500 people get two free months of Skillshare. So yeah, let’s design some T-Shirts! And also just a little side note, the T-Shirts that I design in this video, right when I publish this video they’ll be available on my website for you to order. I do free shipping anywhere in the U.S. International shipping available, so if you like what I design here today, you can get yourself one. But anyway, let’s get into this T-Shirt design! All right, so let’s design a T-Shirt! It all starts with a pencil sketch, I had zero plan going into this. Sometimes the best stuff comes out when you just sit down and start drawing and see what happens. And yeah, that’s what I did on this one. I’m just using some graphite pencils on some Bristol paper, the paper’s 19 inches by 24 inches. I actually was, (I) usually draw on 14 inch by 17 inch paper, but I was like, all out at my shop, so I just decided to draw real big, and I feel like the bigger I draw, sometimes the better it turns out. I like a lot of space. I have a really hard time staying on one piece of paper, always. I always need to like, stitch two pieces of paper together. But yeah, this is just kind of like, turning into this sort of, warrior archer woman, and I think she’s pretty cool. Yeah, so then the next step is to start inking the drawing. I’m using Faber-Castell-India Ink pens and, I’m using the super fine tip. The 1.5 millimeter bullet nib, and the brush nib. I start with the super fine tip and do the whole drawing just the the slim line art. Ink that whole thing, and then I end up going back over it with the broader brushes on areas where I want it to pop out, and have more weight to the lines, and some more depth. Inking the drawing is always just a tiny bit nerve-wracking because, you know, it’s so permanent now. No erasing this, so, gotta be careful with it, and sometimes I take a sketch, and then photograph the sketch, and then ink it digitally; which you know that, that command-z, you can always undo, but I feel like the look of an actual hand-drawn, hand inked piece is, ends up being a little bit better. And then at the end of the project, I have like, this original ink drawing that I can sell as a piece of original art. People seem to like ’em, and I like ’em. So, that’s the, that’s the plus side of actually inking it in real life; in the real world, existing, analog. Alright, so, I finished my drawing, and now I need to photograph it, so that I can bring it into Photoshop. This paper that I drill on is like, way too big for me to scan it, because I don’t have a scanner this big, so I’m gonna photograph it with my Sony A6500, edit it, and we’ll turn it into some black and white line art, so that we can start coloring it. Yeah-ah! Alright, so we just took our pictures, let’s go ahead and launch Lightroom, Adobe Lightroom, and pop these pictures open, edit ’em up a little bit. We’re gonna go ahead and hit ‘Shift’ ‘Command’ ‘I’ to go to our import photos. These are the ones we want. Click import. We’ll go over here to this develop tab. I don’t know, that one looks pretty straight on. Let’s check out a few of these other ones. Yeah, let’s go with this one. So, first thing we’re gonna want to do is go to our white balance right here, and just click in the white area and that will make it so that it’s kind of white balance corrected. I’m gonna bump up my exposure a little bit here, I’m gonna grab my crop tool here, and just crop this a little closer. Let’s turn off this lock so that we can crop it however we want. I like to leave a little space around the edges so that when I bring it into Photoshop, I can kind of straighten it up. Go ahead and hit ‘Enter’ to crop that, and then we’re gonna go to white slider. Boost up the whites a bit, and boost up the blacks. Whoops, boost, boost down the blacks. Bump that contrast up, lose a little bit of the shadows. Awesome, so that’s, that’s looking pretty good right there. We’re gonna edit this some more in Photoshop, so, let’s go ahead and go to ‘File’ and choose ‘Export’, and we’ll call this one “The Archer.” And, I want to export it as a Photoshop document: PSD because I’m going straight into Photoshop with it, and I’m gonna export it at 600 dpi. And that’s pretty much everything that I need to do there, I’ll go ahead and click ‘Export’, and I can quit Lightroom at this point. Okay. So once we have Photoshop open, we’re gonna go find that file. Alright, first thing I want to do is; I want to make sure that this is pretty straight, so I’m gonna create a new layer here, grab my shape tool, right now it’s said to be a rectangle, we want it to be a rectangle. I’m gonna change the color of the shape, just whatever, can be pink, and then I’m gonna make a rectangle that’s about the size of my paper. Now, on the rectangle layer here, we want to go to ‘Opacity’ and change that to like 40%. This is a guide for us, so that we can make our drawing kind of straight. Let’s unlock this layer; click right there, and then we’re going to hit ‘Command’ ‘T’ to go into Transform Mode, and then right click and choose ‘Skew’, and we’re just gonna skew this