Archive for Jimiyo

Tips & Tricks for Designers (Part 1)

Posted in Design Tips with tags , on January 4, 2010 by metalinkshop

Another blog entry from Metal Ink design winner Jimiyo we wanted to excerpt. To read the full post, please see Jimiyo’s blog. Enjoy!

How to Win Online Design Contests

Ready for the answer?


The End.

In all seriousness, in almost all things, the first step to winning or achieving is participation. You can’t expect to shoot a ball in a basket unless you first attempt to make a throw.

The idea is simple, but the motivation behind emphasizing this fact, is for one main reason:

Online design contests need good designs.



The truth of the art business is that, companies dealing in art need a pool of art that can be easily accessible at any time to fulfill the potential sales needs that arise. Sometimes in the art world, it’s a shotgun approach, especially if the company is working in the mass retail market. Mass retail seems to be such a lucrative market, that they have the pick of the litter, so art businesses need to pitch multiple products sometimes over and over until the time is right to the mass retailers.

So submitting and getting printed isn’t all that difficult if you follow some basic rules.

It’s like a lottery, but a lottery in which you can manipulate the variables in your favor to almost guarantee a win.

How Do You Guarantee a Win?

1. Participate

2. Participate/submit often.

Not only do you fill your portfolio with designs, and learn/improve with each piece, participating and submitting helps to your name float up to the top when directors may be considering designs to print provided you have the right kind of art.

Human nature has a tendency to reciprocate friendly gestures, and when you begin to participate in an online community it will build a foundation of trust. People do business with people they trust and know.

3. Cater your product to the market. This is a major key. Businesses that sell art have their specific genre into which they are pigeon-holed.

4. Be nice, or really, don’t be a pain in the ass.

When you are a pain in the ass, by being high maintenance, asking too many questions, etc etc, frankly, you make the job of the AD much more difficult. The likelihood they will want to work with you again is not great unless you have great artwork and you are worth it.

Being nice also helps. Or just being business like and straightforward helps. Here is my art. Want or no want? Thank you. Neeeext.

The easier it is to work with you, the better.

5. Be your own marketeer.

In the online world, every artist can create an appreciable effect on sales by marketing to their fan base.

You don’t have to have a fan base, but if you are going to be a full-time artist, you better get one, or you won’t be an artist for long.

Even if you can’t make a dent in the sales volume by your promotions because it doesn’t reach anyone, at least it will make you seem like you have your stuff together, and provided you continue to promote, stick and move, you will most likely learn how to best market your art.

Behind the scenes we occasionally see the effects of this. Our perception is molded by your actions and efforts. We noticed the artists that were the best at promoting themselves were the ones who were able to generate traffic and votes, and concurrently, typically this correlates somewhat to sales. Only somewhat because if you build a product that is generally widely appreciated, it will sell on its own.

But seeing the numbers, we do get impressed with the ability of the artist to market.

The foundation of growth for online contests like DBH, Threadless, and Shirt.woot [and Metal Ink] is that it requires that the artists all promote their works for the sites to get more fans and consumers. It’s almost like a MLM. They thrive on concurrent marketing by the artists.

Help us, help you, help us, help you.

In the online design contest realm, the easier you set yourself up as a supplier the more likely you will get picked up, and have subsequent designs be printed.

It’s not that difficult and only takes persistence, so take a stab!

Tips & Tricks for Designers (Part 2)

Posted in Design Tips with tags , on January 4, 2010 by metalinkshop

Excerpted from a very helpful blog by Metal Ink design winner Jimiyo. To read the original, please see Jimiyo’s post, “How to Design for the Apparel Market.”

In my experience as a designer and curator, there is a truth about the apparel world that has become apparent. If my hunch is correct, this probably spans the whole world of art:

Artsy fartsy doesn’t sell in a mass consumer market.

I don’t wish to discourage any artist from designing in their own voice, but typically, people enjoy simplicity; generic ideas, easily understood and recognizable.

By artsy farty, I am referring to esoteric ideas, themes, and execution.

