Mermaid t-shirts for kids

When I dropped off my elephants diorama at the children's boutique Entertaining Elephants, the store owner Ellen showed me some t-shirts she wanted to print a design on. We talked about having me making an illustration for the shirts. I showed her some pictures from my sketchbook and she immediately noticed the mermaid, saying a lot of customers were asking about something like that cause their little girls are crazy about mermaids at the moment. A few days later and some back and forth and the shirts are in the store! I can't tell you how exciting it is to see a final product with your own design on it. Aren't these shirts adorable?! 

I started off in Illustrator, adding a seashell and stylized coral and trying a few color ideas for the shirts that I'd seen in the store.

The design was to be screen printed on the shirts and I wasn't sure if this kind of process would apply its own texture but as it turns out it results in exactly what the design is, so I needed to add textures to the design. Ellen sent me pictures of seaweed as ideas and with that inspiration I created a couple brushes in Photoshop to produce a similar effect.

Following that I needed to separate the colors into two files to send to the screen printer. I learned that if you have a design screen printed and the ink used is water based you have to crop the shapes where layers overlap (like the flower on the hair for example) or it will look funny.

I just stopped at the store to see if they were ready, and yes! It was so much fun to see all the different colors and how they turned out. And in case you'd be tempted to wear them yourself, well it's too bad cause they only come in sizes 2-4-6 ;).