I’ve been pretty lucky, in getting to work on some extremely cool projects. But I think this one wins the prize.
I’ve been a huge fan of the band since I was 11 years old, so being able to design something for them is one of those bucket list things that I never thought I’d actually get to do. But you can now purchase a shirt that I designed, from Green Day’s website. 11-year-old me would be both crazy excited and generally confused by the concept of the internet.
I had a number of people ask, so here’s how I ended up with the design. I started out by complaining to my husband that Green Day has something like 20 years worth of graphics, and have a ton of imagery to pull from. He said something to the effect of, “Well, just remember what you like about them. Draw that.” So I thought about how I got into the band in the first place.
My dad used to have a habit of wandering around NRM and just buying something. Either he liked the album artwork, or thought a band name was cool, but he’d pick something up at random and give it a whirl (one year, he bought me a White Stripes album and Gregorian Chant Music, you just never know what the man’s gonna get into). Some afternoon while we were out shopping, he bought a copy of Dookie. Later, we were tooling around in his Pontiac Sunbird and waiting for the tape to flip (has a more 90’s-nostalgia-ridden sentence ever been written?), when “All By Myself” came on and this conversation happened:
Dad: “Man, those kids are baked.”
Me: “Heh, yeah they are.”
Dad: “Don’t tell your mom you know what baked means.”
Since my first encounter with them came from a blue cassette tape, I figured I’d run with it. Making the actual artwork took a bit longer. I doodled up a cassette in Illustrator (so that I could scale it), and made a shadow, midtone, and highlight layer. I found some grunge brushes that I liked, and made a few out of textures I’d put together, and then just layered the crap out of them in Photoshop, and fiddled with the transparencies and blending modes. Honestly, the PSD file was an absolute ton of layers (all named super helpful things like “Layer 6 copy” – why do I do this to myself?) I probably couldn’t reproduce that exact graphic again if I wanted to.
The text is actually all handwritten. I had about 5 pages of various album titles written over and over again (sort of a Waiting print redux). “Green Day” and “Dookie” I actually nailed on the first try, but for the rest, I tested out a few versions. I had to figure a way to censor “Awesome as Fuck,” for sales purposes, and figured I’d just make it look as though it had smudged off. Which I did by… actually smudging it before I scanned it in. The whole thing is sort of a weird mix of computer generated and hand-made.
If you’re into it, they actually printed up both colorways. So you can get gray on blue, or blue on gray, right here. Thanks to Green Day, and the folks at Artist Arena, and John Moore, and my dad, who it turns out it way hipper than me.