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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I am very proud with how well the paper toy has turned out.
A dream fulfilled… for now.
Joey falls asleep only to awaken his imagination. He dreams of a world bright and green, with pink and blue splashed in between.
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”
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.
“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.
“Joey’s Dreamland” is currently available at iamsotare.com.
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.
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.
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.
A few weeks later I took the time to redraw Bouncer, with the aid of a light box, and correct some of his flaws.
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.
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!
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!
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!
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.
There will be more fun collectable pieces of art like this being released throughout the year.
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.
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!
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.
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” 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.
“Patterns” is currently on sale exclusively at iamsotare.com.
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!
Feeling lost in the rubble of failure. You bring yourself out from beneath the avalanche of mistakes to survey the scene. Broken dreams shipwrecked and wailing for rescue. A bright light pierces through the clouds, giving you a glimpse of your glorious future.
Now is the time to begin anew. This is the starting line. This is reinvention.
You can create the world of your dreams. Will you take a chance? Will you leap forward into the unknown?
This is a new beginning for Sotare, a new beginning for me. This is the doorway to a brand new world, a brand new experience.
“A New Beginning” commemorates the relaunch of Sotare. This shirt is the very first release in our rebirth. Like a preview, the design features various icons surrounding future Sotare releases. Silhouettes of kangaroos, cacti, guitar amps, guitar picks, ufos, and even the Washington Monument are arranged to created the shape of the Sotare leaping kangaroo. What do all these things have in common? Stick around to find out.
The blue, pink, and green design is screen printed on a white, soft, sweatshop free, American Apparel ring spun cotton tee. The shirt is adorned with a blue hem-tag, emblazoned with the Sotare logo.
Are you brave enough to join me on this journey? Are you willing to be my traveling companion as we leap into this new world of bright colors and patterns?
The time to start over is now. “A New Beginning” is currently on sale exclusively at iamsotare.com.
I’m exuberant with joy to announce the official launch of Sotare!
This is the beginning… A new beginning. Something new has now arrived to the forefront of the world stage.
Sotare is not just a clothing company. This is not just an art brand. Sotare it is an idea. It is infinite and limitless. It is all you make it to be. You are Sotare. You are empowered. You can change this world. You can invent the future.
Let’s journey together to make this world a better place.
To commemorate the beginning of our adventure, check out the Sotare store. For a limited time, we have created 10 Launch Packs, for $25 each. They include A New Beginning shirt, a terrycloth wristband, a sticker, a free button pack, and more!
I hope you stick around for this journey. I hope you join me as we travel through this new world together!
Keep leaping forward,
Welcome to Sotare.
If you are reading this, you have just come across the beginnings of something special.
Like the dust on a trunk of buried treasure, this is the starting point of discovery.
A grand new world awaits… but what is this world? What is this place?
You will find out soon my friends. Continue reading