Category: Tutorials & Tips

2014, Tutorials & Tips

Indie artists, creators, and small business owners! This is why you and I should probably stop giving Facebook money

I was speaking with a major company the other week who was of the belief that only people with 10,000 Facebook likes on a fan page were worth doing business with. This is not the first time that I’ve encountered incompetence and laziness from a major company’s Marketing department. I get that if this is “just the day job” that it is in your benefit to put some sort of numeric definition around how you do business. How else could you generate some numeric BS that tells your boss that the job was done and go home as soon as possible for the day?

That’s not how I work. Marketing isn’t just my “day job”. It’s what I do for my job which I consider to be my vocation in life. Everything that I have done and everything that I have accomplished has to do with the fact that I am really good at it and focus most of my day on getting better at it. I do not take vacations from this type of thinking. This is my way of life. The reason I am here in the position that I am in with art, comics, and my own event that basically teaches what I’ve learned is because I never stop.

I can tell you with utmost certainty that the value of someone or something is often not related to what the numbers based around them may be. Website traffic is one misleading metric. Facebook is worse.

This guy explains to you in plain English why you should probably stop spending money on Facebook ads. I believe that you should spend it on some real outreach such as working with an event or one of your peers instead.

How engaged your readers are is the absolute most important thing. Not the numbers. I have seen this time and time again personally. Having been involved in Guest Relations for nearly every geek convention in the Northeast over the past 10 years, I have had the opportunity to see a lot of things play out in the real world. I am no longer surprised when a small, virtually unknown artist brings the largest number of fans into the door of an event.

At one of my earliest conventions in 2006 I managed to fill an entire restaurant with readers of my work. They lined up at the windows wearing T Shirts that I had designed.

The weird thing about this? I was still basically an unknown. I wasn’t even a guest of the convention. I hadn’t even gotten to that level yet. The strange nature of the situation came to light when the guest of honor of that convention came over to me and genuinely asked me, “How do you do it?!”

At first I was like, “Do what?!” Then I realized that he was viewing me as someone who had a larger following than him.


I can almost guarantee you that my website had less people going to it in 2006 than he did. It’s just that nearly every damn one of them that could get to the event came out. I’ve seen other people pull this off in the last 10 years, too.

Level of fame, numbers, none of this can be trusted. How engaged their readers are and how good they are at talking to their readers are the most important metrics that tell you how influential someone is. This is followed closely by by what demographic(s) they attract. (For example, if someone is a very powerful and influential Christian mommyblogger they aren’t going to be a good match for a fetish brand. Nothing they could possibly say would make their readers interested in this.)

I may just abandon the idea of FB being anything important. My personal profile is pretty much the only place that I update now. I focus on quality and not spreading myself all around into a billion different pages. My personal page is still is subject to Facebook’s stupid algorithms (which is why you should bookmark and/or subscribe to my RSS here), but I feel that I get far more value out of just my personal Facebook profile than maintaining fan pages which even less people seem to see the activity from.

Keep in mind that each additional place that you post will take more of your time to maintain and even more time to do it well.

Besides – I’m a person – not a product. I’d rather be actually talking to you guys than sitting on a gold-plated tower somewhere with a bear in my pants.

2014, General, Reviews, Technology, Tutorials & Tips

WACOM Creative Stylus for iPad review from an artist’s perspective (works on iPad mini, iPad 3, or greater)

I only have an iPad 2, so thanks to my friend Amber for letting me borrow her iPad 3 for this. WACOM was kind enough to send me this to review. So – let’s check it out!

The WACOM Creative Stylus is a pressure-sensitive stylus that can be used to make art on your iPad mini, iPad 3, or greater. It works with many drawing apps for the iPad such as Sketchbook Pro and the Bamboo Paper. You can see the full list of apps that support the stylus at WACOM’s site. I tested the WACOM Creative Stylus on Sketchbook Pro and the Bamboo Paper because that’s what I personally have.

The stylus comes in a sturdy plastic case that can hold up to 5 nibs, the stylus, and one battery. 2 nibs are included so there is room for more in the case. Here is the size of the stylus when compared with a pen:

The packaging feels fancy – it is as if you are opening an Apple product. The stylus itself feels like a high quality stylus when you are using it. It has the usual 2 buttons on the side of the stylus. The behavior of these buttons depends on the app that you are using and how you configure it. These are most often used to trigger an eraser or to undo in the case of the iPad.

Pair the stylus by: Enabling Bluetooth on your iPad > launching your app of choice > turning on the pen in the app’s menu. Again, this location varies per app, so there are videos to show you how to do each one.. Honestly it was extremely easy to figure out without even looking at how to do it. I actually confused myself because I got it working so fast. Since I have always been an early adopter of technology I am used to the old days where pairing something via bluetooth was a repetitive circle of pain. In this case it was as easy as turning on a switch.

