Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Happy Holidays!

So we don't know about you, but over at the Monkey + Seal studio things are a bit hectic preparing for the madness that is December 25th.

Anyhoo, Monkey and Seal are going to take a little bit of a break from posting on the bloggy. We need to take a bit of time for ourselves and to get ramped up for all the new goodness that we have planned for 2010. We'll be back Monday January 4th with our usual MWFSa posting schedule!

Thanks again for all your support and we hope to bring you bigger and better events, art, products, and blog posts in the New Year!

Monkey + Seal (Rick & Eve)

PS - Don't forget to mark your calendars for the Animation On Display expo on January 30-31! We'll be in the artists' alley!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Monkey's Silkscreen Book, pt. 1

So in Monkey's last semester of study at the Academy of Art, he took a silkscreen portfolio class. Never having attempted to work on a single project an entire 15 weeks, Monkey was often frustrated and wanted to do other projects. While he ended up doing lots of prints on the side, he nevertheless buckled down and finished a twelve double-sided page looseleaf book (so 24 pages in all).

All the pages pinned up for the final class.

The book is a reproduction of a fictional biologist who lives in a world (Buuterra) that has just discovered flight. Centered in this world is a huge mountain range that is too high for anyone (until now) to climb. When the scientists (including the biologist's mentor) on the maiden voyage of the first airship goes missing, this biologist is recruited to go after them to find out what happened to his mentor and what strange creatures lie beyond the foggy peaks of the mountains.

The map of the Heart of Buuterra, where the story takes place.

Part fractured novel, part naturalist's sketch book, Monkey's book project was printed in an edition of 10, with 1 Artist's proof book. They are bound loose leaf in a faux leather portfolio. The books run for $330 and will be up on Etsy within the next week or so (which really translates into: sometime before the new year).

Stay tuned for part 2 of this post that will have scans of many of the pages, including the full text of the first two pages which set the background for the entire story.

In other Monkey news, Seal just gave Monkey a haircut, as he was growing more and more woodwose/wildman like, and needed a trim. Many thanks to Seal for doing a great job at grooming the Monkey!
A quarter way to Cousin It.

Trimmed and back to civilization.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Process: Using References for your drawings

Below is Seal's animation layout drawing of a surfer's beach hut in Hawaii. She didn't know how to draw a beach hut or what specific shape made a beach hut different than any other dwelling. As an artist, Seal uses a lot of references to give her drawings believability. There is a delicate balance between being too reliant and copying a reference to being inspired and studying a reference while finding your own unique visual language.

Below is an example of a reference sheet that Seal used for the shape of the beach hut rooftop. Notice that Seal took on a similar shape, but not exactly. It is in the spirit of a beach hut. She simplified the hut so it would resemble more of an everyday average person's surfer hut and hangout, not necessarily to live in it. She also used references to get basic feel of the tiki and foliages that can be found in Hawaii.

Even Monkey, who is a lot more loose in his artwork, still uses reference. Even something as loose as his Panda Rage print was still based on photo reference.
Even though he had seen many pandas, Monkey wanted to make sure that he put the fur coloring in all the right places. Yes, pandas have a very distinctive color pattern on their fur, and if you don't follow that, you'll end up with something that may or may not read as a panda. However, the claws are exaggerated, but part of making art is experimenting on what features you can and cannot push and exaggerate or modify and have your visual message still come across.

Both Seal and Monkey use fun google image searches in order to find reference, but because they are usually copyrighted images, they only use them to get basic ideas of shapes, design patterns, and compositions. However, nothing beats taking your own photos, as then you can use the photos however you please, as you the photographer own the images. We highly encourage doing this as much as possible, and we often find that when drawing certain poses or angles, it's much faster to take a photo ourselves than it is to try and find that perfect photo on the web.

Have fun, and go get inspired (but don't copy!)

Friday, December 18, 2009

Upcoming Projects for Monkey and Seal

Seal is currently working on more paintings for the Tyger Tyger series. Here is a sneak peek at some of the in-progress works. These paintings will debut at their next event: Artist's Alley at the Animation on Display convention in San Francisco's Japantown!

