A Very ‘Sinister’ Commission

Last year James Mitchell contacted me, because he was interested in some artwork he could use for some t-shirts. For those of you who don’t know him, James has been involved in the wrestling scene for many, many years. He has cultivated a very interesting public persona –he kinda looks like Anton LaVey’s brother if you ask me– and he also does a lot of karaoke performances.

The moment I saw the photos he sent me as reference material, I knew this was gonna be F-U-N.

James says he buys all his boots in Mexico. A huevo!

I chose not to ‘trace’ James’s face directly from the photos, but use them only as a reference. I hand-drew a very realistic portrait only slightly exaggerated in some parts –very easy compared to other commissions, given how James already has such a distinctive look– and then I scanned my paper skecth to complete the job with my brand new tablet (more on that on a future post).

I had just seen the epic masterpiece that is Into the Spider-verse –srsly, they should have nominated it also for Best Picture!– and was very inspired by the ‘halftone’ pattern used in the movie which was meant to convey the old comic books’ printing process. I found a way to somewhat mimic the same dotted pattern using one of Autodesk Sketchbook’s brushes, and even though I ran into some trouble with it along the way –sometimes the brush ‘glitched’ and printed the pattern even when I wasn’t directly applying it on the canvas with the stylus. This used to happen when I was adjusting the size or color with the hockey-puck wheel– but ultimately I was very satisfied with the end result:

The pentagram was done in Adobe Illustrator, which was NOT as easy as I imagined (I need to improve my AI skills)

The flaming microphone was a second addition. Although James was very pleased with the end result, he was a bit concerned with the number of colors I had used. I had wrongly assumed he would be using modern printing techniques, which allows you a virtually infinite number of colors, but James was interested in silk-printing his shirts to ensure a higher level of quality and durability. I was a bit distraught, but after tampering a bit with the computer, I managed to find a way to significantly reduce the number of colors without sacrificing the quality of the artwork –I finally found something Posterize can do right, yay!

If you follow James’s Facebook page, you will see quite a few people donning the ‘Sinister Minister’ t-shirt. He has told me when someone is walking down the street with it, complete strangers will stop them on their tracks just to look at it. I think that is probably one of the greatest compliments I have ever received in my life 🙂

So write to James is you want to order a t-shirt for yourself or a loved one. And please, if you’re interested in hiring my services for some original artwork, you’re more than welcome to drop me a line in the comments section of this post.


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