Reviewing the stylus itself it tough because how it works largely depends on which app you are working with. The iPad’s hardware was never designed by Apple for artists. Yes, Apple has a reputation for being the company that makes things for artists. In recent years they really just aren’t. I bought an iPad 1 and 2 hoping that Apple would delve further into the creative capabilities of this device. The reason I don’t own a 3 is because Apple doesn’t appear to be interested in doing this.

All iPad pressure-sensitive styli work through a software workaround to achieve this without any support from Apple’s native hardware. You are never going to get a CINTIQ-level experience on an iPad because of the iPad.

The WACOM Creative Stylus nib is a squishy rubber thing. It also helps simulate using a real pen because it “gives” a little bit when you press.


Here is a 30 second pen sketch I did of an eyeball in Sketchbook Pro on iPad. The pen worked well, I just find the iPad to be cumbersome to work on. I’m used to working on an iMac with an Intuous 4, hence the overly loose way this looks.

– Comes in a nice package with a sturdy plastic case that can hold up to 5 nibs. It feels almost like an Apple product with how nicely it is packaged.
– Comes with 2 extra nibs.
– Easy to set up.
– Pressure sensitivity is the best you are going to get on an iPad.
– Stylus feels nice when using it and the buttons are very responsive.

– You will have to replace the battery in the pen from time to time and take the battery out between usages, but the case accommodates this well.
– Some people may or may not like the rubber tip.


At a price point of $99.95 WACOM’s Creative Stylus does a great job at overcoming the iPad’s hardware limitations and delivering a great product. My issues all have to do with the iPad and not the WACOM’s Creative Stylus. I have always found the iPad to be hard to use and imprecise when drawing regardless of if I am using my finger or a stylus. WACOM’s Creative Stylus is the absolute best iPad Stylus I have tried. It does exactly what it says it does, is packaged nicely in a case that is useful, and it is easy to set up each time such that even my cranky self didn’t feel any sort of frustration. I was able to get it working without even reading the manual.

Should you get it?

If you are an artist and want to draw on your iPad at all and if you want to use these apps the WACOM Creative Stylus is a great choice. It’s a highly rated product everywhere for good reason. If I owned an iPad 3 I would devote some time into getting the technique down. I feel that this would work very well for thumbnailing my comics in meetings and being able to quickly import that into Photoshop for production.

2013, Tutorials & Tips

When and how to change the nib in your WACOM tablet pen stylus (Intuous 4)

HAHAHA! So basically I have been a digital artist since 2003 and haven’t changed the nib in my tablet once until today. If you know me at all or have ever played World of Warcraft with me this is not surprising. (HINT: I don’t ever assign points or build skills, I just run straight into everything before everyone is ready and get everyone killed.)

So yeah, my Intuous 4 came with a stand that includes 10 replacement nibs.


Regular Nibs: These are the stock plastic nibs that come inside the tablet stylus of ever tablet I have ever owned.

Weird Ring Thingy: There is a notch in this thing. When you remove it from the stand you use it like tweezers to pull out the old nib.

Felt Nibs: These nibs have a felt-like finish. (DUH.) These wear out fast.

Flex Nib: This nib has a rubber tip. WACOM claims this nib is the longest-lasting nib.

Spring-Loaded Nib: This nib is to simulate brush-like pressure and works very well on the CINTIQ / pen displays.

My nib lasted +- a year. These newer tablets have a rougher surface to simulate paper so the nibs wear out now whereas on the older, slicker tablets I had never encountered this. Removing it and changing it was very easy. Today I am giving the Flex Nib a try.

Tra la la. Nibs!

So far it’s really nice. It kind of feels like a soft pencil or marker.

Check out my other tutorials here. Have you used any of the WACOM nibs or accessories? Let me know what’s awesome.

2013, Oni's Life, Tutorials & Tips

Making things come together: Handmade cards, customer service, LOLZ

Notice that I said making things come together because nothing comes together on it’s own unless you kick it a few times.

I recently learned how to make handmade cards with paper punches and stamps you can get at the craft store. I think what has always set me apart from every other artist is my attention to detail and the fact that I tend to go above and beyond. I’m always learning things, too. Most recently these cards are an example of another way that I figured I’d be able to reach out to clients and sponsors of my convention with a “Thank You”.

It’s kind of awesome because I make them to order and do them differently. This way there is little risk of someone getting the same card twice like if I had ordered some logo cards to be printed. Some cards have bits of my art in them, others are simple like this one which will be sent to Harknell’s Mom for Mother’s Day.

I had been not very good at sending cards in the past. My family never sent them. I never really was exposed to them. Now that most people send cards digitally I figured it was a great time to learn how to do them physically. That way people know that I mean it.

I’m getting Intervention Angry Owl stamps made and return address stamps made, too. It ends up being more personal and also more cost effective in the long run.