My Dumb and Dumber Zombies t-shirt is now available as an all-over direct-to-garment t-shirt from RageOn.Now you can say "I got worms … on my sleeves." Check it out at www.brianallen.rageon.com#art #dumbanddumber #mangastudio #illustration #instaart #tshirt #dtg #apparel #funny #zombie #Freelance

My Dumb and Dumber Zombies t-shirt is now available as an all-over direct-to-garment t-shirt from RageOn.Now you can say "I got worms … on my sleeves." Check it out at www.brianallen.rageon.com#art #dumbanddumber #mangastudio #illustration #instaart #tshirt #dtg #apparel #funny #zombie #Freelance Work in progress from the desk of illustrator Brian Allen
My Dumb and Dumber Zombies t-shirt is now available as an all-over direct-to-garment t-shirt from RageOn.Now you can say "I got worms ... on my sleeves." Check it out at www.brianallen.rageon.com#art #dumbanddumber  #mangastudio #illustration #instaart #tshirt #dtg #apparel #funny #zombie #Freelance

Illustration of a leprechaun firefighter I created. This image is available for licensing. please contact me at flylanddesigns@gmail.com for detailsIllustration by Brian Allen www.flylanddesigns.com #art #tshirt #tshirtdesign #mangastudio #illustration #instaart #fireman #licensing #stpatricks #leprechaun

Illustration of a leprechaun firefighter I created. This image is available for licensing. please contact me at flylanddesigns@gmail.com for detailsIllustration by Brian Allen www.flylanddesigns.com #art #tshirt #tshirtdesign #mangastudio #illustration #instaart #fireman #licensing #stpatricks #leprechaun Work in progress from the desk of illustrator Brian Allen
Illustration of a leprechaun firefighter I created. This image is available for licensing. please contact me at flylanddesigns@gmail.com  for detailsIllustration by Brian Allen www.flylanddesigns.com #art #tshirt #tshirtdesign #mangastudio #illustration #instaart #fireman #licensing #stpatricks #leprechaun

Logo of Flyland Designs

How to cheaply copyright your artwork

Every illustrator/Graphic Designer should listen to this podcast episode.  A friend referred it to me – it explains how to copyright your artwork cheaply.  Human Tree (one of my favorite artists), has mastered this process, and actually makes a significant income from suing those who steal his artwork.

Seriously has changed the way I look at everything involving my rights.  Turns out I’ve been doing it all wrong.  CHECK THIS OUT.

http://www.aidpodcast.com/copyfight/

 

Here’s another great video on copyrights for artists by the talented Will Terry:

Tshirt illustration of a tiki guy riding a dirtbike for @accidentalbroadcast. Really happy with how this turned out.Speed inking video: http://youtu.be/5X0QvIMuSYwIllustration by Brian Allen www.flylanddesigns.com #art #digital #mangastudio #illustration #instaart #Freelance #tiki #dirtbike

Tshirt illustration of a tiki guy riding a dirtbike for @accidentalbroadcast. Really happy with how this turned out.Speed inking video: http://youtu.be/5X0QvIMuSYwIllustration by Brian Allen www.flylanddesigns.com #art #digital #mangastudio #illustration #instaart #Freelance #tiki #dirtbike Work in progress from the desk of illustrator Brian Allen
Tshirt illustration of a tiki guy riding a dirtbike for @accidentalbroadcast. Really happy with how this turned out.Speed inking video:  http://youtu.be/5X0QvIMuSYwIllustration by Brian Allen www.flylanddesigns.com #art #digital #mangastudio #illustration #instaart #Freelance  #tiki #dirtbike

Tiki dude sketch i did for at tshirt design for Accidental BroadcastIllustration by Brian Allen www.flylanddesigns.com #art #digital #mangastudio #illustration #instaart #Freelance #tiki #motocross

Tiki dude sketch i did for at tshirt design for Accidental BroadcastIllustration by Brian Allen www.flylanddesigns.com #art #digital #mangastudio #illustration #instaart #Freelance #tiki #motocross Work in progress from the desk of illustrator Brian Allen
Tiki dude sketch i did for at tshirt design for Accidental BroadcastIllustration by Brian Allen www.flylanddesigns.com #art #digital #mangastudio #illustration #instaart #Freelance  #tiki #motocross

Great art reference book I just got from masters of anatomy. Com. The book has over a hundred different artists draw the same person in several angles. It's really helpful to see anatomy challenges tackled by so many different styles. Highly recommend.#art #digital #illustration #instaart #reference #anatomy

Great art reference book I just got from masters of anatomy. Com. The book has over a hundred different artists draw the same person in several angles. It's really helpful to see anatomy challenges tackled by so many different styles. Highly recommend.#art #digital #illustration #instaart #reference #anatomy Work in progress from the desk of illustrator Brian Allen
Great art reference book I just got from masters of anatomy. Com. The book has over a hundred different artists draw the same person in several angles. It's really helpful to see anatomy challenges tackled by so many different styles. Highly recommend.#art #digital #illustration #instaart #reference #anatomy

Working on a little something for my friends at strange kids club in manga studio 5.Illustration by Brian Allen www.flylanddesigns.com #art #digital #mangastudio #illustration #instaart #Freelance #strangekidsclub

Working on a little something for my friends at strange kids club in manga studio 5.Illustration by Brian Allen www.flylanddesigns.com #art #digital #mangastudio #illustration #instaart #Freelance #strangekidsclub Work in progress from the desk of illustrator Brian Allen
Working on a little something for my friends at strange kids club in manga studio 5.Illustration by Brian Allen www.flylanddesigns.com #art #digital #mangastudio #illustration #instaart #Freelance  #strangekidsclub

I tried to find an appropriate piece of artwork for Valentines Day. This is about as close as I could get. T-shirt design I did a year ago. Silkscreen 4 colors.#heart #valentine #skull #dagger #ART #tshirt #tshirtdesign

