Christmas tag toons

This year, I pre-made Christmas gift tags using my trusty Wacom Intuos tablet and some Avery shipping labels (I still addressed the tags by hand with Prismacolor markers):

Santa ClauseSnowmanRudolph the red-nosed reindeergingerbread manelfpenguin

Mal and I thought my brother Tim deserved an extra-special tag, so I also drew Belsnickel:

Be you impish or admirable?


Mark Harman says

Hey Tyler, what is your app of choice to draw in with your tablet? I enjoy your line weights that you get. Do you recommend anything in particular for inspiration?


Tyler Sticka says

Thanks, Mark! I consider myself a relatively recent convert to inking with a tablet, so I appreciate the words of encouragement! I used to ink most of my drawings by hand (I still do that occasionally), but as I gain more experience (and with some help and advice from my buddy Colter Avara) I’m starting to prefer the digital process more and more.

For a while, my favorite application for drawing was Illustrator. I liked that the strokes I produced were resolution-independent, and that calligraphic brushes could yield pressure-sensitive lines while allowing me to tweak the individual points. This post has an example of something I drew in Illustrator.

More recently, I’ve gained enough confidence with the tablet that I’ve switched over to Photoshop. While Illustrator produces cleaner and more consistent lines, it can also eliminate a lot of the spontaneity from your drawing line. Illustrator helps you more, but it’s also less honest… with Photoshop, I usually feel what I draw is what I get.

I sometimes use the real media brushes in Photoshop, but most of the time I stick to a boring round brush… I favored Speedball’s “B” lettering nibs way back when, so I guess there’s some familiarity in using nice, round shapes.

Aside from that, all the principles of drawing and inking by hand carry over pretty seamlessly. I highly recommend checking out Paulo Rivera’s blog. He’s a wonderful artist and a master of both traditional and digital techniques.

I’m still learning, too, but I hope that gives you a bit to go on!


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