Last year I was one of a group of artists hired to create a new T-shirt design for the American Cancer Society's annual event "Relay for Life". I got all the way to the last round and was beaten by the great master Michael Bartalos!
Well, they called me again this year to re-submit the idea that made it all the way the previous year. Somehow, this year it won. I have no idea who I competed with this year, was it a Drawger?
The job had some personal sentiment to me, as I've lost both my mother Nancy and my older brother Kevin to cancer. Here are the sketches and process and whatnot, for those interested...
I should preface this by explaining that this is a monstrous organization. Many tiers of people vote on the designs, which have to not only appeal to the masses but also incorporate their logo and corporate color. In this case, a particular PMS purple and it's subsequent tints. For whatever reason, I am not a big fan of purple, so it was a bit tough for me to work with that.
So here were my three submitted sketches from last year. Art director Tom Deal sent me a huge packet with reference from the event, where cancer victims, survivors and their families walk a sort of "vigil relay" on a track all day and night. The event happens all over the country, and these candles are always placed along the track. The sun design and the balloons design went on to the next round, but it was the balloon design that made it right up to the end.
I was surprised to get called again this year, but happy to give it another shot. They wanted to resubmit the previous year's sketch, with a few alterations. They also wanted me to provide four different comps with specific color situations - 1c purple on white, 1c white on purple, etc. I found this tougher than I originally thought.
Here are the four variations. New art director Bobbie Johnson was super to work with, as she had a really monstrous task of pre-production preparations. You see, ACS wanted each of the final sketch designs to be made into actual silk screen products in order to make the final decision. So, Bobbie had to create all of these screens using sketches!
She sent me the t-shirts, made with my lo-rez sketches which she had rasterized using the new Illustrator CS3 process. They ended up moving the logo into the image, replacing the big foot in the foreground.
I look forward to seeing the final t-shirts when they come out in 2008. It was an honor to be part of the project, and I hope the t-shirts make folks happy and the events are a great success!
Coincidentally, the band I play in with my wife will be playing in a benefit for the American Cancer Society here in San Francisco at The Make-out Room on June 3. We're going to raffle off a couple of the "sketch" shirts I think! Here's our cd cover, illustrated by the genius Christian Northeast and produced by the great Karl Derfler, who did Tom Wait's latest.