I tried to find an appropriate piece of artwork for Valentines Day. This is about as close as I could get. T-shirt design I did a year ago. Silkscreen 4 colors.#heart #valentine #skull #dagger #ART #tshirt #tshirtdesign Work in progress from the desk of illustrator Brian Allen
I tried to find an appropriate piece of artwork for Valentines Day. This is about as close as I could get. T-shirt design I did a year ago. Silkscreen 4 colors.#heart #valentine #skull #dagger #ART #tshirt #tshirtdesign

Sketching out a heavy dose of 'Merica!! For a t-shirt.Illustration by Brian Allen www.flylanddesigns.com #art #digital #mangastudio #illustration #instaart #Freelance #eAGLE #pencil #sketch #drawing #wacom

Sketching out a heavy dose of 'Merica!! For a t-shirt.Illustration by Brian Allen www.flylanddesigns.com #art #digital #mangastudio #illustration #instaart #Freelance #eAGLE #pencil #sketch #drawing #wacom Work in progress from the desk of illustrator Brian Allen
Sketching out a heavy dose of 'Merica!! For a t-shirt.Illustration by Brian Allen www.flylanddesigns.com #art #digital #mangastudio #illustration #instaart #Freelance  #eAGLE #pencil #sketch #drawing #wacom

Skeleton t-shirt I illustrated for the good people at explicit airbrush. Had a lot of fun with this.Illustration by Brian Allen www.flylanddesigns.com #art #digital #mangastudio #illustration #instaart #Freelance #skeleton #tshirt

Skeleton t-shirt I illustrated for the good people at explicit airbrush. Had a lot of fun with this.Illustration by Brian Allen www.flylanddesigns.com #art #digital #mangastudio #illustration #instaart #Freelance #skeleton #tshirt Work in progress from the desk of illustrator Brian Allen
Skeleton t-shirt I illustrated for the good people at explicit airbrush.  Had a lot of fun with this.Illustration by Brian Allen www.flylanddesigns.com #art #digital #mangastudio #illustration #instaart #Freelance  #skeleton #tshirt

A little throwback to an illustration I did years ago for the apparel brand FF Mafia. Will be working with them again soon!Illustration by Brian Allen www.flylanddesigns.com #art #digital #tshirt #reaper #grimreaper #instaart #skull

A little throwback to an illustration I did years ago for the apparel brand FF Mafia. Will be working with them again soon!Illustration by Brian Allen www.flylanddesigns.com #art #digital #tshirt #reaper #grimreaper #instaart #skull Work in progress from the desk of illustrator Brian Allen
A little throwback to an illustration I did years ago for the apparel brand FF Mafia.  Will be working with them again soon!Illustration by Brian Allen www.flylanddesigns.com #art #digital #tshirt #reaper #grimreaper #instaart #skull

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My tribute illustration to one of my favorite Iron Maiden album covers originally by the great Derek Riggs. I drew this in Manga studio and tried to add a bit of my own style to it. Failed miserably of course when compared the original, but it was fun.Illustration by Brian Allen www.flylanddesigns.com #art #digital #mangastudio #ironmaiden #killers #instaart # albumcoverart #albumcover

My tribute illustration to one of my favorite Iron Maiden album covers originally by the great Derek Riggs. I drew this in Manga studio and tried to add a bit of my own style to it. Failed miserably of course when compared the original, but it was fun.Illustration by Brian Allen www.flylanddesigns.com #art #digital #mangastudio #ironmaiden #killers #instaart # albumcoverart #albumcover Work in progress from the desk of illustrator Brian Allen
My tribute illustration to one of my favorite Iron Maiden album covers originally by the great Derek Riggs. I drew this in Manga studio and tried to add a bit of my own style to it.  Failed miserably of course when compared the original, but it was fun.Illustration by Brian Allen www.flylanddesigns.com #art #digital #mangastudio #ironmaiden #killers #instaart # albumcoverart #albumcover

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Pencil sketch of an illustration I created for a tribute to Iron Maiden 'Killers' album, one of my favorites. I'll post the finished piece tomorrow, I rhino it turned out really cool.Illustration by Brian Allen www.flylanddesigns.com #art #digital #mangastudio #zombies #ironmaiden #killers #sketch # pencil

Pencil sketch of an illustration I created for a tribute to Iron Maiden 'Killers' album, one of my favorites. I'll post the finished piece tomorrow, I rhino it turned out really cool.Illustration by Brian Allen www.flylanddesigns.com #art #digital #mangastudio #zombies #ironmaiden #killers #sketch # pencil Work in progress from the desk of illustrator Brian Allen
Pencil sketch of an illustration I created for a tribute to Iron Maiden 'Killers' album, one of my favorites.  I'll post the finished piece tomorrow, I rhino it turned out really cool.Illustration by Brian Allen www.flylanddesigns.com #art #digital #mangastudio #zombies #ironmaiden #killers #sketch # pencil

index

My top 3 favorite Freelance Illustration and Design Podcasts

Freelancing solo can be a pretty lonely gig. I try to keep in touch with other artists I’ve met to exchange tips and guidance (and also a lot of complaining and whining) – but everyone has a pretty busy schedule, and it can be hard to make time.

So I started listening to art and design podcasts, which are packed with useful direction and inspiration. I’ve learned more from listening to these shows about contracts, agents, clients, technique, pricing, copyrights, and more than I probably had ever known.  You can listen to these in iTunes, or straight from their websites.

Here are my top three favorites:
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1. Adventures in Design

http://www.aidpodcast.com/

 

Easily my favorite podcast in general, not just about design.  I have learned so much from these guys.  They are also incredibly funny, so it really makes the time fly while working listening to their commentary.  Their focus goes far beyond just gig posters (which both artists got their start in), and branches into illustration, graphic design, and most of all, the business of freelancing.  They are also brutally honest and candid.  They often interview very talented artists on the show as well, which brings in a lot of different perspectives.

