T-shirt Designs: Casa del Hildago (aka Museo Rodera-Robles)

Why did you visit?

When I arrived in Segovia, I visited the tourist information place. The nice lady gave me a map of Segovia with tourist stuff marked on it and a very long list of sights on the back side. The list gave a brief description of each location and included small photos from many as well. Casa del Hildago looked interesting. When picking items from a list, it can be tough to know what to expect.  You may be going to tour an empty historic building, or one filled with period furniture, or one filled with an art exhibit.

The list on the back of the map didn’t give hours for anything. I tried looking up items on my phone’s web browser but some places didn’t have websites or if they did they were not in English or had only skimpy on info. I ended up walking by various places multiple times until I happened to stop by when they were open. I think I got into this place on my third try. A number of places I never got into at all.

What was most interesting?

The house had an exhibit about printing art. And an old printing press was included in the display. Taking photographs of the artwork on display was not permitted. But photographing the house was fine. I snuck a picture of the printing press. Figured that it was fair game.

The building had security cameras everywhere. The attendant at the building was able to watch you as you toured the house by yourself. I’m sure he was a nice man but security cameras creep me out. I don’t like being watched.  I try to ignore security cameras.  They are letting total strangers wander through the building without escort.  There were no security guards.  Anyway he didn’t come running to yell at me for the photographs that I did take.

During my week stay in Segovia, I toured the home of a typical middle class family, this house of a nobleman who had some money, and the alcazar which was the home of a super wealthy family. That provided a broad perspective about the city’s population. Typically, you only tour homes of really rich families.

What inspired the t-shirt design?

There is a small fountain in the courtyard which has two small metal (maybe bronze?) dragons. I thought what if one of them was much larger? The brochure that I picked up while there indicated that the dragon fountain was a recent installation. So it really had nothing to do with the history of the house. I just liked it.

I’m planning to do a second shirt design for this place. The interior rooms had nice tile work which I want to explore. Somehow include the printing press.

There seem to be a lot of dragons around here.

There are currently three dragons and a disgruntled shrimp. Please be careful.

What was most challenging about this design?

I’m still exploring myself as an artist. And I’m still learning to use computer software to draw. On this project, I spent a lot of time playing with the Gimp software program’s tools for producing textures. I wanted to capture the reflective quality of the glass in the windows, and the roughness of the dragons skin.

I admire people who can draw freehand looking stuff on the computer but I have decided to stick with my architectural line drawing style from years of work drawing construction plans. The courtyard is a concoction of elements in the building but I have rearranged them to suit my design. And of course, I scaled up the dragon.

I’m drawing my linework using AutoCAD LT, then exporting it out as PDF files – one file for each future Gimp layer. Then import the PDF files into Gimp. I like this as I can set the total size of the picture and the DPI, which is really important to me. Getting work out of AutoCAD into some other software can be tricky and difficult. This setup is serving me nicely. I already knew how to use AutoCAD (and paying for it for doing construction drawings), but only a little Gimp. So, I have to stop and search for how-to websites for using Gimp.  Gimp has really nice tools for coloring, scaling, and slicing to guides. I have found that you need a lot of RAM for some of Gimp’s tools.

Being able to layout my design as layers for various parts – text layer, background lines layer, etc, is critical. This lets me setup my design, and then be able to make changes to it easily later. I can modify the colors of one part while leaving another part untouched. I can be certain that revised or new layers imported into Gimp will line-up exactly with the existing layers. It also allows me to make a variant design from the original.

Don’t assume that what is available in the shop today will be available forever. I’m still figuring out how best to organize and manage the shop.  Most of my travels are focused on countries around the Mediterranean Sea.  I’ve taken two trips to the Far East, and hope to take more there.  I fantasize about following the old Silk Road, but many of the countries in the middle part of the “road” are not to safe nor stable.  I like to travel solo, so safety is a prime concern for me.  Sometimes I do take tours.  I prefer solo and self-guided becuase then I have more time for photography and exploring off-the-beaten paths sights.

Why flames?

The sculpture dragons were a fountain with water flowing out of the mouth. I thought about staying with the water and fountain idea.  I wasn’t sure where the water would end up then – just make a pool on the courtyard floor?  My dad and sister thought my dragon looked like a lizard or a frog, so I added flames for clarity. Despite the flames, Pinterest thinks it’s a dinosaur. Sigh. Oh well.  No harm is intended to the building.  All dragons and flames are just for looks and fun.