The Hot Rod Tour of Texas 2023 is an annual 4 day cruise of 300 classic cars and custom vehicles from all over Texas. The Tour of Texas starts this year on April 27th with a kickoff party at Aero Crafters Gastropub followed by a cruise across Texas leaving Victoria on Friday morning with overnight stays throughout the hill country and across Central Texas. We’ll be stopping at many different landmarks, drag strips, breweries, drive-ins, museums, and much more along the way! Here is the event for this year!
I was graciously asked by the host of the tour to create a second annual T-shirt design for the cruise as a proud sponsor of this year’s event.
After seeing a previous character I painted on a vintage toolbox, the host of the show, Bobby Sparkman and his family, requested that I include the beloved armadillo character in some form for the T-shirt as the official Hot Rod Tour of Texas mascot. They also had a request to include the map of all the unique stops along the route into the design.
From the list of requested elements they wanted incorporated, I created a few thumbnail (mini) sketches to get an idea of what the overall T-shirt design would look like. From those sketches, I enlarged the design and created a final line drawing on tracing paper to send to Bobby for his approval. This step is always interesting because I get to see how accurately I was able to capture the client’s vision! With Bobby’s happy approval upon first review of the artwork, I was able to move onto the final painted design which I created on a wooden plaque.
In true Texas fashion, I burnt the edges of the plaque with a propane torch to give it a rustic look. I brush on a few coats of clearcoat to seal the burned edges and the wood itself. This gave the wood plaque a smooth surface to paint on. Otherwise, the enamel paint would have soaked into the wood grain and separated upon application. Once the clear coat was dry, I transferred the line drawing of the armadillo onto the wood plank with Saral paper. The chalk outline allowed me to hand paint all of the details, shadows, and highlights with Alpha 6 enamel and Mack brushes.
Bobby and the team were very happy with the final design… as was I. We immediately sent a high-quality scan to their graphic designer, who then translated the artwork into a digital format for the screen printing of the T-shirts.
I’m also so thankful that there are graphic designers out there willing to work with my hand painted designs. I’m also thankful to Bobby Sparkman, and the Hotrod Tour of Texas team for allowing me to create hand-painted artwork for this event each year. I always get a kick out of seeing people wear my artwork!! Word on the street is that the little, racing cowboy armadillo design that we came up with, will not only be the T-shirt for this year‘s event, but the design will also be turned into windshield stickers and other advertising elements and merchandise for the Hotrod Tour of Texas!
Unfortunately, tickets have sold out for this year, but if you’d like to get on the waiting list or check out the event and it’s details, you can head over to the www.hotrodtouroftexas.com!
I am part of the Hot Rod Tour of Texas Staff and we want to give a big Texas-sized thank you to Kate Cook with Asphalt Canvas LLC for her amazing hand-sketched and painted artwork she has done for us each year creating the event T-Shirt artwork. A simple idea and conversation and she made it happen and the final product was beyond our expectations. Amazing is the word to describe her artwork. I have also commissioned Kate to do very personalized hand-painted Christmas Balls each year for my grandbabies and they are amazing and are now part of the family collection to be shared and passed down from generation to generation. Do you have an idea or an event and want something unique get ahold of Kate and she can create a custom one-off design you will love.
-Bobby Sparkman, Event Host
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