And finally, you get the feeling that these guys are leaders in fighting for freelance artist’s rights –  defending against the horrors of design contests, spec work, low-pay, and other naughty things.
I highly recommend this – I recently discovered it, so I’m still catching up (I’m on episode 25).  The show is still ongoing.

 

 

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2. Big Illustration Party Time

http://illustrationparty.tumblr.com/

The format of this show is actually similar to Adventures in Design:  two talented artists with different but complimentary personalities talking shop about freelance illustration and design.  Unfortunately, the show is no longer ongoing, but there are 54 episodes which cover everything from artist agents, pricing, contracts, and other important things.  I find it so helpful because these are things that as freelancers we all need to know – yet they are difficult things to discuss with your peers because we are all at the same time colleagues and competitors.  What I take away the most after listening to this show is that no matter what level you are at currently, all freelance artists are fighting the same battles.

 

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3. Art & Story

http://www.cvcomics.com/artandstory/

 

This podcast is also no longer on-going, but there are almost 200 episodes in the archives.  This podcast explores freelance illustration from the comic book market perspective.  I don’t work much in that market, however, I still found their interviews and tips very helpful.

 

What are your favorites?

Please let me know in the comments – I’m sure I’m missing some good ones.

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Logo design I created for Kush Canvas, an a printer specializing in canvas and paper made from hemp. Had a lot of fun with this one.Www.flylanddesigns.com #MANGASTUDIO #ART #DIGITAL #drawing #instaart #logo #mascot

Logo design I created for Kush Canvas, an a printer specializing in canvas and paper made from hemp. Had a lot of fun with this one.Www.flylanddesigns.com #MANGASTUDIO #ART #DIGITAL #drawing #instaart #logo #mascot Work in progress from the desk of illustrator Brian Allen
Logo design I created for Kush Canvas, an a printer specializing in canvas and paper made from hemp. Had a lot of fun with this one.Www.flylanddesigns.com #MANGASTUDIO #ART #DIGITAL #drawing #instaart #logo #mascot

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Drawing i did in Manga studio 5 of an airbrushing skeleton. Check out my youtube review of Manga Studio 5: http://youtu.be/0MRZ4ytSkIQ#art #skull #instaart #mangastudio #skeleton #ink #drawing #airbrush

Drawing i did in Manga studio 5 of an airbrushing skeleton. Check out my youtube review of Manga Studio 5: http://youtu.be/0MRZ4ytSkIQ#art #skull #instaart #mangastudio #skeleton #ink #drawing #airbrush Work in progress from the desk of illustrator Brian Allen
Drawing i did in Manga studio 5 of an airbrushing skeleton.  Check out my youtube review of Manga Studio 5: http://youtu.be/0MRZ4ytSkIQ#art #skull #instaart #mangastudio #skeleton #ink #drawing #airbrush

Manga Studio 5 Review

What Manga Studio 5 Does Better Than Adobe Photoshop

I’ve been using Manga Studio 5 for over a year now, and I love it.  I set out to make a quick YouTube review of it, and “quick” quickly turned into over 15 minutes of me rambling.  There are so many cool new tools and features in MS5, that it was really hard to fit them all in.

If you’re considering purchasing new art software, you’ll definitely want to check this out.

 Watch the Full Video Review:

In Summary:

Manga Studio 5 Compared to Adobe Photoshop:

There are a TON of things that Manga Studio does better than Adobe Photoshop.  Can it replace it?  Maybe someday – but for now I think Adobe Photoshop is irreplaceable.  That being said, I use Manga Studio for 90% of all the artwork I create.  I usually use Adobe Photoshop for any work involving text, and for certain filters.

Manga Studio 5 sets out to out-shine Adobe Photoshop as a digital painting and drawing software, and in my opinion, it does that beautifully.

I find it far more enjoyable to use than Photoshop at painting, drawing, and especially inking.  It blends the intuitive painting and blending engines of Corel Painter with Adobe Photoshop’s intuitive interface and power.

Here’s a sample of some of the artwork I created in Manga Studio 5:

What’s Totally Freaking Awesome About Manga Studio 5

Features that you won’t find in Adobe Photoshop

  1. It’s CHEAP!

    1. It’s hard to compile a benefits list without mentioning the fact that it’s butt-loads cheaper than Adobe Photoshop.
    2. I’m currently using the Adobe Creative Cloud, Photographer’s bundle, which is only $10 a month (hard to complain about that).  But even at that price, it still ends up being $120/year.
    3. Manga Studio 5 is currently only $35 on Amazon.com:  Purchase it Here
  2. Paint with Transparency – my favorite feature

    1. Manga Studio 5 easily lets you switch to transparency as a color on the fly, making any brush instantly into an eraser.  Great for cleaning up linework, inking with “white,” and “erasing” away paint strokes that you laid on too heavy.
  3. Reference layers – extremely helpful tool when coloring

    Reference layers are an incredible concept, that I’ve never experience before in any other program.  It works like this:

    1. Choose any layer (or even a group of layers) to act as the Reference Layer by clicking the lighthouse icon in the layer menu.
    2. Now select a different layer.
    3. Choose a tool such as the magic wand, paintbucket, or eye-dropper, and make sure it is set to “Refer To Reference Layer.”
    4. Now, watch in amazement as the paint bucket fills, the wand selects, the eyedropper… uh, drops using data not from the layer you are editing, but from the reference layer!So what is this useful for?  I use it all the time when coloring artwork.  I create a flat color layer under my lineart, with no shading.  Comic book artists refer to these as “Flats.”  Then I create a new layer above the Flats, and set the Flats as a reference layer.  Now, as I color, I can quickly switch between the magic wand and my brush, and the magic wand makes selections based on the Flat layer.
      In Adobe Photoshop, I would have to constantly hide my color layer, switch to my flats layer, make the selection, unhide my color layer, switch back to the color layer, and paint.  Reference Layers in Manga Studio save me so much time.  And the same concept works for the paint bucket, along with other tools.
  4. Lasso Fill Tool

    This tool can be a free-form lasso, a polygon lasso, or a specific shape.  As soon as you are done drawing the shape, it fills with your foreground color automatically onto the canvas.

