It was late last year, I first came across customised vans – painted canvas shoes using special fabric paints or markers. Some I’ve seen are really quite gorgeous works of art and I vowed to have a go myself.

A little research (and 6 months) later, I settled on using the relatively unheard of Angelus paints, an acrylic paint that’s flexible and water-resistant and won’t, reportedly,  peel or crack. For fine detail, a black, permanent fabric marker was my choice.

Lastly, Jack & Sally from Tim Burton’s animated classic The Nightmare Before Christmas was my choice for subject matter. They’re fun images to draw and they were also on the very first custom vans I’d seen so, I thought I’d have my own stab at them (and I also knew just the person to try them out for me 🙂 ).

So, without further ado, here’s a series of images showing my progress from start to finish:


First off, a spanking brand new pair of polka-dot vans. I didn’t realise until I got them that they had laces! I wanted the slip-ons ‘cos there would be more room to paint. Oh well, make do I did 🙂


Secondly, I drew some illustrations to work from.


Basic shapes just painted in white. I had to paint each character 3 times to get an even colour, otherwise it was patchy and you could still see some of the polka-dots showing through.


Jack & Sally drawn in with pencil and I’ve started using fabric marker for outline as well.


Jack nearly done. Sally getting her hair dyed 🙂


Nearly done.


And voila! Wasn’t sure if they looked a bit lopsided ‘cos one shoe was so colourful, but I liked them anyway and I thought the polka-dots were very snow-like, in keeping with the film. Who doesn’t like a bit of Jack & Sally? 😛

Oh, and not forgetting……


……finished (and varnished) and as God intended, taken up residence by the feet of the very wonderful Ali who, incidentally, took the following photo!


Looking awesome in black & white 🙂

I’ve done another pair since these (of The Moomins) and I’ll be doing more in the future, probably to be showcased here on this site (if time allows). If anybody wants a pair, I can do commissions too, so get in touch but, alas, this particular Jack & Sally pair have already been claimed by………well, I’ll let you make one educated guess 😉

I’m outta here,