I’m in on a book!

Well, I mean I guess my name is IN it.  I don’t know if that counts… I don’t think I can say that I’m in a book if the mere presence of my name is my only contribution between the covers.  Y’all would probably call righteous shenanigans on the “IN-ness” of “me” regarding said “book.”

If I had a buddy who had, by virtue of his first and last names appearing in the correct sequence somewhere, even once professed to be in a book, well, I would wait till he was talking to a pretty girl at the bar and then butt in and say, “Hey, did he tell you that he’s in a book?  You should have him tell you about that book that he’s in,” and then watch him crash and burn.

Because I am eeeeevil.  Or something.

Anyway, regardless of the highly dubious nature of my bookish inclusion, I am most certainly irrefutably incontrovertibly unmistakably ON a galldang book.  Front cover, front and center.  Of course, by “me” I mean “something I drew,” which is probably better looking than me anyway.  So that settles that.

The book in question, I must admit, probably stretches the accepted standard definition a bit, at least in terms of any literary expectations you might have, but I’m happy about it anyway.  It is, of course, the Threadless Book.  Yes, that Threadless.  Yes, the website.  Yes, the website that sells t-shirts.  Sometimes my t-shirts.  Yes, they wrote a book about it.  Why?  Because they are turning ten years old and they figured it would be a neat thing to do.  Yes, this is the book I’ve been excitedly rambling on about for the past several stolen moments of your life.

So!  Would you like to see it?  I thought so!

(my drawing is the three-eyed sea-tiger dude above the big yellow dot)

Below is Threadless founder Jake Nickell posing with a giant Threadless Book cover.

And, finally, here is the full illustration of my Sea Tiger monster dude.

The end!

More is more!

Two (2!) more designs up at Threadless now, bringing the live sub tally up to three (3!) for the week.  As always, I appreciate whatever love you can send their way.

Introducing Bumbles the HoneyBear and Chums, the, well… yuck.

bear bee tee illustration

zombie illustration tee

And, of course, please don’t forget that PTR is still in action.  AKK-SHUN, Y’ALL.  Kapow and stuff.

Heed your muthascratchin’ conscience already…

…and do an awfully nice thing like vote for my latest Threadless submission.  If you care to add some sort of hyperbolically cool comment, that would be lovely as well… Like, “Oh my stars in heaven if Threadless doesn’t print this shirt I fear my guts will simply explode out of my belly button in anguish!”

In other news, I’ve made another sketch that involves censored cusswords.  I’d tell you about it, but I’m more interested in seeing if you understand it on your own.  All I will say is that the pun in play is “Vampire Hunters.”

To the dogs, or whoever

So last Wednesday marked the beginning of a neat Threadless alumni group submission called Lyricize 2, in which Threaless alumns create tee designs inspired by a song, if you hadn’t guessed that bit already.

My design, called The Belly of The Beast, was based on the opening verse from Josh Ritter’s To the Dogs or Whoever (click for listenables):

Deep in the belly of a whale I found her
Down with that deep blue jail around her
Running her hands through the ribs in the dark
Florence and Calamity and Joan of Arc…

Yeah, I uh, substituted a KRAKEN for a whale or something like that. Scales–which I decided I NEEEDED–would have made no sense on a whale…

Oh em gee

Seldom an animal is born on earth that is safe from the appetite of, wait for it…


With, like, probably a dislocating jaw and stuff! Yeah. Good luck getting to sleep tonight knowing that at any moment you could be face-to-face with the hot, stinking maw of, one more time


Now up for voting at Threadless. So yeah, please vote 🙂

Hazard a vote, why don’t you?

Today I have two tees up for voting and goshdarnit, you better believe they could use some love.  In unrelated news, Alien Invader was “reckoned” right to the curb at shirt.woot today, thus signaling the renewed tradition of my Wootables to kick the can as fast as they know how… Like they’re in some special hurry for Tee Shirt Dinner or something.

The first one is especially eager for some attention, considering that if it wins it will not win the standard $2,000 offering from Threadless, but rather $10,000.  To reiterate… !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The second tee at Design by Humans does not stand to bag quite such an absurd bounty, but seriously, rent is rent.

Again, to reiterate… !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

That is all 🙂

A touchy subject. AKA, You’re a sensitive lad, aint you, Tommy?

So I was perusing the site of one of my glorious benefactors, shirt.woot.com, when I happened upon a design that seemed strangely familiar to me.  It seemed familiar to me because it is uncannily similar in color, composition, and concept to a design I made a while back called Close Enough, about a drunk-on-the-job stork that mistakenly delivers a baby platypus to a couple of beavers.  Granted, the punchline is different… The design on woot has dropped the booze-addled angle and inserted a pair of ducks, but that’s where the incongruencies begin to become largely aesthetic.

