My Process: "Osprey Shirt"

My Process:

I remember thinking about this shirt for about 2 days and how I could do it so that would be pretty cool to look at but also capture the natural beauty of what was happening. Many times, I would sit on the bow while we would go through the “no wake” zone while we’d creep it through Longcreek, passing the restaurants that were closed in the wee morning hours (but would be full of life when we’d come back in…) eventually getting to the Lesner Bridge. After you passed this particular channel marker… there were always Ospreys. Ospreys that were living and nesting on it. This marker was pretty interesting to me because after you passed you could open it up and start running to the ocean.

 It was a strange juxtaposition (in my mind at least) that where you’d open up your engines and boats would make so much noise, was this place a bird of prey chose to raise its family. The amount of traffic that goes through every year or even during a bird’s nesting season, made me feel like those Ospreys were fans of “city livin.” When you look at the human mind and how a large part of the population wants to get away from the hustle and bustle of industrial and commercial noise. These cool birds didn’t mind living around it.  It was a display of nature  I had taken for granted so many times before. I would always look back after we passed it and just be amazed like

 “wow, how cool is that?!”

We would often see the mother Osprey (could be the dad?! I don’t know who Osprey breadwinners usually are) swoop down strike the water, grab a fish and return to their nest to feed the babies… with boats inside of 15yards or so. The timing/ kinetic awareness of animals that possess the ability to fly is pretty cool. They’ve acclimated to a point they were really not that scared of the boats, the noise and the people. They kept just far enough to allow us to catch a detailed look of how their feather colors break out. The shine in the sun with a sheen from the ocean on their water-repellant feathers… the black, brown, whites, and greys… and yet, far enough away that they seemed like part of the setting. You could always see that bright yellow-orange eye looking at you. The birds would dive and miss sometimes but that wasn’t without a show, they would do this little shoulder shake after, getting into their hunting groove almost as if they were saying

 “Ok! I missed… I’m just warming up...” 

The people who have seen this will know what I'm talking about. It was always a cool nature commercial to watch as you are ripping your morning coffees and tying up lures and connecting leader lines with knots you probably should’ve taken care of the night before.

 I wanted to find a way to bring that scene… that “city living”, those birds just hanging out nonchalant, the way a man-made object like a cluster of pylons that fastened into a channel marker became a home for them, the amount of detail your eye would see from the distance we were passing them at… all of it… and make it into something I thought would look interesting on a t-shirt.  

 I started with the Osprey

It was a pretty cool time for me using Illustrator. I was experimenting with ways to draw differently. I was trying to draw without using too many outlines and use large shapes to make some pretty detailed graphics ( a couple shirts I made after that would follow this same process). So I was using that style to create the bird and I thought it turned out pretty cool. Next up was the nest, the light, and the sign for the marker. 

 I used a picture I shot of the pylons and really tried to digitize them. I thought the nest would be a cool touch if it was only 3 colors. It would be able to contrast pretty well against a lighter colored shirt and move the viewers eye to the bird then the sign then the water all while getting thrown around with the squares. 

I looked at the squares from the Mermaid shirt and really liked that effect it brought to that piece. Every square is a color that was used in the design. I was really intrigued by the way QR codes looked as well at the time and how that whole concept of squares arranged in a certain way could be scanned and contained information. As a design element when I was changing it up it worked for me and I liked it. If only you could scan these squares and re-live that moment!

I often wonder what it would be like to see what a bird sees when I fly the drone. Here's a shot I took of us trying to chase one of the many Cobia I was talking about in the last post. 

Finally, I was doing work in college that was utilizing the squares "into another dimension" look as a design element and it was pretty cool. It gave this rather flat piece a more 3-D feel plus it was a nod to that "Digital" feel that accompanies the squares. The final graphic that made the shirt looked like this (in hi-res)

  Some reference for the squares that I was talking about earlier.... It was for a collage class I was taking and was part of a series I did on 70's playboys and 1970's landscape photography. I took old books looked for textures and that old-school grainy photo look the printers used to use dots and all and was making very odd collages with them. This one was converted to digital media which was cool... to me at least.  

Thank You guys all for checking out the blog post. Thanks for continuing to support the brand and I cannot thank you enough for all the love and kind words. This week go out there and get outside the weather is getting nice and our pale covid lockdown skin needs some Sunlight !!!! 


With so much love and gratitude, 



You may also like View all