Fenton Street Market Opening Day 2014

After 14 months of hard work being put into Sotare, and at least four weeks of my nights and weekends dedicated to the Sotare booth it was finally time for market day!

My brothers, Aaron and Matt, met me at my apartment at 6:45 am. We loaded up the merchandise quickly and then set out on the road. It only took a little over an hour to get to Veteran’s Plaza in Silver Springs, MD. We probably got there around 8:10.

With three people, the set up time was ridiculously fast. We were all set up and ready to go by 8:50! That left us an hour and 10 minutes to grab breakfast, go over how to take credit cards, add finishing touches on the display, and just chill.


The market opened at 10:00, but we didn’t get our first sale until closer to 11:00 Sales were a little slower than I had hoped, but being our first day at this market (and our first day at any market) we did pretty good. I think things will continue to improve as more and more people become familiar with the art brand.


There were quite a few people who were really stoked on Sotare! It was great explaining the ethos behind the brand, talking to fellow artists about the techniques used to design the pieces, and just to hear feedback about what people liked and products they would like to see.

It was also great to talk to the other vendors, see their art, and just take in the new experience. I was hoping to get more photos, but there was enough to do already just running the booth. I didn‘t notice until later on that a bunch of my photos were terribly overexposed because I took them without paying attention to my settings.  Next time there will be better pictures!


Here’s a quick peek at our 2014 market schedule:

5/10 Fenton Street Market
6/14 Fenton Street Market
7/5 DC Meet Market
7/19 Fenton Street Market
8/16 Fenton Street Market
9/13 Fenton Street Market
10/18 Fenton Street Market

More dates may be added in the future, so make sure you follow our Facebook and Instagram to stay up to date!

Leaping forward,

Adrian Black

Preparing for Fenton Street Market

Wow! So these past few weeks I have been working almost non-stop getting things ready for Fenton Street Market.

Painting, printing, assembling, getting products in, figuring out how to make new pieces… it’s been so much work. It‘s been fun, but it‘s been a lot. My apartment had temporarily turned into a full on studio.

Photo Shoot

My kitchen was used for painting and resin casting.

Kitchen Painting

The living room used to dry paintings, de-tag/fold/package shirts, assemble button packs, package wristbands, put together and label boxes, and load up tubs.

Living Room Packaging

My office was overflowing with paper toys, paper scraps, leftover shirts, clay, receipts, and tons of papers covered in doodles.

Paper Toy Factory

It was madness! Thanks to family and friends everything got done. Feels good having things prepared for the market and the apartment getting cleaned back up.

For the market, I wanted the booth to feel like a mini Sotare store. So there will be shelves with products displayed, nesting tables with paintings displayed on them, and a clean table set up. I really want people to come into the booth and feel like they’ve stepped inside a store.

We even did a test set up of the booth to make sure the tent worked, and to figure out how everything should be displayed- it looks awesome! I’m so stoked to be able to be a part of the market and get Sotare out to the world. There will even be some items for sale that aren’t available at the online store.

Paintings in Progress

I had more things I was hoping to finish and put in the booth, but being 10 foot by 10 foot doesn’t allot the space I needed for a three-foot tall Joey and a large Bouncer. I’ll finish them in the future and bring them to a show when I can.

I’m really excited to see how people react to seeing everything in person. I’ll be sure to post pictures and a write-up early next week!

Toy Shot

If you’re in Silver Springs tomorrow, come down to Fenton Street and say hello!

Leaping forward,


Behind the Scenes of Joey’s Dreamland

Joey’s Dreamland was birthed out of the desire to continue an idea I had five years ago.

Joeys Dreamland Full Shirt

During my first run at Sotare back in 2007 I had an idea to do a four shirt series based around the “Patterns” shirt. The idea was to do one shirt for each of the four patterns used in the shirt. Since I knew that the rebirthing Sotare would include a new version of the “Patterns“ shirt, I wanted to see if there was a creative way to fulfill this idea.

Joey’s Dreamland was originally started as the argyle shirt in the pattern’s series. However, before Joey came into the scene I already had a design. This first design of the argyle shirt was very basic and straightforward. So much that it was lifeless and boring.


