Every artist has their own unique style and their own unique way of creating successful T-shirt designs. Some artists work digitally, while some prefer to begin with pen and paper before transferring them onto the computer. These hand-drawn illustrative designs can make some beautiful and detailed tees that showcase unique style, whether hand rendered or drawn completely digitally.
Dream Quest by qetza
This unique illustrative design features some amazing line work and details mixed with a vintage theme. It’s obvious the designer, qetza, put an immense amount of thought and development into the composition before pen hit paper. There are some hand rendered details in Dream Quest that create visual texture and take this design to another level. Pay attention to the linework that creates texture in the feathers, dreamcatcher and owl’s wings – simply amazing. This kind of detailing can of course be achieved on the computer, but for many designers, visualizing and completing a design can be much easier off-screen.
Space Koi by DrSpazmo
Fish in space?! Cool line art adds depth and dimension to this “out of this world” illustrative design. Cross-hatching was used to add shading to the astronaut’s helmet and inner workings, while the Koi fish pop with block of vibrant color. These final touches of color and unique line work all add to this artist’s signature style. The contrast between the helmet and fish add dimension and convince the viewer that the helmet is a 3D object.
Can you see through the madness? This wild and crazy doodle was created using custom brushes in Photoshop to create the effect of colored pencils. A limited color palette make this design bright and bold with a warm color palette choice. These bright oranges and yellows contrast with the gray line work to show depth and lessen the clutter. Pencil People is a prime example of an illustrative design that shows off an artist’s ability to compose many elements into one cohesive design. This artist has also created his own personal style that is recognized instantly, not always an easy thing to accomplish.
Trying to think about how long this design took to create makes my head spin! The intricate linework in this design is certainly something impressive. The stark black and white coloring is great for highlighting all the dense lineart and doesn’t take away from the overall look. This design is a perfect example of illustrated detail used as a backdrop for negative space. Clever use of the white areas makes the typography pop in this intricate but eye catching piece.
Dum Spiro Spero means “While I breathe” in Latin, which is a positive message for this beautiful piece of art. The woman in this design has a sketched face complete with a delicately colored ornate headdress. The pastel-looking colors and shading appear to have been sketched with a colored pencil effect. Stunning details of feathers, flowers and organic looking spirals were drawn in to complete the design. Such intricate detailing and shading requires a thorough knowledge of anatomy, light and natural objects. Impressive.
Dia De Los Panda by Outcast84
This “mashup” or collage design shows off some talented pencil and pen work! Dia De Los Panda features lineart that reveals textures in the fur, clothing and flowers of the design that provide some stunning details. The specific shading on the gems, eyes and other elements additionally makes this design look almost photo-realistic. This artist’s drawing abilities and attention to detail made this illustrative design successful.
YTMSM (Your Time Machine Stranded Me) Drowned Harbor Edition by j3concepts
Similar to Dia De Los Panda above, the central theme of this illustrative design revolves around a collage effect and stunning details. The black and white shading in this design reveals details that one might miss if it had been colored. A mix of gems, clockwork, ropes and antlers are discovered as your eye moves around the piece. The symmetrical but obviously not mirrored approach to the composition is easy on the eye. This style allows the viewer to get lost in the detail and find something new almost every time it is revisited.
This happy-go-lucky design looks like it came straight out of an artist’s dream. The thick outlines and swirly elements enhance its’ overall cartoon feel, while the unique color shading adds an almost 3D effect. This doodle, Happy City, is another great example of an illustrative design that shows off an artist’s handiwork. This design may have been drawn by hand and then simply enhanced once it made it on-screen. Either way, this illustrative drawing reveals this artist’s vibrant personal style and line art techniques.
If you’ve got a steady hand and a great eye for line work and details, try creating something on paper before creating your next design – you might be surprised by the results. Next week we’ll be featuring the best ways to get your illustrations onto the computer without losing the integrity and details of your design. Cheers and Good Luck on your next design.