What made my artsty fartsy designs fail? Frankly, unless you are in a niche market like Design By Humans, the majority of the population does not have the palette or affinity for esoteric expressions. They simply don’t have the ability or desire to understand a different language.

We are still very much like animals. We still exhibit the fight or flight tendencies in our decision making. We desire social validation and acceptance as community beings so if you apply this theory to products, we want a product that communicates a positive and acceptable message to the rest of the world. We don’t want to scare anyone into thinking we are different.

To wear something that is difficult or even unable to be understood, you might as well be wearing something with a foreign alien language.

We live in a world of symbols. Male/Female bathroom signs are universally understood. The color red, a sign of urgency, skulls typically represent death, etc.

As artists, we can help to create new symbols, but we must teach the world first before they understand it and are at ease with it. So there are two paths.

1. Design using symbols that already exist.

2. Be the forerunner in defining a new set of symbols, or way of expression, until it becomes accepted, if ever.

The latter is the true artist’s journey, so it is most difficult.

But it seems, that once you define a way of expression, you will have defined your niche, so you can rarely deviate from it once settled into popularity.

BTW, did you know that even with gallery art, the top selling designs are typically generic? Landscapes, abstracts, dogs, and portraits.

So what should you design to be successful?

It depends on your market, but typically:

1. Look at trends.
If you observe enough of the market, you will see consistency, an affinity for certain topics, or specific design aesthetics.

2. Include pop culture references. It’s a no brainer for Marc Ecko and Adidas to be partnering with Lucas Films to create products that are Star Wars related. Star Wars is widely understood and enjoyed.

Immediately, when people see the symbols or imagery related to Star Wars, cha-ching. You know it’s $$$$ MONEY $$$$.

If you look at Threadless, you will see a lot of other topics that are pop culture/cult following related products.

Video games, zombies, tv/movies, etc.

Piggy-backing on something that’s already popular is the easiest route to getting sales, and attention.

There is a legal issue here. You must parody, or coyly design in a manner in which will allow you to skirt copyright infringement issues. Thankfully, parody is a route.

3. Keep it simple stupid. Don’t deviate too far from the normal way of expressing ideas, and don’t be complicated in artistic expression. Solid low color designs are king. You want to create a design in which, someone walking by in a second understands what they are looking at. This is related to symbols. Symbols are simple images. Just as we recognize a smiley face with a cirle, two dots and a semi circular line, you want your image to be almost just as simple.

*** Addendum by @Hydro74 Twitter
4. Emulate popular styles/trends. “uniqueness is rare and not demanded by consumers or companies thus emulate what sells with a splash of creative twist.”

Recently, these are a few submissions I’ve seen at different sites which are obvious winners if they are printed. These are full of win. Obviously, it doesn’t take a expert to recognize them as good sellers.

Although, the skills exemplified by these pieces are professional, I would chance to say that, concepts sell most shirts, so these could have been done by a crappy artist, and they would still sell.

Starry_eyez, Our Latest Superstar Designer!

Posted in Designer Interviews with tags , , , , on December 4, 2009 by metalinkshop

Happy Holidays! The Metal Ink Holiday Sale is on now through 12/15. Get an unprecedented 40% OFF EVERYTHING! Just use code “shop40” at checkout to get your 40% discount. All shirts are now $9-$11 so buy some for your friends and stock up for yourself too!

We spoke to another recent winner of our design contest, Starry_eyez, creator of “Toil and Tears” from which we made a men’s t-shirt in black and our first-ever women’s tank dress. Make sure you check them both out and for a limited time, get them for 40% off regular price! See all merchandise on sale in our Shop section.

Men's shirt now $11

Tank Dress now $17

MI: AJ, aka Starry_eyez, you are an amazing designer. Tell us how you got started.

AJ: Thank you for calling me an “amazing designer,” I appreciate it. To me the most amazing designers/artists are J-I-M-I-Y-O, Dzeri29, God Machine, Steve Hanks…they are magicians and wonderful people. I have to give my special thanks to DBH for making me a T designer…DBH was my first inspiration in this field, I am still pretty new to it and I am learning each and every day.

