T-Shirt Design Workshop 02: Mixed Media Design
4.5 (818 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
3,976 students enrolled

T-Shirt Design Workshop 02: Mixed Media Design

Create T-Shirt Designs using Photoshop, Illustrator, and hand-drawing techniques.
4.5 (818 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
3,976 students enrolled
Created by Ray Dombroski
Last updated 11/2017
English [Auto]
Current price: $16.99 Original price: $24.99 Discount: 32% off
5 hours left at this price!
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This course includes
  • 2.5 hours on-demand video
  • 10 downloadable resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
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What you'll learn
  • Design a t-shirt using various computer and traditional design tools
  • Create thumbnail sketches to quickly test initial design ideas
  • Layout type in Adobe Illustrator, using Adobe Typekit fonts
  • Create custom Photoshop brushes to add color and texture to designs
  • Incorporate hand-drawn effects into computer-based designs
  • Choose Pantone colors to specify screen printing ink colors
  • Size a t-shirt graphic to the correct resolution and dimensions
  • Prepare designs to be printed with sublimation and direct-to-garment methods
  • Refine graphic designs by moving seamlessly from hand-sketching to Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop
  • Fill out a "spec sheet" for screen printing, so your t-shirt comes back printed with the correct colors, sizing, and placement
  • Create color separations in Photoshop and Illustrator using "index" and "halftone" methods (without the need for other expensive software)
  • Students should have some prior knowledge of Photoshop and Illustrator. Skills such as how to scan images into Photoshop, an understanding of layers, and how to size images. This is not a basic entry level course for Photoshop and Illustrator.

Improving your t-shirt design skills is one of the most rewarding investments that you can make in your design career.

In this workshop we will go over the entire process of creating a t-shirt design, from finding ideas all the way to sending your designs out to be printed.

We will send out the design to 3 different printers. At the end, those shirts will be unboxed so you can see exactly how they came back from the printer (there will be a few unexpected surprises you can learn from!)

In this course we’ll cover:

  • How to find and apply inspiration
  • The various computer tools and traditional tools you will need to create t-shirt designs.
  • How to move seamlessly between Photoshop, Illustrator, and pencil & paper so your designs come out as good or better than you had initially imagined
  • Type layout using Adobe Typekit fonts
  • How to create your own custom Photoshop brushes to quickly add color and texture to your designs
  • How to incorporate hand-drawn effects into a computer-based design
  • How to make sure your graphic is screen printed with the exact ink colors, sizing, and placement that you want
  • Printing with sublimation and DTG (direct-to-garment) methods
  • Avoiding common mistakes so your t-shirts come back printed exactly as designed

As a bonus you will also receive:

  • The Photoshop watercolor brushes made in the workshop
  • All 3 colorways of the finished “South Shore” design created (Photoshop format)
  •  2 bonus lectures showing methods to create “index” and “halftone” screen printing color separations in Photoshop and Illustrator without the need for any extra software
  • Downloadable files for the two color separation methods demonstrated in the workshop
Who this course is for:
  • This course is meant for anyone who wants to improve their t-shirt designs, using hand-drawn techniques, as well as Photoshop and Illustrator. The software instruction is taught at an intermediate level. Students should already have familiarity with using Photoshop and Illustrator. If you understand layers, tools, and how to draw objects in Photoshop and Illustrator, then this should be enough for you to follow the computer sections of this class. Please note that the two lectures on color separations are more advanced software instruction. But these lectures can be considered optional, and not necessary for all students.
Course content
Expand all 29 lectures 02:32:45
+ Getting Started
2 lectures 11:24

Learn how to start with an idea, and turn that design into a real printed t-shirt.

Preview 01:44

A discussion of the essential tools for t-shirt design. The traditional "analog" tools are different kinds of pens, pencils, and paper. The "digital" tools are computers, software, cameras, and drawing tablets.

