Article  |  Studio

I Survived the Company Picnic and All I Got was this Lousy T-Shirt

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I received the honor to design this year’s company picnic t-shirt. Of course, the first thing I thought was “Oh crap, I draw and make art outside of work all the time, but in my happy little sketchbook that no one has to see. Now I actually need to follow through with an illustration that people would actually want to wear?? Pressure is on…” Hmmm. What to do, what to do?

The main requirement was that there needs to be the PA mascot in it somewhere, which is a giant teddy bear. How can I mix Planet Argon, summer picnic, and a giant teddy bear together? First I thought something very “Portland” would suffice. All kinds of interesting things going on here in this city. Lets see: coffee, beards, bridges, bikes, unicycles… hmm. What about our mascot “Bear” unicycling to the picnic? That could be fun. So I drew it out, shaded it in, and then immediately hated it….

What is this, the Care Bear company picnic? Uggh, this is not going to work. I need something a little more exciting. A little more fun, a little more controversial. What if our cute little mascot that we brought to the picnic was not what he seemed? What if he was tired of being a mascot and demanded more? What if he turned into an raging animal that ruined the picnic and ate half the employees? (that may make our next staff meeting somewhat depressing…)

Chaos Ensues

I kept going with the idea of the cute bear (with a bow tie of course), picnic elements, and people running away in chaos. I kept picturing a scene that was the StayPuft Marshmallow Man crossed with an great image of an old Saturday Evening Post cover of a ruined picnic. Interesting combo…

Eventually, with some simplification of the characters (I had to lose the bow tie…boo), and a contextual setting, i had a scene. It still kind of looked like a Barney sing along, so i made “Bear” more vicious with well placed claws and sharp teeth.

It all worked out in the end. We all survived, bear decided to behave himself and not attack me and my fellow colleagues, and a good time was had by all. I even got quite a few compliments on the t-shirt design :)

See more photos of our team’s day in the park with “Bear”

Read about last year’s t-shirt design by Jack

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