AJ aka Starry_eyez

Since my childhood I have enjoyed drawing. Actually my beloved dad doesn’t like that artsy work, he’s a programmer. But I loved arts and beautiful things, so I was determined to not to give up both of the fields. Now I have a solid degree in Computing, Mbcs+etc and etc also in other ways, I’m trying to develop my artsy skills as a designer and an artist…here’s a few of my recent works, randomly…

Drawing of the sexiest woman on earth – Ms. Jolie

iPhone wallpaper for a client

You can check out my blog for more:

MI: What was the inspiration behind “Toil and Tears”? Any special reason why it’s written “Tears and Toil” on the print?

AJ: The inspiration for my printed Metal Ink design was Ms. Jolie…

She revealed two of her tattoos (Toil & Tears) in Gothic script on her upper arms in her movie “Wanted.” It came from a speech Sir Winston made on the day he took office in 1940. It’s a homage to the Second World War Prime Minister. From his speech, “We have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat…”

I loved the movie and thought of trying to focus on it, so if you notice the floral stuff in the design are traditional mythical flowers named “tear flowers.”

Also added some vector icons. My special thanks go to my buddy Sam Banarsee who helped me a lot with making of the design.

MI: With “Toil and Tears,” we made our first tank dress! What do you think?

AJ: Whoa! I think the tank dress came out really GREAT! I am glad to see it’s at the top of the Top-selling list! Ladies please check it out yo ^_^

MI: You’re a prolific designer with T-shirts being sold on lots of crowdsourcing sites besides Metal Ink. How did you first hear about us, and how has your experience been working with Metal Ink? What makes us different or unique from other crowdsourcing t-shirt sites?

AJ: Thanks, my designs were printed at teextile, Riptapperal etc…I am so glad, in this year I got a chance to work with Fearless Records-usa, best client ever and I love their bands, especially Alesana (the scremo guys with emo haircuts, lol). Thanks also to DBH’s Oddeti 😉 for the first time I landed on Metal Ink at last year. I followed his link and entered the MI design contest. My first submitted design was for a thong…LOL! My past 2 or 3 designs were rejected and then I came up with 2 new designs.

Working with Metal Ink is…so damn AWESOME! I love it…I feel really lucky to be printed at Metal Ink. Beautiful inked models–Radeo and Bambu are quite the hotties! Plus there are so many awesome designs. And the site is very attractive and professional.

MI: The unavoidable question: do you have any tattoos? If so, what is it? If not, what would you get and why?

AJ: Nope, not yet…I think I’m scared of needles. Hmm I might get one…if so, it has to be:
It’s a word of 5 letters, and it has a secret meaning in binary. I’m a geeky gal without being an anti-social loser.

MI: The perfect combination. What is your favorite medium for designing? Is it all on computer programs, or do you like to sketch and do things manually?

AJ: I love to sketch and draw. I still learn how to convert them digitally, but I go for both ways.

MI: Do you have any formal training, aka art school?

AJ: No, I’ve never been to art school but I would love to. And yes I’m hoping to go when I go abroad again in a few years’ time.

MI: What advice would you give to someone interested in designing t-shirts for Metal Ink?

AJ: I think it will be a really cool opportunity, so go for it! Illustrations on an A4 paper can be converted to a really nice shirt if you scan it with high resolution, or it could be a very well done design that you worked on with Illustrator or Photoshop.

MI: So Thanksgiving having passed recently here in the U.S., I want to ask, what 3 things are you most thankful for at this moment?

