I really enjoy drawing weird things.

The Holiday Doodles continue on, though I scaled them back from 7 days a week to Monday through Friday. It gives me a little more breathing room, and they’ve always felt like a work/school kind of thing to me.

One big change this month is that I’ve gone from drawing them on 4×6 notecards with a pencil and pen to drawing them completely on the computer. Less wasteful of paper, and I can re-do the final black lines as many times as I want, instead of having to get the rough sketch just right, then pray that I draw it correctly with the pen.

Previously, here’s an example from last April of the pencil sketch process:


I also photographed the final drawings, then used Photoshop to lighten them up and boost the contrast so I could then import them into Illustrator. (We do have a scanner/printer, but I hate the scanner. Takes forEVER, when it decides to work. Because it’s an HP machine. NEVER AGAIN, HP.)

Now, I do the rough sketches in blue:

February 20's sketch
February 20’s sketch

This was for Love Your Pet Day combined with Clean Out Your Bookshelves Day. The choice of blue is a throwback to the use of no-photo blue pencils for rough work; you could do the black final art right over the top, and specific camera/scanner settings would make the blue pretty much invisible, so you didn’t need to erase.

After I go crazy with the rough sketch, I throw a new layer on top, switch my pen to black, then do the final drawing. Right hand with the pen on the graphics tablet, left hand with two fingers resting on Ctrl and Z (undo).

February 23rd - a cupcake playing tennis
February 23rd – a cupcake playing tennis

I think it’s really giving me cleaner, more consistent lines. I tried doodling using the computer a couple of years ago, but at that time I found I preferred paper and pen. I don’t know what changed, but something certainly did.

I also believe that doing these doodles is making me a better illustrator. I’ve done Mario a few times before, but this one is by far my best one.

Mar. 10: Mario Day! Also, bagpipes.
Mar. 10: Mario Day! Also, bagpipes.

(Also, I would totally play the bagpipes if they were made to look like a power-up mushroom.)