so that the edges of our paper match up to this rectangle’s (edges), because it’s really difficult to photograph the art like perfectly straight on. So we’re just doing small adjustments. You want to choose the photo that looks the most straight on, but then go in and do these little adjustments. You’re trying to get it pretty close to the edge of that, of that rectangle that we made. I usually like to go just beyond the borders of it. Cool, and then we’ll hit ‘Enter’ to commit that. Awesome, we can lose this rectangle. And now I’m gonna go ahead and kind of just, crop out this gray wall. Awesome! Now, we’re gonna want to make our drawing bigger. So if we hit ‘Option’ ‘Command’ ‘I’, it’ll bring up our image size menu, and right now our resolution is at 600, and we want to make sure that ‘Resample’ is unchecked, and we’re gonna drop this down to 300. Because we split the resolution in half, it made our image overall bigger so now it’s 11 inches by 15 inches. For printing, you don’t want your resolution to be any lower than 300 dpi, though. The maximum print size of a T-Shirt is 15 inches by 20 inches with the company that I use, so I’m gonna actually increase this. I’m gonna turn back on ‘Resample’, and then I’m gonna go to ‘Preserve Details 2.0’ because Photoshop has a good algorithm if you want to like, increase the size of your image without making it look all janky, and I’m just going to go ahead and bump this up to 20. So now we’re at 14.651 by 20 (inches). Just want to make this like, a decent size image. So I’m clicking ‘Ok’ here. Alright, so now we want to make this pure black and pure white. So I’m gonna go to ‘Image’ and choose ‘Adjustments’ and then choose ‘Levels.’ So this end is like, the white slider and this end is like the black slider, so we’ll start sliding this down until we lose, ’till it’s basically like, pure white. We’ll slide this up to bring the blacks back in. So now, we’ve got a little bit of kind of, shadows going on down here, and this area is starting to get too light, so I’m gonna go and grab the bottom half of my image with the ‘Selector’ tool here, actually, probably like the bottom third, and hit ‘Command’ ‘X’, and then hit ‘Command’ ‘V’ and we’ve got this pasted on a new layer. So we can just line these back up. So now on this layer, let’s go back to ‘Image’ and choose ‘Levels’ and just make that white really white. Click ‘OK’. Let’s make sure these seams are okay from doing that. Yeah, so we’ve got a little bit of jaggedness, so let’s just adjust this layer a bit. There we go. Now it’s back where it needs to be. So now we’re gonna hold down ‘Shift’ on our keyboard and click the other layer so now they’re together, and we’ll just go ahead and merge these back together. And now what we want to do is, we’re going to get rid of the white background. I made another video on this on my YouTube channel, I’ll link to it right here. But we’re gonna hit ‘Command’ ‘A,’ ‘Command’ ‘X’ to cut it. Then we’re gonna hit ‘Q’ on our keyboard. ‘Command’ ‘V.” We’re gonna hit ‘Q’ again, and now we want to hit ‘Shift’ ‘Command’ ‘I’ to invert our selection, and then we’re gonna hit ‘Shift’ ‘F5’ to fill that selection. We’re gonna choose black. Okay, so now we have just our black lines here on a transparent background. We can drop in a white background. They say you shouldn’t really like, work too long on a white background because it’s bad for your eyes, but I’m gonna do a white background because I want to. So now we’re ready to start coloring. We’re gonna hit ‘W’ on our keyboard to get the Magic Wand tool. Make sure ‘Contiguous’ is checked. We’re gonna click outside of our character, and it should select everything outside the character. But certain areas like this bowstring it stopped the selection because there’s like, a black line. So we need to hold down ‘Shift’ and click these areas to add them to our selection. Cool. Now that we have the outside of the character selected, we are gonna go ahead and hit ‘Shift’ ‘Command’ ‘I’. That’s gonna invert our selection. But that selection is just outside the black lines and we want them to be in the middle of the black lines. So we’re gonna go to ‘Select’, choose ‘Modify’ and ‘Contract’. I already have mine set to 3 pixels. That should work. So we’re gonna create a new layer here for our colors. Then we’re gonna hit ‘G’ on the keyboard to pull up our paint bucket tool. Then click inside the character to fill it with one solid color. Then ‘Command’ ‘D’ to deselect. Alright, so now it’s time to start coloring. I’m actually gonna speed things up a little bit here, so it’s not like a 4 hour video. I made a full in-depth tutorial on how to color a drawing and shade a drawing in Photoshop. I’ll link to that video right here if you want to know how to color your drawings in Photoshop, but I will show you this: when you’re designing a T-Shirt, sometimes it’s helpful to work within Pantone colors because those are the screen print ink colors that T-Shirt companies use. So if you go over to your color picker here, and then you click on this little button that says ‘Color Libraries’, that