This t-shirt design was created for the graduating School Of Ministry class at Revival. I wanted to use Christian symbolism but not the typical symbolism that is most often used. I came across the Mariner's Cross and loved it. The Mariner's Cross is an anchor with a cross beam, I added the fish for extra Christian symbolism. I used about a dozen different photos for reference to draw my own Mariner's Cross and fish.
This was my process...
First I used my photo references to sketch out the anchor and cross bar.
Then on a separate piece of paper I sketched the fish and rope that will wrap around the cross.
Then I brought the drawing into Illustrator and began a rough tracing.
I made some custom brushes and used them for shading, to give it a uniform gradient that feels more "mechanical" and less "hand drawn".
I added a little more shading and detail.
I made a copy of the left side and reflected it to make the design symmetrical.
Then I started tracing the drawing of my fish. I reduced the transparency of the anchor so that I could see how the fish would work while I was drawing it.
I drew the scales by repeating ovals in a pattern. Then I used the "warp" effect and set it to "arc" to get the scales to bend with the shape of the fish. No way did I want to draw those out by hand!
The "width tool" came in very handy for makng the details in the fish's face and fins.
I used a clipping mask to wrap the fish around the anchor.
I adjusted the fish to fit better, created a custom brush to make the rope, and adjusted some details on the anchor. I thought wood grain would be a nice touch to offer symbolism of the cross that Jesus Christ was sacrificed on.
To make the wood grain I drew wavy paths, used the "simplify" funciton to smooth them out, and aranged them kinda like wood grain. Then I used a rectangle clipping mask.
Add some text, and we are done!
Thank you for viewing! :)