I then figured that I could take the argyle and use it as the pattern for Joey’s shirt, which gave me a really cool design. The only problem was that it didn’t feel complete.


I liked Joey with the argyle pattern, but he needed to be put into some sort of world. A mixed media painting I did a few years ago had the perfect background of flowers and a cloud.


So I snapped a quick picture with my phone and then digitally edited out everything but the black paint. I took that into Inkscape and created a digital version of the flowers.  Once this was done, it was simply a matter of coloring in the flowers and cloud. I figured that Joey must have fallen asleep after getting a new blanket or new set of pajamas that had some of these checkered and argyle patterns on them. This in turn caused him to have a real psychedelic dream.

Flower Detail

Once the file was done it was emailed to the printers. And once the shirts arrived, it was time to add some hem tags. I was torn between either pink or blue, but upon seeing the shirts in person the blue tags just seemed to fit. They also added a nice balance of blue from the cloud.

What are your thoughts on the design? Any questions or comments about the design process? Shoot me an email, comment, or message me!

-Adrian Black

Behind the Scenes of the Bouncer Paper Toy

I have always wanted to make my own toys. Ever since my early days as a fresh faced boy in elementary school this has been a dream. As a child, there was nothing quite like getting a new toy. The feel of plastic, the wonderment of imagination, and the hours of play that would ensue. The idea of creating my own toy was dream that has followed me around like a loyal dog, a constant companion.

When starting Sotare again, I knew I wanted to incorporate more of my cartoon style drawings. I wanted the brand as a whole to reflect me as a person and the things I genuinely am passionate about and am in to. I really wanted to make a series of collectable toys- and making a paper toy was one way this could be possible.

I first learned about paper toys in the now defunct magazine Antenna. There was an article about Shin Tanaka and his wonderful paper toys. I was amazed at the art he was able to create using paper. His shapes were great and the design work was flawless.

The Bouncer toy began as a sketch on a blank sheet of paper. I sketched out how the paper toy would look from the front, as well as the sides. There were guestimations for the shape of the unfolded paper. I never made a paper toy before, none the less designed my very own template. A series of trial and error would ensue.


Next, I began drawing out the pattern on the computer. This was done using line tool and manipulating square shapes. After getting the initial form down, I printed off the design and begin to fold it.

Computer Drawing

After seeing the toy in real 3D shape, I took a marker and drew a rough sketch of my design. Seeing the 3D shape also helped me to fine tune the toy. As it was, the body looked more like a squirrel or kangaroo mouse than an actual kangaroo. The feet were not wide enough, and the head needed to be shaped differently.

First Attempt

The shape also reminded me of a bunny, so with Easter around the corner I decided to finish this version of the toy as a blue bunny.

Bunny Version

I then went back to the computer to adjust the design. I made the feet wider and reshaped the head. The tail was also designed, based on the Sotare kangaroo icon. It was at this point in time that the box was also designed.

Kangaroo 1

Putting the box together with the newest version of the toy was exciting. Things were finally beginning to take shape! I was filled with the joy of a five year old opening his first Christmas present.  After seeing the box and this version of the toy, I decided it was time to finish drawing the Bouncer cartoon character. I wanted the drawing to resemble the paper toy, and wanted the design of the paper toy to look like the drawing.

Adrian with Test V2

Once the drawing was finished, I then took his nose, eyes and hair, and put them on the paper toy. With this rendering, the toy was almost complete. There were a few things that needed to be adjusted with the head to give us what we now have as the official Bouncer paper toy.

Finished Bouncer

I am very proud with how well the paper toy has turned out.

Adrian with Finished Bouncers

A dream fulfilled… for now.

Start to Finish

-Adrian Black

Joey’s Dreamland

Joey falls asleep only to awaken his imagination.  He dreams of a world bright and green, with pink and blue splashed in between.

Joeys Dreamland Full Shirt

In Joey’s own words:

“This colorful world is my creation
I control the world with my imagination
My heroic efforts bring forth salvation
I am the king of my own nation”

Dreamland Detail

You too can create the world of your dreams.  Your talent, time, hard work, and determination are the guiding lights of your journey.  You have already taken the first steps- keep going.  A new world awaits- the world you create around yourself.

