Losing at Contests

Howdy there! I’ve been negligent about posting for a couple (I tell myself) good reasons, the first of which is that I’ve been playing around and signing up with design contests. Naturally I haven’t won a thing, but it has become a good source of entertainment. The other reason that I haven’t been posting is because I’ve been out doing camera tests under all different conditions and speeds with my intervalometer in hopes to be able to start putting together some cool projects.

Here’s one of the many silly contest designs

Two New Shirts coming soon!

A couple of new shirts going to the press very soon!

Here's one to follow with the bear shirt that recently came off the press at Fingers Duke!

You can pick up a couple of the shirts that I’ve done, including the bear shirt, HERE in my little corner of the Fingers Duke store!

Also, about this top design, I took the original photos of the wolf and the magpie in Alaska.

Here’s the other shirt that will be going to press soon! Watch the Fingers Duke store for them to become available, OR better yet, I’ll post a couple of pictures of the done products soon as they’re printed!

Shirt Design for the Seattle Archdiocese

For the last couple of years I’ve had the opportunity to design the shirts for the Seattle Archdiocese Festival of Choirs at the Benaroya Hall.

Here’s the design for this year!

Here's the finished design
And the proof that I sent!

I’ll have photos of the actual printed shirt up in a couple of weeks!

And just for comparison to what I did for them last here, here that is too!

Click to see the full size

Experiment: Thermochromic Screen Printing

With all the snow that we’ve been having in the Seattle area lately, it seemed like an appropriate time to post this. This is a bun that has been in the oven for awhile. Probably a little to long, but maybe I like a crunchy crust.

I broke this project into three sections. Research: Done, Illustration: Done, and Printing: Not yet done.

This post will cover the first two, but just as a quick summary, here’s a picture.

This should give a pretty good idea of what were going for.


thermochromism  (ˌθɜːməʊˈkrəʊmɪzəm) [Click for IPA pronunciation guide]
a phenomenon in which certain dyes made from liquid crystals change colour reversibly when their temperature is changed


I first found out about thermochromic inks and printing from an old post on My Modern Metropolis. Up on finding this, I needed to know how it worked, and if I could use it for screen printing. I spent a couple hours looking for my on this exact set of printed things; I found plenty of re-posts, but I couldn’t find very much on how it was actually done.

From there I started looking for heat sensitive paints and things along those lines. The first site that I found was Alsa Corp. They sell all sorts of specialty paints, but they’re all geared towards use on cars and motorcycles. Either way though this was the first place that I felt like I was actually making some progress towards what I was looking for.

I went through many other sites before coming to a page on the XL Labs site. This page is very helpful and has good links to more information if you want to look into how to do this process for yourself. Though that page I was turned onto Chromatic Technologies Inc. They produce thermochromic inks for everything from beer cans to CD jackets, or in my case, screen printing ink. I’ll be ordering a  blue to colorless ink that changes at 8Celcius or 46.4 degrees Fahrenheit.

Cold Color Warm Color
Black (426) Colorless
Blue (286) Colorless
Red (185) Colorless
Orange (172) Colorless
Green (341) Colorless
Magenta (226) Colorless
Purple (2593) Colorless

Aqua (326)

Green (362) Yellow (3965)
Orange (158) Yellow (604)
Purple (273) Pink (2375)
Burgundy (506) Blue (306)

Here’s a video of the color changing in action. Not screen printed, but the same base ink.


I had a good idea of the illustration that I wanted to make before I was fully sure of how the process worked. For the reference I was looking for I went to one of my favorite sites of all time, Digital Comic Museum. This site is a constantly growing archive of Hi-Res scans of golden-age comics in the public domain comics. If you’re a designer or illustrator, bookmark this site. Even if just looking for good titling types, this site is wonderful. The main reference that I used was from the corner panel from Strange Fantasy. I also ended up using a couple of references from the SanMar catalog as well. SanMar is where I got the reference for the shorts.

Rough Sketch

Working on from the rough sketch I continued the design in the same way that I always design for screen printing or press. Creating one color at a time, being careful to keep the color layers separate. With this illustration I wanted it to be special so I let myself go with adding detail. For that, I have to make apologies to Rufus, there is a large amount of detail that will be in white ink.

Even know what I wanted the final image to look like, this was still a very tricky illustration to create. Effectively I was creating two separate images that had to overlap perfectly with just a single color, while still looking completely natural and successful on their own. I had to rework a good bit of the illustration because once the warm temperature illustration looked good, it would mess something in the cold temperature illustration up. What overall resulted from this though was better than I had initially expected from the illustration as whole.

Detail of the shoes
Detail of face
The Final Illustrations

And hopefully this is how the final product will turn out!

Proof for the sweatshirt!

The printing will be done by Fingers Duke and if they turn out well you’ll be able to pick them up at their store in the Kitsap Mall or order them on their website!