How I Spent My Summer Vacation

Summer is a great time to be a screen printer, but if you're a screen printer, it's the worst time of year to try to catch any R&R. They days are long, the deadlines are tight and the shop is hot.

We've been fortunate to continue to grow, to print more shirts each year than we did the previous year, and to make new friends throughout the Yampa Valley. We have an incredibly loyal local customer base. They keep our presses rocking and in turn we try to send them to their respective events and outings looking sharp in high-quality printed apparel.

Here are some of the new designs we generated this summer.

From Sketchbook to T-shirt

More and more, our T-shirt designs start where they should: in pen and ink on paper before becoming digital. Too often, artists (we're as guilty as anyone) just start by banging around in Photoshop or Illustrator, moving pixels and Bezier curves, overwhelmed by too many fonts, and too sanitized a work environment and lose sight of the soul of the project.

So I've really been trying to conceptualize projects on paper. With a pen. The old-fashioned way. And then, the digital tools become invaluable for tweaking and bringing a project full-circle. A good example is this print for Carelli's Pizzeria. It's one of our favorite places to grab a pint or a slice when we're working late. It's just down the block, so it's handy and tasty.

One day I was hanging with my munchkins and I grabbed my sketchbook and drew the taps at the counter. A few weeks later, one of the owners said she had seen my sketch asked if we could put the taps drawing on their next round of T-shirts. Perfecto! I scanned my sketch, tweaked it a bit in Photoshop, added a banner with their favorite phrase and voilà, a new print from sketchbook to T-shirt... our favorite way to do it.

A page from my sketchbook one day last summer. Someone at Carelli's saw it and said we should put it on their next round of T-shirts.

The new taps print on a super soft black T-shirt for Carelli's Pizzeria in Craig, CO.

The New Chaos Ink

The Chaos site redesign is long overdue. But creating artwork, preparing quotes, managing production, ordering garments and arranging deliveries have kept me so entrenched in the Tyranny of the Urgent that I haven't had time (made time) to make it happen.

I built the original Chaos Ink website by laboriously hand-coding every line. Times have changed and the new platform will allow me to make changes more quickly, while still keeping the design clean and user-friendly. Plus you can now get great overstock items and special print runs right here in our store.