Category Archives: Tutorials

Making Minicomics

Making a Minicomic by Dani Jones http://danidraws.com

I am prepping for some shows I will be attending (MECAF in May and Kids Read Comics in June). I didn’t have any new comics printed since last year, so I decided to make up some minicomics featuring my short Zombie Bunny comic. I’m also reprinting my Captain Bacon comic which I sold as a mini last year.

I love doing these quick homemade type books, and I love buying them from other artists as well. They’ve got an indie-artist-handmade-craftiness to them that I like vs. the pro printed books.

I’ve seen other artists make both down-and-dirty-photocopied-stapled numbers and the really-fancy-expensive-paper-individually-screen-printed kind. Mine are on the cheaper side, but I decided to use some colored cardstock to pretty them up a bit. I thought I’d share my process. Enjoy, and MAKE COMICS!
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iBooks Author: First Impressions and Making a Comic

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Apple released a new piece of software called iBooks Author. It is for making digital, interactive books for the iPad and is available as a free download. I recently gave it a test run, and was pleased with the results. Here’s my overall impressions and thoughts, and a free download of my first ever iBooks book!

Click to read more and download the book!

Building an Artist’s Website with WordPress

I’m finally going to answer, in depth, one of the most common questions I’ve gotten over the past few years – how did I build my website?

Most artists ask me this because they want to know a) how I built my portfolio gallery or b) how I integrated my blog into my website. I will attempt to answer both of those questions.

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Ustream Questions Answered

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Since I’ve started broadcasting on Ustream, I’ve received quite a few questions regarding software, hardware, and how-to of a Ustream show. If you are an artist and are curious about joining the live stream scene, here’s a quick overview of my own setup and techniques.

I hope this helps! I would love to see lots more of you start your own shows. Paste a link in the comments if you do. And let me know if you have additional questions.

What is Ustream?

Ustream is a web service that allows you to easily stream live video over the internet. The site has been used to stream a variety of content such as news broadcasts, concerts, podcasts, or sporting events. In my case, I draw and paint.

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Photoshop: Textures and Brushes

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I recently dedicated a couple Ustream shows to Photoshop brushes and textures. I love to take questions and chat during my shows, but these two episodes are the only broadcasts where I set out to actually teach specific lessons. So, I am putting them here in a blog post so they are easy to find and access.

Forgive my mumbling and bumbling; I don’t speak as well as I write. But these live shows were great because the viewers asked some really good questions that I wouldn’t have been able to think of on my own. I hope you find them extra informative to the stuff I’ve already posted here on the blog.

If you have a question or suggestion for a future Ustream lesson, go ahead and send me a note. I will post any plans for special broadcasts on the Dani Draws Live page (or you can keep track of me on Twitter). Please stop by next time and have your questions ready!

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How to Make Your Portfolio iPhone-Compatible

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When speaking about artists’ websites, an art director recently made a comment that caught my attention – he is annoyed when he can’t view them on his iPhone.

The comment was half-joke, half-serious, but it brought up an important point. You never know what potential clients are out there, and what they are using to view your work.

And so I went home and made an iPhone version of my web portfolio.

Why make an iPhone website? Is it necessary?

No, I don’t think every artist should go and make an iPhone portfolio right this minute. Quite frankly, I don’t expect a lot of visitors to my mobile site. However, I DO think artists should keep these ideas in mind. The use of iPhones and other mobile phones is on the rise, and artists should always be thinking of ways to make it easier for clients to access their work. At the very least, avoid flash and multi-media rich websites that don’t work on mobile platforms.

It was a fun experiment and it didn’t take long to create at all. I know it will make at least one art director happy, so that alone is worth it.

So if you have the know-how and a little bit of time, I say it’s worth the extra bit of effort. It might not matter to most of your clients – but it might mean the world to the few who happen to be on an iPhone.

Here is an in-depth review of how I put the site together.

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Painting a Spot Illustration, Part 2: Using Clipping Masks

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This is the second part in a series of tutorials. You can read part one here.

When creating a spot illustration, I often create the overall vignette shape first, before I add any other colors or details. To do this, I make a clipping mask layer.

Also check out one of my older posts, Using Masks to Create a Spot Illustration, which reviews some similar methods and ideas I will use here.

