Good day, voteshine. Herein we once again speak of five thusfar unprinted yet totally worthy pieces from the contestsphere. Firstly, however, one should note the meteoric rise of BootsBoots' wonderful "Cheer Up, She Found You" at Cameesa. If you can catch it before it's fully funded, definitely do so.
Another reminder is that BlakeB's "Amongst the Trees" is on sale for $12 today at Teextile. If you miss that one, you can always get it for $15 this weekend, but money saved is money earned, they say. And say, while you're there, why not toss a vote toward Wotto's "The Dark Side of Doodles". Admittedly, I don't know where the "Dark Side" comes in... these guys are among the most charming and good-natured doodles I've seen, but they ARE done predominantly in stark black, so perhaps it's a shade issue alone. The "creatures on a shirt" tee is pretty done, but the characters can always save one from the abyss of similar pieces. I'm totally digging Aardvark Man, Sassy Pill, and Bendy Cactus, among many others. Other elements that take this to the next level: a definite, distinct flow (as opposed to just piling all sorts of crap onto a tee), and a classic, stark palette that frequent readers would know I'm a sucker for.
Threadless would like you to remember some important human truths this week: Everybody Needs Somebody sometimes. Everybody needs a shirt somehow. And something in PencilPlusPaper's design just told me my sometime is now. There is just too much charming going on here to deny. Sure, the title sequence at the bottom of the importance of companionship is nice and all, but I'm liking the style of the barrage of bolts coming down upon them even better. I am especially enthralled with the characterization of the clouds. They are adorable, yet their blank eyes make them look just malicious enough to keep hurtling electric doom down at the pair below. Overall, this is a great argument for the importance of a good style, but I also quite approve of the placement. The bottom landscape spreading out across the shirt helps give body to the design, anchoring it so it's not just a slim stripe of art down the center, but that streamlining of the main art makes this an excellent all-weather tee, insofar that you can layer it with ease, and still have the full piece show through the overshirt. For someone who wears tees in winter like myself, this can sometimes increase the appeal. But really, I think this tee will be appealing just on its own. A definite buy.
When shirt.woot actually has a strong fog with a weak theme, finding a must-mention can be hard, so "thankfully" that happens rarely. Even so, ilovedoodle's "May I?" shows how cute SHOULD be done. At all times. It should be charming and it should be creative and it should inhabit a shirt well. I appreciate the shadowy dancing pairs in the background helping to anchor the two main characters and give context (something so many cute purveyors neglect in favor of just ratcheting up the adorable). Not that the Threadless mainstay doesn't have plenty of "aww" in his entry... while gender is ignored wholesale, the idea of two of the world's flashiest birds at a fancy dress ball is a great one, with the proper penguin extending his hand to what we will generously call a female peacock. Really, the fancy princess look goes perfectly with the bird. It's a straightforward visual joke with the sort of crisp cartooning that best suits this sort of idea... it's nice to see another pro slogging it out in the derby to show us how this stuff is done right.
Quite the opposite of cute, aksel is putting the fear of God and Fish into Threadless with A Ladder to Heaven. It is uncertain to me thusfar whether the piece is a commentary or simply a juxtaposition, but either way it is brilliant. As a juxtaposition, it imagines what a predator might use to lure humans. With fish, it is light, but for us, it might be that light at the end of the tunnel... the idea of final, pure happiness. Like fish, we'd head toward the presumed light. As a commentary, though, it shines doubly, implying that blind faith can be little more than a deadly trap, and that we need to analyze what we're doing before we go climbing that ladder. Even without the two possible purposes, though, the piece is, er, luminescent. The colors work well, contrasting well with each other... the shirt blank gives a feeling of both duskiness as well as being underwater, and the golden ladder and gates pop off the tee (especially with the implied foil suggestion). The size and placement are also noteworthy, really dominating the shirt and making sure it makes a statement. A really original piece that deserves some recognition.
And then, speaking of originality, there is this thing from Design by Humans: Prehisteria, by Weaselfarm. I don't understand it. I don't know why I like it. But the black linework on the white tee certainly can't hurt. The visceral look of the two prehistoric creatures is definitely appealing. And the arbitrary transparencies not only make this visually enticing, but are done in a palette that is both different yet not clashing. It's a weird piece, but I think that's precisely the main attraction.