Guitar Bear


So, I'll admit it. I have a love hate relationship with our Guitar Bear design. She's been with us from the very beginning, and she's one of those designs where I totally love the concept, but I just don't feel like I'm ever executing it right.

Black graphic t-shirt with a bear holding a guitar

The Guitar Bear wasn't inspired by a photograph or a particular place, as our designs often are. I just love guitar and music in general, so in the back of my mind those themes are always kind of rolling around until I find something that brings them out design-wise. Often at night I'll sit and doodle on my iPad or in my sketchbook, scrolling through images online until I find one I want to re-create in my own style.

That's how I stumbled on our perfect guitar-smashing bear. Guitar Bear 1.0 is actually a pencil drawing that I digitized after the fact. Before investing in my iPad, I actually did all my drawings by hand, and our entire first collection was created that way (I need to get back to doing that again!). Anyway, here she is in her original form: 

Drawing of a bear smashing a guitar

Graphic Ringer T-Shirt showing a Bear with a Guitar

She actually sold pretty well in this version, but something about the design never sat right with me. In my second attempt I wanted to play off the campfire and cottage-country type vibe. Here's version 2.0  

Drawing of a bear with a guitar on an iPad

A silkscreen with images of bears

I changed her stance up a bit and made the bulked up the guitar. I also went for a chunkier feel in terms of the lines, with solid colours and more contrast. Still, after we finalized the design, made a silkscreen, and printed a bunch of rounds of the new version, I wasn't happy.  

 It was back to the drawing board!

Computer screen showing the bear design


For Guitar Bear 3.0, I took a little of the elements in each of the previous design - the heavier guitar, a little more detail in the bear - and pared it down so that the figure was the single and central visual. 

Close up graphic design of a bear holding a guitar

Toddler wearing a graphic t-shirt of a bear with a guitarI think this one will be the keeper.