DIY vintage T-shirts

It's easy to create authentic collegiate T-shirt designs using a good old-fashioned iron. In this tutorial, illustrator Derek Lea reveals how combining both applications can create stunning results.

Trends go around in circles, old becomes new, new soon becomes old, and illustration, design and fashion are often at the mercy of the latest trend.

The world of T-shirt design has recently been swinging around to the old in terms of looks and execution. Manufacturers are printing on thinner, softer cotton so that the shirts look like old vintage T-shirts that have been washed a thousand times over the years. The designs that are being printed are not only traditional and retro in terms of design, but they are also given an aged and distressed look as part of the execution.

In this tutorial I'll show you how to create your very own traditional American collegiate T-shirt design. And for the ambitious readers among you, I'll even explain how to transfer your artwork on to a T-shirt. The bulk of the art is created in Illustrator, but as with any successful design, an imported sketch proves to be a very helpful template to work from.

Once the Illustrator work is complete, your design will be pasted into Photoshop, where you'll learn a thing or two about Alpha Channels and masks. These two functions, combined with a scan of genuine scratched paper, will have you producing a useful effect that will scratch and distress your art until it looks as if it has been worn a few too many times.

When your Photoshop work is complete, you'll simply print out your artwork onto paper made especially for T-shirt transfers. After that, the process of transferring your work from paper to fabric is as simple as purchasing a blank T-shirt, getting out the ironing board and heating up the iron.

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