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CHIRP – The Chipmunk Relocation Program T-Shirt

What the heck? What does this have to do with arcade? Not too much. Only in relationship. It just so happens the guy who works on my game boards has a bit of a thing for saving Chipmunks and releasing them back into the wild. Chris and I felt that this was too good of an opportunity to pass up – so we had shirts made for Chris’ annual Halloween arcade party.

Goofy chipmunks and caricatures

I won’t be able to do the story justice, so hopefully Chris will comment on the exchange he had one night with Bill about chipmunks. All I know is that is was….interesting. Chris told me about it and wanted to print some shirts. I believe it started as wanting just the ‘CHIRP’ logo, but me being the designer I couldn’t let it sit at just that.

Right away I started to picture Bill in his van driving these woodland creatures back to the forest. Then it dawned on me to just use the Mystery Machine from Scooby Doo, and the rest just fell into place.

Chirp Shirt Design

But before I finished the design, I started with a drawing of Bill. Here is an image of that.

Chirp Bill K Drawing Illustration

I scanned it in, and traced over the artwork in Illustrator so I had a two color illustration, black for all of the artwork and then a greytone for all of the shading. The illustration is a decent representation of what he looks like, it certainly does look better at a smaller size.

We started to investigate getting the shirts printed at a ‘do it yourself’ virtual shop online, but the prices added up quick. So, I got with Rich Lint and he agreed to print the shirts in time for the party, which was in three weeks. Certainly, I had plenty of other things to do, but the deadline for this forced my hand. I reduced the illustration down to 4 colors and chose a tan tonal range because….the chipmunk was brown and looked best in that color.

Did the color separations and wala, the perfect party gift, a custom illustrated screened t-shirt for poking some fun. We had about 10 of them printed in various sizes and 4-5 of us put them on for the party, some of Bill’s collecting contacts, and handed a few out to his other friends.

Chirp shirts printed

Bill seemed to like the shirts, enough that the image is now his avatar.

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One night during a repair session in my garage, I was complaining about the darn chipmunks getting in and making a mess. Bill told me to get one of those catch and release type traps and let them go in the forest. Really? Bill proceeded to tell me that he would catch them at his place, load the trap up in the van and drive them out to the local forest preserve. He’d even note which direction they ran out of the trap (those engineer’s) ~ and he was dead serious! Chipmunk relocation program he called it, chirp. Darn funny I thought, but I was on board and I’m now an official CHiRP member 🙂

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Ok, so he didn’t actually ‘tag’ them. My memory wasn’t as good, I started making up tidbits. Did he also call it CHIRP himself? Or did you come up with that after hearing him call it the ‘Chipmunk relocation program’?

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