T-shirt Designs: Fountains at the Villa Lante

~Update 5-16-21

Why did you re-design this shirt?

My skills at designing shirts – both ideas for drawing them,  as well as techniques for using the computer software – have improved.  When I added the Villa Lante Pegasus fountain design, I wanted to revise this one to go with that one.  I bought a tablet & pen recently, which I tried out with this design.  The water of the fountain and the lines of the dragon’s belly were drawn using it.  It is a little different from using the mouse.  When you use the pen – where it is on the screen is based on where you hold it over the tablet.  So it feels different from using the mouse.  I bought it so I could freehand draw on in Gimp – which it can do – but it really is going to take some practice.  It is not exactly the same as drawing with a pencil on paper.

Why does the shrimp have dragon spikes tied to the top of his head?

Unfortunately, the shrimp has been taken hostage by the dragons.  I’m working on resolving this issue.  Meanwhile, he is hanging in there.

I didn’t think a dragon would fit in that fountain.

That took some creativity.  I’ve been drawing swirls and curls on paper all week to work that out.  The dragon adds color to the fountain.  I did add a little color to the shrimp.


See all of the new Villa Lante T-shirt Designs


~Original Post from 4-16-21

Why did you visit?

I enjoy visiting locations where architecture and nature have been combined together. The Villa Lante has terraced landscapes, so it needs retaining walls to support the terracing. It does have two houses, though they disappointed me. Shhhh. The fountains are quite architectural. On the same trip, I went on a guided tour to the Villa d’Este in Tivoli, and Villa Lante in Bagnaia, is similar. I actually ended up liking Villa Lante better because it has retained its history better. At Villa d’Este many of the fountains have been modernized. While updating the plumbing is fine, the fountains were made very splashy and spectacular. Some now shoot water 30 feet into the sky, which was not technically possible 100 years ago.

What inspired the T-shirt designs?

The design was inspired by the local peperino rock of the Lazio region in Italy.  I wanted to do a t-shirt design series that incorporated the peperino. I piddled around with the fountain and masks at the Palazzo Chigi-Albani in Soriano nel Cimino and felt frustrated. The masks felt inadequate (not easily understood), while the fountain felt too complicated. Then I drew up the center portion of the Fontana Dei Gigantes at the Villa Lante and put the shrimp at the top in the center, and omitted the giants. Everything fell into place. The shrimp had caught my eye when I visited the garden, but he is actually located further upstream in the garden.  The fountain design is “inspired”, not intended as an exact literal copy of the fountain.  Some things are missing, some moved, some added, and some simplified.

How did you find this place?

When I checked into my hotel in Soriano nel Cimino, I asked about local things to go see. The staff person at the desk handed me a pile of printed pages with local & regional sights. The pages provided pictures, descriptive text, and location info. So I grazed through that and picked out things of interest, which included the Villa Lante in Bagnaia. The Villa Lante had only received a brief mention in my guide book, so I had not considered it a serious thing to visit. But this info was much more complete and it looked fascinating. I then asked the hotel staff for transportation info to get there, and what day/time was best to go. (More ideas about how to find off-the-beaten path things to see.)

What did you learn?

The Italian word for shrimp: gamberi. Villa Lante was originally commissioned by the Cardinal Gambara, who used the shrimp (gamberi) on his family coat of arms. So shrimp were depicted in the garden as a form of humor. I, personally, think it looks more like a crab or lobster.

How were these designs drawn?

This design was drawn on the computer as line drawings in AutoCAD. I draw construction drawings using AutoCAD, so I’m familiar with it and have it available. I exported the CAD line drawings as PDF’s and then imported them into Gimp. Gimp is not really designed for drawing lines, but it is designed for coloring areas solid or with textures. I’m able to get a 300 dpi quality with a specific size picture this way. I split various aspects of the drawing into separate layers so that I can color them separately. When you bucket fill closed area in Gimp, it leaves a little unfilled at the boundary edge, so I need things to overlap a bit. Putting things on different layers, allows for the overlap, and then I can have a top final layer with the lines. And that looks sharp and clean. I drew up the fountain as one typically does for architectural drawings. It’s a art form unto itself, and one that I am accustomed to using.