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OK, here's the deal.

I've got semi-decent skills with the various software programs out there, photoshop, illustrator, corel, etc. I can manipulate images fairly well, and I've been able to do so some interesting things with photos I've taken and some stock photos.

However, I want to be able to create my own artwork for some t-shirt designs, and I can't draw!

Can anyone recommend some place/book/course/site which good for absolute beginners to learn how to actually draw? Thanks!
 

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I can't draw jack. Not even a little bit, and while I cannot tell you it doesn't matter, because it does, just not as much as you think. There are literally thousands of places on the web to acquire open licence vector art and photos. There are even obscure sources like public domain advertising and such to add originality. Probably millions of fonts also. At their core designs break down to these two components in most cases. It all just digital manipulation of one or both. Actually the ability to effectively use programs like photoshop and illustrator has proven to be a greater advantage in most cases. I would love to be able to draw but i can't so I just work with what I have. You can also. Take some figure and drawing classes at your local community college. Study color theory and all that. It will help you a lot, but don't let a lack of drawing ability stop you.
 

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I can't draw jack. Not even a little bit, and while I cannot tell you it doesn't matter, because it does, just not as much as you think. There are literally thousands of places on the web to acquire open licence vector art and photos. There are even obscure sources like public domain advertising and such to add originality. Probably millions of fonts also. At their core designs break down to these two components in most cases. It all just digital manipulation of one or both. Actually the ability to effectively use programs like photoshop and illustrator has proven to be a greater advantage in most cases. I would love to be able to draw but i can't so I just work with what I have. You can also. Take some figure and drawing classes at your local community college. Study color theory and all that. It will help you a lot, but don't let a lack of drawing ability stop you.
Thanks for the advice! It's nice to know someone else out there can't draw :) I'd be very interested in seeing some of the designs you've done using the methods you described.
 

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Hey Glenn. Nice to see you back on the forums. Drawing is a nice plus, but as Brent mentioned, there are other ways to create cool t-shirt artwork. It also depends on what kind of artwork you are looking to create and what your market is. Definitely look into public domain images, free fonts and free vectors. These should help you get started. Design composition will be the next step. But if you go to Barnes & Nobles, they have books on art and design that may help.
 

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Hey Glenn. Nice to see you back on the forums. Drawing is a nice plus, but as Brent mentioned, there are other ways to create cool t-shirt artwork. It also depends on what kind of artwork you are looking to create and what your market is. Definitely look into public domain images, free fonts and free vectors. These should help you get started. Design composition will be the next step. But if you go to Barnes & Nobles, they have books on art and design that may help.
Thanks Tim, good to be back! (I went looking for your kiosk shortly after we met but couldn't find it.)

I do spend a lot of time going through the public domain image sites and playing around with them. I finally figured out how to make a nice distress pattern so I can try to do some vintage-looking stuff, so we'll see how things work out.
 

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I've got semi-decent skills with the various software programs out there, photoshop, illustrator, corel, etc. I can manipulate images fairly well, and I've been able to do so some interesting things with photos I've taken and some stock photos.
Glenn, I feel your pain best I can do is stick figures....really LOL! something I'd add is the wealth of Photoshop brushes available for free on the net that can add lots of interesting effects and shapes with out any drawing skills!

Hope this helps.
 

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Drawing is just one way of producing imagery, IMO color and design is a more useful skill set for screen printing. I have acquired a fairly decent library on visual composition covering everything from history to direct response marketing. One theme that is constant from the impressionists to Madison Avenue is the study of other peoples work. I have probably a dozen compilation books of T shirt designs, Print magazine and other collections and they are good place to get a feel for the aesthetics of T's. Try searching T shirt design books at Amazon.com. The only thing worse in business than reinventing the wheel, is reinventing a square wheel.

Taking college courses is great because there are other people going though the same process as you that you can discuss the strength and weakness's of various approaches with. When I was in school there were pretty much all age groups represented from retirement age to kids just out of high school.

You've already made a start in composition, and you've admitted to yourself that you want to grow. Those are the very hardest things to do. There is no end to how far you can go from there, literally no ceiling on what you can learn. So understand that it is a journey you can take for the rest of your life if you so choose. How cool is that, a purpose that will remain a challenge as long as you choose to pursue it.
People die of retirement, I am really thankful to have a vocation that will always remain a fresh challenge. :)
 

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I feel that a great drawing is the best foundation for a great shirt. The shirts I like best and purchase are the one's with great art on them. I have known screen printing shops that have really excelled once they stepped up their art. (Better drawing, art, and designs = more referrals and repeat customers). There's 2 approaches you can take:
1.) Learn drawing for yourself (college courses, book training, tutors, etc) which will take quite a while to get good at.
2.) Find a freelance artist who you can hire for some of your designs, or hire an in-house artist.
For the simpler stuff, I would suggest these books: Idea Index, Design Basics Index, and Type Idea Index, all by Jim Krause. They are very helpful on creating unique and interesting designs. Hope this helps!
 

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"I feel that a great drawing is the best foundation for a great shirt. The shirts I like best and purchase are the one's with great art on them."