    1. Great for making smooth, irregular shapes when the Stabilization is set very high.
    2. Great for blocking in large areas of black or color.
    3. Great for quickly deleting large areas (when painting with transparency).
  5. Selection Pen Tool

    1. This is a special brush that instantly makes your stroke (or strokes if you hold down shift) into a marquee selection.  Great for painting lots of tiny highlights (when coloring with comic book style).
    2. You can configure this brush just like any other, with different brush shapes and pressure settings.
  6. Symmetrical Rulers!

    Similar to Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, Manga Studio 5 has some great symmetrical rulers.

    1. Draw a ruler anywhere that will mirror the image in real-time.  This doesn’t appear to slow down my machine at all.
    2. You can even draw up to 8 symmetrical rules at once, which can create some really cool Spiral-Graph-style designs (warning: this will probably slow down your machine a bit).
    3. Huge time saver (50%!).
  7. Gradient Layers

    1. This tool allows you to create a gradient that you can edit and resize (similar to Adobe Illustrator) in real-time even after you’ve laid it down.
    2. Change the size, add/remove colors, and change the spacing of the colors easily until you rasterize the gradient.
    3. You can also use gradients the traditional way if you choose.
  8. See flipped canvas in mirrored window

    1. One of my favorite features.  A trick I learned a while back was to constantly flip my canvas horizontally or vertically, which will make any errors you’ve made stick out like a sore thumb.  But flipping the canvas in Photoshop can take a little while to load (especially if you’re working with a large file), because it actually is transforming and flipping all the pixels on the canvas.
    2. Manga Studio does this in a much cleaner way – it is flipping the view, not the canvas itself.  So the result is instantaneous, and the result isn’t saved in the file.
    3. What’s even better, is that you can draw with one window in the original orientation, while having a second window open with the view flipped, and it’s updated in real-time.  This way you can spot errors as you make them.
  9. Half-tone Layers

    1. Easily editable at any time.  Great for setting up silk-screening artwork.

    2. In Adobe Photoshop, it’s very tedious creating halftones for silk-screening.  You have to output the layer, convert it to a bitmap, then choose a halftone pattern and size (if you don’t like it, you have to repeat the process), then copy and paste the pattern back into Photoshop for each screen.
    3. In Manga Studio, you can instantly change any layer in your document to a half-tone layer, and continuously adjust the size and shape of the halftone pattern, again and again.  You can even paint directly onto this layer, and watch it convert your airbrush strokes into solid dot goodness, with no lag at all.
    4. When you’re done, just rasterize the layer, and you’re all set!
  10. 3D poses

    1. Manga Studio comes with a library of 3D objects and mannequins which can be posed for reference, and dropped right into your artwork.
    2. I find the 3D engine in Manga Studio much more flexible and responsive (although it is suitable for reference only, not rendering – Photoshop takes the cake on that one).More Illustrations I created using Manga Studio 5:
  11. Can create full-color brushes

    1. Similar to Painter and Adobe Illustrator, the brushes you create can have full-color (not just a black and white imprint).
    2. In Adobe Photoshop, all the brushes you create can only be one solid color.
    3. This is great for creating custom textures, repeating icons and elements.
    4. There are also many ways to make the image curve with your stroke, so creating things like chain and rope brushes is very easy and effective.
  12. Better (in my opinion) organization and customization of brush palettes

    1. You can easily create and organize your own groups of brushes on the fly, and add them to your menu, or as a tabbed list.  I find this much easier than saving each brush group, and then replacing or appending it to the current list of brushes (as in Photoshop).
    2. HOWEVER – exporting brushes from Manga Studio is very cumbersome, and definitely needs an update.  While you can upload many brushes at once, you can only export one at a time.
  13. Color Wheel

    1. I have never liked Photoshop’s color picker, and have always preferred Corel Painter’s color wheel.  Manga Studio’s color picker is almost identical to Painter’s.  I find it much easier to quickly pick and adjust colors.
    2. In Adobe Photoshop, I use a plugin called Magic Picker (http://anastasiy.com/colorwheel) which is a great way to emulate a Corel Painter style color picker.  But it would be nice if this feature was built into Photoshop.
    3. NOTE:  Adobe Photoshop CC 2014 finally introduced a Color Picker palette that is similar, but I think it still falls short, because there is no color wheel.
  14. Image movement isn’t LOCKED in a window

    1. When working with two or more windows at once, Photoshop won’t allow you to pan beyond the document bounds unless you are zoomed in to the point that the document bounds exceeds the size of the window.
    2. This is very annoying when working with a Cintiq, because I often like to have the part of the image I’m working on in the center (where it’s most comfortable to draw), so I pan the canvas around a lot.
  15. Smart Paint Bucket

    In Adobe Photoshop, the paint bucket in my opinion was so useless that I simply forgot about it.  In Manga Studio, I actually use it quite frequently, because it’s so much more effective and customizable.

    1. You can make the fill area expand or shrink by a certain number of pixels, which is very helpful when coloring underneath lineart to avoid ghost outlines where the anti-aliasing of the lineart meets the color fill.
    2. You can control the sensitivity of what the bucket considers a closed area.  This is the Close Gap feature.  This is extremely useful, because I often don’t enclose my shapes completely with lineart.  If there is just a tiny gap, it will still fill the area as if it were closed.
    3. Very useful when set to reference layers, because you can use data from a layer that is out of sight.
  16. Smart Magic Wand

    The same goes for the magic wand.  It’s extremely customizable and flexible compared to the two parameters Adobe Photoshop offers.

