Pity Party

July 21, 2022 | Comics
Pity Party - Page 9

Enter the Black Dog

The mysterious and ghostly Black Dog nearly consumes our beloved cartoonist, but he is saved by his cartoon characters at the last moment. Good cartoon characters! Here we go down the rabbit hole!

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The Evolution of Trust

July 4, 2022 | Blog

In The Evolution of Trust, Nicky Case uses game theory to help explain our epidemic of distrust.

Meanwhile: it’s 2017, the West has been at peace for decades, and
wow, we suck at trust. Surveys show that, over the past forty years, fewer and fewer people say they trust each other. So here’s our puzzle: 

Why, even in peacetime, do friends become enemies?
And why, even in wartime, do enemies become friends?

This has been around for a while (maybe since 2017 or so?) and I think about it every few years, then I struggle to locate it, so here it is for the next time I remember I forgot about it.

More:

Owl in a Bowler Hat postcard

June 27, 2022 | Illustration
Birthday invite with owl illustration on a postcard.

Invite, postcard, art print

Animals in silly hats are a perennial favourite. Adults love them, kids adore them. So when my daughter required a birthday invitation, I gladly obliged her a goofy drawing of an owl in a birthday hat. It made for a fun invite, and even works as amusing postcard art.

Postcard style invitations are also a favourite of mine, because the size is right, they are simple to design, no folding, and they can double as tiny art pieces when the party is over.

This is a digital drawing, made in Procreate on my iPad Pro. I intentionally stepped away from including black in the colour palette to keep the illustration light and playful. Give that owl some cake!

Watch me draw this owl illustration

A start to finish time lapse of this owl drawing.

Spa Daze

May 18, 2022 | Comics
Spa Daze

Robot and Francis go to a spa

In this comic, Robot and Francis relax at the spa.

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Timely

May 11, 2022 | Comics
Timely

Death is always on time

In this comic, a soul negotiates with Death for more time to be alive.

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Stress Distress

May 4, 2022 | Comics
Stress Distress Page 1

Robot and Francis and Snow Beasts, oh my!

In this comic, Robot helps Francis the Sheep de-stress from their current (self imposed) predicament.

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Yearly Problems

April 27, 2022 | Comics
Yearly Problems

Crows have a hot lunch

In this comic, the crows discuss how hoomans blame the year for all their problems, then create some problems all their own.

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Tough Crowd

April 20, 2022 | Comics
Tough Crowd

Death walks into a comedy club…

In this comic, a comedian dies and Death tells a joke. Hilarious.

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Llama Postcard Style Birthday Invitation

April 2, 2022 | Illustration

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.

Llama wearing aviator sunglasses and a birthday hat saying yippee!
Llama, llama, llama. Llama.

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. 

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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!
  5. 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.
  6. 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. 
    Done!

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?

Verily.

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.

Don’t Worry, I’ve Got Yer Back t-shirt

March 23, 2022 | Illustration
The Grim Reaper pointing at you saying don't worry, I've got yer back.

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.