Category Archives: T-shirt

Odd Guys Creative E-X-P-A-N-D-S

It’s spring, and Odd Guys Creative (formerly known as Odd Guy Art) is hatching a new egg: Odd Guys Creative Screen Print. Sound confusing? Here’s a chart:

Odd Guys Creative will continue selling its line of fun and quirky T-shirts at its online store and at local retail shops. And our new entity, Odd Guys Creative Screen Print, will offer printing services to local customers who’d like to have their own designs printed. (We’ll also offer design services if needed).

This is an exciting time for Odd Guys Creative! If you have your own entrepreneurial experiences to share, please comment below! We thank you for your companionship.

Cheers!
Marie and Graham
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Web: Odd Guys Creative Screen Print 
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9-1-1 transcript: art emergency

Dispatcher: 9-1-1. What is your emergency?
Caller: Uh, I just can’t believe this.
Dispatcher: How can I help you, sir?
Caller: It’s completely crazy. How can they do this?!
Dispatcher: Sir, try to calm down. Let’s take this one step at a time.
Caller: But it’s mad! They can’t be serious.
Dispatcher: Take a deep breath, sir. Who are “they?”
Caller: It’s those two, you know, at “odd guy art.”
Dispatcher: You mean those witty, artsy, T-shirt people?
Caller: Yes! Oh my god. I can’t breathe.
Dispatcher: Ok, sir, slowly: Are they threatening you? With stylish shirts?
Caller: No, no, it’s… it’s much worse than that.
Dispatcher: Then what? What are they doing to you, sir?
Caller: Fff…fff… free shipping! They’re offering me FREE SHIPPING! On EVERYTHING!
Dispatcher: Sir, I need you to step away from your computer.
Caller: Ahhhhh! Ok, I’ve let go of the mouse. Are you sending an officer?!
Dispatcher: Heck no! I’ve got to get to oddguyart.com before their stock runs out!

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our first gig

It’s Thursday and we’re busy preparing for our first local show: a display table at a local coffee shop.

Marie at work

Marie at work. Groovy shirt!

This particular coffee shop is rather cutting-edge for our little town. They hire some great independent musicians as they travel between bigger gigs in Milwaukee and Madison, so we get to hear some wonderful talent without having to travel. (Not that we don’t like to travel. “Road trip” is our middle name).

Anyway, tomorrow this coffee shop is hosting a “Bike-In Movie,” with food, live music, and… “odd guy art!” We’re excited.

Since we’ll be indoors, we won’t need to purchase a canopy, but we did buy a display rack for our T-shirts. We’ve got a nicely-covered table for our cards and a cool stone pedestal for our hats. We’re working on signs today. Since our business focus is “art,” we’ve continued the theme with a price list that reads like an art gallery price sheet. The magic is in the details.

Our goals are these: To make some connections and to sell some merchandise. We’ve only been in business five weeks, but we’re eager to make this happen and frankly it can’t happen soon enough. It’s exciting to finally get out there and introduce the masses to our designs. Fingers crossed.

That’s it for now. Back to the drawing board.

-Marie

guerilla exhibiting


Marie’s rendition of Leonardo DaVinci’s “The Last Supper” was on display at the Milwaukee Art Museum this week. Here is the photo to prove it. We call this “guerilla exibiting” and it’s a lot of fun. The shirt certainly did get a few interesting looks – or maybe it was the odd guy wearing the shirt that got the looks; it’s hard to tell. I think it was the shirt.
The Milwaukee Art Museum is housed in a stunning building overlooking Lake Michigan. The building’s famous “wings” were wide open that day and made the most amazing sight. The inner space is white on white, reflecting the clear east light from the lake and maintaining its beautiful quality. This building is worth a visit itself even if you don’t have time to venture into the galleries.

So here’s a thought: Newspapers sometimes do those cheesy features encouraging readers to submit photos of themselves reading the local paper in odd locales. Guerilla exhibiting goes beyond that.  It requires some forward planning, but heck, it’s fun, right? Wanna give it a go?

Here’s what to do: Buy an “odd guy art” T-shirt. Then, pick a venue in which to practice guerilla exhibiting. Galleries and museums work well, or anywhere art is displayed*. Then send your photos to us at “art(at)oddguyart(dot)com” (making the usual substitutions in the address there). We will publish a selection of your photos here in the blog, so buy a shirt,  go out, and do some “odd guy art” guerilla exhibiting.

Graham

*Don’t photograph anything you shouldn’t – just you in your “odd guy art” T-shirt. We are absolutely not suggesting anything illegal, omg. If you are not sure, take the photo outside of the venue, before or after exhibiting inside.

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the last supper: from painting to T-shirt

I’m sure everyone out there in T-shirt-design-land has similar stories about how their designs came to fruition, but this one really puts the “fruit” in “fruition.” (*groan*).

Several years ago, I painted a watercolor still life called “Last Supper.” All I knew at first when considering the composition was that I wanted to paint pears; they’re so lovely and sensual. As I was playing around with the set-up, the idea to line up the pears like the apostles in the famous DaVinci painting just kind of struck out of nowhere. I headed to the library, checked out a book on DaVinci, and meticulously arranged the pears just so. The Judas pear even has a bruise.

