Who wants to wear a mundane Fourth of July T-shirt when you can make your own?! From badass bald eagles to patriotic kitties, the possibilities are endless when it comes to wearing your ‘Murican pride on your shirt.
In this tutorial, we’ll show you how to create your own awesome design for this burger-flipping, beer-drinking holiday.
All you need is an image editor (i.e., Photoshop Illustrator), some creative ideas and a dose of wacky American pride. Printer and inkjet transfer paper are optional (which depends if you want to print your T-shirt at home).
So let’s make some kick-ass shirts, ya’all.
1. Starting Your Project
For the final artwork, we’ll use two different images. The first one is a vector drawing of a cat made directly in Illustrator; the other is a stock vector of the U.S. flag. You can find an image like this on most online stock vector repositories. Use a reference image — or create sketches — if you’re making your own artwork from scratch. For example, this tutorial is using a popular cat meme.
2. Making the Artwork
Use the pen tool to draw a simple cat face on a new document. With the ellipse tool, create the basic shades and the nose. For the initial drawing, just apply a stroke of about 8 to 10 with no fill. With the selection tool, move the anchor points and whole shapes around as you make the drawing more accurate. Create the cat’s stripes and whiskers with simple straight or curved lines.
Once the shapes are finished and their position is correct, apply a fill to them by choosing a light tan color for the face of the cat. Make another shape with no stroke to add a light cream to the cat’s face.
3. Adding the Flag
Once the vector file of the flag is open, copy and paste it onto your main artwork document right over the cat’s face. Make a copy of the shades of the cat and drag this over the layer of the flag just copied onto the document. Select both shades and the flag, right-click on the selection and choose “Make Clipping Mask.” The flag will now appear only inside the shape of the shades.
4. Adding Your Text
After the artwork is ready, add your text. Write whatever suits your taste, but keep the message short and make it big! Colors are important, so keep the palette consistent with the rest of the artwork. Using a nice font with some character will also make a huge difference. In this tutorial, we’re using a groovy font with a strong vintage vibe called California Poster.
5. Printing: Online vs. At Home
Choosing between online vs. at-home printing totally depends on your experience and resources. If you have a good printer, then printing at home may give you more control over the final look of the final shirt. But even with the right printer, you may have to run a few tests before printing your final artwork on the transfer paper and then ironing it on the shirt. Even then, mistakes can always happen. All in all, if you have to buy extra ink, special paper and a couple of shirts, you may find it easier (and less time consuming) to print online.
You can use the same design to make tank tops, ringer tees or whatever else you’d like. All you just need to do is print multiple copies of your design — or order multiple shirts if you are printing online — and then you’ll be ready to rock your ‘Murica look!
Edited on Illustrator CC 2014.