AJ: Aw man, there’s a huge list! Here I go:
1. I’m thankful for my family, I love you so much Mum!
2. I’m thankful for my sweetheart, I’m so lucky to have you in my life.
3. I’m thankful for all of my friends, my Facebook friends, my design friends, friends here, friends there, friends everywhere, love ya.
4. I’m thankful for my favourite dog. Rose is sweet. Rose is cuddly. Rose is awesome. But she can still scare others by just showing her face, haha!
5. I’m thankful for my karate master, he made me so strong.
6. I’m thankful for the Internet and my laptop.
7. I’m thankful for Me, hell yes! AJ you are awesome!
8. I’m thankful for Sam, pencils, shiny toy guns, Megan Fox, music, Clarie, Brian, Ashley, Paddy, World of War Craft and some other random ppl/things.
9. & finally I’m thankful for the METAL INK! You guys rule!

Well 3 become 9, sorry guys. ^_^

Jimiyo Talks Shop with Metal Ink

Posted in Designer Interviews with tags , , , , , on September 28, 2009 by metalinkshop

Happy Munday! Actually, we are super excited this week…because it’s the end of the month!!! That means a new Maiden will be selected on Thursday, October 1st, and a new contest will start as well! If you haven’t already, hurry and rate the September Maidens before time’s up!

We interviewed Metal Ink member Jimiyo who recently won $1,000 for his design “Mother III.” Jimiyo is a seasoned designer and you won’t want to miss his tutorial blog full of Photoshop tricks and tips!

Check out Jimiyo’s shirt (which only costs $19!) and support our designers! If you’re interested in submitting a design, read our 5 Easy Steps to Participate!

Metal Ink design contest winner Jimiyo

Metal Ink design contest winner Jimiyo

MI: How did you find out about Metal Ink?

J: If I recall correctly, Quakerninja had a thread or t-shirt post at a popular apparel designer hangout I followed the links and entered the contest. BTW, you guys actually rejected my first design so I came back with a more refined and original design. I appreciate that you guys have a high standard. It’s easy when you are a starting a website to accept mediocre work just to start the product line.

MI: You’re a popular designer on lots of t-shirt design sites. What do you like about Metal Ink and how it compares to the others?

J: The site is well crafted, and the presentation is very clean and professional.

I like that your product line is niche even with the photography. When I visit Metal Ink, it’s not only for the art, it’s for the photography, so it’s almost as if your product line goes beyond just the shirt.

Personally, I was excited a site that caters specifically to the tattoo genre was created, because it is my preferred content to illustrate.

MI: Your design “Mother III” was one of the first printed designs. Congratulations! What was your inspiration behind it?

J: Thanks for the opportunity to get it printed. I don’t think it would have found support on any other site.

I enjoy creating Lady Guadalupe/Mother Mary/Day of the Dead imagery. I’ve been creating them for a couple years ever since I saw some tattoos of similar content online a few years ago.

The evocative broodiness of the portrait attracts me, and I also enjoy the background information on the symbolism of Mother Mary, and the representation of sacrifice and suffering that she represents.

Eternally Grateful 7

Eternally Grateful 7

Sullen Mother

Sullen Mother

MI: What advice would you give to a tattoo artist who’s crossing over into design and thinking of submitting work to Metal Ink’s design contests?

J: Create work on relatively large, quality, illustration board, and find a suitable person/service to scan it cleanly and in high resolution. Lots of natural media work can translate onto apparel fairly well if done correctly. You just can’t take a pencil/pen sketch on a 8 x 10 piece of paper and expect it to come out well.

Consider the shape of a t-shirt canvas. It’s very different than a body, poster, etc.

MI: Will you be participating in the Design for Bambu challenge?

I’ll have to check it out. I need something to give me the impetus to create new artwork, and that $1,000 booty is pretty nice.

MI: Awesome, hope to see your submission soon! We’ve also got a Horror themed Design Challenge coming up! Details will be posted here on the blog this Thursday…

J: The other day AT WORK I was like, “hrm, I will check out the Metal Ink blog.” So I saw the top banner, and I was like… “Dizang, artfully naked babe, Hell Yeah!”, and then I scrolled down, and I was like “Oh Snap..”

I closed the window, looked around to see if anyone at work saw me, cause you know…

You have bare T n A on your site. LOL. Very hot.

Ed Hardly 500

Ed Hardly 500