Hell’s Belle T-Shirt | Custom Art Feature
Hook & Irons Co. is a unique, wearable goods company that was designed to celebrate the traditions and history of the fire service. The owner himself is a firefighter. Since 2012, Hook and Irons Co. has been featured in numerous design blogs, including Design.Work.Life, Behance, and Designspiration. On the H & I site you can find one-of-a-kind, quality t-shirts, patches, and hats adorned with designs created by real artists that highlight the traditions and history of firefighting.
When George, the owner of Hook & Irons, reached out to me about a new t-shirt design for their brand, I was intrigued to say the least! However, the inspiration is what really excited me. He loved the artwork painted on the front of a WWII bomber in an old black and white photo he had found. Although he gave me creative freedom for the overall design, his goal was for me to channel the style of the original nose art pinup girl. Of course, I was excited to put my spin on the original Hell’s Belle artwork, so I got to work.
Using the original nose art as a guide, I sketched out three concept designs in pencil. Touches of color were added with Prisma color pencils to give George an idea of what the final composition would look like. I worked with the client to determine his preference from the sketches, then tweaked small portions of the selected design to create a final line drawing. I also penciled a small front pocket illustration that tied in with the overall back design of the t-shirt. While George and I focused on concept sketches, I placed a custom order with Travis, owner of Overspray Customs, to paint a navy blue, matte finish, steel panel to be the background of the final artwork.
The custom pin up was then transferred to the steel panel and painted with Alpha6 Corp. gloss enamels. The custom frame I had designed for the work was a beautiful satin black finish, with a small red pinstripe, that I felt really highlighted the overall composition. The final piece had three different finishes (matte background, gloss artwork, and a satin finish frame) which provided visual interest, especially in different types of lighting.
With all of my hand painted t-shirt designs, I like to approach the overall composition and framed final as if I was creating a piece of gallery art. The only difference is that for t-shirts, I work only with a select number of colors on my paint pallet. This is done to keep the printing process cost effective. Simply put, the more colors there are in a design, most likely means the more ink will be needed for the printing of the actual t-shirt. Don’t let a limited pallet fool you. It’s amazing what depth can come from a painting that has what artists would call “a limited pallet”, meaning only a few colors were used for the entire work of art! For the Hell’s Belle Design, I only used 3 colors and black and white!
Hook & Irons CO. is hoping to produce this shirt for sale in time for your holiday shopping. When the new Hell’s Belle t-shirt is available through Hook & Irons Co. I’ll be sure to send out an announcement!
It really is beautiful and pops on the metal. I’m thrilled to own one of your paintings and will cherish it. You are talented and I expect to see you continue to grow your brand. I’m glad I got to you early!
-George | Hook & Irons Co.