Drawing & Digital Art

A cheap way to create your own card set using Vistaprint and a paper trimmer.

I am always looking for different ways to do things, this week I was exploring how I can reprint or create a new WhiteFire Comics card set. I ended up finding a cheap way to do this by using Vistaprint and a bit of elbow grease on a paper trimmer. In a nutshell, what a discovered was that Vistaprint has an oversized postcard that can be print on thicker stock and on these oversized postcards you can fit 4-up standard collector cards(2.5x 3.5 inches).


What the front page looked like in CorelDRAW X7 4-up. The lines through the middle are the cuts I had to do(they have arrowheads). The other cut-lines are done by Vistaprint.

Here is a breakdown of the process…

  1. Create your cards and art in a layout software, I use CorelDRAW Graphics Suite X7. Keeping print bleed in mind. Link to what bleed is: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bleed_(printing)
  2. Layout your cards to the Vistaprint oversized postcard size of Width 2135×1535 that includes the bleed. 4-up see the graphic. You will need a back and front graphic/page.
  3. Go through the Vistaprint process and make sure to upgrade to the paper stock.
  4. Once you receive the order you cut the postcards into four typical trade cards. In my case, I used a paper trimmer I bought at Staples years ago.
  5. BLAM! Now you can make your own card sets and print low numbers or high numbers of sets as long as you don’t mind doing some cuttings.

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Oh my Papermate mechancial pencils RoCk!

papermate penels
I draw with mechanical pencils and over the past few years ended up using BIc’s .5 2H disposables, as it was what I saw at Staples. Even though with every minute of detailed work SNAP, a lead has broken it was tortured OI accepted from my love of drawing. Accepting the problem I would pound on its end advancing the lead and move on. It had become a way of life. UNTIL NOW! I ended up discovering Papermate mechanical pencils about a month ago and they still snap now and then but something about this pencil makes the lead way stronger. The lead strokes are as fine as needed. The one down fall is the eraser, like a person running its first marathon it wears out fast(though it works great). But HEY who really cares I got tons of erasers.


Finally Wacom did it! They are relasing a Cintiq Companion which is a tablet!

Wacom announced it release of a portable Cinitq called the Cintiq Companion(released in October 2013). They really left me puzzled when I saw a windows 8 version and android, but hey it was a real happy puzzled state! Both are 13.3 inch screens and have a express keys built in which is pretty damn cool, I love these keys and used them on my Cintiq and traditional Intous 4 tablet. It also has duel USB ports, it has all the bells and whistles for an artist. But is this bad timing? They seem really late?

I waited for years for this device to come into existence before giving up and buying a Samung Galaxy Note tablet and have been very happy with it, Yes it android but the pen is a Wacom stylus and there are uTubes on configuring its pen pressure, this device combined with a bunch of note taking apps and the Autodesk Sketchbook app have left me quite happy at a third to a quarter of the price of Wacom’s Cintiq Companion. This makes me think the strength of the Cintiq Companion will be focused around Windows 8 users who want full blown applications like Corel Painter or Adobe Photoshop. A good note here would be that Windows 8 tablets without a Wacom pen(Like the Windows Surface) have no pen pressure support in Windows art Applications (like Adobe Photoshop) due to Adobe not supporting the OS drivers for pen pressure(they relied on Wacom devices in the PC market).

It is a great time for artists looking for tablets!

Some of my favorite drawing videos from YouTube.

The below uTube is a playlist of the sketching/art videos I have favorited. To select which one plays in the video section pick the playlist button and then you can choose. The video are….

– Dynamic Figure Drawing.
– How to Draw Interesting poses.
– Placing characters into Perspective.
– How to draw relaxed hands.
– How to Create a successful comic using Manga Studio.
– Explosions.
– How to shade drawing 3 different ways.
– How to apply textures.
– How to render concept art – adding color.

Hope they save you some time and helps you out ;-)!

Game changer for ARTISTS the Asus the Eee 470UM tablet! (Windows 7 Wacom touch screen).

Umm.. WOW funny how technology changes! I did a previous post on my selection to buy a Wacom Large Intous 4 tablet (link to previous post). It a very solid/awesome pen tablet. But another dog has joined the fight over what was discussed in the previous post. ASUS and they have 10162673created a tablet. Check out these specs..

