A: a bird
B: a plane
D: the Rocketeer
There are so many different art styles that can be used to celebrate The Rocketeer – a.k.a WWII’s (slightly lower-tech) Iron Man. The ’80s indie comic is equal parts comic bookish, nostalgically retro, and propaganda-y in vibe. And Mathiole’s design “Sky High” ties together all of the above, the uniquely retro style he’s become known for perfectly meshing with The Rocketeer’s for a fitting homage.
We talked to Mathiole about the artistic process of this piece (complete with rad WIP pics!), his studio with fellow Threadcelebs Vó Maria and Hafaell, and, naturally, about the art of nostalgia. Check out what he had to say!
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What have you been up to lately!
Hi! I’ve been drawing everyday as usual, trying to focus on a side personal project, and also working hard at Verso!
So, we are developing a new collection of t-shirts and preparing a relaunch of our e-commerce (I’ve been in a hiatus for several reasons), rebranding and reshaping everything basically. We are very excited with how everything is going and very soon you’re all welcome to see the result of our efforts over this year!
Awesome! Onto your design, what attracted you to this challenge?
At first glance, what attracted me was the possibility to draw something in Art Deco style, which I love, but I haven’t try anything serious with that subject. So I was driven by the challenge of trying something new. But then I saw multiple possibilities and since my time was running low, I decided to create something like the war propaganda posters. I’m fascinated by anything that is retro/vintage, so I knew it would be fun to do.
How did you recreate that WWII propaganda style?
There’s a distinctive style of that time that I think it’s awesome and perfect for the subject. At that time, everything was created by hand, so I try to do the same. And since I wanted to create a dynamic feel to it, I leave the brush strokes dry on purpose
Were you a fan of the Rocketeer comics? Did you read them before you created this design?
I haven’t read any comics, but I’ve known the character for a long time. I guess I saw the movie but it was a looong time ago. I made a superficial research about the story and everything else because I didn’t had time to read all the comics, but I looked into almost all comic covers to try to figure out how the character was being used and what language/pose/style would fit better in my concept. Usually I try to go as deep as I can when I’m researching, as I believe it’s a really important step of the process. Many times I came up with new concepts just by knowing more about the subjects I’m studying.
You had another design submitted as well for this challenge, what style was that one based on? What do you think attracted people to this design?
That one was more like a classic, vintage comic book t-shirt. I think we are living in an era that the past is being overvalued. So anything that is vintage/retro, get peoples’ attentions.
Stranger things, for instance, was a huge hit and I believe a big part of that success was because of all the ’80s references and the nostalgia involved. That’s the same with my design I guess, or at least it was my intention haha
If you could use a flying suit like the one the Rocketeer uses, where would you go first?
Oh man, there are so many places I want to visit that it’s super hard to choose the first one. I guess I would fly to Patagonia since is not so far from here (at least with jetpacks).
Thanks Threadless and all the community, this has been a great year overall and mostly because of you guys, as always. I wish I could be there on the family reunion one more time. Maybe next year! :)
Content & Strategy Manager at Threadless by day, dad joke aficionado, cartoonist, & contributor for sites like HelloGiggles and The Mary Sue by night. When I’m not writing or drawing, you can find me in my cave of a room hanging out with my boyfriend, Netflix.