shows you all the different Pantone colors. And usually when I’m designing a T-Shirt, that’s kind of the color picker that I work in, so that I can provide my T-Shirt company with the Pantone numbers so that the colors that they print are exactly what I designed with. So I’m trying to limit my palette here to just 6 colors. When you do screen printed t-shirts, each color that you add ends up costing you more money. So, it’s kind of cool doing screen printing stuff, because you have to limit yourself, and like, you guys might know if you’ve seen any of my other videos, like, I love all the colors. I’m like, love colors and I (eat?) super colorful artists. So, working on T-Shirt designs, actually I love it because it really limits me on what I can do, and I try to push these 6 colors that I’ve chosen maybe as far as I can, and really try to do cool color combinations. But yeah, the other thing is, is so there’s 6 colors, and then there’s black line art, but the black line art I’m gonna print this on black T-Shirts, or like dark grey T-Shirts, so the line art will actually be just the fabric showing through, so that will save me on, on one color. All right, I think that is it. I’m feeling it. It’s pretty popping, pretty, pretty spooky. We got some alchemy symbols on the bottom here, got some phases of the Moon that I made. This character’s name is Carbon Black, she’s the sister of Yuma Black, another character that I made. And yeah, it’s gonna be a pretty vivid shirt. *Chuckles* And we’re gonna go ahead and, just kind of mock this up on a T-Shirt and see how it looks. Cool, so I got that open. Here’s another design I did a while ago. And then we’ll just drag this down, kind of get it about to where we want it to be, And then we go back over to our mock-up and there’s our design. And then we’ll go ahead and just kind of position this where we want it to be, and yeah, yeah, that’s looking pretty cool. These mock-ups are pretty rad. And yeah, so now we can kind of see what its gonna look like on a T-Shirt. This is looking sick! What do you guys think, do you like it? So that’s cool, so there’s the long sleeve, and I think it’s looking pretty rad. Haha! It’s gonna be a good one! Well, that’s it! Just got those ordered. By the way, the T-Shirt company that I order from is called Jakprints, they should be here soon. And actually, these T-Shirts are available right now for pre-order on my website. So if you guys want to grab yourself one of those T-Shirts, or long sleeves, or hoodies they’re available now. I do free shipping anywhere in the United States. International shipping available. Thanks y’all so much for watching! If you like this video leave a like, drop a comment if you have any questions. Don’t forget to subscribe to my channel, and ring the bell if you want to know exactly when the next video is coming out! Don’t forget to check out that Skillshare link down in the description. The first 500 people to click that link get 2 free months of Skillshare. It’s pretty awesome, you can learn some things. And, uh, yeah! That was fun! Thanks y’all! Check out my Patreon, we’re doing a bunch of cool behind-the-scenes stuff over there. I have tips and tricks. Got a discord server going Have been playing video games online with my Patrons, and doing like, some voice chat; I love the Patreon experience so far. So if you guys want to support me, and also get some extra content, you can check out my Patreon page. Thanks so much! I’ll catch you guys on the next one! Yeah-ah yay!

About Roger Trantham

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24 thoughts on “How I design a T Shirt – Clothing Art Tutorial

  1. I JUST found this YouTube and I'm diggin' the vibe. I love seeing other artists process vids, thank you for sharing!

    I have a tip on the sketching process: Draw it out, scan it, and change the pencil lines to a non-photo blue. Print it out with the blue line work on heavier paper. THEN ink it on that blue ink print out. I agree that a direct hand-drawn piece looks much more alive. Once you dig that ink look, scan it again and drop out that blue in Photoshop.

    I know that final resellable artwork is a great addition to your flow, but should you get the need for a switch up this is a great option. This way enables you to play with your final inked look w/o sacrificing the final piece.

  2. Great video thanks for Sharing thisCan you please do video the best setup
    From PC to the printer please
    And pricelist i’m just starting out

  3. Muy colorido y fresco el diseño o el dibujo y todo el proceso yo apenas empiezo en esto de los diseños para camisetas también y estos tutoriales son de mucho apoyo donde se pueden conseguir estas camisetas?

  4. beautiful , creative , rare your t-shirts should be international brand … actually better than some expensive international brand

  5. I find it odd that you go through this huge artistic process and have great lighting equipment to photograph the art, but don't use a tripod. Is there a reason why you don't?

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