Hi! Happy Chanukah!


Here is a fun Chanukah gift for all of you- a FREE high resolution download of this new Chanukah image!

You can use it as a poster for your Chanukah party, as a card, or as anything you can think of.

Additionally, you can also download the colored characters without the background or the image linework.

These images may be used for any purpose- personal use or commercial.

I hope you enjoy this gift as much as I enjoyed creating it!

To download- click on image- and it will open up in a new window. Then, right-click the image- and select ‘save image’.


chanukah characters

chanukah characters linework

I finally got around to finishing this guy- and had loads of fun in the process!

I know it’s almost Chanukah and this post is kind of incongruous with the time of year, so I guess we could pretend that this guy is Antiochus for the next few weeks.

Still, I must say that if Achashveirosh looked something like this in real life, I feel even worse for Esther than I did before….

Purim characters are fun- I can’t wait to get to the other ones eventually 🙂

For this character design, I used Denis Zilber’s pencil brush again (as mentioned before in this blog post)- for pretty much the entire illustration. I liked using it for the linework- because I found that I didn’t have to be as much of a perfectionist (see blog post here) and the imperfections that came up fit right in with the hand-drawn look.




Here is a fun illustration that I just finished. I enjoyed playing around with the brush tool by using different textures!

I specifically used, for coloring/texturing the image, Dennis Silber’s pencil brush. This brush came highly recommended by Yoel Judowitz (a fantastic illustrator who happens to be my husband’s first cousin) on his blog.

This specific blog post that he created was extremely helpful to me- he collected his favorite Photoshop brushes that he had downloaded over the past few years and shared them with us! There are some really great finds- totally worth checking out.

ice cream

Once the final sketch is complete, it’s time to start inking the sketch.
I personally find this to be the most challenging stage. At the sketching stage, you are having fun trying to create the scene that you are picturing in your mind. I love the challenge of pulling all the bits and pieces of details that are floating around in my mind (or on my sketchpad) into a cohesive unit that is not only correct according the foundations of drawing, but also visually appealing. The sketching stage takes a long time- and by the time I get it right- I want to dive right into the next exciting stage- coloring the image. But, alas, there is another step in the process that I often cannot ignore. (I can only ignore this stage when the kind of illustration being created is one with a painted style- without line-work).
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So we start inking the lines for the illustration.
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The reason that this stage is not as exciting as the others is because I find this stage to be the most tedious and the least creative. The sketched lines are there- I now have to draw ‘perfectly’ inked lines to go over those sketched lines. The trick with these lines is… (drumroll)… that there is no trick. Maybe I’m missing something, but from what I found, the only way to get good clear lines that don’t have lumps or bumps in the wrong places, is by drawing and redrawing the line – until it meets your needs. The only lines that one can get away with easily in Photoshop are perfectly straight lines and perfect circles. Of course,when not working in Photoshop, those kinds of lines/shapes are really really difficult to create without some form of assistance- such as a ruler or stencil. (Actually, when I studied drawing, we were not allowed to use any rulers or stencils- only a pencil, eraser, paper, and easel.) But as for any other kind of lines – one requires patience and practice.  Inking takes a long time but it’s worth it. When done in a rush- the image suffers. When done right- the image looks right- and will often actually look like it must have been simple to create.
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Which brings me to another point- a lot of people seem to think that drawing digitally is ‘much easier’ than drawing on paper.  I work with a tablet and stylus (pen) – and find the process to actually be very similar. I actually find drawing with a pencil and paper easier in terms of control- than a stylus and pad. There are no tricks (or at least not any that I know of in Photoshop) that will make up for poor pencil/stylus control. The only thing that I know of that will improve one’s line-work, inking, and drawing skills is practice, practice, and practice some more.
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Anyway, here is the completed inked line-work. After all that talk about practice makes perfect, this piece definitely has its share of imperfections. But as it was a personal piece, and I was so excited about the next stage, this was as far as I got. Now comes the really fun part – coloring the image.
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linwork hr

People are curious to know how long it takes me to create an illustration. I usually answer that it really depends on the style used and on the type of scene. A scene with many details and characters will take a lot longer than a simpler scene with less going on. Each kind of illustration has its own process that takes it from the simple sketch to the final product. In this post, I will break down the process I used when creating the Bikur Cholim scene. This is not really a tutorial but more of a step-by-step guide of how I like to work.

The first step- before anything- is brainstorming. Before I even get to start drawing, I must decide what will be going into the illustration. How many characters will there be? Where are the characters (outdoors, indoors, in which room…)? What kind of objects are in the scene that I will be drawing. I make a list and even a few sketches of the characters and items. For this step I like to use pencil and paper (as opposed to photoshop). For example, for this scene, I would quickly draw three girls, a teddy bear, balloons, a bed, a door etc anywhere on my sketchpad. I’m not thinking of where each object or character would be placed. I am just thinking of  what object or character will be included in the illustration. Once I have a general idea of what kind of scene with what kind of items, characters, will be drawn- and have written/sketched them on my outline, I am ready to move onto the next step.

The next step I use is concept sketching. I have all the items that I need to go into my drawing- now I have to decide on placement. With my sketchpad and pencil, I create a few small boxes (a.k.a. thumbnails) and play around with placement ideas. These sketches are legible to no one but myself. Once I decide on the general placment, angle, perspective of the scene, I am ready to move into photoshop- hurray!!! Now the fun really starts. 1 sketch 2 sketch I recreate the thumbnail sketch that I was happy with. As you can see, it definitely does not look pretty. Nor is it totally similar to the placement of items in the final illustration, but that’s okay.

Now, I start to work on a little more detail and play around with the placement a little bit more- to perfect it. As you can see, the door and wall corner moved closer to the characters. Space is a very important element that affects the legibility and fluidity of the illustration. It is not about drawing skill at this stage- it is all about the placement of each character and object in the scene. I want the scene to read clearly and that the eye should be drawn to the most important parts of the picture first and to the secondary elements next.

Once the scene is set up, it’s time to focus on the details of the image. First, I start to build the anatomy of the characters- I want to make sure that the body form is accurate and proportionate. 3 sketch


Once I have the anatomy built, I can focus on the actual drawing. Here is where I draw details- such as facial features, clothing, furniture etc.

By the end of this stage, we have a completed final sketch.

We’ll continue with the next step- the linework- in a future post. Hope you enjoyed so far!

4 final sketch