...I bring to you the long awaited sequel to the Ronald Reagan shirt fiasco - Part 1.
For the sake of immediate transparency, let it be known that I am more relieved than thrilled with the final results. Whether it is merely "done" or it is truly "done well", the important thing here is that it is done at all - my treacherous whore of a white whale has been slain, so finally I can get on with my life and maybe, just maybe, get some quality content coming back up on this site.
Alright, let's get on to the meat of this here post:
As some of you may recall from my first post on the subject of this Reagan shirt, about 4 or 5 months ago the oft referenced Artimus Mangilord approached me with a request to reprise my "Tear This Roof Off" design that was originally unveiled in late April of 2008, but to replace the awkward and generally stupid design I'd created with a black and white adaptation of Reagan's iconic cowboy hat photo:
As my original post from a month or so ago details, the process of converting this image into black and white proved itself to be a certifiable pain in the ass. Feel free to reread the original post if you want all of the excruciating, long winded, and entirely unnecessary details, but the long story short here is that after simplifying and cleaning all of the lines in a black and white version of that particular photo (which is really all I do when creating one of these designs), you're left with an image that looks very little like Ronald Reagan and very much like a hybrid of a serial murdering clown and that Andre the Giant "OBEY" image that all the kids with ludicrously expensive denim pants are always talking about:
I probably went through about 5 or 6 attempts at this design that all ended up looking roughly like that (sometimes slightly better, often significantly worse... unfortunately those attempts are lost to history) before I eventually gave up. Temporarily, at least.
Late one night in early December I found myself with little to do, so I took another look at the image of Ronnie I'd been working with to see if I could figure out a resolution to this looming spectre of a problem. I looked at him, and he... well, he just looked right back.
And that's when it hit me: I'd been going about this one all wrong. All this time I'd been trying to simplify the image, to clean it up to its most basic state, so that there were large, clearly defined blocks of black and white with little interruption between them, but this photo demanded a different approach. It's a Western photo... a John Wayne shot really, so it only makes sense that it needs to retain a certain level of grittiness. It doesn't work as a clean, streamlined image - every wrinkle, pock mark, crow's foot, liver spot and over sized pore on Reagan's face (and there are a lot of those things) needs to be held in tact, otherwise the photo just won't look right. It won't look rugged. It won't look American, damnit.
Basically what I decided to do was just trace over the black and white image that I have pictured above - cutting out a couple of unnecessary lines here and there, but generally just tracing over and refining all of the imperfections instead of removing them (for the record, had I not done this the image would have come out looking very pixelated and blurry when printed on a shirt, by tracing over the image the lines come out crisp, like a delicious Triscut). What I ended up with was an image that looks much better when viewed in a large format, so I'm going to post it on here in the normal size and provide this spectacular link to an uncomfortably enormous version of the image:
Mmm... gritty. With that finished I just needed to find a good font for my text, but I really didn't have any non-hideous western fonts on my computer, so I searched around on the "world wide web" a bit and found this site with some pretty good free fonts on it, and this site with only one free font on it... but it was a damn good one. I chose the "Fusty Saddle" font from the second site, then plopped it onto the image and just like that this horrible shirt project came to a decidedly anticlimactic though unduly satisfying end:
As you can see I made a couple more revisions at the 11th hour... I cut off the top of the image around Reagan's hate to create sort of a Denver Nuggets circa 1987 motif, and I switched the text color to be white, as I think this image plays a lot better on a dark shirt. Oh, and I tried to see if I could lick the outside of my elbow with my tongue, but I couldn't. In light of all my recent achievements, I must admit that failure was kind of deflating.
If you'd like to see the exciting, tantalizing, and totally buy-able final product feel free to check it out over at my shop on zazzle.com (though considering how it turned out, I think you might be off the hook for this one, Dr. Mangilord). Like I said before, I'm more relieved that this project has come to an end rather than thrilled that it ended really well, so... I don't know, up your nose with a rubber hose.
The preceding Good Rubbish closing paragraph was brought to you by the many episodes of Welcome Back Kotter that are permanently etched into my frontal lobe. The end.
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Labels: Shirts no one should wear