Breaking down some boundaries

Rough drawing for a Los Angeles client tshirt design

Art and design, what’s the difference?

How do they, can they, or are they already always overlapping? For a while now I’ve been scratching my head about how and where those two ideas met. As a new artist I’m trying to figure out a lot of stuff, juggle countless ideas for both business and art. More and more people are noticing my work and reaching out to hire me for work and so I needed to start figuring that stuff out fast. My most recent, and I guess first hire-for-design was a t-shirt for a local motorcycle repair shop is East LA.


I’d never designed specifically for a client, for a t-shirt. Yes, lots of my work is on merchandise, but, that’s different. This was a specific request for a specific result. My client, luckily, was completely open to whatever concept I came up with. Was this going to be art? Design? Was there a difference? Is there a difference? Probably a stupid question but that’s what I was wondering.

Rough drawing for a Los Angeles client tshirt design 

My mindset going into this was wide open.

Realizing that this was going to be the first of many, I had to think about the most efficient way to get the results I was looking for. How would I put my artistic drives together with design requirements?I knew that at the end I didn’t need a single finished piece to hand over to the client, like a painting, since it was being printed, so I could try something completely different.


What struck me is that I could turn the design into an assembly project. Make the pieces one by one and build the concept up. That really helped because I’d never really drawn any of the elements I planned to include. Never drawn a motorcycle, wings, hands gripping something to such detail...and my skulls really needed to level up before they looked the way I wanted them to for this. This way I could do everything step by step and revise as necessary. 

 Rough motorcycle drawing for a Los Angeles client tshirt design

I was a bit torn. Up until this point it had been my goal to always get everything done in one sitting.

Not wanting to lose the thread of creativity, I usually (used to) pushed until something came out. Art had to be started and finished in the ‘moment’ lest that energy be lost. Since this project, though, a lot has changed. Now I no longer view things in such a short-sighted fashion. Ideas can be formed, started, fermented, and slowly brought into reality. 


Design, or art, it’s just a process. And, being the creator, I get to design that process. Being a business, I also have to figure out how to make it the most efficient but the boundaries I have are just in my head. How I get everything done, how I define stuff, is up to me. In this case none of it matters as long as the client smiles when they see the design. Which, in this case they did...and called it ‘badass.’ 

 Rough drawing for a Los Angeles client tshirt design

I’ve got countless art and design ideas brewing in my skull at this moment.

Since I did this design I cruised through another one using the same process of creation. Bit by bit, step by step. I’ll save the details on that project for another post. As stressful as this entire process of becoming an artist is, I’m really loving the results. I hope y’all are too!


Have a great weekend! Stay tuned! This design will be available soon.


Don’t forget to check out my New Designs and use the NEWDESIGN discount code at the checkout for 10% off the order :)



Finished motorcycle design on tshirt by LA creative Wessel

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