Preview 09:40
+ Idea Phase
4 lectures 07:35

Every design project should have a purpose. The purpose of the project demonstrated in this workshop is to show you as many t-shirt design techniques as possible.

Create a Project

Pinterest is a powerful tool for organizing and storing your design ideas for future use.


Arrange your inspiration pieces to give direction to your initial design sketches.

Organizing Inspiration

Small "thumbnail" sketches are the most efficient way to decide on the viability of your design ideas.

Thumbnail Sketching
+ Shapes, Type, and Layout
5 lectures 25:14

T-shirt designs are compositions of basic shapes. Create those shapes in Illustrator to give your design an inital structure.

Creating Basic Shapes in Illustrator

Learn how to use the "Type on a Path Tool" in Illustrator to layout your type.

Type Layout

Adobe Typekit is an excellent resource for finding and using fonts in your designs. This lecture will show you how to access and use the fonts.

Using Adobe Typekit

How to quickly make multiple layout options in Adobe Illustrator, using different shapes and fonts.

Creating Alternate Layouts

Now that we have multiple design layouts, we will find ways to improve our design.

Refine the Design
+ From Computer to Paper
3 lectures 09:53

Print out your design onto paper to prepare it for hand-drawn effects.

Pixels to Paper

Draw outlines of your lettering to give the design a hand-drawn look.

Drawing Outlines

Use a watercolor pencil to add more of a hand-made look to your design.

Using a Watercolor Pencil
+ Further Refinement
3 lectures 23:59

Combine hand-drawn effects into your computer generated design in Photoshop.


Print out the design on paper to further develop it with more hand-drawing techniques.

Refine the Drawing

How to bring your drawings back into the computer and edit them in Photoshop.

Back into Photoshop
+ Adding Color
3 lectures 10:30

How to take real watercolor paint and create a Photoshop brush.

Make a Watercolor Photoshop Brush

Now that we have a watercolor Photoshop brush, learn how to use it to add color and texture your design.

Painting with Photoshop Brushes

Learn how to make "colorways" so your design looks good on light, dark, and medium colored shirts.

+ Prepare your Design for Screen Printing
4 lectures 13:58

How to size your graphic in Photoshop.

Sizing your Graphic (Part 1)

Print out your design on paper to make a prototype, so that you can accurately visualize the sizing and placement.

Sizing your Graphic (Part 2)

How to pick Pantone colors to specify your ink colors for screen printing.

Pantone Colors for Screen Printing

A "Spec Sheet" is a document that tells the screen printer the sizing, placement, ink colors, fabric colors, and any other detail that goes into your t-shirt design.

Setting up a Spec Sheet for Screen Printing
+ Bonus: Color Separation Methods for Screen Printing (advanced)
2 lectures 32:59

This lecture should be considered optional. It is for designers who want to make their own index separations in Photoshop, without the need for expensive color separation software. The software instruction is more advanced than the other lectures in this course.

Making Index Color Separations for Screen Printing

This lecture should be considered optional. It is for designers who want to make their own halftone separations in Photoshop and Illustrator, without the need for expensive color separation software. The software instruction is more advanced than the other lectures in this course.

Making Halftone Color Separations for Screen Printing
+ Printing your Designs with DTG and Sublimation Methods
2 lectures 15:56

In this lecture, you will see how to send your designs off to be printed with sublimation and DTG (direct to garment) printing methods.

Sending Designs out for DTG and Sublimation Printing

There are some surprises when we get the printed t-shirts back! You will learn some of the pitfalls of printing, and how to avoid or correct them.

Printed T-Shirts Arrive
+ Wrapping Things Up
1 lecture 01:17

Wrapping things up. We covered: 

  • Digital and analog tools
  • Using Pinterest for inspiration
  • Sketching and hand-drawing techniques
  • Laying out shapes and type
  • Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, and Typekit
  • Making colorways
  • Sizing your graphic
  • Setting up a spec sheet for screen printing
  • Color separations
  • Sending out designs for DTG and sublimation printing
Closing Thoughts