Now, I’ve seen people (especially younger people, and especially on the internet) sound the “RIPPOFF” alarm and get up-in-arms about less striking similarities than this (And obviously I have to at least wonder about the possibility of my work being reprocessed and pilfered for financial gain ($1,000+), which is not at all a good feeling) but I am generally inclined to think otherwise.  One thing I’ve learned the hard way after a few years in the biz is that’s there’s a lot of room for cross-pollination, as it were, and there’s a lot of room for convergent evolution, as it were.  It’s just not that uncommon for two or more people to have the same idea.  It’s not even that uncommon for them both to execute it in similar manners.

I know this the hard way because I once designed a shirt about a narwhal impaling some arctic friends on its horn, which scored well on Threadless and was later printed by them, only to find my work being called a blatant rip-off of a previously existing toy of the same concept*.  I had never seen the toy in my entire life.  I had never heard of the toy in my entire life.  I had zero knowledge of the toy before the day my tee was put up for voting.  And yet, some folks were dead certain that I had willfully plundered the ideas of another for my own personal gain.  This was not, as you might imagine, a pleasant feeling at all.

But, as I mentioned earlier, the feeling that you may have been ripped-off and that someone else may be raking in dough that might have been yours, well, that’s not a good feeling either.  And while it’s not necessarily uncommon for convergent evolution to independently produce two similar solutions to a problem, it’s also not that uncommon for people on the internet to play fast and loose with the art of appropriation, as it were.  In any case, you can decide for yourself, and frankly you may find that these illustrations are about as similar as a cactus and a porcupine, but I thought it was at least interesting enough to blog about, if not fuss over.

Mine, from long ago:

Theirs, from not so long ago:

* Though, I might add, dramatically inferior geographic realism/plausibility 😛

Merciless fish-women, co-opted movie quotes, and pretty

At long last, I’ve got a new illustration in the running at Threadless.  It’s called Feeding Frenzy.  It’s… well… hopefully it’s self-explanatory:

feeding frenzy

“And that’s when the attack comes… Not from the front, but from the side… from the other two mermaids you didn’t even know were there.

The point is, you are alive when they start to eat you.”

Other recent Greatest of the Latest news, I give you: A Logo, a Mascot, and a Very Strange Tee…



It’s no secret that I have a thing for dinosaurs.  I regard them and other ancient monsters with an enthusiasm that is curious to my friends, if not entertaining.  But what my friends should keep in mind is that there are people out there that harbor still deeper dino-obsessions and, more importantly, the ambition to tell people about it.

Enter: The Smithsonian “Dinosaur Tracking” blog, a delightful repository of dinosaur news, musings, minutia, and even sightings — which is where I come in to the picture.  The section of the blog devoted to sightings is a survey of all things dinosaur that one might encounter in everyday life — particularly in pop-culture– such as roadside sculptures, billboards, motion pictures, and — in my case– t-shirts.  To such ends, the blog discovered my Sweet Tooth design on Threadless and decided it was worthy of entry as a cataloged Dinosaur Sighting.  Naturally, I am pleased 🙂

dinosaur illustration

Brian Wolly (yes, it was acknowledged in an email that our names are eerily similar, even moreso in pronunciation than in spelling), who helps run the blog, said they may even feature my Dinosaurs Ate My Shirt! store sometime in the future, which makes him one of my favorite people on the internet at the moment.

Other incredible finds on Dinosaur Tracking are as follows:

Quack Attack!

I’m pretty pumped about this post.  I thought it could stand an aural accessory.  Enjoy the Smooshiness.

Smoosh – The Quack

Anyway, back to the action, which –in this case– is a living room wall…  An action packed living room wall, complete with a painting –honest-to-goodness painting— of my very own Quack Attack.  The wall belongs to Denmark’s* Jesper C L, of Ivy League Design, who says he “…pulled out the majority of my hair from not being able to find some decent decorations for my livingroom wall.”

First off, in a similar vein to the tattoos people have been getting lately, I’m naturally flattered that someone likes my illustrations enough to want to look at them every day.  Secondly, I’m super impressed with the execution here.  I very much doubt I could paint that thing on a wall as well as Jesper has, and I drew the damn thing.  So hats off you you, sir!  You made my day.

* Or at least that’s what the Danish “.dk” domain tag in his URL would lead me to conclude, although “Ivy League Design” does suggests a potential American connection.  I dunno.

Back in the game.

Moons have passed.  Exactly how many I am not certain –perhaps a few, perhaps more– but moons have passed since I last mustered an honest effort in the competitive tee design game.  I suppose my recent lack of production could in small part have been motivated by a bout of discouragement, since a handful of very promising designs were teased with voting success only to fade into the Threadless purgatory fated to so many well-scored illustrations that will never see the light of day.