    1. Can also be set to automatically expand or shrink the selected area immediately after clicking.  This is useful because I would often make a selection in Adobe Photoshop, and then go to Expand Selection by a couple pixels to make sure my color and lineart overlapped.
    2. Can also close gaps.
    3. Can select from layers other than the one you are currently editing.
  17. Layer Property menu

    1. You can change the entire color of a layer’s contents easily.  This is particularly useful when designing artwork for silk-screen applications.  Each layer can be painted with black, but it can appear on screen as a different color.  You can apply this effect to an entire group – which allows a quick way to make sure every layer in your group is the same color.

    2. Great for turning pencils into “non-photo” blue when inking.
  18. Edit/delete from multiple layers at once

    This is something that I’ve waned in Photoshop for quite some time.  If you make a selection in Manga Studio 5, and then OPTION+CLICK each layer that you want to delete from, and then hit delete, it will delete content in that selected area from ALL those layers at once.  In Adobe Photoshop, you’d have to hit delete individually for each layer you want to delete from.

    1. Can even make a whole group into a clipping mask.
    2. Easily delete a selection from a multiple layers at once.
  19. Copy/Paste from multiple layers

    Even better is the ability to copy and paste from multiple layers at once.

    1. You can make a selection with the lasso tool, then highlight multiple layers, and copy (or cut) and paste the artwork into new layers in one action.
    2. The only way to do this in Adobe Photoshop would be to put the layers into a group, and mask the group.
    3. Copy Merged is also a solution, but this is only useful if you don’t mind the layers being merged.
  20. Smaller File Size

    1. A PSD saved in Manga Studio is about 30% smaller than the same exact file saved in Photoshop.  I’m not sure why this is – perhaps Photoshop is saving a lot of extra data that I don’t usually use.
      More Illustrations I created using Manga Studio 5:
  21. Subview window for reference and color picking

    This is a cool tool that I think is exclusive to Manga Studio.

    1. It’s a palette that opens a preview of any image without actually opening the file, and keeps in on display for reference or color picking.

    2. Also, you can open many files at once in this window, and just flip between them.
    3. Your cursor instantly becomes an eye-dropper tool when you hover over it, making it a virtual palette.
    4. This is very useful when working on something like a children’s book or comic book when there are a lot of the same characters that you need to redraw with the same colors.
  22. Mesh Transform multiple layers at once

    1. Manga Studio’s mesh transform tool is better (in my opinion) than Photoshop’s Warp Transform tool, because you can transform an entire grouping of layers at once.  In Photoshop, you can only Warp Transform one layer at a time.  This usually forced me to merge layers when I didn’t want to.
    2. You can also add mesh points (similar to Adobe Illustrator) to give you more precise control over your transformations.
    3. However, it falls short when compared to Adobe Photoshop’s liquify tool.
  23. Periodic Backups

    1. The program automatically saves iterations of you file as you work on it, just in case the unthinkable happens.  If, for example, you accidentally flatten your image, you can then go into the Manga Studio Library folder (on Mac) and find your file.
    2. It only keeps a certain number of backups total as temporary files, so you don’t have to worry about managing these files to manage space.
    3. Adobe Photoshop CC saves backups – however, these are only saved and accessible if the program has crashed.
  24. Undo whole group of strokes in one “Undo” action

    1. Often, you might make a whole series of quick strokes with the brush (say for example, 10 brushstrokes), and then decide you don’t like what you’ve done.  In Adobe Photoshop, you’d have to hit Undo 10 times.  In Manga Studio, it sees these quick strokes as one action, so it will undo the whole series.
    2. You can adjust how Manga Studio groups the brushstrokes (as well as turning this feature off).
  25. Convert Brightness To Opacity

    1. In one step (accessed from the Edit menu), you can cleanly remove the “white” or light areas and turn them into transparency.
    2. This is very useful for extracting flattened lineart from scans.
    3. In Adobe Photoshop, I normally did this in the Channels palette – but I find that Manga Studio does a much more accurate job.
  26. Draw straight lines while holding shift

    1. Unlike Photoshop, this feature shows you a preview of where your line will be as you hold shift, which is very useful.
    2. Stroke is unaffected by pen pressure (won’t get smaller toward the end), unlike Adobe Photoshop (which I always found annoying, because if I’m drawing a straight line, I usually want it to be the same thickness throughout).
  27. Rulers!

    1. There is an incredible number of rulers you can use in real-time on your canvas.
      1. Curves
      2. Parallel lines
      3. Ellipses
      4. Concentric circles
      5. Focus line
      6. Perspective Rulers (awesome!)
    2. The rulers are easily moveable, adjustable, and resizable, just by holding the CMD key as you hover over a ruler.  No need to switch tools.
    3. You can also easily toggle them on and off just with a keyboard shortcut – so it’s easy to flip back and forth between free-hand drawing and ruled-drawing.
    4. You can even draw your own rulers using the Ruler Pen!

Improvements made from Manga Studio 4

  1. Overall better User Interface
    1. The MS4 interface was a bit clunky, and felt like Windows 2000, with palettes floating everywhere.
    2. The new interface combines the best things of both Adobe Photoshop and Corel Painter.
    3. You can now rearrange and dock palettes, and collapse menus.  This is the most customizable interface of all the other software I’ve mentioned so far.
    4. You can now save different Workspaces.
  2. Improved file-handling

    1. Fixed strange file saving structure (used to be in a folder)

    2. You can now work on documents as large as 166 inches square (the limit was only 16 inches in MS 4).

  3. Much improved brush engine

    1. Tons of options (maybe too many)

    2. Lock editability of brush

  4. Much less limited image size

    1. In EX4, you were limited to 16 inch documents, which becomes tricky when designing T-Shirts.

  5. Ruler system greatly improved.

    1. EX4’s rulers were complicated, and difficult to edit.

    2. Now you can easily turn on and off a ruler, or move it to other layers.

    3. Perspective rulers also seem easier to use.

  6. Coloring greatly improved

    1. Import color swatches from Photoshop, and save them.

    2. Tons of new painting tools similar to Painter

    3. Active color wheel like Painter

  7. Added blending modes similar to Adobe Photoshop
    1. Nearly all the blending modes (for both layers and brushes) you’d come to expect are now here.  There are a few additions too that Photoshop doesn’t have, such as Glow Dodge (which is similar to Linear Dodge in Photoshop).
    2. My only complaint is that a Color blending mode appears to be missing – Soft Light works well as a substitute.
  8. Much improved layer and layer group system
    1. I found MX4’s layer system to be too complicated.  The new system mirrors Adobe Photoshop in all the good ways.