Meanwhile, Monkey just finished his screen printed book which he will talk more about in a different post. He is also working on their hand-pulled screen printed holiday cards for friends and family. 2010 will be a very exciting year for both Monkey and Seal. Monkey is working on the March secret event which will be disclosed once contracts are finalized. And Seal has just been recruited to be an art director for an upcoming independent revolutionary film project. Please be on the lookout for more updates. And thank you, everyone, for your support of our art!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Woo, more press!

So while running around at the Handmade Ho Down, Monkey got flagged down by Sean of Ashcan magazine for a quick interview. You can read the mini-interview here! There is also a charming little photo (if we do say so ourselves) of Monkey and Seal at our booth where we are showing off our ties and prints.

We also got a review of the Bad Date Zine Issue 2 at Razorcake, which is basically THE underground punk rock fanzine! Sweet. You can read what they thought over here.

Thanks to Sean and the Ashcan crew and Andrew over at Razorcake!

Other news: Mark your calendars for January 30 + 31, 2010, when Monkey + Seal will be in the Artist's Alley at the Animation on Display convention in San Francisco's Japantown! Woo!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Featured Design: On Za Line

Recently, Monkey and Seal found On Za Line: an awesome design team featuring natured-inspired art and goods.

Each item is carefully hand-made requiring a lengthy process which makes all of the products unique pieces of art. They make them without having an end product in mind. The team just enjoys the reactions that people have to their work. With each piece, they try to instill what they see as the true essences of life, moods, sentiments, passion, atmosphere and time.

One of Seal's favorite is this moss ring. It's real living moss; it's self-sustaining by gathering the moisture particles from our everyday air. Not sure if she wants to wear moss, but thought it was an awesome concept.

Another of Seal's favorite is this leaf cast dish. The shapes found in nature are always inspiring to an artist. These "natural" modern looks make Seal wants to eat more salad.

You can check out their official website for more information.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Process Post: Skyace Wasteland and Thank you Plus Secret Event

Thank you everyone for supporting us at the Center for the Book's Holiday Craft Fair. It was cold and rainy, but still a fair good showing. Monkey sold some ties and met some awesome people while Seal was madly working on some tight deadlines for the painting below.

MonkeyandSeal are cooking up a soon-to-be announced secret event so please be on the lookout and keep your March open! Thank you.


Seal's Process: Part II of the Tyger Tyger paintings

This illustration was painted in acrylics. I had in mind an old rundown power plant wasteland with a wooden railroad going through the mountain passage. I wanted to get the feel of "after a rain" so I tried to paint cool lighting without any direct sunshine. Below is the in-progress step-by-step painting process.

The relatively finished piece above. The thumbnail below. In the thumbnail, I mainly wanted to design the shapes and rhythm of the piece before any details. The plane wings point downward, with the vertical power plant columns on the right holding the main mass of the painting, and the railroad points upwards back towards the plane.
So below is my initial setup. I have my thumbnail on the corner of my in progress painting. A book of clouds above so I can reference color and shape. Each different storm cloud have different shapes. I still struggle with painting clouds, but they're fun.
I generally try to paint from background to foreground, meaning sky, ground, then whatever is in front. I do the biggest shapes first, the plane being the smallest is last. Although I broke my own rule by painting the hazmat sign first before the shape on the left. It was just too tempting. I like how old signs have rust color and peeling paint job. I actually lost the original shape of the mountain behind the powerplant. Something I am still trying to fix. Thank you for visiting!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Center for the Book's Holiday Craft Fair today!

Come check out Center for the Book's Holiday Craft Fair later this afternoon starting at 5:30pm-8:30pm at 300 De Haro St. (between 16th St. + 17th St.). Monkey+Seal have a booth showcasing and selling some of their newest prints and ties. Along with Panda Rage and Pandamonium, Monkey has a new limited edition serigraph of Sad Panda, featuring this sad panda in the rain with the text *sniff* It is handpulled on toned paper, and will never be printed again.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Ridiculously amazing mashup:Book arts and animation

In the spirit of us vending at the San Francisco Center for the Book's Holiday Fair (this Friday from 5:30-8:30pm), here is a pretty awesome book arts video. Check out this amazing mix of paper crafting, book arts, and animation. It's completely amazing (it is amazing whether or not you have the sound turned on, but we recommend the sound on).

