What goes into designing a Slackjaw t shirt graphic?

Since the brand's inception in 2013, every graphic we've ever released has been hand drawn. We've worked with friends near and far, graphic designers, artists, painters, tattoo artists and so many more. With graphics being the beating heart of Slackjaw, we wanted to give you a bit more of an insight as to what goes in to creating the artwork that ends up on our customer's backs!

We sat down with one of our most recent collaborators, graphic designer, George Yarnton AKA Yarndog to get some insight into his process. You may not know it, but you've seen his work across a number of our products including our Rider T Shirt and Snakeskull T Shirt - with more in the pipeline.

A culmination of plenty of things that also fuel the Slackjaw brand, skateboarding, graphic novels, loud music, tattoo culture are also what keep George inspired when designing - a match made in t shirt graphic heaven.

"I’ve always been into drawing for as long as I can remember. I couldn’t say exactly what got me into it but I grew up looking at comics like Spawn and Batman, and drawing pages out of those. I think it was something about the amount of detail and the slightly dark nature of the stories and images that caught my eye.

I kept drawing through school and eventually went to a college to study Art & Design which was probably my most enjoyable experience in education. Just being able to make art with other like minded kids who were also skateboarders or played music really opened my eyes up to a lot of the cultural references that influence me to this day.

I draw all the time and it just feels like it’s woven into my day to day life. Designing came a little bit later after I finished with College and University, when I started to focus more on how to generate a bit of an income from my drawing by thinking of how I could apply my work to products."

Citing skateboarding as one of his key influences throughout his work, George has had the opportunity to work with plenty of notable brands from the scene. Slackjaw are proud to sit alongside other Yarndog alumni such as Heroin Skateboards, Thrasher Magazine and OJ Wheels to name a few.

"I’ve been skateboarding for over 15 years so being a part of that culture has really given me a lot of inspiration through all of the visual stimulus that comes with it. Santa Cruz board graphics of course, artists like Funeral French and Paul Parker, the list could go on. Skateboarding is unique in how such a broad culture can really shape your interests and influences from more than just the act of riding a skateboard.

A lot of the music I listen to and books I read sort of weave between skateboarding culture in some way or another. Also tattoo culture is a big influence on my work, and similarly, it has its place in skateboarding too. I think being a part of these subcultures has really shaped not only the visual aspect of my work but also the reasoning behind it."

Late last year, we tapped Yarndog to create some graphics for the new line of Slackjaw graphic tees. Hailing from such similar backgrounds with plenty of crossover, we knew he'd come up with something that both us and you would love. The resulting effort were the Rider and Snakeskull graphics.

"I love working on clothing projects. I think it’s so good to make a really exciting t-shirt graphic that people want to wear to show their personality but also be able to wear affordable artwork. Also my favourite type of work to make is combing hand drawn graphics with crazy hand drawn text to match, and for most t-shirts or hoodies this is a winning combination."

"With both graphics I wanted to make something that looked like a an old school biker who belonged to a club would have made. I looked at a lot of old American photography of bikers from the 60s for reference points as well as slightly more modern biker graphics and tattoos from the 80s and 90s.

I wanted to combine classic biker elements as well as my own influences to try and create graphics that represented the cultural melting pot of skating, motorcycles and tattoos. Plus skulls and snakes are always cool!" Fuelled by an eclectic record collection (Gatecreeper and Obituary all the way to Johnny Cash and ELO) when George isn't drawing you can find him walking his Dachshund who thinks he’s a full grown Doberman, gardening with his wife, or reading books about magic sword wielding monster hunters!

Thanks to Yarndog for his time and the awesome graphics! If you want to keep up with his work, you can find him on instagram here.

 

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