Thursday, September 10, 2009

Adventures with Fabric Markers and My Day of Fame!

Hello again. See, I really am going to try to write more often!, what to talk about...

There's a few different projects I've worked on over the past months, but I think today we'll talk about my fabric marker shirts. I've actually been messing around with fabric markers for a few years (I think I first got some in 2006), but I didn't start attempting to sell anything I did until the summer of 2008. I made four Elliott Smith shirts - he was an amazing musician, check him out - and sold three of them on eBay (the fourth went to the always awesome Joshua).

These are the first four shirts I made to sell - Joshua got the one at the bottom, which was my favorite.

I didn't make any shirts again until about a year later, a.k.a. earlier this summer, and I decided to put those ones on Etsy. Here's my favorite one:

Click on it to see it better, or check out the official Etsy listing.

Joshua actually gave me the idea for this one, but I came up with using the balloon string to write out Elliott's name.
If you want to see the rest of the newer shirts, check out the Stenciled and Shaded Shirts section in my Etsy shop!

The original reason for making Elliott shirts came about after I made one for myself from a stencil I cut out from a picture. I posted it in an Elliott Smith community and got lots of positive responses and offers to buy any if I made more. Since Elliott is gone, there aren't exactly a ton of shirt options for fans, and I thought it would be something cool to do for the community.

The basic process for these shirts starts with finding a picture I like and then messing with it on the computer to make a grayscale stencil. From there, I print it out and then start cutting out small sections at a time to fill in with fabric marker on a shirt. I started experimenting with shading in the first batch of shirts when one of my markers started to go dead and it's been a pretty effective technique ever since =) Of course, dying markers only last for so long though...I'm thinking when I get the chance, I might try to just get a lightish gray fabric marker (I used Marvy fabric markers, by the way - they dry pretty quickly and hold up well and I love them).

Elliott Smith isn't the only person who's face I've put on a shirt though...I actually made an Amanda Palmer shirt in between the two sets of Elliott ones. If you don't know who Amanda is, please do yourself a favor and listen to her music and read her blogs - she's pretty fantastic =) Anyways, I made an AFP shirt and tried to submit it to be sold on her independent merch site, Post War Trade, but they felt like they had too many t-shirts as it was, so I ended up keeping it for myself. And, one day she announced that she would be in Hermosa Beach hosting a meet-up/photo shoot and after somehow miraculously convincing my friend Hayden to give me a ride the night before, we were off on an adventure! I even got to be in an impromptu music video with a ton of other fans, as you can see here!:

I'm the one holding up a giant yellow rubber duck =D

After the shoot, Amanda said she would hang out until everyone she met everyone who wanted to talk and have her sign things and take pictures and so on had gotten their chance.  Because she's just that awesome. I had decided to bring along the shirt I made and I asked her if she would write something on the back for me..:

The shirt, me holding the shirt as Amanda wrote, and her mysterious addition to the back. 

It is probably now one of my favorite shirts ever...I also got a hug and a kiss on the cheek and a fabric marker stolen by Amanda Effing Palmer. It was a pretty good day...=)

And uh, that's my awesome fabric marker shirt story! To think it all started one depressing summer when I decided to write lyrics all over a blank white shirt with a stain on it! And shortly after learned that Sharpie doesn't hold up well on shirts! Haha...

I'm hoping in the future to make more, different sorts of shirts, as well as some patches to put into my Etsy shop, but for now, there is Elliott. And who knows, maybe one day one of your custom requests?


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