I bought a new type of magic marker this week. A type that has nothing to do with my what can only be called my marker collecting of the last few years. Yes, I still feel the pull of getting new brands and colors of markers that I may or may not actually use much but these new ones have to do with wardrobe rather than collecting. They’re Sharpie fabric markers. I don’t know what makes them different than regular Sharpies and I haven’t even looked at them closely yet but I bought them for totally different reasons than I usually buy markers for. I bought them to, maybe, draw on some T-shirts.

It’s been a long time since I’ve worn any kind of shirt with writing or an image on it. I have some long sleeved collared shirts I sometimes wear in the winter that have patterns on them but no shirts with images. All of the T-shirts I wear in T-shirt weather are blank. I have them in various colors but none of them have anything on them. It must be about fifteen years now that I’ve been wearing blank and unbranded clothing. I don’t remember exactly when I stopped wearing things with pictures on them as everybody else does but I do remember the reason why. The writing and pictures started distracting me. I’d see something on the my shirt out of the corner of my eye and I’d look down and it was the design on the shirt. And so designs on my shirts started to annoy me. Weird I know.

Designs on other people’s shirts never distracted me. I barely pay attention to them unless they interest me somehow. So why did they distract me on my own shirt? I have no idea. I do know that I’m bored with my blank shirts though. I’ve been bored with them for years. I haven’t done anything about it because bored and driven to distraction seem to be my only two choices. That and I strove to simplify my wardrobe. Of course, over the years, I may have simplified it out of existence.

I’ve toyed with the idea of making my own T-shirts for ages. After all I am an artist who makes a lot of images so it would be a natural that I stick some on shirts that I could wear. Except how do I do that? Silk screen is how a lot of professional T-shirts are made but that’s a fairly elaborate process that I have never had an interest in learning. That’s really something you do if you’re interested in selling T-shirts. I just want them for myself.

I tried out some inkjet iron on transfer paper may years ago. That’s the stuff that you print out on your home printer and then heat transfer onto a T-Shirt with an iron providing the heat. I think it was the late 90s when I tried some of that paper and things didn’t go very well. Iron-ons are notoriously twitchy and making my own didn’t make the process any easier. I tried it out on some shirts I didn’t want anymore and it’s a good thing I did because I had to toss them out afterwards. I’ve looked into some of the newer iron-on inkjet papers they have nowadays but I don’t think they’ve improved them much. At least I can’t find many good reviews.

I have painted many a coat for myself over the years. From dusters to trench coats I’ve put designs and images on them with brush and paint. I’ve thought about hand painting T-shirts but they seem too impermanent for that. A coat doesn’t last forever but can last at least a decade. Plus coats don’t have to be washed after every time you wear them. A T-shirt may only last a year or two and would it really be worth spending the better part of a day painting something on it? And how will it even hold up? Paint sits on top of the fibers of cloth as well as it is absorbed by the fibers. I imagine the washing machine could really destroy the top sitting paint. T-shirt fabric is also thin and doesn’t take paint well. There are lots of reasons I never bothered to paint a T-shirt.

In this modern day and age I could also go the internet way. There are a lot of websites that let you submit a T-shirt design and they put it up for sale. They main problem I have with that method is that it’s expensive. It usually costs anywhere between fifteen to twenty dollars a shirt. And I have no idea if it will come out well. Plus a lot of things can get lost in translation especially since I have no experience with printing art on T-Shirts.

So that’s what brought me to these magic markers. It was curiosity as much as anything else. Sharpies made for drawing on clothing? What an odd concept. And they weren’t that expensive at only twelve dollars for eight markers. I’m still not sure how I’ll use them though. They seem to have the same drawback as the iron-on transfer paper. I’m guessing that they’ll only work well on light colored T-shirts. A yellow marker is not going to show up on a blue or black T-shirt. There’s a good chance that none of the other colors will show up either. That limits me just a few color shirts. I wonder what I could do with them?

I’ll get started with those markers one of theses days. It’s not a high priority project. It’s just something to mess around with. As a side note today I did buy a T-shirt on the internet with an image on it. It wasn’t even a great image but was a Firefly related shirt and I wanted to get something to break out of this plain shirt boredom I’ve been in. Since it has yet to arrive I’ll have to see if it distracts me. I hope not. I don’t like it when boredom wins.