  • 12 inch screen
  • Windows 7
  • Touch screen
  • Stylus Pen
  • Wacom pressure sensitive screen
  • USB ports
  • Bluetooth separate keyboard
  • Built in Wi-fi
  • Card reader fro SD MMC etc.
  • i5 processor
  • 1280 x 800 screen resolution.
  • 2 gigs of ram


  • Tiny hard drive 32 and 64 gigs(about where all the other new wave ipad and android tablets are). But a larger OS. You can plug in USB hard drives and it has a memory card reader.
  • Battery life up to 3 hours. Where ipads and Android tablets will get you around 10 hours.
  • Windows 7 not the best touch screen experience.

This computer offers you what I was hoping for ages ago a 12 inch pressure sensitive screen like the Wacom Cintq and a computer in 1 device. With a reasonable price for the times. Wacom charges a fortune for an now outdated technology they need to wake up $900-2400’ish and its just a pressure sensitive screen, come on!  Artist for $1000 to $1200 get the ASUS Eee 470UM

Can I have a Amen!

I have a solution that would rock the computer world. Someone make a dual boot tablet between Android and Windows. Use Android out and about and Windows when you got serious stuff to do!@ Just a matter of time till we have it all!



Its sold out a Best buy so far ;-/.


Perspective Basics

I never invested a ton of time into perspective. But I am know learning it to an acceptable level. 1 point, 2 point, 3 point , it can get a bit overwhelming to navigate though. Especially when you see someone working with it. Here are the results of my research…

I recently bought the book “Perspective for Comic Book Artists” after seeing some solid reviews on it. The reason I bought this book over other perspective books was one of the reviews was from a art major who said he learned more from the book then in his art classes.  It is a excellent book so far. I would recommend it. Also Drawing Dynamic Comics covers off this topic as well. It truly is the best all around book out there on drawing comics.


This utube from Drawing Tutorials Online is a great starting point video. You can also find a ton of good pod casts by this art teacher on his site or on utube. 

A great video displaying how everything is just a series of basic geometric shapes.

Freddie E. Williams II is all over the map with helping out Digital comic artists. This video is insane and very advanced. He has a free grid to help in Photoshop etc…



Hope this helps someone out there!


Awesome art books by Jim Lee, Joe Quesada & Marc Silvestri for comic book reference art or the comic book fan!

Hey Hey all!

I wanted to make you all aware of the following art books. If your a comic book style artist looking for a bad-ass reference book or a comic book art fan. The below three books are for you:


Icons(art by Jim Lee)

When I opened the box from amazon I immediately was impressed. It’s a large sized hardcover full of amazing art by Jim Lee. Full of art covering his career outside of marvel. This has amazing art reference stuff on Batman, Superman, Wonder woman, WILD C.A.T.S & more. It show lots of pencils inks and full color pages. As an artist of sorts, I was instantly humbled after flipping though the pages.

What I found great about this book past its quality and price is all the part of drawing I started to notice I could reference. Since getting the book if I open it, 15 minutes plus of my life is gone, basking in its greatness.


This is a must have…

wP-rating 5of5


The Marvel art of Joe Quesada

This poor book had the privilege of sitting in the box while I drooled over Icons by Jim Lee. Once pulled out I flipped though it quickly and went back to Icons. Later feeling I had disrespected Joe Quesada I returned to it. This is an hardcover book as well with great references in perspective and some great art. But in the end Joe and Jim are two totally different artist. The problem I had with Joes book was I was never a huge Daredevil or Avengers fan. I was quickly realizing I was a fan of his Ghost Rider and Azrael/Batman work.


Solid book but if I could only buy one I would by Icons better book better price…wP-rating 3of5


Art of Marc Silvestri

This is a soft cover with more amazing art. Marc seemed to be some sort of artist and ambassador. He has the only art book with Image, DC and Marvel art. From Spawn, Batman, Superman to Wolverine and the Fantastic Four. Oh.. and of course his Image titles Cyber Force and Darkness. Very good book and a great price!


