Princess Bride Designs

Posted by Mongo

It’s one of the most beloved and often quoted movies of the 80s. It’s hard to believe that it only made double what it cost to produce. Thankfully, countless television and home video viewings, as well as a huge fan base has contributed to its longevity among lists of best films. It would be inconceivable to think that the tee shirt community wouldn’t want to offer up a spin on this pop culture storybook love. You could count on many six fingered hands the different designs that are out there.

So, of course, I jumped in with both feet and dog paddled. My original design was flagged as “potentially violating intellectual rights.” Frankly, it’s no different than any of the countless designs out there. The Content Usage Police appear to hunt and peck for designs to flag. They are never consistent across the board. In any case, I’m trying to sneak this one back in since it did sell a few items before it was pulled.

I took the concept of those warning signs you see at the beach for hazardous conditions and set it in the world of The Princess Bride giving you, “Fire Swamp Warnings”.

Fire Swamp Warnings

After that, I got into a repetitive mood of designs that I could make as a “Property of…” shirt. You know the kind with the XXL in the middle. So, as I went back and needed to further fulfill my geek tendencies towards The Princess Bride, I came up with Property of Florin Brute Squad. This is of course the task force assigned to clear out the thieves forest on the day of the Prince Humperdink's wedding to Buttercup. It’s been a modest seller but I thought it was cute when someone bought a onesie with the design on it. It's also available in my Zazzle store in a key chain as well as other products.

Everybody loves a pirate. So, why not go to pirate school? At this institution of higher learning, you start out as a simple attendant and you work towards being the next Dread Pirate Roberts. Just remember, they’ll most likely kill you in the morning.

When rescuing the princess from a castle with but one working gate and guarded by 60 men, you may need more than brute strength, brains, and the steel of an accomplished swordsman. Sometimes the right plan consists of a holocaust cloak, a wheelbarrow, and a candle.

The makings of a good plan

It's always important to learn from history, especially in a battle of wits, to the death. One of the classic blunders is never get involved in a land war in Asia. However, it's only
slighty more well known that this..."Never go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line."

Against a Sicilian

Finally, I did a couple of those oval stickers like you see for locations in the film modeled after Imitation International Codes.

The Cliffs of Insanity are pretty treacherous. I don’t think you can get there by vehicle. In fact the only two ways known are to climb a rope or be harnessed to a giant, climbing a rope.

Cliffs of Insanity Sticker

Fire Swamp, Guilder

Bushwood County Club...Be the Shirt

Posted by Mongo

The Cinderella Story Out of Augusta. Here is a complete re-creation of the Bushwood Country Club logo from Caddyshack. These designs are seen on Danny Noonan’s caddy hat and shirt. Being almost 30 years old, the design has been aged to give it a retro look as if it came off the printing press in 1980.

Basic White Shirt and Hat (Hat also comes in Khaki)

You can order it on hats and shirts as well as magnets, mugs, and bags. Unfortunately, you don't get a free bowl of soup with the hat.

There is also different colors for the shirt including the option for "Danny Noonan Red" which is the original color of the shirt from the movie.

Danny Noonan Red

For those of you “real” golfers out there, it even comes on a golf shirt so that you can wear it on the course. Duffers are welcome, too, from 1:00pm - 1:15pm.

Standard Golf Shirt

There is also a second design displaying the Bushwood logo and the words Caddy Day, 1980 on all products. For that chance to say, "I was there."

Caddy Day 1980

Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na...

Farm Addiction

Posted by Mongo

Social networking sites are a great way to relive the glory days of high school and college with old friends that you haven’t seen in years. It’s also a great way to waste a good amount of time on silly things, like building a mafia or a farm.

Farm Town and FarmVille have become such a popular game/application/addiction that when it suffers outages or crashes, there is a collective increase in frustration felt among the web. If it could be harnessed as fuel, it could solve the energy crisis.

So, we here at M.A.M.S, The Store have tapped into that psyche and offered up different designs to show off your Farm Town and FarmVille addiction.

Swine Flu Gear

Posted by Mongo

There have been over 300 confirmed cases of H1N1 in Western Pennsylvania. One has died from the disease and another death is pending confirmation. Still, for all the worry over outbreaks and vaccines that may or may not work, it’s nice to know we can still have a sense of humor about all this. Well, at least I do. I don’t know what your problem is.

Since this year's first mention of H1N1, or as we all really call it, Swine Flu, the amount of designs based on pigs, biohazard signs, masks, and other thematic images has grown exponentially. I am just as guilty at bad pig humor. Still, trying to stand out of the run of the mill designs like, “All I got was a lousy shirt” I decided to go a little more obscure or complex in my offerings.

