Arkadia presents, the birth of "Hootenanny"

I met Arkadian design duo Ammber and Justin earlier this year when I snagged a tee from their debut collection. These guys have a style that is youthful, fun, and bursting with life; and their design ethic is based on a true love for our environment. They remember what it was like to be a kid, and they celebrate those memories everyday with a new generation.

Today I’ve invited the Arkadia crew to share some insight into their design process, in particular, the birth of their fabulous “Hootenanny” tee. I invite you to make yourself comfortable, and enjoy the feathery tale of how Hootenanny was born, from the first glimmer in a creative mind, to the day he came flying off the ink press (as told by Justin from Arkadia).

Take it away Justin!

Arkadia Hootenanny T-shirt MoodboardInspiration hits! We’ve always had a soft spot for owls (fun fact: our eldest child’s initials are O.W.L.) so we just knew an owl print would be included in our premiere range.

Ammber envisioned an owl carved out of wood with tree ring eyes and leaves for feathers. So she gathered some images to form a moodboard.

The vision for the tee takes shape as a hand-drawn illustration, with leafy feathers, in spring greens, or warm autumn hues. It will be printed onto an organic t-shirt base, and will be suitable for both boys and girls.

Next Ammber gets out her trusty fine tip black pen and sketchbook to bring our feathered friend to life. When you’re a creative mum you take every opportunity to design, while the kids sleep, involving them in some way, preoccupying them with an activity or having your partner/family entertain them while you create!  Here she is pictured drawing with our son Oscar on our back deck.

Arkadia Hootenanny Owl Drawing Process

Once the sketch is complete we scan it in and make a few adjustments in Photoshop.  To add colour to each individual feather, Ammber uses Adobe Illustrator then mocks it up onto a t-shirt template to get a sense of how it will look.

Arkadia Hootenanny Tee Mockup

When not working on Arkadia or looking after our two little ones, Ammber works as a Graphic Artist at PSI Screenprinting.  She loves learning about screen printing and working with different artwork each day for new clients. Her job provides her with new knowledge and inspiration which she can apply when working on designs for Arkadia.

Next it’s time to prepare the artwork for the printers. It’s important to provide as much information as possible so they are clear about your design vision, like the size and position of the print, specialty inks, pantones for the ink colours or premixed inks off the shelf.

Ammber then separates the artwork by colour (this Hootenanny design has four colours) and each separation is turned black and printed onto transparent film.  This film is used to expose the image onto each mesh screen.

Arkadia Hootenanny T-shirt Screen Printing Preparation

Here is our awesome printer Chris from PSI setting up the screens and then laying down each colour by pushing ink through the screen with a squeegee to form the complete image.

The ink is cured or set through an oven and voila!  Our awesome t-shirt is complete.  There’s nothing quite like that feeling when you see your vision brought to life as a wearable piece of art.

Arkadia Hootenanny T-shirt Screen Printing Process

Next is the photoshoot so we can have gorgeous images of kiddies wearing our range.  Ammber and I plan the shots, props and settings, then rally in our friends and their kids to help us out.  This was another beautifully rewarding process for us, seeing the kids in our gear on the day and later getting the photos back.

Arkadia Hootenanny Children's Owl T-shirt

Finally, we’re ready to upload the images and text to our super cool website which you can check out here.  We’ve put a lot of work into the imagery, backgrounds, elements, wording and stories to make a visit to our site’s cubbyhouse inviting and memorable.  And if you’ve fallen in love with our Hootenanny design, you can snap it up (or one of our tees) at 30% off in our ARKADIA FLASH SALE!

Arkadia Children's T-shirt Sale

Savings and SpecialsA huge thank you to Ammber and Justin for sharing the story of their Hootenanny Tee. There’s still plenty of time to pick up your favourite tee for pre-Christmas delivery, and in the true spirit of Christmas giving, Arkadia is offering 30% off storewide until Monday 17 December, 2012. Wowzas! Take me shopping!


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