Erykah Badu’s afro & The Healer lyrics iron transfer tee

So here’s that new post (after a while) as photos of tees I did in the recent past started coming my way. Take this advice people, never give the t-shirts you made away without taking some photos of them first!

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The all-famous Erykah Badu. When her New Amerykah album came out in 2008 there were just so many crazy beat things going on in there, you couldn’t keep your head out of it. Favorite track, The Healer, a tribute to the great J Dilla, had this awesome bold Madlib production on it, it got stuck and had to become a tee.

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This is a kind of rework I did on one of her afro photos, photoshoping letters one-by-one to add this lyric line around her head, spoken like it’d be in a weird graphic novel or comic book. It goes: “We ain’t dead” said the children. “Don’t believe it, we just made ourselves invisible”. The song has great lyrics throughout but this line just does it for me with that sneaky “you can’t see us but we’re there” attitude of lo-fi young culture and love for hip-hop theme.

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Black & white tee: Make Up’s tribute to Love

Make Up are mostly famous for their talented frontman Ian Svenonius (you will nowadays find him with his recent band, Chain & The Gang, who are also a lot of fun but in a different way). Back in 1997 Make Up released their Sound Verite album, with a cover that paid tribute to the classic 1967 Love album Forever Changes (another extraordinary persona there, the great Arthur Lee). Art in both included the faces of band members mixed in a psychedelic sort of way.

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My idea for this was to simply reproduce the Sound Verite cover for a black & white transfer on a black tee. To do this I just Photoshop-ed it a bit to change the red color to white and smooth the design lines a little. I used the JET-Opaque II iron transfer paper as I needed the design to have that white base (otherwise it wouldn’t be visible on a black tee).

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As you can see, after some washing was done, the transfer lost lots of that original heavy black ink color and shrinked a bit in the bottom right. For the first one, I’d say follow the washing instructions that come with the paper (washing in higher temperature will result in this discoloration). The shrinking on the other hand, may have appeared ’cause I didn’t put enough pressure with the iron on that side of the design. I do not own a professional heat press which has the best results with this kind of transfers (however, screen printing remains the best way to do t-shirts I hear), so if you don’t too, apply as much pressure as possible when ironing over the paper.