First off there was the idea for “Swine Aid,” a benefit concert to be held in hopes of raising awareness and money for a cure. It was a huge layout, complete with several layers of design that included images of a band, the flying bio hazard pig, and several fake band names. All set on a gradient of orange to yellow, inspired by the old concert fliers posted on telephone poles. On the reverse side a list of fictional tour dates for the “Swine Flu Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” concert that denoted various cities with confirmed cases as well as future ones.

Then, as we all got a little more hysterical over the impact that swine flu would ultimately have on our well being, I went statistically satirical. The image was a basic PSA style design with the text, "Statistically speaking, human flu kills more per year than animal based flu." This, of course, reaffirms that we, as a species, are still more destructive than anything.

Next was a downright silly play on words with “Know the Difference.” Idiotic hysteria bred a fear of eating ham, much to the delight of pigs. Sporting two boxes, one with a pig and the other with a ham, the shirt denotes one as being sick and one as being cured…get it?

The fourth design was inspired by H1N1 but is applicable for any pandemic. It’s a play on the old “Bomb Technician: If you see me running, try and keep up.” This time, it’s a CDC virologist who could be escaping disaster.

Coming back around to a shelved design, I put out “Oink, Oink, Achoo.” I thought it could double as a greeting card for the sick and twisted mind. It’s a simple concept of a bunch of pigs with caption bubbles going from one side to the other. The first four say “Oink,” while the fifth sneezes and the sixth one says, “Crap!”

So, as we debate over getting vaccinated or just riding out the storm, gear up with some swine flu shirts. Have a good one and wash your hands you sick pigs.

Make Your Images Look Vintage or Distressed

Posted by Mongo

Vintage shirts are a pretty popular item. That worn out look is in, especially for pop culture enthusiasts. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to duplicate that look without having to rough up a shirt?

While most vintage shirts are specifically branded with something from the past, CP tends to look down on copyright infringement. If you have an original design that you would like to make appear worn out and cracked, it’s a piece of cake. Layered cake, that is.

First off, in order to pull off this look, you need to become familiar with layers. Layering is invaluable when it comes to applying different images or effects to a design while still maintaining the original photo separately. This way, if you screw up, you can always scrap that layer and start again fresh.

The Layers window allows you to add, duplicate, delete, flatten, and even diminish the visibility of a layer. Before we get too far ahead of yourself, let’s back up. We’ll use our lighthouse image for this example and make it look like an old photo that has been bent and crumpled all to hell.

Look for the floating window that is called Layers. If you can't find it click F7. Now, add a new layer on top of the background image by clicking on the icon that looks like some papers with a plus sign in the middle of it.

This will give you a surface in which to work without messing up your original. If you take a look at the Layers window you can see a checkbox next to some of the layers. This is showing you which layers are visible. If you uncheck it, the layer stays where it is, but it becomes hidden. You should also see that one of the layers should be a different highlighted color. This is telling you which layer you are working with at the present. Always be mindful of where you are within layers so that you don’t mark up an important one.

Now, you need to do some searching. Head out onto the Internet and look for some royalty free patterns. I found one that looked like some erosion had occurred on concrete. It’s personal preference, so search far and wide for that perfect royalty free image.

Once I had my cracked template image, I opened it in Paint.NET to manipulate it. Using Adjustments>Black and White I could remove all of the colors rendering a black and white image. Then I used Adjustments>Brightness and Contrast to remove additional unwanted parts of the image.

For this example, I pushed the slider for the Brightness all the way to the left and Contrast to the right. Next I used the magic wand tool which looks like a matchstick or a lollipop to lasso all of the open image that was white and cut it from the layer by pressing Ctrl-X. This left me with only the cracked lines and some speckles among the layer.

Now, here’s where we achieve the look. Use Adjustments>Invert Colors to turn all of those black lines white. If it worked out, your base image should appear to have cracks all through it like an old photograph. One last touch you may want to consider is softening up the cracks to give a natural, not pixilated appearance. That’s a simple task using Effects>Blurs>Gaussian Blur. You'll see in the below image that I inverted the colors to make it more visible.

Here’s a little tip. Depending on how much space you have for storage, I suggest keeping all of your layered images in .pdn format. The reason why I say that when you save it as a .PNG or .JPG format, you tend to flatten the layers losing the ability to change your mind.

For me, I tend to do two images for the same design. One for light color shirts and one for black or dark colors. If I keep the image in .pdn format, it makes it easier to convert it for printing on dark. I tend to use a lot of transparency in my images to allow for a variety of colored shirts without having to create multiple images to match each shirt color.

Now let’s see where the application of this effects is used in an image. Going back to our lighthouse image, we are going to make it appear cracked by adding in our template to another layer. Use the lasso/magic wand tool and click on an area where there is no lines.

