Recently I was introduced to zines at the “Grand Rapids Zinefest.” And, honestly, walking into the event I had no idea what to expect. Yet by the time I left I was dying to make a zine. In fact, I was ready to mass produce and offer ’em up for $0.25 a piece. Unfortunately, various projects blocked those efforts and I’m still waiting to take a proper swing at it.

So until time permits I’m offering the following piece. Which amounts to ,well, an inside joke. One between a certain amazing artist :) and myself. Anyhow, the piece below was drawn directly onto a single, folded, letter-size piece of paper and illustrated with a brush pen. Plus alil’ Copic action. Otherwise that’s it. Enjoy.

The tiny, epic cover.
Learning the instruments

Okay, lets go. Vroom. Vrooming. Vroom. Screeeeech. Om'n.

Wanna make your own? Well here’s folding instructions for a tiny 8-pager like the one above.


So feel free to download the instructions shown above (“8-Page Zine Folding Instructions” / 1MB .jpg) or go digital with the templates below.

» InDesign CC “8-page mini zine template (480KB – compressed .ind)
» Illustrator CC “8-page mini zine template(473KB – compressed .ai)
» DWG “8-page mini zine template” (22KB – compressed .dwg)
» PDF “8-page mini zine template” 
(55KB .pdf)

Happy zining!

(Visual) Notes Following Dinner


It started out as a note for myself…but then turned into this.


Aliens and JPEG’s

…still having a blast drawing Aliens. I created this one while drawing with Chloe the other night. It was roughed using a Copic Sketch N0, inked with a brush pen, and shaded with a N2, N4, and N6.

From a deliverable stand point it’s worth looking into “JPEG MIni” if you haven’t already. It crunchifies JPG files down further with zero loss. I had heart-eyes for this app after having it drop a group of JPG’s from 21MB to 4MB. Anyhow, here’s some proof. Dig the algorithm.




Another Copic Marker Use

It’s a long story, but the short version is Alysha schooled me on using a highlighter to generate roughs before inking it. It didn’t take long for me to swap the highlighter for a Copic Sketch marker (N2 Neutral Gray No. 2).  Meaning now I can produce roughs faster, as pencil ultimately requires erasing, and it’s a blast building on the grays for a more refined look.

Here’s an quick example of how to play in the same manner. Just start by laying down however many lines as you like.


The above represents a “whatever” approach. Meaning you don’t have to necessarily produce a discernible image as much as simply laying down enough information to help guide. So if it makes sense to you it’s all good.


Next, just capture/trace the lines you feel are most fitting. While I normally use a Sharpie (for speed) the above was done with a brush pen. Again, use whatever feels right.


Here’s how to take it further digitally. The above scan (grayscale @ 300 dpi) was opened in PS, Levels chosen, White Point within Levels selected, and one tap given to a gray strokes.ud_130407d

Here’s the results of altering the white point. The gray or highlighter strokes vanish -depending on the intensity of gray selected of course.ud_130407e

And here’s how I played with it in PS after applying my “Prepping Lineart Action.” Honestly, there’s literally so many directions available at this point…it really depends on your project’s needs or personal preference. For example, taking the above just alil’ further…


…this the same file as the above with two minor tweaks. Note the action mentioned above provided a “Lineart” layer. By default that Layer is unlock. Well, with “Lock Transparent Pixels” selected the “Lineart” layer was filled with a weathered brown tone. Because of the “Lock Transparent Pixels” option only the lines were affected. Next, an “Adjustment Layer” was Masked to the Layer holding the colors and…well…blam.




Lastly, here’s what it’s like layering the grays (N2, N4, N6) prior to adding alil’ Sharpie work. All that to say…this process is too much fun IMO.


Discovery…which lead to a change in approach

mysterious device


…discovered the above amongst various sketches I had planned to post, oh-like, several months ago. At the time the goal was to show how pencil, Copic markers, and PS could play nice together. Unfortunately my interests shifted. Thus leaving this, along with dozens of other images, abandoned in a “to post” folder. Which brings me to this constant quandary of determining what post.

With most of my work falling under NDA, doodles hitting Instagram, or the more complex pieces in a type of slow-mo production I’ve found myself wondering what to share here. Well, after giving it plenty of thought I’ve decided to relax the rules a bit. This preference is not only mine but one shared by co-workers and friends. All of which say “You should post that on your blog” following some dry eraser board antic, random cartoon, or doodle in the margins of meeting notes.

So…all of this amounts to an official “I hear ya” and “okay, I’ll do it.” Starting now. *cringe!*

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