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
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
…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
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
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
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
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
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.