Not Everybody’s Cup of Tshirts

As a part-time hobby I design artwork for tshirts for a whole range of amazing clients.

Usually they send me a drawing or a screen-dump of something they’d like to see printed on a Tshirt. Unfortunately some I have to reject because of ‘Intellectual Property‘ laws, or it’s a blatant ripoff. Satirical pieces I have done, but more often I redesign an idea into something completely new.

Some people might take offense to words in some of my tshirt designs. Maybe they grew up in an era where sexual thoughts and offensive language were not made public let alone printed on tshirts. Or on a coffee mug. Or on leggings.

At the very least I look at client ideas, and think to myself:If I was to reject your idea because I don’t like the message, or the lifestyle it promotes, or how some religious zealots may react, what am I really saying? That I am putting others’ beliefs above my client’s gender or life-choice? That someone else runs my business? That I can or will only do artwork with the approval of ALL the people in my life? Of course not, that would be silly. No, I won’t do that.

So occasionally I design a few tshirts that are going to offend a few people. Well, that’s easy: Don’t look. If you see the tshirt in the street, talk to that person – they paid for it. Or turn away. It’s like watching TV: If the channel is showing something you don’t like, change the channel.

To date nobody has complained or commented on my artwork – yet by publishing this, they may now.

When a client or a follower wants a design, I show them three examples of my design of their idea. Because they are rarely on commission, I show them how to purchase online via It’s really easy, you can pick from a whole lot of different colors, tshirt styles, and other merchandise you might like to see it on.

Checkout the following merchandise designed for various friends over the last ten years.

If you like any of them, you should be wearing them. Don’t let anyone stop you from being what you were born and who you are. Each image links back to my redbubble tshirt gallery where you can choose which best suits you.




PostScript: I finally designed an unusual request from a few years ago earlier this week. It’s actually nothing new, but they wanted to see how I would approach the design. Yes, the client is a lesbian – get over it. I know them, they are a beautiful person, and their lifestyle has no impact on you or me. In her words … “Even if you were my type, you’ll never know. Those that are my type, often know before I do.” That’s how all relationships should be. Look out for this tshirt-design, it will be online very soon … and I imagine it will be more popular than the ones above!




The Basic Updates to HTML over the last 15 Years

First let me say that I STILL design my sites using CSS elements and HTML tags and attributes to give my websites improved function and form. I won’t deny that sometimes they are not pretty – but I design to suit my needs now, not for anyone else.

Whilst many other designers are now using purchased templates, I enjoy writing the background code. I enjoy that little yippee-moment when the CSS works.

I remember the first time I built a sprite based header navigation in way back in 2004! Because blogger enabled users to modify the HTML and CSS, I spent many an evening tinkering, learning, applying, reapplying, until I had a site I liked. It was also at that time that I started creating graphics for sprites.

This morning I wanted to write an explanation of what I have enjoyed over the last 15 years of coding CSS, yet felt I couldn’t easily put it into words. Thankfully I found Casadaro Shearrod’s simplified yet succinct list displaying the basic differences/upgrades of HTML over the last 20 years.

HTML 1 – linked documents
HTML 2 – linked documents with stylized text and tables.
HTML 3 – more of 1 and 2 with some Browser specific features.
HTML 4 – a re-evaluation of 3 to removes some clutter that arrived in 2 and 3.
HTML 5 – pretty much the same as 1 with the ability to specify document structures and multimedia element.

His last line below is the #1  reason I stopped designing for others. 

Knowing HTML5 in practice means we know HTML and CSS. We can do what used to be done with HTML 1,2, and 3, but we can do those things more effectively, with greater efficiency, and on a larger scale. This is what gave birth to the Web application and server side programing and scripting but, that’s a whole different talk.

HTML and CSS are not difficult to learn, but it is time consuming to both unlearn and learn as updates occur. I chose to stop. I achieved what I set out to do, so was able to tick it off my bucket list of achievements, then move onto new ventures.

And that is where I choose to end this article. Does this mean I no longer code? Are you kidding?! Reading some of the URL‘s linked above gets me fired up and interested again … so I am already pondering my website revamp!

Tool Board

Quotes from What are the differences among HTML2.x HTML3.x and HTML4.x?, written 7.Nov.2014 by Casadaro Shearrod.



