New York City burning after a demon comes through.
The design was for apparel and a vehicle wrap for the russefeiring tradition. If you haven’t heard of it, basically russefeiring involves an entire class of Norwegian students renting a bus (a Russebuss), painting every inch of it with really cool street art, and then partying in it night and day for an entire month during graduation. The different classes wear their designs ever where they go as they clash with rival classes. I’ve done a bunch of these now, and really enjoy it. To see more of my work, or hire me for freelance projects, please visit my website: www.flylanddesigns.com
I was fortunate enough to be interviewed by the TShirtonomy.com, a site that features new t-shirt design trends and artwork.
I’m humbled to be a part of their impressive lineup! If you’re interested in learning a little more about me, and how I design T-Shirts, check out the full interview here: http://tshirtonomy.com/interview-brian-allen
Here is part of the interview:
It’s been a while between artist interviews, but today we’re very lucky to have had the opportunity to interview the extremely talented Brian Allen of Flyland Designs.com
How would you introduce yourself and your art to people who may not familiar with you?
My name is Brian Allen, I am a full-time freelance illustrator working in my studio called FlylandDesigns.com. I’ve got a wife, two kids, and a lawn to mow. Life is good! I’m really a pretty ordinary guy – In fact, my artwork and the clients I work with are often a lot cooler than I am!
I work with small businesses, bands, and large companies as well, like Hard Rock Cafe, Spiral Direct, and American Greetings.
How did you get started designing t-shirts?
I love designing t-shirts, but I actually never set out to specialize in that as much as I am now. When I first started as a freelancer illustrator, I was grabbing any job I could get (even web design, which I am quite terrible at). As my artwork starting getting better and my portfolio became more focused, I started getting a flood of T-Shirt projects. This made sense, I guess, because my artwork is line-art driven, and usually high-contrast and colorful, which are the main ingredients for some cool T-Shirts.
I quickly hunted out every resource I could to learn how to design for shirts, and the complicated process of silk-screening. It was a bit of a clumsy process at first, but I’ve learned a lot from talking with other artists and printers since then.
What inspires your work?
I make a point to seek out artists and follow their work on social networks like Facebook, Instagram, Behance, and Mintees. It’s so amazing how easy it is to quickly put together a feed of amazing artwork. It can also be overwhelming and intimidating if you’re not careful.
Other than that, I draw a lot of inspiration from the pop culture that I grew up with in the 80s and early 90s. Movies, comics, and music of that era.
Can you give us any insight into your creative process?
For many years, I used to draw and ink on paper, and color digitally in Photoshop. About four years ago, I switched to a 100% digital workflow once I discovered the Wacom Cintiq, which is a monitor and tablet combined. I feel my artwork improved a lot about two years ago, when I switched to Manga Studio 5 for most of my process. In my opinion, it is the best piece of software for drawing and inking, and it has a ton of cool features (like painting with halftones) that make designing t-shirts efficient and enjoyable.
I typically start my designs with a series of rough thumbnails. After choosing the best one, I blow it up, and draw over top. Once I’ve got a pretty clear drawing, I usually turn the color to a light blue, and carefully ink the image. My artwork is usually heavily line-art driven, so my coloring process is similar to the techniques used by comic book artists. I drop in the flat colors, make a copy of that layer, and use the flat color layer to make quick selections as a apply the shading, highlights and rendering. When designing T-Shirts, I typically keep each color on a separate layer, to make the separation process easier.
Which is your favorite design of your own?
My favorite design was a full-color direct-to-garment design I created as a personal project called “Take-Out,” featuring a crazy looking alien with a hot-looking redneck girl tied to the hood of his hot-rod/spaceship. There’s just something about this piece where everything worked (which is rarely the case), and if every project I worked on was exactly like this, I’d be perfectly happy.
Which has been your most successful design to-date?
I believe the most popular design I’ve created was a parody illustration of Cheech and Chong as zombies. The silk-screening was perfect, and the posts about the image were shared more than and reached more people than any other posts I’ve made. It was even featured on Cheech and Chong’s own social media outlets. The design was created for an apparel brand called Marijuana Zombie.
Who are some of your favorite artists?
H.R. Giger and Luis Royo.
What are some of your interests outside of art?
