Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Snippets #8: September 7, 1983

       This is from a letter to my brother Bruce:

       "I have been plugging away at work, though I've been feeling a certain lack of inspiration lately. The one thing that has inspired me is the discovery of a method of doing full-color t-shirt transfers (the iron-on type), using a color Xerox machine. You can copy just about anything, as long as it measures 8 1/2 by 14 inches or less, and the iron it on to any t-shirt or sweatshirt or whatever. They're cheap, too -- only $1.80 per copy. The only major marketing problem that I see now is that they don't seem to be very durable. I'm going to experiment with some different procedures to decrease the fading that happens when the shirts/transfers are washed. Stay tuned…!
  By the time you get this, it's altogether possible that Kevin will have moved into our house, to become our new (and only) housemate. We're hoping that this will help Mirage Studios to take off."

     [As hardcore TMNT fans know, those iron-on t-shirt transfers were our first bit of TMNT merchandise, and I don't think we sold many of them. But they were fun to do, and fun to wear -- I remember having a few shirts decorated with that artwork. Yes, they did fade, and significantly so, but not so much, in my experience anyway, so as to not be readable.
       The copy shop in Portsmouth, where we had these iron-ons made with their high-tech color laser printer, is gone now -- there is a health food store in that space currently.

       As you can see in this snippet, when this letter was written, we were probably only days away from having Kevin move in to the Dover house... and, though there's no way we could have predicted it, only a couple of months away from the creation of the TMNT -- something which would go on to change our lives radically within a few years. 

       I've always found it interesting that we formed MIrage Studios with the intention of becoming an illustrating team and doing all kinds of cool artwork for a variety of clients... and that never happened. Instead, our work together went in a completely different direction. The best-laid plans, right? -- PL]


  1. During the early days of Mirage, were there any illustration clients at all, or just what us TMNT fans know?

  2. There is some confusion as to whether the work I did for the "Fighters for Justice" superhero role-playing game which some creative kids in Portsmouth, NH had written and needed illustrated, was a Mirage Studios job (because apparently Kevin did some work on the cover); I don't think it was, and I don't remember any other work Mirage Studios got. So I would say the answer to your question is pretty much "no". -- PL

    1. The invoices from that period are all from "Peter Laird" directly not Mirage - so it was a "PL" job, with KE help...

      We had a B/W cover using your "photo matting" technique to overlay hand-drawn characters over a photo. We needed color - I'm not sure how it worked out, but KE volunteered/you asked him to do the color, and so he did!

    2. Thanks for that additional clarification... it pretty much matches up with my memory of the job. -- PL