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13 October 2012, writed by Yar

category: tshirt

Tom Burns: T-Shirt Designer - Graphic Artist Interview

Tom Burns is an Illustrator/Graphic Designer from Phoenix, AZ with 15 years of professional experience. One of his designs won a competition held by the Sonoran Brewing Company for a new logo for their Inebriator Stout.


He is also a designer of t-shirts and one of his designs called “Communist Party” is still very popular on an online community of artists and t-shirt design competition site.

Tom typically uses pencil and pen, then scans and cleans it up in Illustrator, Photoshop or Corel Draw, depending on what style the artwork it is. He has experimented recently with sculpting in Super-Sculpey, a very unique polymer clay with a ceramic-like feel that once baked, captures the glow of real skin.

Here's what Tom had to say during his recent interview...

When did you start creating art?

Early on, I was just a kid. As early as I can remember.

Was there a point when you began to take art more seriously?

Probably thought about doing it "for real" while in high school. Went to school for art in college so was heading that direction by then for sure.

How would you best describe your style?

I don't know really, rooted in the realistic mostly, but with stylized tendencies. I generally do vector art, and/or pencil, pen and ink.

At what age did you develop this style?

Always drawn with pencils, but probably have been drawing and illustrating how I do currently for about 10 years or so.

Who or what are your artistic influences?

History, people, culture, popular culture, music, food.

When did you start designing t-shirts?

About 15 years ago when I got my first job as an artist in a t-shirt print shop.

Do you look at this type of art as business or just a hobby?

Both. I get paid as a day job for doing vector illustrations, but I do a lot of art and graphic design on the side and for sun too.

Do you have any business experience?

I worked for myself for almost 3 years, and that was great, but a lot of worry and headache comes from having to get all the work yourself.

What motivates you in life?

My wife, my family, my dog, living in general, other artists, music, movies.

Are you single, married, or have a significant other?


Do you have a preference for screen printing or DTG (Direct-To-Garment) printing?

I prefer screen printing.

Mac vs. PC?

Both. Mac centric though.

Favorite clothing brand?

I like Adidas shoes.

Do you engage in physical activity (work out, yoga, martial arts?)

Yeah, I try to work out as much as I can, trying not to get too fat as I age.

Are you a fan of any sports?

I like to watch football and basketball.

What languages do you speak?

Just English, unfortunately.

Do you play any instruments?

Some guitar, bass, not a lot though, just for fun.

Who are your favorite music artists?

Tool, Ray Lamontagne, Black Keys, The Features, Cypress Hill, Deftones, etc

Do you have any favorite TV shows?

Breaking Bad, all the Seth Macfarlane Cartoons.

What is your preferred method of transportation (motorcycles, bicycle, car, walk)?


What brands/models of cars do you like?


Do you produce art in any other mediums?

Some painting and sculpting just for fun.

If you watch or listen to the news, from what source(s)?

Usually local news, internet news.

What movies do you enjoy most?

Lots. Sci-Fi, Crime, Drama, Comedy, I love movies.

Do you have any favorite books, book series, or authors?

I have read pretty much everything by Kurt Vonnegut. I like action/adventure/Sci-Fi books.

Do you prefer smart-phones or not-so-smart phones?


Do you have any political stances (left, right, middle)?

I'm for the people, so I guess that makes me a liberal.

What is something that you hate or absolutely enrages you?

Religion, Politics, People who are mean to dogs.

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