Monday, December 7, 2009

Book Review: Shaun Tan's The Arrival

Seal is in love with this illustrated book titled The Arrival by Shaun Tan. The book depicts the collective immigrant experience through a visual diary. Seal likes that the main protagonist is non-descript, the everyday person. Also, the land he journeys through are imaginary, invented, yet nostalgic. There are no text throughout, but the story is clear. The illustrations are rendered with graphite in a realistic manner coupled by surrealistic elements. It is very inspiring to Seal and a must for her artistic library.

Here is an excerpt from the book.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Handmade Ho Down photos and our next show!

The cover of the Handmade Ho Down Zine, illustrated and designed by M+S!

Monkey rifling through his small paintings for a customer.

Seal pointing out some of the buttons designs for patrons.

The Monkey + Seal table!

Another thank you goes out to everyone who supported us at the Ho Down! We are super fortunate and thankful to be so well-received at the event!

If you missed Monkey + Seal at the Handmade Ho Down, don't fret - there's still time to shop for the holidays. Although Monkey's spiffy ties aren't available online yet (he's working on it!), they, along with some new serigraphs and Seal's full gamut of giclee goodness will be for sale at the San Francisco Center for the Book's Holiday Fair! Friends of Monkey + Seal such as Aviary Press, Two Fine Chaps, and In Cahoots Press will all be there as well, so it'll be a great opportunity to snag some awesome books and works on paper! We hope to see you there!

Friday, December 4, 2009


Monkey + Seal would like to extend a huge thank you to everyone who supported us last night (and the past few weeks) to make Handmade Ho Down such an amazing success. Everyone who volunteered their time, bought stuff, just showed up and hung out, let us get out of class/work early, who dealt with Monkey's lack-of-sleep-craziness - we really couldn't have done it without you.

Seal sold out of a few of her prints and Monkey sold a bunch of ties and is almost out of an entire edition of prints. We made a lot of good contacts and met tons of awesome people. Thank you for your continued support and we hope to see you at our next show!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

1 more day till Handmade Ho-Down!

Monkey and Seal can hardly contain their excitement for tomorrow's Handmade Ho-Down: Urban Craft Fair. This is the first ever Etsy-sponsored, urban craft show that Monkey helped to organize. They're will be live art, live DJs, booze, and 55+Crafters and artists selling handmade goods.

They are both excited to see all the DIY goodies, connect with other artists, and meet all the awesome people that will come by their booth (#41). They would like to take this time to thank and recognize all of their supportive friends, family, and colleagues who helped to make it possible. They look forward to seeing you tomorrow.

Yesterday, Seal spent 5 hours at the Geary Print Shop printing 650 copies of the official 2009 Handmade Ho-Down Zine. So be sure to pick one up on your way in. We are still always in need of volunteers, so if you have 1-2 hours of your time, please email Monkey at info(at) We, and the rest of the committee would really appreciate it! DIY kids like us depend on your good will to make this event successful.

Last, but not least, Seal would like to introduce Monkey's new tie designs that will debut tomorrow.

Thank you and we hope to see you tomorrow at 1015 Folsom St. 6pm!

Monday, November 30, 2009

3 More Days Till Handmade Ho-Down

3 more days until Handmade Ho-Down this Thursday at 1015 Folsom St. 6pm-midnight. Monkey and Seal are busy in their art studio a.k.a their apartment cave preparing for this awesome one night show.

This is the first sponsored craft fair that Monkey is proud to be a part of as a committee organizer. It is part of Monkey and Seal's dream to travel to different shows and exhibit worldwide and live off our art. As long as people like it and we have a roof over our heads, we're pretty happy.