But a far greater agent in this fall from proliferation is simply that I have been pretty damned busy.  Well, maybe not absurdly busy, but certainly busier than when last I felt free to spend hours doodling things like hacksaw-brandishing scuba bears.  There have been road trips and weddings and road trips to weddings and a weekend retreat or two, plus a new studio to furnish, a new marathon to train for, and my own intrinsic spacey-ness when confronted with the various effervescent entanglements that summertime affords.  Trees need climbing.  Turtles need catching.  Rivers need exploring and warm nights need the attention of a distracted late-youth and his misplaced freetime every bit as much as the coffee shops need his twilight work sessions and pocket change.

None-the-less, the flee-bitten hens of my imagination have not ceased popping out stray nuggets of inspiration these last months, and I have recently found time to incubate a few of these bastard ideas into full-fledged works of art-like visual consumables– Luckily, my ability to extend an already awkward metaphor far longer than anyone is comfortable with needs no practice to retain its potency.  Anyway…

Hiatus termination notice: Served.  (The pictures, they are clickable.)

tricky licky

new kid on the block

As always, emptees love is always appreciated, though ultimately unimportant.  It occurs to me now that I may have never really explained what the whole emptees.com thing is about.  Simply put, it’s a good way to whore yourself out to those who might wish to aquire your t-shirt illustrating services.  If a tee design happens to become wildly popular on emptees it can lead to a lot of attention.  That’s basically it.

Diabolically Delicious

I received an email the other day from a fellow named Andy Pitts.  He was writing to inform me that he had made a cake based on my Sweet Tooth design for the bizarrely delightful Threadcakes competition.

He then provided me a link to the gallery.  Having  no idea what awaited me on the other side of that innocent looking hypertext, I gave it a click.

Hyperbole be damned, as soon as the page finished loading there was faint Pfftt! sound somewhere between my eyeballs, followed by a few wisps of acrid smoke from my ears.  My mind had been blown.

Now look here, and behold the most diabolical pastry known to mankind:

Here’s what Andy has to say for himself:

“I’ve always been a fan of thunderpeel aka Brian Walline’s tee designs – so I picked one of my favorites and tried to do it justice in cake form! I wanted to make this guy as sugary as possible using a variety of sweets, Chocolate cake, confetti cake, peanut butter rice crispys treats, tic tacks, skittles, caramels, gummi bears, tons of fondant, butter cream frosting and a wisp of blue cotton candy smoke on the volcano.”

Thank you Andy!  I am flattered by your cake design, awed by your cake skillz, and now, inexplicably… hungry?  🙂

Collaborative Effort

Got a new sub up at Threadless.  This one is different than anything I’ve ever submitted before because it represents my first duo-collab with another blogger on t-less.  My partner in crime, as it were, is the ever prolific Evan “FRICKINAWESOME” Ferstenfeld, who sports a storied career on Threadless as a master collaborator and sloganeer, with several slogan prints and successful design team-ups under his belt.  Hopefully “Horsepowers” will be the next winner for the both of us!

Without further hype, the bidness at hand:


Also, yes, I did model for this and yes, I know, I need a shave and and attitude asjustment 🙂  It’s my playoff beard though, so we’ll all have to wait till the Red Wings do their thing before I can get myself some proper grooming.

Horsepowers - Threadless, Best T-shirts Ever

Also available for loving at emptees.

The Rainbow Runt

I’m not 100% sold on the title, but I’ve failed at topping it so far.  Likely just another symptom of the vocabulary crisis I’ve been suffering for the past week and a half, which as you can guess is another story entirely.

None-the-less, The Raindbow Runt has been subbed at ye old submittin’ place.  As always, I’ll holler when —as the Beastie Boys might say— it G-E-T-S-L-I-V-E, aight?

Spring Break Wooooooooo!

No parents woooooo!  I mean, uh, hey there.  Happy spring.  I don’t know what it’s like where you are, but in southeastern Michigan today it’s feeling recklessly pleasant outside.  I’m sure people all over the north are making humorous wardrobe decisions right now… Board shorts.  Sun hats.  Bikinis.


Today’s post is sadly a spell overdue.  You see, a while back the esteemed Priscilla Wislon —aka vallorandvellum to you Threadless fans out there— organized the 3rd annual Threadless Alumni Style Swap.  It’s fairly self-explanatory.  Artists sign up for the project in a rabid frenzy (space is both limited and coveted) and are then paired off with one another based on the dissimilarity of their styles.  Each partner is charged with the task of creating a t-shirt design in their counterpart’s style, leaving no traces of their own aesthetic or techniques.  The designs are all then submitted for voting on Threadless, where bloggers can try and guess which artists were paired up.  The guessers with the most correct responses win a reasonably spectacular prize package, which has been largely donated by the participating artists.

In any case, this all came and went about a month ago.  I was paired up with sizzling Threadless Sensation alexmdc, aka Alex Solis of Milwaukee, WI.  Below is my alexmdc impression, followed by his thunderpeel impression (thunderpeel is my handle on threadless, in case you were wondering).

spring break woooooo

by Alex Solis

by Alex Solis