Watercolor Moonrise T-Shirt Design


Whenever someone posts a process video or a little walkthrough for how they created something, I always find it interesting to see how other people work. Sometimes it’s just fun to learn about someone else’s process and other times I learn some new tips and tricks. So, I thought it would be fun to go through my process for creating my Watercolor Moonrise shirt that is currently up for preorder on Cotton Bureau.


The idea for the shirt came from my love of textures, nature and simplicity. I don’t often play with geometric shapes, so I thought this was a great opportunity to play with simplicity and textures. The reason why I called this shirt Watercolor Moonrise is partly because it was created from watercolor but also because it reminds me of a date my wife and I had before we got married. We were driving around the West Hills of Portland one night. We stopped at Pittock Mansion to see the city. Off in the distance, towards Mt. Hood, we both saw this weird yellow blobby shape to the side of the mountain slightly above the tree line. The shape continued to rise while looking like a melted circle of butter. Slowly, we realized it was the moon as it rose above the tree line and took it’s normal shape. It’s a reminder to me that there are lots of unexpected wonders in nature.

  1. So, I started with a few different types of paint brushes, water and the watercolor paints. Then I started to paint a bunch of circles and triangles. I used black and white because I planned to change the color on the computer. I wasn’t quite sure what color scheme I was going to want to go with.
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  3. I even played around with some different shape layouts to see how the overlap might look.
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  5. Once I had a good batch of shapes, I scanned the best shapes into the computer at 600dpi.
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  7. After the scanning was done, I picked out the best shapes and isolated the watercolor textures into separate layers using Photoshop.
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  9. Using Cotton Bureau’s Photoshop shirt template, I placed the various watercolor shapes as smart objects onto the shirts and started rearranging and playing with colors. I decided it was easiest to figure out color scheme within the template since all the shirts colors were in a folder.
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  11. Once I landed on a good arrangement and color scheme, I copied the art into a new Art file and prepped it for the screen printer.
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  13. In total, I ended up with 17 different layouts.

There’s only a few more days left to preorder the shirt. Head over to Cotton Bureau now: https://cottonbureau.com/products/watercolor-moonrise


Thanks for reading!