Be Great.

wordsofwisdomWhat get’s you going in the morning? That’s the question this Threadless challenge asked. What words inspire you? What’s your personal motto? Originally, my answer was Be Positive. I try to look on the bright side, but that’s not always easy. I have an idea of where I want to be professionally and personally, but the path to get there isn’t always so clear, which can be frustrating. So sometimes I have to work a little harder at that happy face. 🙂 My original design idea was a beating heart with connecting blood vessels that spell B+ (Be positive).

So how did I end up with a snail?

As I’ve stated before, my mind works on overdrive. At any given point in time I have at least ten ideas/projects/techniques/concepts that I want to create floating around in my head. Not to mention inspiration is constantly flooding my inbox and life. One project I wanted to try was a Thanksgiving turkey illustration inspired by the artist Ben Yin-Pan Kwok aka BioWorkZ.


Thanksgiving came. I had other pressing projects to complete. Thanksgiving went. No turkey (in my sketch pad). Yet I still wanted to make an illustration. I also really wanted to submit an entry to Threadless. Another goal of mine is to be a great designer which requires me to keep pushing myself. I must keep learning. Doing. Improving. Do my best. Have fun. Be great. Then get better.

How do I illustrate “great”? Enter in another project idea of mine: drawing elaborate numbers, particularly the number 8, and combine that with an animal illustration. Great probably isn’t the first word that comes to mind when describing a snail (more like slow, tiny, gross), but that’s what makes it the perfect choice.

“A great man is always willing to be little.”  – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Great men are not born great, they grow great.” – Mario Puzo, The Godfather

“Your greatness is revealed not by the lights that shine upon you, but by the light that shines within you.” – Ray Davis

So here is my design “Be Great” for Threadless which is up for voting over the next four days. First I sketched a rough outline, filled in more detail, and then I went over the sketch in ink. The drawing was brought into Illustrator and converted into vectors via live trace. Finally shading and lettering were added. If you like my design please vote.


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