Here is another sneak peek at the illustration/prints that Seal will be selling. Along with the SF Zine Fest favorites of "Swamp Treehouse," "Tree Girl," and "Delicatessen," below is one of the many new prints that Seal will be introducing on Thursday. This is the finished acrylic painting, that was featured in an earlier process post 2 weeks ago, titled Seal's 90 thumbnails. This giclee is printed on Archival Utrachrome ink on 260 gsm premium photo paper.

Monkey and Seal are also a big fan of encouraging any young and old artists to blossom. They are donating some of their art for the DrawBridge raffle. Below is one of Monkey's serigraphs. Besides the image being a fun and awesome panda shooting laser beams out of its eyes, it is a hand-pulled 3 color serigraph (fine art silkscreen print) on 11.75" x 18" pastel paper, a limited edition of 11.

Seal is donating her giclee archival print of her original watercolor illustration titled Looking for Noah. 100% of the raffle will go towards Drawbridge, a nonprofit organization helping homeless children cope with their situation through art. Let's make the world a better place, one person, one art at at time!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Seal's Process: Swamp Treehouse in watercolor, gouache, and acrylic gesso

Both Monkey and Seal are looking forward to Handmade Ho-Down: Urban Craft Fair this upcoming Thursday, Dec.3rd. They will be selling original fine arts paintings and prints, handmade silkscreened ties, archival reproduction prints, zines, buttons, and more!

Below is one of Seal's archival glicee reproduction prints of her original illustration titled "Swamp Treehouse." So for this Saturday's Process Post, she will be doing a flashback and talking about an earlier work.

The original illustration was done on 15" x20" cold press illustration board, with watercolor, gouache, acrylic gesso, and graphite. The work was inspired by the story of Peter Pan, but Seal had always thought that Pan was a sinister figure, similar to the Pied Piper or the god of mischief, Pan. There is a selfish destructive, yet invitingly playful characteristics of Pan. So she decided that the Lost Boys' home would be in the swamps.

The sky and water were initially laid out in watercolor, she glazed some of the warm colors more opaquely with goauche. Below is a close up of the main tree on the right. She utilized acrylic gesso to create some of the undulations and textures on the moss and trunks.

Before working on the final illustration board, Seal does color studies with gouache on paper. She explored daytime and nightime lighting. These can be very rough, spending only 30-2 hours on each. She liked the mood of the foggy very early morning/late at night with the warm lights emitting from the treetops of the house. She pushed the different range of blues on the final painting to include some purples and greens.Seal is normally shy about showing her line drawings because they are unrefined and show a lot of mistakes, but below is a rare peek at her original line drawing before the color studies. Noticed she added a wooden boat to the left of the composition on her final illustration that was missing from the line drawing below, because she thought the habitants needed transportation to traverse across the swamp.

Seal will continue to do "gothic" series of the Peter Pan story. Please check back soon to see more. In the meantime, she hopes to see you at Handmade Hodown this Thursday. She will be showcasing this original painting of the Swamp Treehouse at the Monkey and Seal booth #41.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Artistic Abundance: Giving Thanks . . .

During this holiday-giving-thanks weekend, Seal would like to write about artistic abundance.

Artists create freely and are more productive when they feel abundant.

Much too often we are stingy with ourselves, with our care, our time, our money, our supplies -- which reflects in our creativity. We deprive ourselves of sleep, of food, of images and ideas by shutting ourselves up in our studio and forcing ourselves to "work" rather than "create" or "play."

I have met many people who tell themselves that they do not have enough time or money to do art. Or when we do create, we may feel that time is running out in becoming "discovered," or that "soon we will run out of ideas." Or if we are successful, we feel it may not last. This is what I call a mentality of lack. Continue on this path and the art will soon be dead. Our society operates in this cancerous way.

But there is a remedy - it is thanks-giving. It is the quickest and most lasting way to feel abundant.

