Hands On T-shirts

Posted by on Oct 18, 2018 | No Comments

A little story about some t-shirt designs

It started with a goal of getting better at drawing hands. Ask any artist and they will say drawing hands are one of the most frustrating areas of the human anatomy to make look right.

So I did a lot of sketching hands of strangers in cafes, from different angles and in different shapes…


Well, I’d been drawing all these hands, so I thought, ‘Why not do something about it? Can I take this subject matter and make it into something good enough people would wear?’I worked around the idea of hand signs, and came up with three concepts; ‘Westside’, ‘Raised Fist’, and the ‘Shaka’.

This lead to development in the form of some ink experimentation:

Pentel Brush Pen

With these experiments I was looking at different ways I could shade them, and what they looked like with background fills.

Once I decided on a style that felt right, I developed a more finished sketch outline, seen in the video below. I used a combination of the the thumbnails sketches, above, and selfie photos of my hand in order to get lighting and proportions correct.

After the pencilling came the inking:

Here is another of the Shaka hand design:

The hand ink drawings were then scanned and touched up digitally in Photoshop.

The Designs

The final designs for these evolved into a real exploration of style. If you’ve seen any of my previous work you might know that I love working with strong lighting. As I was using pure black for the shaded areas, the challenge became how to show softer areas where the shadow transitions to light. And so out of a lot of experimentation this style of using thin areas of lines and little markings evolved.

The ‘Westside’ Sign

The Westside hand sign gained notoriety from crew of the westside of Los Angeles, although the sign, created by fingers forming a “W”, can represent people from any particular western region.

The ‘Shaka’ Sign

The Shaka hand sign comes from Hawaiian culture, and is also commonly used in surf culture. It is a sign that is often used to say “hang loose”.

The Raised Fist

The raised fist represents power. I see it as a sign of empowerment, self respect and solidarity, but it can mean different things for each person that uses it.


New Merchandise Store

These designs have become my first leap into selling products. I’ve opened up a store on Teespring which you can visit here if you’re curious: Ainsley’s Merch

I hope you enjoyed reading the process for these designs. I would love to hear your feedback as always, or if you have any questions just drop a comment below. Thanks for watching?

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