"The wall" - hey, what is one concept/trick you've learned from other designers here?

Question for designers (Forgive me if a similar blog has been done)

A new threadless-er asked me what tips I could share. I figured I should crowd-source my answer.

For me: THE WALL

Anna-Maria Jung aka Queenmob aka http://www.threadless.com/profile/722055 told me once (when she was here in NYC) that she puts up new sketches on her wall and leaves them there - if she still likes it after a week or so, she goes back to it.

I started doing this, and it made a big impact on the quality of my submissions (I think)

So I'm going to write this new threadless-er back - anyone else have a tip to pass along?

Watch this
Tonteau profile pic Alumni

Good blog. Can't think of anything off the top of my head. But I'll try and remember if there's anything.

toopersent profile pic Alumni

All of those Alvarejo tutorials were pretty helpful. I used the bitmap halftone mask trick thing all the time. I'll try to find a link, but I'm pretty lazy right now.

NomadSlim profile pic Alumni

The one thing I've learned from Nathan W. Pyle is to not stop submitting ideas/designs.

jeffreyg profile pic Alumni

whoa i like this. i never heard of this

GyleDesigns profile pic Alumni

"Finish what you started" -my bro

"Never fall in love with your work; it leads to a quick divorce" -my boss

"Just keep swimming" -Dory

Thomas Orrow
Thomas Orrow profile pic Alumni

Hector mentioned variation of line in Ratkiss's blog once and Murraymullet said that idea is king. Or something like that, the idea is very important anyway.

Something I have to work on amongst other things. Also, I learnt from artrocity to not give up!


First thing I've learned here was halftoning in Photoshop, with Ndstillie's method. And I don't remember anything else specific right now, just general notions about composition, shading, coloring, and so on. Just by seeing the amazing pieces submitted here, and being in touch with the people that makes them, I feel like I'm constantly learning.

Also, I learnt from artrocity to not give up!

celandinestern profile pic Alumni

Everything everyone has listed here, awesome stuff. If I had to single out one thing, it's distressing. Eating away at a design with distress and/ or spatter brushes just brings a whole new dimension to it.

celandinestern profile pic Alumni

Oh god yes, shirt color as line color! Generally using negative space and using the shirt color as a color in the piece, whether for lines or shapes or details.

Also not using lines but working only with shapes.

Heck, I remember in the beginning I had this notion that every piece not only had to have lines, but that the lines had to be black. Realizing that softening the line color to a dark brown/ gray/ maroon/ purple or whatever softens the whole piece was a total discovery. Then realizing that giving the line a warmer or colder tone subtly affects the whole colorscheme was another discovery.

celandinestern profile pic Alumni

Another thing I learned is not to clutch to ideas/ pieces too tightly. As a newbie you invest a lot of time into a piece so it feels precious, and it's hard to let go of it even if you feel it's not really working. Learning to put them together, send them out into the world and not obsess too much over how they fare was one of my important first lessons.

celandinestern profile pic Alumni

"Just keep swimming" -Dory

:D :D :D


Brilliant thread/blog. thanks. I'm learning not to try to impose a style from another discilpline onto shirts. I'm also finally making myself learn Illustrator, and am enjoying it. Also I am learning to work in very limited and sharply defined colours and colour areas. All this is really new to me though I've been drawing for donkeys years. But the most important thing I need to learn is to make designs THAT LOOK GOOD ON SHIRTS. I'm not really doing this yet. I'm still locked into the 'do a drawing I like and put it on a shirt'. And that really doesn't cut it i think;-) Brancusi had it right, 'Truth to materials' . . A shirt is a shirt, not an art print or a book illustration. Thanks all.

celandinestern profile pic Alumni

That's a brilliant point, Jon. I'm so enjoying these.

I see so many subs where people draw with a great amount of love and talent but the line looks like pencil, which I dare say will pretty much never actually look good on a tee. It just looks out of place. Scanning a regular drawing, no matter how good, seldom makes a good tee without some adjustment.


Yeah, that is a great way to gauge a design straight from the off. I'm like SO gonna do that from now on ;-)

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