Once you have all the negative space highlighted, press Ctrl-C to copy it. Now switch to the image of the lighthouse. Make sure you are working with the blank layer and paste the copied image into the layer by pressing Ctrl-V. Once the image is loaded you will now have everything but the cracked lines highlighted in this image. Switch to the layer with the lighthouse and copy it. This will capture everything but the lines that will remain blank. Switch back to the other layer and paste. At first you won't be able to tell the difference because both layers will comprise the entire image since the layer underneath will fill in the blanks that you didn't copy. Make that layer hidden and you will see the finished image.

There you have it. It seems like a lot of steps, but once you get the hang of it, you can keep that cracked template on hand and use it for any image.

Amity Island Swim Club

Posted by Mongo

Another Retro Rag original. This is probably the second design I ever did for the store. I cannot take full credit for coming up with the idea. Besides being an homage to JAWS I had seen an advert for another shirt in a magazine. It kind of really sparked my interest as a pop culturist. The Dobler Effect was a referential idea to the movie Say Anything but this was creating something that was sort of an in joke to the nature of the film. I find humor in it. It would be kind of like seeing a job posting for a Death Star lever puller. Great benefits, free parking, 401k, upward mobility, vacation, Imperial Academy tuition reimbursement.

So, I put down the magazine and jumped in the chair with my lap top in hand. I thought to myself, what would be funny about JAWS that wouldn’t call out the subject matter by name, but give you enough clues to figure it out? How about a business or club? Then the in jokes started flooding me. Let’s promote getting in the water. Membership to the Amity Island Swim Club requires one thing, making it back to shore.

The design is a simple image of a swimmer in the water with the text forming a circle, or perhaps teeth… A lot of people will find fault with the design because it has the wrong year on it. Just remember, which came first, movie or book? JAWS was published in 1974, hence the year. So, there’s some trivia for you.

Like Dobler Effect, the original design was clean and new. I was still green when it came to design and hadn’t figured out how to age and stress the images to make them look vintage and old, like if they came from the 70s. I was merely trying to get my stuff out there for consumption and was a little haphazard with it. As I became more comfortable with the process and could easily replicate the effect, I started looking back at my designs and started to redo them. Colors range from white to ash grey with the original blue logo, and a host of darker colors with a white logo imprinted on them. Shirts start as low as $12.99 and buttons and magnets start as low as $4.49 plus shipping.
Amity Island Swim Club

Olive Shirt with the white logo

Patrick Swayze Dies At 57 From Pancreatic Cancer

Posted by Mongo

I really thought he would fight this and win. After all, he was Dalton. He was Jed Eckert. He was Johnny Castle. He was Sam Wheat…that one doesn’t help, I guess. Kidding aside, losing Patrick Swayze was hard. Dealing with cancer in my own family makes the mortality rate all the more real. Losing the likes of Swayze and Randy Pausch to Pancreatic Cancer is truly sad and their fight against the disease gives me hope for my loved ones. The fact that they lived beyond their predicted expectancy is a testament to the strength of their will and their heart.

Now before Swayze died I had already had two designs based on his films. While not specifically calling out Swayze as a direct influence, the impact of these two films featuring him are in no question. So, here at M.A.M.S. The Store we honor a true hero on and off the screen with these designs.

Based on the images I could piece together from memory and multiple viewings of Red Dawn, here’s a tribute to the Calumet Wolverines, the Alma mater of the characters from the movie.

Rock and Roll Ex President
I believe Point Break was more Swayze’s movie than Keanu’s. The iconic image of him underneath the mask of President Ronald Reagan saying “Rock and Roll” before their last big score inspired me to try and recreate this scene as a inked drawing with a bit of an off centered text, underneath it.

Both designs are available in multiple colors as well as multiple products like mugs, magnets, hats, and tote bags.

How To Make Your Images Look Like Ink Sketches

Posted by Mongo

As I’ve stated before, I cannot draw well. On paper it’s hard enough, but using a paint program makes it damn near impossible. But, I’m getting better at it, in some ways. One thing I’ve relied on heavily, in designing for my shirt store, is the ability to take a photo and then use Paint.NET to change it into an ink or pencil sketch. It’s a very quick and easy process as I’ll show you in this post.

For this example, let’s use a picture I download from Google Image Search. It’s a lighthouse called New Brighton in England.

Here you can see the original picture next to an ink sketch of the lighthouse. If you are a spectacular artist, you could recreate the lighthouse, manually. If you aren’t a great artist you can achieve the same effect by simply applying the Ink Sketch Effect in Paint.NET

Using your mouse, Choose Effects>Artistic>Ink Sketch.

A window will open where you can increase/decrease the size of the outline and the coloring of the image. From here, it’s all preference. Test out different combinations.

Once you have the controls where you want them, click OK and it’s done. Remember, if you don’t like the way it looks, just undo (Ctrl-Z) to revert back to the previous look.

Now, you want that same image to look as though you sketched it with a pencil it’s a similar process that is just as easy. Let’s start with our original image of the lighthouse.