Such a gooood deal BUY IT!

wP-rating 4of5

I use the “Zap Pack” for a comic book fonts(wild and crazy), bubbles and speciality text.

Link to my webcomic

Link to my webcomic

It just hit me today this might be of interest to people creating a web comic/comic book. I use the Zap Pack here is the site you can buy it at:


The Zap Pack includes the Standard look comicbook font, a font with for sounds in your comic like KA-BoooOOM! and pre-made comic bubbles.

I also love this free font site 1001 fonts: http://www.1001freefonts.com/

Just a heads-up!

Why I have slowed down, Flash, HTML and smart phones.

Link to my webcomic

Link to my webcomic

Things have not been going as planned with WhiteFire Guardian of Light. To many life distractions and technology questions/issues. The biggist issue being that flash seems to not be an acceptable smart phone soultion. Then my 700$ scanner broke. Thank good the price dropped to 200$. I wasted a ton of time trying to fix the drawings to work with the scanner over replacing the scanner. I ended up replacing the scanner losing this war. I am also battling how to create consistant lines from page to page. As I try to improve the quality of the web comic.

I have decide to create a base html version for smart phones and continue with the Flash for average computer users. All the Html 5 vs Flash stuff is just silly and now Adobe looks like they will create flash players per phone. That will only take a zillion years! My samsung galaxy S rocks, but still no flash player. WAKE UP ADOBE!@@!!!

The html version of WhiteFire will be very basic and hopefully work well. I went down the road of putting fancy javascript code and CSS styles. Then I found out that smart phone browsers on one device would support this and the other not that(making a big mess). Workflow wise, I decided to build the web comic to the comic book full page, where everyone else in these comic viewers make it to each frame/panel on the page. I tried to build the web pages this way, but I honeslty found it boring to navigate. I wanted more of a comic book feel. I think you get that feeling by using the smart phone’s built in zoom and pan features on a full page. You feel way more engaged.

I have posted a new page and will have another to post in a couple weeks as I get back into things.

The webcomic designs and solutions

Link to my webcomic

Link to my webcomic

Hi Again all,

Every comic book is deisgned with series roles to be completed, resulting in a comic book. Here  are the roles in a sequence with the solutions I developed over time. This is ment as a guide to help plan and maybe provide some much needed short cuts.     

1. Writer(storyline, plot)
Not much I can say here. You need a story don’t just make it as you go along. Goes back to basic english classes.  Our teacher use to say there were 7 parts to a good plot/story: 

i. Exposition
ii. Rising action
iii. Climax
iv. Falling action
v. Resolution
vi. Conflict
vii. driving question.

I leave it you to research each section. Always remeber every rule is made to be broken.

The point is you need to plan then re-work, and re-work and re-work a story…


2. Artist(Pencils)

I still do the traditonal art by hand and recommend  bluelinepro art boards, Blue Line comic boards can be bought at your local comicbook shop or off Amazon or the BluelinePro website. There are cheaper boards out there but you get what you pay for,  Carson(a)Fanboy make a lower end product. Always buy acid free paper or boards for any art or you paper/boards will become faded over time. I am not much for mymicing but every artsist needs some guidance some of my fav books are:

Drawing Dynamic Comics by Andy Smith
ISBN-10: 0823003124
ISBN-13: 978-0823003129

Dynamic figure drawing by Burne Hogarth 

Dynamic Wrinkles and Drapery by Burne Hogarth

 I also did something very very sacreligous. I went to the local book shop bought a pile of comics of intrest. I then used a paper cutter and chopped off the spines of the comics(then cried for my sins) and hole punched the pages. Took a 3 ring binder and removed the rings and mounted the rings to my art table. So now I can flip though about 20 comic books with ease as I draw. Its quite handy! But I still fee guilty for doing such. 

3. Inking

Some may concider me insane, but I avoid this stage as a time saver. Instead of inking I create dark lines and change them black in Corel PHOTO-PAINT.

  • I scan my boards as  RGB then clean them up using the tone curve feature.
  • Convert the file to Blank and White with the line art  setting (adjust again).
  • Then back to RGB and use the guassian blur effect to slighty fatten the lines so they are more consistant. 
  • Then out as a tiff to Corel PAINTER. 

4. Coloring

5. Lettering