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Launch Date Launch #12: Christmas 1999 (December 1999)

Concept Basically, I got it into my head a year ago (through the help of my beautiful girlfriend) that I should put together a homemade Christmas card.  It worked so well last time that I felt compelled to do it again this year.  Luckily, this time I could say that it counted as my monthly AR as well.

I thought for a while about what the joke should be; and I also solicited help from Jo.  The basic problem is that there are only so many Christmas jokes that can be made; and people have pretty much used up the bulk of them after 2000 years.  Anyway, this was the best of the lot that I came up with—or at least the one that I could best design quickly.

No excuse, but I was a bit rushed this time around because I put off doing it for too long, and I had to get it finished in time to try to get it out by Christmas.  In between time I was traveling out of town.

Layout This is a pretty basic four-panel layout, but it was a little difficult because I wanted to have your basic wanted poster, but still have a well-balanced composition, playing lights against darks.

Putting it Together I sketched out the elements in my sketchbook and played with a couple of other characters, but these turned out to be the easiest one to make fun of.  I tried hard to get a cartoony feel to the images, but still try to make these typically “friendly” characters look evil.

I also didn’t want to do straight mug-shots because four faces would have too much regularity to be interesting.  So I opted to make the 2nd and 3rd panels a little more than heads.  I was trying to make the 1st and last images have very definite black/white contrasts, while the 2nd one would have more grey tones and the 3rd one would be sort of grainy looking.  See the Inking section for more detail.

Lettering Except for the numbers on the height chart in the third panel (my favorite joke in this whole piece), all the lettering for this one is done in computer fonts.  Once again, I spent a lot of time looking for the “perfect” font, only to find that the basics were still the best.  Once again, I’m not sure that I really saved any time.

Inking Mostly done with a brush.  I used a “dry” brush in the second panel to get a grey tone.  Unfortunately, it didn’t really reproduce well.

Reproduction Jo jumped in here to help me save some time.  She took it to Kinko’s where they put it on the high dollar reproduction machine.  Unfortunately, in some places it reproduced well, but in the greyer areas, it really turned out splotchy.  Also, they had to stretch/shrink the image somewhat to get it to fit into the postcard size.


  • Brushes: Windsor and Newton Sable #2 and #00
  • Pens: Pilot Precise V7 
  • Magic Rub Eraser
  • Paper: 11 x 14 Bristol
  • 30-60-90 triangle
  • T-Square
  • Ridgeways Horse Hair Brush
  • Black Acrylic Artist’s Ink 

Overall I liked it enough to send it to about 100 people.