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T-Shirts for Sale! My Foray into the Threadless Artist Shop

Once upon a time, I did a lot of illustrations for lots of ideas with my friends Ben and Ryan. We worked on tons of things, mostly sports apps, and part of these endeavours resulted in fantastic random graphics and images of baked beans, donkeys, an old shoe, and even Matt Damon. There was a narrative to it, I swear.

It didn’t become the billion-dollar app that we were planning for, but that was okay. We all moved on and lived our lives.

While I was cleaning out some of my files (as you do when you are actually procrastinating and probably should have been doing something else), I came across the old Illustrator files and started to laugh at them. In particular, this image of a mule I had made.

 

Pushing through a bit more, I found that a lot of these elements would work really well on t-shirts. They were all set up as little icons and visuals, and I thought kind of perfect on their own.

Ben, Ryan, and I have previously tried to endeavour a merchandise-based experiment, but it only ended up with us (me) having to store hundreds of t-shirts with Roberto Luongo’s face and the text, “What’chu talkin’ about, Gillis?” emblazoned on the front. It was difficult to find a market of where Canucks fans would meet Diff’rent Strokes fans in a Venn Diagram.

Learning from that, as well as a few lessons from Cycling ’74, it was clear that I did not want to have any type of inventory in the house. An on-demand service seemed like a great way to go because it was less waste, less risk, and less commitment. According to my pro-con list, one of the bigger cons may be the cost.

But as a way to justify this, I decided to think about it as another leap towards something new to try.

The main goal is to have fun, not make money.

It’s so easy to say that, of course, and we’ve all heard it, but it’s so difficult to keep that in mind and at heart whenever we do something.

I just kept thinking about how I laughed when I opened up the above donkey file, and I wanted to see if I could extend that delight a little bit.

It’s okay if I don’t make any money from this because it’s given me something more to think about and spend my energy on. I’ve found myself looking at older illustrations, tweaking them, improving them, and even making new ones. Just the idea of creating them was so much fun for me, and being able to publish them somehow was a great motivation.

I think it’s a bit related to building your own portfolio or self-initiated projects. I get lazy when I know it’s just for me. It’s terrible to admit that, but I think we all know that feeling.

When there is less pressure in the form of a client or accountability, the less stellar the work is. Unless you are some kind of crazy genius, or an obsessive alcoholic. But then again, who likes hanging out with those guys anyway? History is filled with brilliant people that everybody regarded as spectacular assholes.

The great effect its had on me is that I dream a little bit more, and I complain a lot less. I think about what else I can draw, and what other things I can try.

Another fun part is when my friends throw in some ideas. I really enjoyed making this monkey and this cute pig.

I would never have thought about them if my friends Megan and Anita did not suggest it on the Facebook post I meekly shared.

And now, the printed samples I ordered are starting to arrive in the mail, and I think I definitely achieved my goal of extending my personal delight over these illustrations. I get super excited to go downstairs to check the mail because of the possibility that it might be a t-shirt, a bag, or a mug.

To round things off, the very first sample I got was the Donkey Bag. It came in the mail on the same day that I was to meet up with Ben again, after more than 2 years of being apart, and it was going to be the first time that I was going to meet his little son. Funny how things align like that, and I had no hesitation in bringing it with me and giving it as a gift.

Haha! Guys, my Donkey Bag arrived in the mail today!

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My Plans for the New Year

Trung recently asked me what I intended to do in the upcoming year. A few things are already underway, and others I’ve already decided on. But as is the time of reflection and resolutions, I suppose it’s appropriate to make yet another list.


JavaScript—the Reckoning!

I fully intend to create a working app by the end of 2014. Well, really, by mid-2014 would be great.

Getting over humps and bumps of resistance for this will require a lot of patience and discipline, and it’s going to be awesome.

Right now I am thinking of making this knit-centric. Like a simple gauge calculator that I can use to help me make sense of the math for when I want to swap out a different yarn for a specific project. If anything, it will also really help me with my math skills. Because I have none.


Homelifes, Decorating, Furniture

After three and a half years, I suppose it’s time to come clean. I have really come to dislike my furniture.

I’ve inherited most of this furniture from the original owners of my current apartment. And while I’m grateful, I think it’s time to take that step up and finally make decisions based on what I would like, rather than what is convenient.

Last year, I found myself getting rid of my university furniture, shedding off memories of being dumb and young. Well now I’m just dumb, really, but I like to think I was a little bit dumber back then. Items that will ring truth in every young twenty-somethings’ ears: futon, Ikea, cheap computer table, Ikea, folding couch, etc.

Speaking of Ikea, I’ve just traded my last vestige of cheap university life for a more solid structure. Still Ikea, but like, one step up from “that table” that everyone knows:

This year, I’d like to look forward to pieces that have a bit more of a story and effort from me.

I have 2 simple projects lined up:

A wooden bench piece with hairpin legs.

And this bitchin’ daybed that my buddy Ben and I are going to be building together.

The daybed will be more work, obviously, but the possibility of creating a custom piece that I can control sounds so amazing to me. It will come in two pieces that come apart, and we have plans to build it out of pine kill lumber, which I think is a beautiful wood.


More Crafting!

I’ve gone on a full knitting rage these last few months, and I don’t intend to stop there. Fiona and Amanda have totally inspired me to test more waters, and I will be pushing through with more sewing projects as well.

This book will come out of the woodwork (I purchased it a few months ago) and I will be working hard to make some really awesome garments and homewares.

 

As a side note as well, I’ve made a resolution to stop buying yarn and finish off this giant stash that I have somehow accumulated over the course of a few months. Seriously. My yarn drawer is barfing yarn right now.

I think these three major things will be a great start to the year. I’m looking forward to 2014!