Kelsey Porter (one half of the band Taking August) grew up on a buffalo ranch. Taking August wanted a shirt that would represent the Porter Buffalo Ranch, while expressing the folk-rock vibe of their music.
Initially this project started as creating artwork for the ranch itself, but then evolved into designing a shirt for Taking August. Working with a smaller budget left less time to explore ideas and compositions. So Kelsey and I just chatted about the elements they would like to see in the artwork (a buffalo’s head, needs to be in a crest format, rough illustration style). And we just ran with it from there.
Working with a smaller budget means a lot of communication up front. We made a check list what needed to be required from the artwork in order to end up in a place with some great artwork that we were all happy with. We traded reference images of things we liked and made a game plan.
The artwork needed to be: of a buffalo’s head, in a crest format, include the name of the band, work in two colors when screen printed, work on a dark shirt.
My process for these kinds of illustrations is often simple: sharpie outline, india ink for shading. I draw the sharpie and the india ink shading on different pieces of paper, letting the inconsistencies between the two drawings exist in the final product. I import the drawings into Photoshop and combine and color them. I usually do very little touch ups because I want the rough, organic nature of the original draws to end up in the final artwork.
This illustration had a few challenges. First, since the shirt was going to be dark, I knew I needed a light ground for the buffalo head to sit on (hence the arrow head shape around it). The second challenge was that we wanted two colors when screen printed (white and gold ink on a black shirt). So, in Photoshop, I had to split the india ink layer in two: black to 50% grey, and 50% grey to white. I then made the gold color my 50% grey, evenly blending the ink wash from black to gold to white.
Once I’ve committed the illustration to ink, I don’t usually do too much editing. But one thing that Kelsey noticed (being a buffalo rancher) was that the reference image I was working off of was likely of a female buffalo. They usually have narrower heads and smaller horns. So, this was one of the rare occasions where I did more extensive edits on the ink illustrations, making the head wider and the horns bigger.
The animation above shows the separation of colors for screen printing.
Once all the colors were separated and ready for screen printing, the production was straight forward. And I love the way discharge screen printing looks on a garment with this kind of illustration.
Taking August is a folk-rock duo from Medicine Hat, Alberta. The creative brief for this project was to create artwork for a shirt relating to Kelsey Porter’s (one half of the band) family buffalo ranch.
CLIENT: Taking August
DATE: October 2017
TASKS: Illustration of Artwork, Pre-production for Screen Printing