My family and I love camping – there are a lot of great places to go here in Pennsylvania, and it’s a lot of fun now that my kids are big enough that I don’t have to worry about them getting carried off by squirrels.
What are your vices?
I often get myself into trouble by taking too many things on at once. I’ll end up trying to go in too many directions at once, and then I can’t really focus enough on any one thing. I’m working on it!
Hypothetical dinner party, you and any two people, dead or alive, who do you choose?
Louis C.K. – I admire his ambition and complete devotion to his art. I heard that every year he completely throws away his previous act, and starts over from scratch, never telling the same joke from the previous year again. I wish I was that fearless!
Ronnie James Dio – Because … well, because Dio.
Are you currently working on anything we should keep an eye out for?
I recently partnered with RageOn.com, the largest distributor of dye-sublimated apparel. I’ve opened up a shop with them, and they will be selling many of my designs exclusively. What makes them different than other T-Shirt sites is that they print the design on every inch of the shirt – even the shoulders and sleeves – and the designs are in full color.
I recently created a design I’m excited about featuring Kermit and Ms. Piggy as a pimp and ho entitled “Pig Pimpin.” You can check it out here.
Thanks for your time Brian, we look forward to seeing more from you in the future!
You can checkout all of Brian’s work on his website, here: https://www.flylanddesigns.com
T-Shirt illustration I created for the New York brewing company, Half Time, featuring a crowd of Hop-Heads of many different cultures and species.
It was a fun challenge coming up with different characters, and making them look different by blending the limited colors together using half-tones.
The design was set up for silk-screening using 6 colors, and will be available in their stores and promotional events.
Custom T-Shirt illustration I created for a chain of Beach Bars. This design features a Pelican cartoon character I designed, drinking on a beach. Set up for direct to garment printing that would appeal to beach-goers.
Custom T-Shirt illustration I created for a chain of Beach Bars. This design features a Lizard cartoon character I designed, drinking on a beach. Set up for direct to garment printing that would appeal to beach-goers.
Tequila Kiss, Bar On The Beach
Custom illustration I created for a line of T-Shirts for a the Tequila Kiss Bar on the Beach. I was hired to illustrate a colorful t-shirt design for direct to garment printing that would appeal to beach-goers.
T-Shirt zombie illustration I created for the Mexico City heavy metal band, Straying From Madness.
The illustration was designed to fit their current brand image I designed, which is based on creepy but colorful and fun zombie characters. This design was set up for silk-screening. Four colors.
This is an illustration I created of a viking mascot for a soccer team shirt. The artwork was set up for direct to garment, which allowed me to really go nuts with the color variations and detail. Created for Great Dane Graphics.com.
T-Shirt illustration of a fairy for Concentrated Apparel, a brand celebrating the lifestyle behind concentrated THC in oil and wax form. This design was challenging, because I had to make the fairy’s wings look like they were made of melting wax and crystals, while sticking to a limited color silk screen pallette. We’re really happy with how this turned out.
Custom poster illustration I created for the Mud Endeavor relay races in Florida. The client wanted a colorful, fun design for the event poster. I came up with the idea of having the contestants actually made of mud, since the particpants are usually covered in mud by the end of the race.
Editorial illustration I created for the cover of the Sports Business Journal commemorating their 20th anniversary. We discussed a lot of different ideas, and ultimately landed on this one: a giant stadium housing many different sports shaped like a giant layered birthday cake. The magazine has over 15,000 subscribers, and is geared toward the business side of sports.
T-Shirt design I illustrated for apparel brand Art Fashion Music. The client came to me with a beautiful renaissance painting of a the archangel Michael slaying demons as inspiration. This provided a challenge, because I needed to simplify the image enough to be printed in 3 colors. I really like how this turned out.
T-Shirt illustration for 5-Star Apparel. The client asked me to create a parody of a Barbie who has lost her way. We decided on a mugshot photo of a strung-out, meth-head version. Set up for silk-screening, 4 colors.
An illustration I created for a T-Shirt brand. It’s one of three in a series depicting a buck in a different monstrous and evil variations. This one was inspired by the most infamous Gorgon of them all: Medusa. Three colors on black.
T-Shirt illustration for Flight School Genius, a clothing line specializing in designs depicting famous scenes and battles from World War II.