Scroll the page to learn how to design your own cycling jersey and mountain bike T shirts using a free vector graphics editor and YouTube.
Download the Cedric Garcia design for your mountain bike T shirt in vector format (SVG) here and in GIF format (with transparent background) here
You may ask yourself how I create these designs that I print on Highball bike jerseys. It's not rocket science, I'm telling you!
If you're not an artist, that is you have little skill in hand drawing, you can create such designs by using simple computer graphics software like Inkscape or Microsoft Visio. So if you'd like to design your own bike T shirts you should be able to do it easily after reading this post.
Let's take this downhill bike jersey as an example. The shapes you see here - lines, the black lighting bolts, etc - are done with the simple tools in the above mentioned software and then filled with the bucket icon. Some of the fills are gradient but I don't encourage you to work with gradient fills as you'll have trouble when printing the T shirts - most printing methods cannot deliver gradient prints. So work with single color solid fills. The garment manufacturer that makes the Highball cycling line doesn't have printing technology that works with gradient fills. That's why the actual jerseys were printed in solid colors.
While the lines and shapes are easy to create, let's look at the mountain biker design that is printed on the polyester jersey. Here's how you can make it:
- Firstly, look on YouTube for a mountain bike video or BMX bike video that inspires you. This downhill silhouette is none other than the famous DH rider - Cedric Garcia. :-) I used the Cedric Garcia video below and I took a snapshot of it at second 42.
- Pause the video at a point where the biker is in full view. You should make sure the biker is contrasting against the background, otherwise the vectorization process will blend the athlete with the landscape behind him. For example a brightly colored biker against green grass will make a good design to work on.
- Make a print screen of the paused video and save it as an image file. I hit the Prnt Scrn key and then paste (Ctrl+V) the result in Paint (basic drawing software that comes with Windows). You may want to crop the image just to fit the biker - don't leave too much of the useless margins.
- Vectorize your image. You can do this for free with Inkscape. Open the image in the vector editor, click to have it selected (with the arrow tool), go to Path/Trace Bitmap..., select Colors button in the lower cassette, click OK. You will get a vectorized version of the image that you can then edit piece by piece, that is eliminate portions of the image until you have only the biker silhouette. You can do this with the tool below the plain arrow (arrow and line with dots).
- Vectorize your image with Vector Magic. Vector Magic is a web service that lets you upload and vectorize your images. It's great for logo re-size and other image enhancements. The first two vectorizations are for free so go check it out. I use this instead of Inkscape as it's more accurate.
- Edit your vector drawing in Inkscape or Visio by changing the colors of the biker, adding text, shades, whatever. Eliminating the background as to remain only the MTB design on a white background is a tedious task. I didn't find any other way than manually selecting the color patches and deleting them. The same with color change - for cotton T shirts prints you may want to work with three colors max. Sublimation prints on micro mesh polyester can handle infinite colors but that's considerably more expensive.
- Export your design in high resolution to a PNG or GIF file. In the Save As... window choose the file type. Don't forget to save your file in SVG format as well. You may come back to it later and edit it some more.
Vectorization in Vector Magic
Editing vector drawing in Microsoft Visio
My suggestion for printing your mountain bike T shirt or hoodie
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