If you like this comic, you’ll love Survival Anxiety Comics & Stories. This comic appears in Issue 2 KABLOOIE. Paper copies are available while they last!
This comic was originally published on November 30, 2020.
Buckle up folks! In this post I put on my snarky interviewer hat, and ask myself questions about llamas, and creating postcard style birthday invitations from home.
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.
Can you trust the Grim Reaper?
Maybe not behind you. Pro life tip, have Death walk up front.
Fine. Tell me how to draw the Grim Reaper.
- Start with a sketch. I use blue pencil line, even when working digitally. You might say “But Ryan, blue line is an old school technique for scanning cleaner line art, and is not necessary for digital art.” Too which I’d reply “Yes, but blue is also easy to see over/under reference images, or under digitally inked lines.” I also set the type in blue when I’m using it. Also, use what you want, I don’t care.
- Find reference images. The sketch worked out composition and broadly what props the illustration needs. I used 4 reference images: skull, monk robes, skeleton hand, and a scythe.
- Ink it! I draw the entire image in black first. If it works in black, it’ll work in colour. Don’t forget to vary line weights for visual interest.
- Colour it! For something like this, which has that comic pop art vibe, I use layer overlays with colour in them. It’s easy to swap out colours to try different combos.
- Share it with the world and be somewhat disappointed nobody really cares. I mean, there are much more important things going on, so no big deal.
This comic art was illustrated in Procreate, using an iPad Pro. The type is based on Futura, the deathliest of the geometric typefaces. It’s true, ask around.
What else is there?
I’m glad you asked! You can watch me draw the Grim Reaper in a fun time lapse video on Youtube.
And if you really like this drawing, like so, so much, you can get the Grim Reaper on a t-shirt! It would look really good on you, for sure.
Are hazmat suits all the rage in the future?
Yes. Everyone is wearing them. Even the dogs wear them. They are worn outside, and inside, and when sleeping, and when showering. Basically anytime people want to breathe air and not burst into flames from the inside out, they wear one of these fashionable, protective and dare I say handsome suits.
That sounds awful.
It’s not so bad. They come in fun trendy colours. The spring collection this year was a real gas.
I don’t think you can really see the future.
Way to go, Sherlock, I’m no fortune teller. This is my tongue-in-cheek pop art response to all the doom and gloom these days. Threat of nuclear weapons? World war three on the horizon? Apocalypse? Sure, the end of the world is a scary premise, but at least the nuclear fallout will kill us slowly and painfully.
I choose optimism, pesimistically. I’m sure we’ll all be fine. Fine-ish. Finish? Yes, that’s it. We’re finished.
This comic art drawing was illustrated using Procreate on an iPad Pro, and Apple Pencil, with an unhealthy dose of skepticism for the future of all humanity. Type was based on Cooper Black, the go-to typeface for future dystopian hellscapes.
I’m tired of this website. Where else can I go?
Good question. Watch me draw hazmat suit guy in a fun time lapse video on Youtube. There’s music! And movement! And hope for the future!
If you really, really like this drawing, and need to prove to all your friends how sophisticated your fashion sense is, get hazmat suit guy on a t-shirt!