Wednesday, 12 February 2014


One of my well established hobbies and personal interests is skateboarding. Skateboarding culture and the DIY ethos that its promotes is partly responsible for my interest in art and design and also inspired me to follow the path in life I have chosen follow. For these reasons the next brief I have chosen to complete has a lot of relevance to me as a designer, on both a personal and professional level.



Design a skateboard graphic that visually communicates a love or passion that inspires and/or defines you as a person. 

Create a skateboard design that utilities any media to capture a love or passion.  

A definitive selling point of a skateboard is its graphic. Skateboard graphics should visually grab viewers attention, make them want to buy the product and simultaneously inspire them. As one of the most important selling points of a skateboard is its graphic the images featured must be aesthetically engaging and timeless. 

As the graphics are being applied to the bottom of a skateboard the primary target audience will consist of skateboarders. However, due to the engaging aesthetics the board will feature a secondary audience of creatives and people interested in art can also be outlined. 

In a previous project I collected primary and secondary research into skateboarde related demographics, results from the research indicate that the skateboarders are usually male and aged between 12-24. Therefore the response created must appeal to this demographic. 

The tone of voice will be communicated visually through the application of an illustrative design relating to the theme outlined by the brief. The outcome created should capture the attention of the audience and simultaneously inspiring them to engage with the product.

  • The design must fit onto a Popsicle shapes skateboard deck (a bleed should be left for the varying size of skateboards).
  • The design must incorporate the theme outlined by the brief.
  • The graphics created must be suitable for a target audience with a varying age range. 
  • The amount of colours used when creating the design should be limited to four colours plus tints to ensure that the design can be cheaply and accurately produced if selected. 

  • Skateboard deck design.
  • Design must be sized onto a Popsicle shaped deck. 
  • The design must be submitted as part of the competition.

  • The skateboard deck design, submitted correctly on the 'Board Pusher' website with a supporting description and relevant title. 


I started developing a concept by creating a spider diagram of passions, loves and general life occurrences that have inspired me throughout my life. When creating the diagram I tried to develop a broad range of inspirational passions to ensure I have a range of possible directions the project can be taken in. By spending extra time developing a range of possible project directions increases my chance of developing an original concept that stands out from other ideas. 

After I created the diagram I highlighted aspects that could be developed into a final design.

  • Nature.
  • Forrest.
  • Pattern.
  • Animals.
  • Camping.
  • Adventure.
  • The universe.
  • Punk rock.
  • Fictional kids stories.
  • Festivals
  • Skateboard tricks. 

From the above selection of  possible directions I defined classic children's literature as my focus for the project. As a child I regularly read children's books containing classic stories such as 'Little Red Riding Hood' and 'Snow White'. The books were a huge source of inspiration leading me to draw the characters from the stories I read which later undoubtedly influenced my fascination with drawing. 

From the collection of stories generated while creating the diagram I highlighted a selection of the most influential and memorable tales I encountered as a child

  • Snow White.
  • Little Red Riding Hood.
  • The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe.
  • The gruffalo.
  • Alice in Wonderland.
  • The hobbit.
  • Goldilocks and the Three Bears.
  • The three blind mice. 

From the selection of stories featured above I selected 'Alice in Wonderland' as the focus of my project. I defined the classic tale as my point of focus because the story has a variety of interesting characters with fascinating aesthetics and was also one of the most influential stories of my childhood. 


After completely developing a relevant concept I was in the position to start collecting a body of research to give context to my initial idea. 



After defining the children's story the illustration will be based around and collecting a body of research I was in a position to start defining the project design decisions. As the outcome will only feature the illustration no typefaces need to be selected.


Below is the colour scheme that will be applied to the design during the colouring stages of the outcomes digital production. When selecting colours I aimed to choose a pallet based around hues found within nature to ensure that my illustration accurately portrays caterpillar and surrounding shrubbery. 



I started the process of creating the illustration by quickly working through a variety of compositions to help me establish a form for the illustration. 


Once I completed creating a range quick initial designs I selected my favourite composition and started developing the design in more detail.

After scanning in the design and scaling it to the skateboard deck template available on the 'Boardpusher' website I realised that the design I had created didn't fill the space very successfully. To ensure that no space on the deck was left blank the design had to be rescaled, during this process a lot of the illustration was cropped off due to the incompatible size. Therefore, to overcome this problem I attempted to extend parts of the illustration to make it longer, the result can be seen below.

The grass elements of the illustration did not extend well and created a noticeable mistake. Therefore, before progressing to the colouring stages of the design process I decided to trace the illustration and recreate the design without any mistakes. As I did not have access to a light box I had to be creative and think of a different solution.


After tracing the design I redrew the illustration, this time without mistake.

Moreover, I also decided to extend the smoke that the caterpillar is exhaling to ensure that the top quarter of the skateboard is covered and requires no additional resizing of the design. As the illustration was created on and covers the majority of an A4 sheet of paper the additional smoke illustration had to be created on a separate sheet.  



Once I had finished creating the hand-drawn illustration I was ready to start the process of colouring the piece digitally. The process was started by first scanning in the design at 300PPI and applying a Live Trace in Adobe Illustrator.  

The colouring process is documented below;

A definitive change vital to the success of the outcome was the choice to change the line colour from black to a dark brown that was more cohesive with the rest of the colour pallet. 


Below are images displaying the final outcome after the colouring process was completed and the design had been placed over the boardpusher Popsicle deck template. The template itself had a large bleed area which is why the illustration doesn't seem cover the full skateboard, however, once cropped the design will fit perfectly onto an 8" skateboard. 



Upon finalising the illustration I used the Boardpusher skateboard uploader and started the process of submission. 

Once the design was saved to my Baordpusher account I could upload it on the Third Thursday competition page. 


Unfortunately, my submission was unsuccessful and did not win the competition. However, after posting an image of my outcome on Facebook I received  a lot of feedback indicating that people would buy the skateboard if it was printed professionally.  

After reviewing the competition terms and conditions I established that because the outcome was unsuccessful I retain copyrights over the design, meaning I can distribute the design freely without consequence. 

Over the next year plan to collect a body of research into skateboard manufacturers located in England and get a batch of the design printed for sale. 

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