Zine Template + Layout Document

While preparing materials for a workshop recently I created a leave-behind, a summary of sorts, in zine format. Given the effort behind this zine it seems only fitting to share source files. So if you’re looking for a digital solution that turns a standard, 8.5”x11” letter-size into an 8-panel zine this may help.

THE STORYBOARD TEMPLATE (PDF)150622_zine-storyboard

This first document, which amounts to a single zine page (1 of 8), is a planning document. Print as many as you like and work directly on it. Just remember, ultimately you’re going to need 8 of these to call it good. Once you’re satisfied with your content simply scan the pages and use the InDesign document to help position each page.




The second document, which is the InDesign file, merely positions each image for easy printing. Those unfamiliar with InDesign may consider overwriting the existing zine images (“Links / …jpg” ) with their own scanned pages to instantly position content. However, if you’re familiar with InDesign…well, you know what to do.

Finally, due to the inherent variation in printer specifications there’s no guarantee an edge won’t get a lil’ chopped. If this happens I trust you know your printer well enough to, say, scale things down a bit. Trust I hope it prints perfectly though.


Download » Zine Storyboard Template (PDF – 50 KB)
Download » Zine Layout Template (INDD – 1.6 MB)

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.




Making Jellyszzz (pt. 2)

A friend (and amazing craftsman) loaned me his shrink wrap sealer and…well, it’s on now. Since the sealer bonds the plastic together there’s no visible scars, seams, or added materials. All that’s needed is an ornament hook. Only I haven’t addressed coloring yet. So far straight acrylic, acrylic + window cleaner, spray paint, and food color have been tested but ultimately detract from the design. A fellow designer suggested “laundry detergent” along with “black lighting” to produce a safe, long lasting, glow effect. While I’m game for that…it feels like an Art Prize entry to be honest. Hint-hint.

S’anyhow…tonight I took two glow-stick bracelets, activated ’em, cut both ends open, and emptied the content into the “jelly bag.” At first it didn’t appear to work. But with the lights out…

…now to be fair, this is a 10-second time exposure and the damn thing wouldn’t stop rotating Hence the blur. So it’s alil’ brighter in the above image than in real-life. Regardless, it glows. Even the tentacles. Which I managed to do by dipped my fingers into the glowing solution and running them down the long strips.

My next step is to upgrade the glow sticks. Screw those tiny bracelet ones. Standard size glow-sticks will really make things pop. Speaking of, I now have 10 of these things above my head. -But jus’ wait until I figure out how to light ’em and add a water effect.

Making Sidewalk Chalk

I’ve been wanting to do this for awhile…and now FINALLY. Sidewalk chalk. Homemade. And from legal materials.

What are the key ingredients? Two. “Plaster of Paris” (aka “plaster”) and tempera paint. That’s it. Oh, and you’ll need molds. Paper towel tubes work great. But first, you’d need to line them with wax paper. Kinda like this…


…only you don’t have to get all particular. Really. I happen to cut the tube length-wise and use spray mount to attach the wax paper to the tube’s interior. That way I could control the diameter of the mold, by overlapping the edge, as opposed to being stuck with a set size. See?…


…overlapping edge. Smaller diameter. Next, simply following the directions on whatever stock of plaster you purchase ($3). Note that if the directions say “1 lb. of plaster …” that 1lb. amounts to 16 ounces or 2 cups. I mixed half the recommended amount -and that yielded 2 pieces of chalk. Anyhow, once the plaster was mixed I simply added tempera paint.


To create a strong pink I had to add lotz of red to the pink paint to richen the value.


After a thoroughly mixing I poured it into the tubes. For orange I had to mix and add a stronger pigment as the orange straight from the bottle was weak. Red + yellow, baby. Only more red than usual.


Typically you’ll find 1-part red to 3-parts yellow works. For this I did 1-part red to 2-part yellow. But, seriously, moving on…


…same process as above. Mix ‘n pour.


In just under an hour I was able to release the mold…

ud_110514b_05…and see the results. Overall this method makes a noticeable softer chalk with, due to pigment control, deeper colors.

ud_110514b_06This was the test. Next, I’m planning to make the usual batch of colors…plus a version of white that contains glitter.

-I mentioned these weren’t for me, right? You knew that I hope. Cause what would I do with sidewalk chalk?? Like, draw?! -Psssh! Yeahright.

App: Air Display


I’ve been enjoying “Air Display” for the iPad. It allows me to use my iPad as a second monitor. The refresh rate is great and…

…I can use the pad’s touch features. Crazy.

Snippet: “User-Focused” (updated)


A snippets from a recent “graphic recording” session. Though challenging the process is raw, irreversible (because normally I use Sharpies), and fast-paced. I’m still honing which tools work best. An apron will be the next thing I purchase along with Tomboy Markers and Sharpie Super Twin Tip. I’ve learned the apron is just a necessary evil. Sure, it looks odd with slacks and a dress shirt. But who cares? The pockets will help store my iPhone and many other items. The iPhone, or any smart phone, rules when it comes to hitting the “WordBook XL“ app and/or using Google images for reference.

Recently I had the pleasure of working with Ronna Alexander. She has a wide range of skills and does great graphic reporting. Check her out. In short, she can create more in a few hours than some artists can generate over weeks.

Received some great feedback from Jeanelle with Big Picture Solutions within the comments. -Thanks, Jeanelle! I’m moving your thoughts to the post area:

“If you’re doing large-scale graphic recording, then what you create doesn’t need to be irreversible.  Here’s a tip: get some white address labels and consider them your boo-boo strips.  Put something up on a page and need to change it?  Slap a label over it and keep on going!  : )

Tombows are a staple for my graphic recording, as are – surprisingly – the sharpie flip chart marker sets.  No chisel point, but no bleed-through either.”

© 2020 Umami Design Studio