 

Thanks for reading!  If I’ve missed any features, or if you have any questions, please leave them in the comments section.

To check out more of my work, or to hire me:

http://www.flylanddesigns.com

Hockey Themed Website Background Illustration

Hockey Themed Website Background Illustration

Hockey Themed Website Background Illustration

Hockey Themed Website Background Illustration

Hockey Themed Website Background Illustration

Hockey Themed Website Background Illustration

I was hired to illustrated this custom website background for a sports review outlet called 2BC. The client wanted a detailed illustration of a huge hockey fight in an arena. The illustration was set up so that the different hockey players and refs in the brawl could move along with the content of the site, independently of the background. I created the artwork in Manga Studio, and colored it in Adobe Photoshop.

Skull T-Shirt Design for MMA Apparel Brand

Skull T-Shirt Design for MMA Apparel Brand

Skull T-Shirt Design for MMA Apparel Brand

I was hired to illustrate this T-Shirt design for one of my favorite clients, Darkhorse Fightwear, for their new line of MMA apparel. The design was set up for silk-screen using three colors, and illustrated in Manga Studio and Adobe Photoshop. The design was inspired by a previous illustration I created a few years ago – it was fun to revisit it and test out some new skills while illustrating it. The design features a skull in the center with wings and chains surrounding.

Comic Book Vehicle Wrap

Comic Book Vehicle Wrap

Comic Book Vehicle Wrap

Comic Book Vehicle Wrap

Comic Book Vehicle Wrap

Comic Book Vehicle Wrap

Comic Book Vehicle Wrap

I created this full graphic wrap for a company that manufactures office scanning equipment in conjunction with Twist Creative Parners. The client wanted to wrap their hummer in a design that would attract attention, and make their product look cool. We came up with the idea of having an alien invastion blasting a hole through an office cubicle, with the office scanners sitting in a pile of wreckage, perfectly in tact. I drew up two comic book style office characters to tie everything together.

The finished graphics were printed on vinyl and will be wrapped to cover every inch of the black humvee. It was a pleasure working on this!

Superhero Bar Poster

Superhero Bar Poster

Superhero Bar Poster

Custom illustration I created for a bar in the UK called The Parish. We designed their superhero mascot to be present on all their advertising, posters, and signage at the bar. In this poster advertising their food selection, I illustrated the hero lifting a large tray of food for an attractive waitress. It was a lot of fun to draw all the details for the pile of food.

Drawn and inked in Manga Studio, and colored in Adobe Photoshop.

Comic Book Zombie Splash Page

Comic Book Zombie Splash Page

Comic Book Zombie Splash Page

Custom illustration I created for a website splash page and fantasy game. I was asked to draw the game’s heroes, who are infected with a mutating virus, along with their sidekicks: a zombie jaguar and a zombie bear. The client and I invisioned a world where not even the plant-life has escaped being mutated by the zombie virus.
I created this in Manga Studio and Adobe Photoshop.

Tiki Man Motocross Rider T-Shirt Illustration

Tiki Man Motocross Rider T-Shirt Illustration

Tiki Man Motocross Rider T-Shirt Illustration

Tiki Man Motocross Rider T-Shirt Illustration

Tiki Man Motocross Rider T-Shirt Illustration

This is a fun illustration I created of a tiki man riding a dirtbike for the brand Accidental Broadcast. The brand centers around a popular Youtube personality, Kalani Prince, who films the island of Hawaii from the back of his dirtbike.

Kalani gave me a lot of freedom with the design. Since this was the brand’s first design, I thought it would be a good idea to introduce his personality as this Tiki character, with an attractive hula girl hanging tight.

I also designed the a logo to match the design for his brand.

Chess Medieval Themed Vaping eJuice Labels

Chess Medieval Themed Vaping eJuice Labels

Chess Medieval Themed Vaping eJuice Labels

Chess Medieval Themed Vaping eJuice Labels

Chess Medieval Themed Vaping eJuice Labels

Chess Medieval Themed Vaping eJuice Labels

Chess Medieval Themed Vaping eJuice Labels

Chess Medieval Themed Vaping eJuice Labels

Chess Medieval Themed Vaping eJuice Labels

Chess Medieval Themed Vaping eJuice Labels

Chess Medieval Themed Vaping eJuice Labels

Chess Medieval Themed Vaping eJuice Labels

Chess Medieval Themed Vaping eJuice Labels

Chess Medieval Themed Vaping eJuice Labels

Chess Medieval Themed Vaping eJuice Labels

I was hired to illustrate and design this new line of eJuice vaping flavors for Valgous. The client approached me with the idea of having each flavor represented by six different chess pieces. I thought it would be cool to illustrate the labels as if the characters were from a dark, fantasy kingdom.

In addition, I also designed the logo for the series, Valgous: Slayer, and even designed the point-of-purchase display. The series will be distributed and sold to vaping outlets around the country.

We are also planning a line of t-shirts featuring the characters to help promote the new line.

Evil Superhero T-Shirt Illustration

Evil Superhero T-Shirt Illustration

I was recently hired to design a new T-Shirt for the Yellow Stripe Records brand in Portugal. After working with a couple of concepts, we decided on the idea of having a Superhero has gone mad, and destroyed the city he once he protected. Deep! He’s crouched on a pile of wrecked keyboards, speakers, and dj equipment.

