Last Tuesday, the trailer for Thor the Dark World was released. And by around noon, the internet was flooded with fan art, cartoons, and memes. Most of which ignored the first 90 seconds or so of the trailer, instead focusing entirely on the last fifteen second exchange between Thor and Loki. Which shouldn’t really come as a great surprise, considering the large fanbase that not only the characters, but also Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston have.
I’ll admit, it took me a little bit longer to get my own homage to this trailer done. It bounced around in my head for a day or so, and by Wednesday afternoon, I had an idea of what I wanted to do. All of my Loki patches from The Avengers use either his helm or his staff as a graphic element, which seemed completely wrong for this. Besides the fact that we don’t know whether those elements will even make an appearance in this movie, they are also both symbols of power. And at this point, at least, Loki is (apparently) powerless.
Instead, I decided to use Loki himself. To create a sort of minimalist representation of him sitting in his prison cell. I envisioned it as simple blocks of color — dark brown pants, olive green shirt, black wild hair. I pulled up the trailer for the dozenth time, found a screen cap I liked to use as my point of reference and got to work.
The end result was — not bad. When I first pulled it off the embroidery machine, I was even quite happy with it and scanned it in, ready to post to Etsy the next day. But the more I looked at it, the more I realized it wasn’t quite right. Specifically, I found myself unhappy with Loki’s shirt, which, the longer it stared at me, the more it just seemed like a big blob of undefined green. Which, sure, was minimalist. But it just didn’t look good, and within an hour, I was unsatisfied enough to pull the file back up, and make a very minor adjustment.
I decided that all the patch really needed was a detail called a carving in the shirt. No extra colors, no extra shapes — just a tiny detail in texture to define the lines between Loki’s arms and his body. Which not only created a distinction between the parts of his body, but also give the illusion of posture, showing more clearly his slump against the wall of the patch. Suddenly, with just that minor change, the patch went from mediocre in quality to something I was uncontrollably excited to get up on Etsy and share with the rest of the world.
It is amazing to me sometimes, how much of a difference such a small tweak can make in a design. A carving stitch. A change in font. A color variation. All the little things that can really put the finishing touch on a piece of art. And the willingness to listen to yourself, and not settle for a first draft.