Those of you who know my illustrations have probably picked up on the fact that they can have a bit of a dark, oddball vibe.
When I'm not doodling cartoons, my drawing style tends to gravitate to super detailed and intricate line drawings.
The graphics I tend to do for Blackhare don't really fall into either of these categories.
Truthfully, it's been a bit of a tug of war artistically to land on a coherent aesthetic that works as a whole across styles when it comes to graphic tees.
As an artist making production work, I've found that I can get distracted thinking too much about what kind of image might have mainstream appeal, rather than staying true to my own aesthetic during the design process.
The Bee graphic is a bit of a bounce-back design, in the sense that I felt like I was getting preoccupied with creating quirky graphics that I thought would look good as a tee, rather than focusing on drawing things that I actually loved as images in themselves.
In my past glass work, line and texture were the two elements that always interested me and drove the development of pieces that I loved to make the most.
This style preference of mine comes across in one of our very first Blackhare designs, the Ram Skull. It's the one graphic that we have in our collection right now that comes the closest to the style that I unintentionally abandoned but wanted to return to with the Bee.
I had a little stockpile of bee illustrations to draw from that I had created in the past, so I pieced together the elements that I liked best from each one into a single image where line and texture were central. The image that came out was something that I loved visually and that I also really enjoyed drawing.
To our surprise, the Bee tee has turned out to be our #1 bestseller so far. It's validation that going with what feels most authentic to me in terms of design is also what seems to connect with folks the most, and that's super exciting and energizing.
Another surprise coming out of this design has been the number of folks who've reached out to us after they've bought their Bee tee. Beekeepers, photographers, local honey vendors, young people working to protect bees - all kinds of people doing interesting and important work took the time to share stories and photos with us.
Like Ryan Golden, beekeeper and owner of Maple Lane Apiary based out of Norton, NB. Here's Ryan sporting his Bee Tee at the Queen Square Farmers Market in St. John, New Brunswick. If you're ever in the area, be sure to check it out! We just might have to take our kiddos down there to try some Cinnamon Creamed Honey one of these Sundays.🍯
For you lucky New Brunswickers, Ryan also sells his honey, beeswax, and other bee-created goods at stores across southern NB and by pickup.
Connecting with folks like this has been really uplifting and fun. And it's been an amazing way to start to learn more about our community of customers. It's helping us to develop our creative vision as a small business embedded in a network of folks doing amazing things all over the country (and beyond).
We'd love to do more to promote and share your stories and your work. So thank you to all of you who've reached out to us and please keep it coming!