This t-shirt was set up for silk-screening, using three colors.Evil Superhero T-Shirt Illustration

Evil Superhero T-Shirt Illustration

Evil Superhero T-Shirt Illustration

Evil skull design with wings and chains for a MMA apparel brand

Skull T-Shirt Design for MMA Apparel Brand

I was hired to illustrate this T-Shirt design for one of my favorite clients,  Darkhorse Fightwear, for their new line of MMA apparel.  The design was set up for silk-screen using three colors, and illustrated in Manga Studio and Adobe Photoshop.  The design was inspired by a previous illustration I created a few years ago – it was fun to revisit it and test out some new skills while illustrating it.  The design features a skull in the center with wings and chains surrounding.
Evil skull design with wings and chains for a MMA apparel brand

Evil skull design with wings and chains for a MMA apparel brand

Evil skull design with wings and chains for a MMA apparel brand

Evil skull design with wings and chains for a MMA apparel brand

Evil skull design with wings and chains for a MMA apparel brand

Evil skull design with wings and chains for a MMA apparel brand

Gangster hip-hop zombie digital painting smoking a cigar

Hip-Hop Zombie Gangsta Digital Painting

Digital painting of a zombie I was commissioned to create for the author Danny King as an avatar and branding identity for his sports blog.  I really enjoy making things look creepy and funny at the same time – I tried to pump a lot of personality into the character.  I seem to really like drawing people and zombies smoking cigars – not sure why that is.  This zombie painting was created in Manga Studio 5, with color adjustments and effects handled in Adobe Photoshop.Gangster hip-hop zombie digital painting smoking a cigar

Gangster hip-hop zombie digital painting smoking a cigar

Gangster hip-hop zombie digital painting smoking a cigar

Gangster hip-hop zombie digital painting smoking a cigar

Website app UI illustration and design featuring cartoon characters

Website Background Illustration for e-commerce site

I was hired to illustrate and design a series of characters and backgrounds for an e-commerce website.  The characters were all cartoon “blockheads” that interact with the hand-drawn user-interface we designed for the website.  It was a fun challenge to come up with interesting layouts that didn’t compete with the functionality of the website.  This website is still under development – I’ll post the link soon.
Website app UI illustration and design featuring cartoon characters

Website app UI illustration and design featuring cartoon characters

Website app UI illustration and design featuring cartoon characters

Website app UI illustration and design featuring cartoon characters

Website app UI illustration and design featuring cartoon characters

Evil monkeys jumping out of a barrel full of monkeys

Barrel Of Evil Monkeys T-Shirt Illustration

I was hired to create a T-Shirt design for a new apparel brand called Saltopus.  I was given only the direction that it had to include angry monkeys.  I illustrated a few concept sketches, and the client chose this concept, of evil monkeys emerging from an innocent looking Barrel of Monkeys toy.  The shirt was designed to be just one-color, which always poses a challenge.  Since I have no highlight or shading color, I really have to pack a lot of detail into the lineart and make sure it reads well from a distance.  We are both very happy with how this turned out.
Evil monkeys jumping out of a barrel full of monkeys

Evil monkeys jumping out of a barrel full of monkeys

Evil monkeys jumping out of a barrel full of monkeys

Evil monkeys jumping out of a barrel full of monkeys

Evil monkeys jumping out of a barrel full of monkeys

Evil monkeys jumping out of a barrel full of monkeys

Mascot design of a rock drill instructor for a mud run obstacle course

Mud Run Rock Drill Sergeant Mascot Design

Mascot design of a rock drill instructor for a mud run obstacle course

Mascot design of a rock drill instructor for a mud run obstacle course

Mascot design of a rock drill instructor for a mud run obstacle course

Mascot design of a rock drill instructor for a mud run obstacle course

I created this mascot design of a drill sergeant made of rock and mud for Hardcore Muddrun, one of the leading obstacle training courses.  The client needed a mascot for their website, apparel, and other branding.  We are also working on several different poses, along with an animation in the future.  This is probably as close as I will ever get to an actual mud run!

Football tailgate colorful comic book cartoon illustation of fans and football player

Football Tailgate Cartoon Characters

I created this detailed cartoon scene of football fans, cheerleaders, and players in a stadium parking lot for Coolbone It, a company that creates really cool looking customized coolers.  The coolers wrap full-color graphics around the entire surface of the cooler, making it a piece of artwork.  This design was an incredible challenge, because there were so many characters to draw, and I had to create the design in a way that could be repeated seamlessly on each end, so it could wrap around he cooler.  I’m very pleased with how this turned out.

Football tailgate colorful comic book cartoon illustation of fans and football player

Football tailgate colorful comic book cartoon illustation of fans and football player

Football tailgate colorful comic book cartoon illustation of fans and football player

Football tailgate colorful comic book cartoon illustation of fans and football player

Football tailgate colorful comic book cartoon illustation of fans and football player

Football tailgate colorful comic book cartoon illustation of fans and football player

Football tailgate colorful comic book cartoon illustation of fans and football player

Drone STEM science logo illustration design

STEM Drone Engagement Logo

This program uses the cool technology of piloting a Drone as a teaching activity for STEM students.  The company asked me to design and illustrate their logo, with a very clean and technical look, focusing on the image of the Drone.  Sometimes it’s nice to venture outside of my usual style, and this was no exception.  The logo was created as a vector graphic, and supplied in color, grayscale, and black and white versions for different applications.