Bookmarks of Interest

Roped Rock God

Despite two real-world events today, I’ve still managed to get onto the online world to visit and read a few world wide web sites of personal interest … and here they are for others to read.

OK, they are really published here so I don’t have to bookmark them on my computer. Since changed hands I have found it to be more useless than a watch with no hands.

What this list really shows how extra-eclectic my reading often is. One of them has music playing in the background – a little old hat for web sites, yet this is cool.

  1. The Business Mistake that Cost Me $1.5 Million – Entrepreneur Jen Bilik learned a lesson the hard way when she trusted the wrong person.
  2. Backed by first round’s dorm room fund, Pagevamp turns Facebook pages into Websites.
  3. Why businesses should act human on Facebook.
  4. Conran imagines a digital camera with a retro spirit .
  5. StartUp Weekend Adelaide . Being a long-term resident and worker in Adelaide, I had to mention this page. I really should get along to one of these events, just to see what it really is all about.
  6. The difference between a Mobile Site and a Full Site by Jakob Nielsen.
  7. The Innovative Brain

Monitor Failure

For anyone who think they can determine a person’s personality by the web sites they visit … good on you.
For anyone thinking this is just an average post, I agree. It’s time I started writing again. Again.

One Way to Have a Great Weekend – My Way!

It’s been a busy weekend of editing photographs and creating new graphics. All whilst doing some gardening, so nothing happened as fast it could have done. Yet this is not what I had planned for the weekend …

I did have plans to build an eBay store. I saw last week (via someone on Facebook) that we can now build a “my ebay“. This is a great idea! I really should get this done. I have a tonne of stuff I want to sell, including camera bags and lenses. Over the next few nights, hopefully.

As usual, I got distracted by other ideas…

New Shirts

I always have ideas, many of them in progress as we speak! Here are four shirts I finally finished creating. Tell me if you like them … by buying them!

This is Not the Shirt you are Looking for You've Mistaken me for Someone who Gives a

Ignore Previous Shirt Bear Gone Crazy

New Photographs

I’m always editing photographs. Thankfully it’s the number-one hobby of mine, plus I make a few extra dollars for my efforts. I currently have three months of photography shot at local attractions that are in various stages of editing. Now that I have a ‘Fine Art America’ account, I’ll be uploading much more photo artwork!

As I am still a Redbubble Addict, I uploaded a few new photographs…

Rusted Wreck II, by Stephen Mitchell, on Redbubble Race Upstream, by Stephen Mitchell, on Redbubble Rusted Wreck, by Stephen Mitchell, on Redbubble

Pedalled, by Stephen Mitchell, on Redbubble Dance of the Dead Fish, by Stephen Mitchell, on Redbubble Jingle Bells, by Stephen Mitchell, on Redbubble

More Graphics

The last thing I did for the weekend was create half-a-dozen graphics. These are for further promoting my redbubble gallery. Now that Redbubble have introduced the new ‘collections’ for categorising our artwork, I felt it was time to also show the world the varying mediums that my photography can be purchased upon. Here goes…

Greeting Cards and Post Cards Framed Photographs
Laminated Photographs Photographs on Posters
Canvas Photography Mounted Photography

Plus the digging in the garden, it has a been a fun weekend. What did you get up to?

Wearing Shirts to Escape the Rat Race

On Friday (~13th August, 2010) I had a very quiet day, so spent most of it drawing, designing, creating and uploading new graphics to Redbubble. Here is where my mind went:

I photographed a bunch of shots of this BMX-rider sometime last year and figured I could incorporate one of them into a T-shirt-design. Initially I had uploaded a simple two-colour silhouette-style graphic of the BMX rider, then rebuilt it so there were four-riders in different colours slightly overlapping each other. It worked, but it was hardly rocket-science to build.

On Friday I was revisiting the graphics to see if I could enliven it. Well, I had been thinking about how I could escape the rat-race … and this idea was born. The rat-head took some time draw, and the rat-tail went through various incarnations before using the arc of the wheel as a starting point!

Anyhow, after much proverbial crumpling of binary paper, I finalised this design. Most impressed, I set about putting it into various layouts. These four are where we are currently, yet I know there is scope for many more ideas.