Choose Effects>Artistic>Pencil Sketch.

Now, just play around with the different levels and you'll see how it will look before you confirm your selection. Here's an example.

See, it's a fairly simple process. Now, you go on and try it with your own images.
That's all for now.

The Dobler Effect

Posted by Mongo

Let’s kick this off with a classic. This is one of the first designs I did based on a favorite film of mine, Say Anything. For the uninitiated, stop reading this… actually, first go buy a shirt, then stop reading this and go watch it. If you are a fan of Jerry Maguire or Almost Famous and love 80s movies from John Hughes, you’ll love this one. It’s very smart and endearing. It also, unfortunately, gets attributed to John Hughes. As much as I love John Hughes, this is a totally different style of movie. It was actually Cameron Crowe’s directorial debut. You might have also heard of a little movie he wrote called Fast Times at Ridgemont High.

Place in Pop Culture History
One of the iconic images from this film is Lloyd Dobler standing outside Diane Court’s house, hoisting a boom box over his head and blasting Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes.” Diane recently dumped Lloyd and this was one of his efforts to get her back. It happened to be the song that was playing on the radio the first time they made love, in the back seat of her car. Besides sending roses to someone, this is probably one of the most duplicated scenes attempted by people to reconcile with significant others, post breakup.

Mongo’s Design
I think there is a band called The Lloyd Dobler Effect, but I was looking at this from a weather analogy like Doppler Effect. I was going to with a weather styled design but felt that I lost some of the inherent homage to the original. So, I scrapped that and went with the basic silhouette rendition of a guy holding a boom box over his head with the text “The Dobler Effect” written underneath.

My original design has been tweaked to take the roughness off the outline and change the font. In the early days of my basic shop, “Retro Rags,” I didn’t understand resolution and size. When my image got blown up to 10 inches it blurred around the edges and I just used the Sharpen effect, which just made it jagged. I didn’t have a lot of designing experience under my belt and it felt sloppy. Once I opened up the new premium shop, I went back and redid the design with some better understanding of how to design in 200 ppi. It seems like such a rudimentary design, but it actually took a lot of work. I also felt that the font was not as effective so I changed to a more script like feel. It’s a small seller but a work of pop culture pride.

True Story
I was dating this girl my senior year of high school and for the first year and a half of college. We hit a rough patch after our first year and she found herself questioning her feelings for me. I was young…and a bit of a dick…but anyway, she wanted to take a small break and be alone for awhile. So, what did I do? I grabbed my boom box, trench coat, and cassette copy of the Say Anything soundtrack and stood outside her house. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a small radio like Lloyd Dobler did. I had one of those big honking dual cassette, detachable speaker, CD player jobs. After the first chorus my arms were ready to fall off.

For any of us who have been there and done that with Peter Gabriel playing o’er our heads, I give you…

The Dobler Effect
Shirts come in various colors and styles starting as low as $12.99
Magnets, Mugs, Buttons and Hats are also available. Buttons start out at $3.49.

Mongo 2.0

Posted by Mongo

Welcome to the new site. This is going to be a work in progress so bear with me. I decided to spin the Caf├ęPress portion of my blogging into its own site so that I can separate my writings from my business. Here is some basics about what you will find on this blog.

Store Designs
I felt it more appropriate to split off the store into its own blog so that I can capitalize on graphic designs and promotion of the store. Each design that gets added to my store will have a post accompanying it. This way I can speak a little bit about the thought process and even maybe give some insight into how it was realized. I plan to somehow embed my store into the blog but until that happens, I will post individual designs with links to the store.

CafePress From the Business Side
As much as I loathe how CP, as it will be called from time to time, has changed their business practices in regards to shop keepers, I cannot bite off too much of the hand that has fed me in terms of profit. I don’t see much of it, but it’s still paid out more than I’ve paid into so that I can maintain a premium shop on CP. So, anytime I realize a success or find another reason to bitch, I will share it with you.

Design Tips
If you have ever thought about designing for CP or another POD (Print of Demand) site like Zazzle or Spreadshirt, you may have questions on how to do certain things. Quite frankly, I have benefited from the Internet when it comes to other’s generosity in sharing tricks. I wish I could draw and I wish I could have Photoshop to make things easier. I have neither the talent nor technology, so anything I show you will be in Paint.NET or Microsoft Word. Also, I will probably use examples other than my own work to illustrate a point because it’s easier to show on a simpler image instead of complex ideas.


Again, I don’t make a heck of a lot on my work. Truth be told since Caf├ęPress seems fit to only give me 10% profit on my work sold through the Marketplace, I only make enough to fill up the tank on my car twice a month. There will be some ads and other forms of monetization. If you find the stuff I’m doing worthwhile or informative, click an add or donate to the cause and if you’re really impressed, buy something from the store. I appreciate the business.