Drone STEM science logo illustration design

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My finished dumb and dumber zombie parody illustration on a t-shirt available from designbyhumans.com.What do you think?Www.designbyhumans.com/shop/men/dead-and-deader-zombie-tribute-to-dumb-and-dumber/91276

My finished dumb and dumber zombie parody illustration on a t-shirt available from designbyhumans.com.What do you think?Www.designbyhumans.com/shop/men/dead-and-deader-zombie-tribute-to-dumb-and-dumber/91276 Work in progress from the desk of illustrator Brian Allen
My finished dumb and dumber zombie parody illustration on a t-shirt available from designbyhumans.com.What do you think?Www.designbyhumans.com/shop/men/dead-and-deader-zombie-tribute-to-dumb-and-dumber/91276

Parody tribute t-shirt illustration of Dumb and Dumber Harry and Lloyd as zombies created by Freelance Illustrator Brian Allen

Dumb and Dumber Zombie Tribute Illustration Process

T-Shirt illustration I created as a tribute to one of the greatest films ever made: Dumb and Dumber. The piece is called “Dead and Deader,” and features Harry (Jeff Daniels) and Lloyd (Jim Carey) as decaying zombie corpses.

The t-shirt illustration was set up for silk-screening using 6 colors. It was a challenge to find the right color scheme for all these items (the iconic tuxedos, the worm farm, the Shaggin Wagon) with such limited color. But I’m very happy with how it turned out. I also recorded a speed-painting tutorial for my YouTube channel that I’m excited to share.

Check out this speed-painting tutorial video I created showing the entire illustration process:

Dumb and Dumber Zombie Tribute Illustration

Pencil drawing created in Manga Studio 5, using a variation of a pencil brush I purchased from the talented Jonathon Rector.  Ray Frenden also makes fantastic pencil brushes that you should check out.

Parody tribute t-shirt illustration of Dumb and Dumber Harry and Lloyd as zombies created by Freelance Illustrator Brian Allen

Inks

Parody tribute t-shirt illustration of Dumb and Dumber Harry and Lloyd as zombies created by Freelance Illustrator Brian Allen

Ink Work-in-progress

The design is now all inked and ready to color.  Coloring is one of the least time-consuming parts of the process for me, but it adds the most to the illustration.

Dumb and dumber tribute illustrationParody tribute t-shirt illustration of Dumb and Dumber Harry and Lloyd as zombies created by Freelance Illustrator Brian Allen

Detail shot of a pretty bird…pretty bird.

Here are a few detail shots of the illustration.  I tried to cram as many Dumb and Dumber references that I could into the illustration.  Here’s Petey, not looking so good.

Parody tribute t-shirt illustration of Dumb and Dumber Harry and Lloyd as zombies created by Freelance Illustrator Brian Allen

Detail image

Parody tribute t-shirt illustration of Dumb and Dumber Harry and Lloyd as zombies created by Freelance Illustrator Brian Allen

Detail image

I really enjoyed drawing the Shaggin Wagon – I hope they bring it back in the sequel.

Parody tribute t-shirt illustration of Dumb and Dumber Harry and Lloyd as zombies created by Freelance Illustrator Brian Allen

T-Shirt Mockup

And here is the final illustration!  I’m very please with how it turned out.  I created two versions:  a full-color version, and a silk-screen version.  The differences are subtle, but in the silk-screen version, I had to come up with creative ways to create a lot of depth and color using only six colors.

 

Parody tribute t-shirt illustration of Dumb and Dumber Harry and Lloyd as zombies created by Freelance Illustrator Brian Allen

Full-Color Version

Parody tribute t-shirt illustration of Dumb and Dumber Harry and Lloyd as zombies created by Freelance Illustrator Brian Allen

6-Color Silk-Screen Version

 

 

Dumb and dumber tribute illustrationParody tribute t-shirt illustration of Dumb and Dumber Harry and Lloyd as zombies created by Freelance Illustrator Brian Allen

Dumb and Dumber Tribute Illustration Coming Soon…

Pretty bird…Pretty bird… Polly want a cracker?

I can’t wait to share this Dumb and Dumber tribute image I’m working on with you next week. I’m really, really happy with it.

Also, I noticed that I’m just two Likes away from 5,000 – how did that happen? Thanks so much, it really means a lot. Have a great weekend!

Dumb and dumber tribute illustration

Dumb and dumber tribute illustration

#dumbanddumber #tribute #illustrations


To check out more of my work, or to hire me:

http://www.flylanddesigns.com

Nursing classroom illustrations with cartoon comic teen characters

Brochure Illustrations for Elsevier

Classroom illustrations I created for a brochure for Elsevier, the leading provider of informational publications for medical and scientific audiences. The client needed a series of illustraitons showing how a new book they were publishing can help teachers engage their students more effectively. The illustration was set up in a way that left a lot of empty areas for text and call-outs to be placed without interfereing with the illustration. Digitally drawn and colored in Manga Studio 5.Nursing classroom illustrations with cartoon comic teen characters

Nursing classroom illustrations with cartoon comic teen characters

Nursing classroom illustrations with cartoon comic teen characters

Spiral Direct Dragon

Evil Dragon and Knight T-Shirt Design for Spiral Direct

T-Shirt illustration I created for Spiral Direct of a warrior confronting an evil dragon. I digitally painted this illustration in Adobe Photoshop and Manga Studio 5. This piece was very challenging for me, because of the complex lighting. The client and I went through several revisions, which in the end really improved on the piece. Available from Spiral Direct.Spiral Direct Dragon

Fantasy digital painting of a dragon and a knight

Fantasy digital painting of a dragon and a knight

Sports mascot illustration of an angry jaguar head

Jaguar Cartoon Sports Mascot

Custom illustration I created of an angry Jaguar head for sports mascots provided by Great Dane Graphics. Since much of my artwork is lineart driven, it’s fun to sometimes deviate from that style and explore digital painting a bit more. It can be tricky to translate my style into digital painting, but I tried my best by giving this jaguar a lot of character and attitude. This design was created in Adobe Photoshop and Manga Studio 5, and will be used for T-Shirts and uniforms. Available for licensing from Great Dane Graphics.