Why do people draw llamas so much?
I don’t know. Maybe because they are cute, and furry, but also peculiar, and foreign. Maybe everyone has cat fatigue.
I’m telling your cat you said that.
Please don’t, she scares me.
Tell me about this llama.
My daughter wanted a cool llama drawing on her birthday party invite, and I thought nothing is cooler than a llama wearing aviator sunglasses, and a pointy birthday hat.
If this llama showed up to a kids birthday, it would be the life of the party. It would tell jokes, perform tricks, and be everyone’s bff.
If this llama showed up to an adult birthday, it would be late, very drunk, spend the night hitting on your wife, and found the next morning passed out in the azaleas.
Explain the process of creating a postcard style birthday invite
I like postcard style invites primarily because I don’t need to fold any paper. They are also a bit larger than traditional invitations, and look nice on the fridge. You can design the text on the back, or just write them out by hand.
- Postcard dimensions. There are several standard dimensions for postcards, I use 4”x6” all the time, for no other reason than I think it’s a nice size.
- Creating the art. Create your art work at the same ratio of the postcard dimensions.
When drawing, don’t forget to find some references! Even if you are drawing simple cartoons, seeing a photo of the thing you are drawing will add details you hadn’t thought of before. For this llama, I found photo references for the aviator sunglasses, and the llama.
Don’t be afraid to experiment with colour. I didn’t use a realistic colour palette, but instead went for something a bit more pop art, because I think it’s so much more interesting.
- Card layout. I layout the card in Affinity Designer, but you can use whatever you are familiar with.
I set up two art boards, one for the artwork, and the other for the typical invitation text that gets printed on the back.
- Paper. Find a heavy paper, I like a card stock. You don’t want a floppy postcard.
Presumably you are using your home inkjet printer, so be mindful of what paper you can successfully feed into it. My printer feeds paper in the front, and then back out the front, which means any paper I use must be able to bend over the rollers without getting stuck in the printer. Know your tools!
- Printing. I print 2 up – which means two invites are printed on one letter-sized paper.
I had some trouble with the printed colours of this illustration matching the screen colours, so I had to adjust the artwork colours until I got a print I liked.
My set up isn’t very sophisticated, so I have to flip the paper, then put it back into the printer to print the back side of the invite. Your computer and printer might be more open to duplex printing so you might not have to do it manually.
All this is to say, it might be time for me to get a new printer.
- Trimming. Once all the invites are printed, I take them to the cutting mat, and trim them using a ruler and a utility knife to the final size.
What about the part where your daughter criticized your art and you considered never drawing anything ever again?
That didn’t happen.
Are you sure?
I feel like it’s something that should happen to you. Like, often.
Do you have any final questions before we wrap this up?
I like llamas.
Me too, buddy.
Wait! There’s more!
I made a video! You can watch me draw this awesome party llama in a silly time lapse video on Youtube. Go see how the sausage is made. The llama sausage.
Originally published on December 13, 2021.