Monkey and Seal practice thanks-giving every chance they can get. They are grateful for the roof over their head, the food on the table, the supportive friends and family, their art, their art supplies, their day jobs, the clothes on their back, this blog, and many more! Thanks-giving switches the brain to break negative thought patterns and focuses on current positive situation and future possibilities.

There are many more ways to feel abundant, name 5 things you can do right this minute to give more care to your artistic self. (buy that canvas I really wanted, fix the sewing machine, buy buttons from the goodwill for my project, eat a warm meal, watch that movie I've been putting off, read that book I've been meaning to read. . . .) then do it. Fulfill your promise. Your artist self will be glad and happy to create. Seal buys herself funny $1.50 stickers, a blank sketchpad, and chai tea with soy.

You don't have to spend money either. She also likes to go to the park, read in the library, and listen to music. Whatever it is that makes your artist-self feels like a million bucks. Remember that your artist-self is like a child in many ways -- it likes treats, acknowledgments, celebrations, and feeling abundant.

At Seal's old work place, there were two signs doodled in bright markers: "it can be done within our budget" and "it can be done within our time." These are very powerful statements. People at this workplace felt endless possibility.

People just want to be around and work with other creatively inspired people. Many artistic connections and jobs happen this way.

start now: "Thank you, thank you so much for . . . "

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Zine review and Raffle!

We were just informed by the awesome people over at Ashcan magazine that our zine, The Bad Date Zine: Issue #2, was reviewed by their web magazine! Woo! You can go over and check it out here.

Also, if you are planning on hitting up the Handmade Ho Down (and you should), you should definitely come and check out the raffle to support DrawBridge, as two of Monkey's serigraphs and one of Seal's giclees have been donated to the cause. Soo, it'll be your chance to pick up a piece of Monkey + Seal artwork as well as donate to a great cause.

DrawBridge is an awesome little organization helping homeless children cope with their situation through art - they could really use a lot of help (their future is a bit financially shaky come February 2010), so if you can give, it's a good time to do so. They also are in need of art supplies, so if you have some stuff lying around that you aren't using, now is a great time to donate it to a great cause.

Specifically, they could really use:

  • Color and white paper

  • Tempera and acrylic paints

  • Face Paint

  • Finger Paint

  • Paint brushes

  • All forms of Clay: Self hardening, Model magic, Sculpey

  • Feathers

  • Mini Pom Poms

  • Googly Eyes

  • Paper maiche strips

  • Masks

  • Masking tape of all colors

  • Irons

  • Small or Child Safe Scissors

  • Buttons

  • Wire cutters

  • Ironing Board

  • Colored Pencils

  • iPods and speakers for art groups

  • Polaroid cameras and Film

  • Digital cameras

  • 4 Line Phones
Thanks so much and we hope to see you at the event!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Seal Process: Tyger Tyger series in acrylics

Above is Seal's most recent illustration. Normally she works in gouache or watercolor, but for the next couple of illustrations, she is trying out acrylics.

She is inspired and repulsed by the Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster of 1986. Although not a historical accurate presentation of Chernobyl, her piece is set in a similar imaginative setting. She wanted to feature a resilient resourceful young female protagonist, a survivor, who utilizes her art and imagination to navigate through the decimated world. Below is Seal's painting space. She has her inspiring artistic references close by when she is painting: 1) Cannabis Works by Tatsuyuki Tanaka and 2) Revelations of Chernobyl by Nakasuji Jun.

She recently noticed that she also keeps her coffee dangerously close to her paint water bucket. Which is probably a bad idea. Next to her painting on the right is her original thumbnail. Every 30 minutes she checks the thumbnail and adjusts her values as needed. Below: this is what her palette looks like after 4 hours of painting. She has two side by side so she doesn't have to change the palette as often. For the purpose of this painting, she wanted the colors to be muddy and muted. Ideally, it's a good idea to change the palette more often so you have "cleaner brighter colors."

Below is a zoomed shot of a corner of her illustration. She gives herself at least a .25" bleed all the way around and paints beyond the edge. It makes all the difference in cropping if you give yourself extra room for flexibility. All in all, she had fun painting old rusted pipes and the light coming in through the window.

