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A couple more Christmas card ideas

I’m still working out the ideas for these cards. I quite like this one.

Let’s party!

This one is meant to portray Father Christmas going from amazingly slim and sprightly to completely fat and wiped out after his trip around the world. I think it needs an extra frame in the middle showing him eating and drinking lots. But I’m not sure it’ll ever really work.

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Penguin in a cloak

Update: You can now buy this cartoon on a t-shirt, hoodie, or sticker at RedBubble. How can you resist?

Here’s another drawing of a penguin in a cloak.

This one is interesting to me because of how I achieved it. First, I copied from a picture of a penguin I took at London zoo.

I sketched it in pencil and then sketched in the mask and cloak. Then I put it on the lightbox and drew the outline on a new sheet using a tria marker with the brush nib.

Then I scanned it and adjusted the levels to get the white paper white. I copied the layer and coloured it in, and put that coloured layer under the original scanned layer, using the Color Burn blending mode.

The nice thing for me is that I like this sort of look and I’m gradually working out how to achieve it. Gradually.

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Rudolf takes a cold cure

Here’s another Christmas card idea.

What do you reckon?

Nibs (three of ’em!) and ink on Bristol board with the aid of a lightbox.

Update: I got some feedback that this was hard to understand, partly because of my appalling handwriting, partly because without colour it’s not immediately apparent that Rudolf doesn’t have a red nose, and partly because Rudolf guiding the sleigh is more a US thing than a UK thing. I’ve tried to address these a bit here (but the cultural differences are probably insurmountable).

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Screen printing penguin superhero

I’ve wanted to experiment with screen printing for a long time and today I finally did some. It was pretty mucky work, but good fun. I printed a design on to a t-shirt and on to a few cards.

Here’s my decapitated body to give you an idea of how the t-shirt came out.

I should have done another pass of the ink, but I didn’t realise at the time and once I’d picked up the screen to check that was the end of that.

The cards took the ink far more happily, of course, but I was guessing at location and they weren’t fixed down, so there was some smudging.

Key lessons I’ve learnt:

  • do two passes on t-shirts
  • to make postcards, stick down a few and work out where the screen should go before starting
  • put newspaper down so you don’t have to be so careful about not getting ink on your table
  • have a scrap cloth or something to hand so it’s easy to wipe ink off your hands if necessary
  • for multiple t-shirts, you need to get them all ready first on bits of card or something, so you can work through them. There isn’t really time to do that once the ink is on the screen.

I did this just using some greaseproof paper cut out for the template. It worked pretty well, but I suspect most of the designs I want to do will be better with two colours and that will have to be far less haphazard.

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My teddy bear

I’ve been neglecting my drawing from life recently as I’ve had a flurry of excitement about nibs, lightboxes and the like. However, I’ve become frustrated with the resulting slow pace of my drawing development. That is, I still can’t draw things that look enough like the things I’m drawing. Today I drew Tower Bridge, a plant pot and this picture of Big Bar, my long-time companion and friend.

It doesn’t do him justice, but then I wonder if artists ever feel they do justice to their muses… What a bear!

B pencil in a sketchbook.

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Penguin in a cape

Here’s today’s cartoon.

I bought a lightbox to see if it would help me get around some frustrations I’ve been having recently. I’ve only used it this morning, but my first impressions are that it was well worth it.

For this cartoon I drew it in pencil on marker paper (because it’s thin) and then went over it in pen when I was happy with it. Then I put it on the lightbox with a bit of bristol board on top and inked it out. Then I used the bristol board inked picture as the base image and put another piece of paper on top to do the colouring in wash. It was far faster than erasing and quite easy, although it’s still not very easy to see through because the bristol board is quite thick. For the colouring, next time I think I’ll print out a scanned version – this should make it easier to see and reduce the stress of thinking my wash might go through the top layer to the inked layer. Fun!