So when we first considered designing T-shirts, I knew I wanted to convert this idea into a shirt design. Considering the screen printing process and hoping to keep costs down, I re-drew the image as a two-color design, with the third color represented by the shirt showing through, like this:

Most people do not get the DaVinci comparison at first glance, so if you saw it right away I give you major bonus points. To me, it’s just great fun to see this painting converted to a T-shirt. It’ll get more exposure this way, I hope, and sharing one’s ideas is what art is all about.

Enjoy!

Marie

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Copyright © 2010 by Hetzel and McAllister. All rights reserved.

social media marketing and YOU

Good morning!

I studied writing in college, and I recall one particular class entitled “Writing For Media” that taught how to write news releases, radio advertising copy, TV ads, etc. That was 1995.

Well, it’s an entirely new world. Of course good writing skills never go out of style, but marketing has changed dramatically with the introduction of the internet. Now that we’ve started our own T-shirt design business, we’ve had to re-learn some basic concepts about marketing in 2010.

First, we’ve decided (for now, anyway) that we don’t need a marketing budget. *Shock*. A decade ago, that might have spelled instant failure in the business world, but thanks to the internet and its immediate global reach, we’re able to spread our message for free. Social media outlets like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter are wonderful ways to convey our ideas and meet potential customers.

Secondly, there are social bookmarking sites like Digg and StumbleUpon and Delicious. These sites spread your web url to other members in response to the interests they listed upon joining. We joined several of these sites last week, and though we’re still learning how to use them, they seem to be working. (In fact, don’t tell Graham, but I’m secretly addicted to StumbleUpon).

We also participate in online forums, which are incredibly helpful online communities of like-minded people willing to share tips and advice about a particular area of interest. For us, the best we’ve found is t-shirtforums.com. We also started this blog (the one you’re reading right now), which is another online vehicle not only for marketing but for sharing information.

All of these media, in one way or another, provide an opportunity to market your business.

But how do you get your message heard amid the internet’s gazillion others?

First, you have to market specifically to your particular audience. This is called “niche marketing.” Who are your potential customers? Identifying your demographic is important. If your business sells, say, hammers for left-handed people, then you have to search the internet for elements of that exact group (and believe me, the internet contains information on some very specific groups. One quick search on blog publisher WordPress yielded 177,588 results for “left-handed”).

You also need to find a way to help potential customers solve their problem quickly. When a customer visits your site, the site design should enable him to make his decision rapidly and efficiently, and to enter into the buying cycle with ease.

Establish a genuine online persona in order to garner trust and create relationships with potential customers. Just be yourself. Leave status updates on Facebook and let your personality shine through. Write blog posts that not only talk about your products, but help your customers solve their problems and get to know you better. People are more willing to buy things from someone they feel that they know.

At this point our business is only three weeks old, so we still have a lot to learn. But teaching a couple of old dogs new tricks is still possible. And, we have to admit, it’s fun.

Marie

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evolution of the “Bird Mechanics” design

So, how do we go about creating our designs? As fine artists you can be certain of one thing: We never use clip art. We would cut off our hands first! Here is a brief explanation of our process. Our ideas can come from anywhere, really; sometimes as ideas sketched in the early hours, sometimes from conversations, sometimes pure inspiration.

In the case of the design which became “Bird Mechanics,” I remember Marie saying to me, “I’d like to do something with gears.”

I replied, “Leave that with me.”

I decided to do something along the lines of an automaton. These are typically figures, animals, or artworks animated by the use of hand- or clockwork-driven gears, pulleys, and bits of string and wire. These are delightful devices, particularly popular in the Victorian era, yet still made and enjoyed today.

This is my original sketch:
I pictured a blackbird or crow in flight whose wings are operated by pushrods. These pushrods are driven by a series of gears which in turn are powered by a hand crank with chain drive. All very practical.

I imagined the gears to be made from brass with a black bird and chain. At this stage the whole contraption was to be mounted on a base with a structure to support the various gears.

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In the next stage I developed the gear drive and chain-driven cogs using a variety of scaleable gears in Adobe Illustrator. Once satisfied with the layout, I printed this and added the rest of the image with graphite pencil. This was now approximately full size. This image was then scanned and passed over to Marie for further rendering.

Now, Marie took the design into Quark Express and drew the whole design by hand using the Beziér pen tool to create the lines and shapes. Her attention to detail at this stage has to be seen to be believed. I thought I was a perfectionist until I saw her work. When you see the design on your own shirt you will certainly come to appreciate her skills, too.

During this stage, we continued to discuss the design and develop the idea. As you can see from the final design here, we removed the whole base. Is the bird operating the machine, or the machine operating the bird? We like the ambiguity introduced by removing the base. We also changed the attitude of the bird after looking at many photo references.

The final colour choice was made at this stage, too. This design is a two-colour design and is printed that way. (In some cases, such as “The Last Supper,” Marie used the shirt colour as a third colour in the design). Finally the design is sent to Adobe Acrobat for conversion to the file format required by our screen printer.

Our process is an interesting mix of traditional fine art skills and contemporary computer-based graphic design. I hope that you have found this insight into our method interesting and that it will add a little to your enjoyment of any shirt, bag, or art card that you may purchase from us at “odd guy art.”

Graham.

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All content and images;
Copyright © 2010 by Hetzel and McAllister. All rights reserved.