Thanks for visiting!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Another sneak peek at the ties!

Sorry this is such a short post, but we just wanted to share with you some of the new colorways that Monkey found are successful. He hope you agrees! Once again, they'll be making their big debut at the Handmade Ho Down!

Here's the Hazmat design in black on charcoal (for those who don't really go with the Radioactive Green color) and the Skull N Bones design in black on silver (for you non-pink people).

Monkey will be spending a good part of next week working on the ties (with more tie colors!) to bring a full selection of awesomeness to the Handmade Ho Down. Mark your calendars, and if you are interested in pre-ordering for a discounted price, let us know!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Handmade Ho Down needs some volunteers!

Hello everyone!

As you probably know (or maybe you don't, that's okay too) Monkey is one of the committee members that is putting on the Handmade Ho Down urban craft fair on December 3rd! It'll be a really awesome event, but the Monkey needs your help!

He needs more people to sign up to help guard the VIP room (yes, there's a VIP room!), sell raffle tickets, staff the info booth, etc., etc. Ideally you would sign up for a 2-hour shift, but if that's not possible, Monkey will take an hour shift - after all, we are relying on your good will to make this event uber-successful!

Anyhoo, if you are able to help out, please email Monkey at info (at) He (and the rest of the committee) will be super appreciative!

PS - there will be some stuff you can do earlier (ie. pre-6pm!) . There is even stuff you can do before then! Just let me know!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Process: Seal's 90 thumbnails

Here is a sneak peek at Seal's current illustration and brief process: Seal was inspired and repulsed by the Chernobyl disaster of 1986. It was the worst nuclear reactor incident that resulted in a massive explosion and severe radioactive pollution that is still affecting the area today. She is working with images of powerplants and her young female protagonist who is an adventurous survivor learning to navigate through a new world. Below is the initial color layout.

90 thumbnails. Seal really likes working on thumbnails. They are small, quick, expressive, and are not committed to any sequential order, specific story, or a uniform style. She worked on these small compositions in the course of two days during her lunch breaks at work and at night. They range from 1min. to 10min. thumbnails. Most of the time, Seal doesn't have a concrete idea to begin with. She just knew that lately, she was inspired by Russian architecture, Victorian metropolis, and steampunk.

In her thumbnails, she quickly indicated 3 value range and three depths of field: foreground, middleground, and background. She is also fascinated by the interplay of light.

Below are some of her favorites. The color rough is based on the fourth thumbnail. Please check back soon for the finished illustration.

Did you make that tie yourself?

So at Monkey's dayjob, he is forced to wear a collared shirt and slacks. Being the snazzy Monkey he is, he likes to wear button-ups and ties. However, Monkey doesn't like dress codes, and so he was thinking of ways to personalize his very corporate appearance. Thus, he figured that if he made some kick-ass ties, then he could still be himself while staying within the dress code.

Thus, he started thinking about ties as an art format and came up with some designs that he thinks are pretty spiffy. He found a place that sells flat-colored ties, and is working to perfect screen-printing them. His grand debut of his line of ties will be at the Handmade Ho Down! Thus, if you want to see ALL the ties before everyone else does, it's a great opportunity. They will be online shortly after the event in the lovely Monkey + Seal Etsy Shop.

Anyway, since pictures usually speak louder than words, here are some sneak peaks at the ties! These are going to be the main colorways for these three designs! Monkey is still experimenting with different color inks, ties, and a few more designs. And although Monkey wears these super-bright colors daily, he will also be printing on some more neutral colors, for those of you who are a bit less wild. Enjoy!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Reminder + Process: Coloring in Photoshop

First off, as a reminder, our very talented Seal has been invited to showcase her artwork at the Saida Glide fundraiser event tonight at Sugar Cafe (679 Sutter St. at Taylor) in San Francisco. There is a fashion show at 9:30, but the event goes from 7pm til 2am. We'll be there from 7 til at least 11pm, networking, trying to sell our art, drinking, and doing some drawing.