It is probably just a matter of semantics but wouldn't it be equally true in your opinion that great painting, or photography or graphic design is the foundation? I know it's a fine distinction but color and design transcends media still providing imagery to render in screen print. Drawing (draftsmanship) is just one stylistic approach. :)
 

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Being able to draw is great..i used to be able to draw and paint but i have suffered from some kind of mental block for years...but the creative mind is still there..So what I am saying is don't be afraid to think outside the box. just because you can't draw doesn't mean you can't be creative.
 

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I have posted a couple of digitally modified photographs to further illustrate my point. The girl is a photo rendered into a faux drawing, I could explain to the original poster a five or six step Photoshop technique on how to achieve this "drawing" in about a half minute. The other graphic took a bit of time but it is a 6 color "painting" of a pulling unit I worked on years back. I've got a Che graphic comprised of a photo of an ape and the famous graphic of Che combied, (Viva La Evelotuion) I would post but I wouldn't open that can of worms for an original Warhol.lol
The point is draftsmanship is not required to do a drawing, but design technique, if not knowledge is very helpful if you want to design. :)
 

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I understand that great graphic design skills, and also photos can be used to create some great designs. Wasn't trying to offend. I've seen some awesome stuff, using just design and/or photo manipulation. In my opinion though, shirts with drawn artwork as the base are the most creative, unique and memorable.
 

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For my part personally, this is not an offensive type issue, this is an exchange clarifying separate aspects of the creative process. It is my position that you can do anything digitally that you can do with traditional skills and materials (with the exception of pigment purity and brilliance).
Just take a look at the portfolios of work in Painter X. However regardless of media, the rules of visual composition and management of contrast remain consistent. :)
 

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For my part personally, this is not an offensive type issue, this is an exchange clarifying separate aspects of the creative process. It is my position that you can do anything digitally that you can do with traditional skills and materials (with the exception of pigment purity and brilliance).
Just take a look at the portfolios of work in Painter X. However regardless of media, the rules of visual composition and management of contrast remain consistent. :)
I understand your point. If you are talented enough, yes, I can see how you could create much of your requests. For me, I get a lot of requests for imaginative things, like a cartoon water fairy surfing, or a hammerhead biker shark (actual requests). I think you might have trouble creating a great piece for these, without a drawing skillset. I guess it really just comes down to the type of requests you are getting on a daily basis. :)
 

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Can anyone recommend some place/book/course/site which good for absolute beginners to learn how to actually draw? Thanks!
To be honest, most garment decorators are not the greatest artist when they first start out and many of them don't challenge themselves to improve their skills. It really comes down to creating / modifying art that fits your market. If you are looking to learn how to use more of the features in your software programs, then I would recommend the following:
1. Take a couple of course at a local community college.
2. Check out the How To books from Great Dane Graphics.
3. Check out Lynda.com. They have some online tutorials on how to use different software programs.

Over time, you art skills will improve if you work on it. Best wishes,

Mark
 

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"For me, I get a lot of requests for imaginative things, like a cartoon water fairy surfing, or a hammerhead biker shark (actual requests). I think you might have trouble creating a great piece for these, without a drawing skillset."

If you mean cartooning, although I can't cartoon myself ( and I really wish I could) I can well imagine you would have to draw. Although I've seen a number of cartoons rendered with a stylus and a tablet. (see YouTube). But we've gone far off on a tangent. If I actually did get a request for a cartoon water nymph on a surf board I couldn't create a great piece regardless of the tools. I can and do draw freehand though (although for me it is not cost effective, the money in a print run is in running prints). :)
 

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hello glenn. i would suggest you take a look at the numerous tutorials you can find online for pretty much any graphics program you use. you can find tuts for almost any effect such as "photo to pencil sketch" or "vintage photo effect" plus many other designs that you can make from scratch on your graphics software. the tuts are also a great way to get yourself more familiar with all the goodies on your software that you would probably otherwise never use..or know were even there. just google "photoshop tutorial" (or whatever software you prefer) and you will find a ton of sites to look through.

i just did it myself today because a client wanted a shirt printed with an airbrush effect on the photo. i found a great tut on it and showed her the results..she loved it and im starting on the shirts today :eek:)

good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I have posted a couple of digitally modified photographs to further illustrate my point. The girl is a photo rendered into a faux drawing, I could explain to the original poster a five or six step Photoshop technique on how to achieve this "drawing" in about a half minute. The other graphic took a bit of time but it is a 6 color "painting" of a pulling unit I worked on years back. I've got a Che graphic comprised of a photo of an ape and the famous graphic of Che combied, (Viva La Evelotuion) I would post but I wouldn't open that can of worms for an original Warhol.lol
The point is draftsmanship is not required to do a drawing, but design technique, if not knowledge is very helpful if you want to design. :)
If you've got half a minute I'd love to hear how you did that in Photoshop! :)
 

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Cool, it's an old trick,but that doesn't make any less an effective tool.
1) crop your image to the desired composition and de saturate, or convert to gray scale.
2) In your Layers window right click on the background layer and duplicate it.
3) Invert the duplicate either by Image\Adjust\invert
or by pressing Control and I at the same time
4)Right click on the inverted layer and select blending options, pull down and select Color dodge
5)The image should go completely or almost completely white.
6) Go to Filters\blur\Gaussian Blur and select and play with the slider till you get the best result for your application.
Afterwords adjust contrast and add lines for a pencil line type look. :)
 
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