Joeys Dreamland Model Shot Version 2

Joey’s Dreamland” is the third shirt released from Sotare and features Joey, an imaginative young boy, immersed in a world created in his own dream.

This pink, blue, black, and white design is screen printed on an evergreen American Apparel shirt. The shirt is made of 50% ring spun cotton 50% polyester.  It is soft, comfortable, and stylish.

Dreamland Inside Tag

“Joey’s Dreamland” is currently available at iamsotare.com.

-Adrian Black



Drawing Bouncer

Creating Bouncer was fun, challenging, and I‘m very proud of the result.

I knew going into the drawing process that I wanted the shape of the character to resemble the shape of the paper toy. At this point, the paper toy was nearing it‘s final shape, but still needed a face and details.

I tried to draw Bouncer multiple times, usually not getting too far. Some of the drawings looked less like a kangaroo and more like a rabbit. Others were begun, but looked too childish for what I was trying to do with Sotare. There was a wall between my idea and the results I was getting.

Bouncer Sketch Version 1

Trying to get the head shape to mirror the paper toy was proving to be the biggest challenge. I also wanted the drawing of Bouncer to be similar to the paper toy when it came to the proportions of the head and the body. The difficult thing for me, was trying to accomplish this without it seeming like the angle was above, looking down on the character. In the early sketches, you can see the roots of Bouncer starting to take shape, but still being far away.

Bouncer Sketch Version 2

As an artist, my biggest struggle is to take something in my brain and draw it. I’m not sure how to explain it, but sometimes I can see things in my mind, but translating it to paper proves to be an impossible task. I’m not quite sure what this disconnect is or why it exists or even sometimes how to overcome it.

Then, one day I was at my computer and something struck me like a bolt of lighting. Something finally clicked and made sense. I quickly grabbed a sheet of paper and sketched out a rough version of Bouncer. I was extremely satisfied with drawing. It was as if the image in my head finally was transferred to paper.

Bouncer Original Rough Draft

A few weeks later I took the time to redraw Bouncer, with the aid of a light box, and correct some of his flaws.

Bouncer Original Finished

Once this was done, it was time to scan, ink, and digitally color him. I like to use Inkscape for this process. I really enjoy the ease of use, the line tracing results, and the way you can use nodes for variable line thickness. I like to add highlights and shadows to really help the character pop. This takes more time, but the detail it adds is so worthwhile.

Bouncer Coloring

Some people have said that Bouncer looks angry, and maybe he does. But I don’t think he is angry, although maybe he is. I’d like to think that Bouncer is just trying to look tough. After all, he and his best friend Joey have to keep the villains and monsters at bay!

Bouncer Edition One

Meet Bouncer, an imaginary kangaroo.

Join Bouncer on his many adventures with his best friend Joey. Travel with them to a land of monsters, bright colors, and dazzling patterns. Use your boomerang to ward off enemy creatures!

Bouncer Front

I’m very proud to announce that Bouncer Edition One is the first toy released from Sotare. This release is limited to five toys. If you collect toys, you will definitely want to add Bouncer to that collection!

Bouncer Side

This fun little guy is great to have around your desk or dresser, warding off monsters and other beasts.

Each collectable toy is handmade and a labor of love. Every toy comes with a boomerang and a special certificate. Bouncer even comes in his own collectable box.

Bouncer Box

There will be more fun collectable pieces of art like this being released throughout the year.

Leaping forward,

Adrian Black

Behind the Scenes of Patterns

In early 2013, during the planning of Sotare‘s rebirth, I knew I wanted to make a new version of one of the old shirts. I always liked “Patterns”, and it was the most popular shirt from the original line.  In fact, the original idea was to release Patterns as a preview for four shirts, each shirt displaying one of the four patterns used. Those shirts were never made, and I thought Patterns would be a perfect shirt to re-release with the rebirth of the project.

