My Back to the beginning Design (New Score 2.83! thanks everyone)

Vote here: :)

This is a great challenge by Xiv found here:

I had trouble finding what design I wanted to remake, I've always liked this one "Tug boat of war"

Here is my progress so far:

Version 2:

Version 3:

Version 4:

It's funny remaking this design, the thing I have learned from threadless from remaking this design about two years ago is add more detail, shading so it doesn't look flat, have a clear concept or make it look absolutely amazing. Hopefully my recent work is heading in that direction.

Watch this

Kinda thing you went too far into realism. There is definitely an improvement in the artwork, but you're missing a lot of the character and charm from the original.

There are a few composition issues as well, like the boats are moving at an angle from one another instead of back to back, also with the placement of the buoy makes it look like they're tired to it. There also isn't any tension on the rope itself. When you pull a rope it become a straight taught line.

I would recommend going back to the thumbnails and try to put back some of the stress of them tugging the rope.

Hope that helps.

EZFL profile pic Alumni
  1. Make that rope taut.
  2. Have one or both boat's bow angled up/stern angled down a bit more.

Both things will help enforce the concept that they're pulling against each other.

  1. The direction that the ships are heading in doesn't make sense for a tug-o-war. Here's an overhead view of how it appears they're heading:

and how they should be heading:

Theo86 profile pic Alumni

Thanks ckd and Xiv, you both given me some things to think about. I will make the boats more straight. I'm debating to do this either in more realism or cartoonish style. I wanted to have the buoy there but could see how it looks they are tied to it.

Theo86 profile pic Alumni

Alright after working on this all day, i've decided to keep it with the cute / cartoonish style. I made the rope higher up so it won't be confused with the Buoy.

soloyo profile pic Alumni

The rope should be tied to the back of the boat, otherwise they would flip over (in real life)

frauleinkatrina profile pic Alumni

I think I actually like them better without faces. It's more entertaining to me to think of a childhood game/activity being done by very un-childlike machinery (or the un-childlike crew that would run a boat like that). That being said, I like they're facing the right way and all the elements in the piece are clearer, so you can get what's supposed to be happening. I think it would be good to add some water kicking out from the back, because they're not moving forward and wouldn't have a wake like that.

tronbeardsley profile pic Alumni

Definite improvement here Theo! I personally like the faces - makes it more of a kids' shirt. However, I would work on the wake a bit like frauleinkatrina said and I think they could both use a bit of steam!

Thomas Orrow
Thomas Orrow profile pic Alumni

Wow! Cool idea. The linework on the red boat is looking extremely patch though. This is a winning idea!!!

Thomas Orrow
Thomas Orrow profile pic Alumni

Maybe make the rope a bit longer and inch the posts in a smidgen. This would be a cool zip hoody btw! Good luck.

Theo86 profile pic Alumni

Thanks all for the great feedback, I cleand up the shadows more, I do agree with tronbeardsley that the faces makes it more of a kids shirt. I'll work on moving the posts a little bit further away to make the rope a tad longer.

Next update i'll work on steam coming from the boats.

Theo86 profile pic Alumni

also do you guys think I should add the Seagulls back in with the dolphin as well? or is it better without like it is now?

tronbeardsley profile pic Alumni

I like the new waves, you should make them kicking up some water towards the back so it looks like they're straining.


This design gave me a major nostalgia flashback haha. Does anyone remember the show Theodore Tugboat?

I can tell you're going for a cartoon style, but this design looks too childish, and it may be beyond saving at this point. The best one in my opinion is the realistic one, except for the fact that one of the boats is angled weirdly and the rope is obstructed by the buoy. Honestly, it doesn't even look like the same artist did the realistic one and the cartoony one so I assume you basically just traced a picture of a real tugboat for the realistic one (not judging, just saying).

I guess this design works for baby clothes, but it's not really funny or clever or well-drawn enough for me to ever consider buying it. Keep it up though man, you've got a positive attitude and I can tell you really want to progress, I give honest critiques, but I don't want to discourage you. I would advice you not to spend too long on altering designs like this though, sometimes if it's not really working you just have to move on to the next one.

I like the cute faces in your original with the tongue! Here is a thought that if you wanted to incorporate seals seagulls and the dolphin why not have them as their cheerleaders on either side cheering there favorite tug boat on for the win!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Oh one more thing i know your still working on it but the puffiness in the clouds steam and the water made it look more like an action then a stale mate and not really moving

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