Escape the Rat Race

Pretty much where it all started. Rat’s racing on bikes looks much cooler than just their heads sitting in F1-cars, so went for a set of four-bikes. Two is not a race, three never looks random enough, and ‘four rats racing’ rolls off the tongue so much easier. ;)

Shirt - Escape the Rat Race, by Stephen Mitchell, on Redbubble

Escape the Rat Race AGAIN!

This design is more like one rat riding along and suddenly doing a mono’. (Raised front-wheel. When I was a kid, it was a called a mono’. Not sure what they call it now.) I like to think of this being the rat that escapes the normal rut of life by doing something out of the ordinary.

Originally I had the front-rat in a rainbow colouring, but it looked more like a mistake than an intentional design. Oh, but it did show me that I do need to make duplicates and invert the black/white. That’ll allow them to work on darker-coloured shirts. More about that soon!

Shirt - Escape the Rat Race AGAIN, by Stephen Mitchell, on Redbubble

Celtic Rats

Not all of us want a tattoo, but we do want to rebel against the system and escape the rat race. So here you have it: An attempt at a Celtic pattern that could have been put around your neck, arm or waist … but will look best upon cotton around your chest!

Shirt - Celtic Rats, by Stephen Mitchell, on Redbubble

Rat Race Pattern

When Redbubble eventually enable graphics to rotate, to flow around the shirt, go right up to the neck-line and down to the base, this shirt will be adjusted accordingly. Until then, it still looks great. I see this pattern being developed a little further as time goes by, but this will do for now.

Shirt - Rat Race Pattern, by Stephen Mitchell, on Redbubble

If you are like me, you’ll love wearing anyone of these shirts either in public-view or during casual day at your day-job.

If you do buy one, be sure to photograph yourself wearing it and put the image online somewhere with the tag “escapetheratrace“. That would be cool!

13 Posters for Photo Exhibitions

Presenting my chosen photographs within my upcoming SALA exhibition is only half the effort. Printing will happen soon, the pieces have been chosen. Frames were purchased long ago, so mounting will happen within the next 4-6 weeks.

Right now I am designing the flyer for advertising and exhibition handout. I’m seriously considering designing the two as one, thereby reducing costs.

But I’m not having luck choosing a format. So I googled ‘photography gallery exhibition posters’ to get an idea of what could be possible. Wow! So many great results. Have a look at those that appealed to my eyes:

To save space, I’ve put them all onto one image, displayed below. See the full version via these links: #1 , #2 , #3 , #4 , #5 , #6 , #7 , #8 , #9 , #10 , #11 , #12.

12 Poster Designs for Photography Exhibitions

As you can see, there are a lot of different options and all of them with differing ideas on how to layout a poster for a photograph exhibition.

Now to design my own. Which will be the 13th poster in this article. Thus showing if anyone reads my articles or the titles thereof. ;))

Whilst searching I also found this upcoming book of 100 exhibition posters.

What is your Site-Design process?

I ask because Smashing Magazine have got a Poll asking that same question. I voted accordingly, but felt that was only half the story. Here is my full web site design process: (Read below, whereas the link goes to the poll!)

Macro Perspective

My Site Design Process

1. Paper for Client discussions, HTML and CSS
Generally do a LOT of wire-framing on paper. Love my 2B pencils and .9-push-pencils. Sometimes takes forever, other times happens in moments. Particularly when clients give me carte-blanche. This usually pertains to the design, not the finance.

2. Notepad++ for HTML and CSS.
I like using Notepad++ to write code. Yes, so old school, yet simple to use. I taught myself everything with DW3 about ten years ago, then reverted to MS Notepad when it couldn’t handle layers. I’ve heard the latest version does all the bells and whistles. Meh. Since discovering and learning Notepad++, I cringe when I think back to the 100+ page site I created and maintained with MS Notepad.

Then I get the paint colour-chart out and play mix-n-match. The real fun part.

3. GIMP for Graphics.
I like to build mock-ups in GIMP , then break down to individual graphics one at a time, having fun plying with the textures, typography and all the tiny-pixels.

5. CS3 for photographs and special images.

6. Test in every browser: IE7/8, (I’ve stopped testing in IE6), Chrome, Firefox, Flock (still), Opera and Safari. Not always in alphabetical order ;)!.

Simple really. Which is surprising, because I don’t do any of this much any more. Photography is my game now , and I only code for close-to-home clients.