Part of what makes this different than the old version is the updated Leaping Kangaroo logo. The design also needed to be bigger on the shirt than before, so the logo was tilted slightly to the right. Instead of being printed onto a black shirt, I wanted the shirt to be printed on a teal cloth because, well, I love blue shirts!

The design process was fairly simple. I usually start with a scratch design, one that is smaller scale. I do this so that both I and my computer can move faster. Once satisfied with the design, I will recreate it at full scale and in higher resolution.


For Patterns, I used vector shapes to create the polka dot and checkers patterns quite easily. The argyle pattern was created by layering various vector rectangles. The paisleys were part of the previously created Sotare webding font, the one used in the making of A New Beginning. All of these elements are able to scale without losing quality.


The paint drips are actually a raster layer. Initially these were created with the paintbrush tool. When the design was enlarged, they became pixilated. To fix this I cleaned them up with the eraser tool.


Next, the paint drips were brought into Inkscape. Here I created a scalable vector graphic of the drips and exported them at the correct scale for the shirt.

Patterns Model Cropped

Once the whole design was recreated to full scale, the image was flattened and the selector tool was used to separate each color to individual layers. Then it’s just a matter of emailing the file to my printer and waiting a few weeks for the shirts to arrive.

After the shirts are printed, there are still a few things that need to be done to make them ready for sale. Although most of the tag is removed by the printing company, I still take tweezers and remove the rest of the tag completely. Then the hem tag must be sewn on to each shirt. Lastly, they are folded, put in a poly bag, shelved, and await shipping!

If you have any questions about the design process, or just a question about graphic design in general, email me or leave your question in the comments section!


Adrian Black


Are you not great?

Patterned after our creator, pieced together by the maker himself. Largely universal, yet individually unique. A common thread creates dazzling patterns, hemmed and fashioned to create individual pieces of art. Your life is art.

Patterns Model Cropped

You drip, literally ooze with creativity and power. Your ideas will run and spread. Like a liquid that has no boundaries. Your future is not on the horizon, it is here now.

You stand out from the crowd, because there is no one quite like you. No one has your courage. No one has your creativity. No one has your strength and power. No one has been patterned quite like you.

There are things in this world that only you can do. Things you were created to do.

You will change the world.

Patterns Shirt Final

Patterns” is the second release in the rebirth of Sotare. Four classic fabric patterns are re-imagined and fashioned together to create the Leaping Kangaroo logo.

The pink, green, yellow, and white design is screen printed on a teal, soft, sweatshop free, American Apparel ring spun cotton tee. The shirt is adorned with a pink hem-tag, emblazoned with the Sotare logo.

Hem Tag Quick

“Patterns” is currently on sale exclusively at iamsotare.com.

Leaping forward,


Behind the Scenes of A New Beginning

There was a lot of thought put into the “A New Beginning” shirt. I knew that the rebirth of Sotare had to be special. At the same time, I knew the rebirth was going to start off small and grow slowly. The first shirt needed to encompass everything the brand stood for, but not in a boring way. It had to be something intriguing, something captivating, something that held attention.

The original idea was to have a picture of Joey sitting on top of a mountain, looking over a valley of creatures, with UFOs in the air, the Washington Monument in the background, and more. The picture would be cropped to the shape of the Leaping Kangaroo logo. I realized that making the picture fit inside the kangaroo logo would detract from detail and create a frustrating image, so that idea was abandoned.

Then the idea come to create icons for the future Sotare releases, and arrange the icons to create the Leaping Kangaroo. This took a few hours to complete. First off, I took the icons and turned them into a font called Sotare Webdings, this way I had scalable versions of each icon.


Then was the painstaking process of arranging, scaling, and rotating all the icons in a fashion that would create the Leaping Kangaroo. I kept a hidden layer of the kangaroo outline so that I could check the progress from time to time.


After a few days, the design was basically finished. Once finished it was time to add color to all the icons. I kept things in a limited color pallet, the basic Sotare pink and blue, and then some green to make things less monotonous.


Then to prep for printing the design was flattened into three layers- one layer for each color. After this I emailed the design to my printer and a few weeks later had a box of rad shirts at my doorstep!

Any questions on the design process? Any way I can give you tips? Hit up the comments or shoot me an email!