Seal will be selling some fine art archival prints (giclees) for $25 of two of her newest work , as well as the original painting for the swamp house for $325 (or for $375 framed). Monkey might also go guerrilla-style (or is it gorilla style?) and sell some small prints and stuff for kicks (he'll have to wait and see how things are there).

Hopefully you'll stop on by and say hi!

So today's Saturday process post is by Monkey. He'll be briefly explaining the basics of coloring in photoshop.

Hi everyone! So today I'll be explaining a bit how to do color a scanned line drawing in Adobe Photoshop. Examples of work I've done (and stuff that is suited for this sort of digital painting are things like:
and Notice both are really graphic with mainly solid linework and flat color mixed in. The way one does this is you start with a line drawing (I tend to do mine in a sketchbook or on paper as I don't really like to draw digitally if I can help it) that you scan in. After you scan it in, I usually clean up the half-erased marks and play with the levels to get my lines darker.

Here's my cleaned-up line drawing for the Handmade Ho Down poster and flyer

You can see in the scan above that I actually didn't draw the flag logo yet...the logo was created the same way as I did the poster/flyer, but since it was already done I didn't want to redraw it, I left the top of the big flagpole off (I inserted it later digitally). Sometimes this is good if you already have an image that you're planning to work in - for me, leaving spots obviously blank is a good reminder that something needs to go there.

So here's where you start setting up PS to make coloring easier. Assuming all your lines are connected perfectly in your scanned drawing, you could just use the color bucket to paint large flat areas in your drawing. However, if you zoom in, you'll see that it'll eat into some of your linework, leaving it jagged at times. Thus, this is my preferred method. It's not quite as quick, but you'll get smoother lines.

What you do is first, right-click (or ctrl-click for mac mouse users) on the background layer (which should have your image in it if you opened it up in photoshop to start painting). Click on the "duplicate layer" and create a "background copy." Then, drag it on top of your background layer. Now, select your background layer and create a new layer between them. Select the background copy. In the photo below, it's labeled "Layer 1." Go to the little drop-down menu above the layers palette and change the layer property from "normal" to "multiply."
What multiply does is literally multiply the colors from that layer with the colors on the layer below it. Thus, any white space on your background copy will show pure color beneath it. Any blacks will show black. This allows you to paint on the sandwiched layer without affecting your original drawing. The only drawback to this is that you can't really use your paint bucket since this layer that you are coloring in is just an empty layer. However, like I said, it preserves your line quality, so it's almost like a coloring book where the black lines always stay on top of your coloring.

You could just create a multiply layer underneath the background layer, but I like to have a copy of the original drawing in case I need to make changes. This way, I can edit the drawing on my copied layer, and if I don't like it, I can always go back to my original background layer, make a new copy, and start from the original drawing.

In the screencap below, you can see which layer I'm painting on. Also, I felt it was prudent to point out the brush setting I use. Since I paint with a tablet (to be honest, I don't know how you can do digital art with a mouse), I have shape dynamics on, with size jitter at 0% and it being controlled by pen pressure. This way, the harder I press the fatter the line (to the max pixel size that my brush is set to), and the lighter I press the finer the line. This replicates brush control in real life - if you want to make a thinner line, you just use the tip of the brush. I also have the minimum diameter set to 0 so that I can use very very faint brushstrokes to make tiny, thin lines.
Also, note that I'm currently painting in RGB mode. This is great if you never plan to print out your illustration, but if you want to print it, BEFORE you start, change the mode to CMYK. Believe me, it'll make everyone happier.

So, after a lot of coloring and adding text and resizing things and moving things around, the little octopus guy turned out like this:
I ended up painting in the flag for the big logo, and replaced the hand-drawn SF Etsy flag with the actual logo. I also extended the pole and added the Etsy logo.

Anyway, that's it for now, and if you have any questions feel free to leave them in the comments and we'll get to them as soon as we can. Also, don't forget to show up to the Handmade Ho Down on December 3rd to meet us in person, check out our art, and see the grand premier of Monkey's new silkscreened ties! Thanks for reading!