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Tips for Printing Digital Paintings at Home

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You work hours and hours on a digital painting. You render in tons of details, play with the values, and fuss with color until it is just right. You finally get it about perfect. And then you go to print it…

If, for you, this story ends in disaster this article is for you.

Let me start by saying that I am not an expert on this subject. Printing can get complicated and messy, and terms like ICC profiles, color spaces, and monitor calibration can really make your head spin. For the most part, I leave these things for the professional printing arena. In my own work and in this article, I try to keep things simple – creating good quality prints to display, promote, or sell without them looking stupid.

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How to Make a Textured T-Shirt Graphic

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In my latest experiment, I recently opened up an account on a site called Zazzle, which allows you to order custom products featuring your own artwork. So far, I’ve been having a lot of fun experimenting with creating some simple, graphic characters for some t-shirts. Here is a little behind-the-scenes look into the making of this cute bat character.

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Five Ways to Create Textures Completely in Photoshop

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I like creating new textures, and I’ve written about how to use them in digital paintings before. Most of the time, making textures involves getting out some scrap mat board or bits of paper, and just going to town with some acrylic paint, gesso, and modeling paste.

I think of it as play time, because anything goes. You can spray, drip, or even fingerpaint. You’re not worried about creating anything concrete or beautiful; you’re just setting out to find what kinds of things you can do with your tools and to stretch your limits a bit.

This can be a really useful exercise for traditional painters, because 1) you can use whatever textures and effects you create for future paintings, and 2) you learn a lot about the materials you are working with.

Well, I think digital painters need a little play time too.

So, here are five exercises I’ve come up with to help inspire you to play with your digital paint. And the best part is you don’t have to worry about cleaning up the mess afterwards.

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50 Facial Expressions and How to Draw Them


 

Here’s a guide to drawing a variety of different emotions, moods, and characters.

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How to Draw Children

Kids

At first, drawing children doesn’t seem like that much of a challenge. I mean, you take so many figure drawing courses in art school and you start to think you can draw pretty good. And if you’re good at drawing adults, drawing kids should be pretty easy, right? Well, after you’ve tried dozens and dozens of times, and all you come up with are a bunch of freaky midget creatures, you start to realize how wrong you were.

I realized this shortly after I graduated from school and decided to go into children’s publishing. My first assignments were, I admit, less than stellar. But I’ve learned a few things along the way, so I thought I would share some tips with you all.

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Make Your Own Sketchbook

Sketchbooks

Have you ever had trouble finding just the right sketchbook? Maybe you can’t find the right kind of paper, or they are just too darn expensive. Well, it’s probably easier than you think to make one of your own, and everything you need might already be lying around your house.

Why Make Your Own Sketchbooks?

  • Use your favorite paper. Why settle for the same old white paper when you can use toned, textured, heavy weight, watercolor, or lined paper instead? Or, this is a great way to get rid of all those half-used sketchpads you know you’ve got tucked away somewhere.

  • It’s cheap. Since most of your materials consist mostly of scraps, paper, and glue, this project is pretty easy on the wallet.

  • Style points. No more boring black sketchbooks! Choosing the colors and patterns to use for your sketchbook is half the fun. I once made a sketchbook that was entirely pink, just for the heck of it.

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The Complete Digital Comic, Part 2: Inking in Illustrator

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This is part two in my series of tutorials about how to make comic book art on the computer. If you have not read the first part, Sketching and Pencilling in Photoshop, you might want to give it a look. Go ahead, I’ll wait…

Ready? Okay, now that we have a nice and refined pencil sketch, it’s time to give it some ink.

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The Complete Digital Comic, Part 1: Sketching and Pencilling in Photoshop

Pencilling

I recently received a request to write a tutorial about creating comic book art on the computer. Although I don’t work as a comic artist, I’ve always been fascinated by the process. So, this will be part one in a series of tutorials that will outline how I would make a comic digitally.

This was a very fun experiment, and I hope all of you, even you non-comic artists, can learn something new by this series. And by all means, if there are any “real” comic artists out there with any input, please leave a comment on this post.

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Record Your Art

Record Your Art

Have you ever wondered how I create my videos for this website? This tutorial is for every artist who has ever wanted to record their digital painting process in order to share with others, or simply watch for fun later. Here, I will cover the screen recording software I use and how I go about shooting, editing, and distributing my digital illustration demos.

This post is quite a doozie, and it answers one of the most commonly asked questions that I get from you readers. Enjoy!

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