T-Shirt Design Evolution: Nerf This!

Happy Friday RIPTsters.  Today we have Nerf This! a great t-shirt design from artist Obvian.  We were lucky enough to have him share some of his steps while making this t-shirt design.  Enjoy and check out Nerf This! available today only at RIPT Apparel on t-shirts, hoodies, crew neck sweatshirts, posters, tanks, and more.

Step 1 – Initial Sketch

T-Shirt Design Evolution: Nerf This! Step 1

Here’s the original t-shirt sketch! A mix of detail and a lack of detail as I try to put down the idea’s layout and the mech’s forced perspective. This is all from D’Va’s “Nerf this!” quote, but… well, nerfing it.

Step 2 – Sketch Adjustments

T-Shirt Design Evolution: Nerf This! Step 2

…And now to shift it around a little. The machine gets some more pronounced firepower, but stays pretty symmetrical. D.Va herself needs to shift a little to give her a little more character and fit in some of her gestures in. I need to shift a little because my posture is so bad that my nose is touching the screen.

Step 3 – Inking

T-Shirt Design Evolution: Nerf This! Step 3

INKING! This piece is done entirely in Illustrator from here out, as using the brush tool gives me vectors I can shift if I make a mistake. I’m not the cleanest with my pencils, so I grab references to help correct everything on the fly. NO ONE WILL EVER KNOW.

Step 4 – Inking…Continued

T-Shirt Design Evolution: Nerf This! Step 4

And inking is done? Of course not. I’m an indecisive bastard who still wants to add and change things halfway through. The negative space under her feels too negative, and I consider filling it with what might be foam darts, or poorly drawn logs.

Step 5 – Colors

T-Shirt Design Evolution: Nerf This! Step 5

Let’s get some solid colours going. And oh, hey, they totally did become nerf darts. It’s at this point I start figuring out how many colours I can reduce it to while still keeping it all vibrant. She has a giant pink mech. We should do no less.

Step 6 – Highlights and Textures Added

T-Shirt Design Evolution: Nerf This! Step 6

Now I get to add highlights and a little texture to this t-shirt design. I decided not to add in any half-toned elements (so no smooth gradients or shading), which is wonderful for any plastic or metal surfaces… But makes foam darts a bit of a challenge. I start trying to poke holes through my Cintiq screen to make them look porous.

Step 7 – Change T-Shirt Color, Sit Back, and Worry

T-Shirt Design Evolution: Nerf This! Step 7

And one last change after all the details have been squiggled in: Mint is out, aqua is in. It means a little creative license with the mech and suit lights, but pinks and blue balance much, much better. And staring at a green shirt has made everything else I look at red. I submit the final design, sit back, and spend the next two hours worrying if I should’ve just used mint anyway.

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