Working with Photoshop's Quick Mask Mode

Introducing our newest Video Tutorial: Working with Photoshop’s Quick Mask Mode

Working with Photoshop’s Quick Mask Mode

Go Media’s Arsenal proudly announces the release of a brand new video tutorial, “Digitizing Your Illustrations with the Quick Mask Mode in Photoshop.”

In this video tutorial, Go Media’s Lindsey Meisterheim will be using a kind line illustration to show you how to work with the quick mask mode in Photoshop.

This tutorial will show you how this versatile tool was a key element in ensuring her one of a kind illustration maintained a realistic, hand-drawn look (as if it was drawn right in Photoshop).

Lindsey will take you step-by-step through her process. This includes how she:

  • got the inspiration for her unique, almost child-like drawing
  • used the quick mask mode to achieve the look you see above (shapes built upon shapes without losing their integrity/color)
  • added the watercolor/wash effect
  • chose the color for her piece
  • and more!

Lindsey will show how she uses this versatile tool to refine her selection and maintain the integrity of the illustration she has created so that it appears as if it was drawn right in Photoshop.

Follow along with Lindsey as she moves through the tutorial. The 10 Indian Ink Washes we included will aid you in your journey.

Tutorial length: 35 minutes

Purchase the Tutorial

How to Start Your Own Podcast: Must-Have Equipment and Software

How to Start Your Own Podcast

Hey, it’s Bryan from Go Media and today, we’re going to dip our toes into podcasting. You’ve probably heard there’s a ton of cash, arms full of lovelies, and loads of listeners just WAITING for you to put your voice into their ears.

Or, you’ve just got some knowledge that you want to drop and this seems to be a worthwhile way to go about it.

Either way, you’re probably asking yourself how to get started, and how can you get started without spending a lot of time and money upfront? That’s what I wanted to know about 6 years ago when a few friends and I wanted to start our own podcast.

In this tutorial, we’re going to be looking at what equipment and software you should be looking into as you begin your journey into podcasting. Then, we’ll go into some tips and tricks on the recording and editing side.

Now, full disclosure: I wouldn’t call myself a professional podcaster. I’m not making loads of money doing this, or going to awards shows, or seeing millions of downloads. Actually, that’s realistically a small percentage of all of the podcasters out there. And, my arms are empty, still waiting for the lovelies to arrive.

But, as more and more people want to get into podcasting, it’s becoming apparent that there really isn’t a good “how to” out there. I learned a lot just by trial and error using existing equipment and free software that I had lying around from my days as a solo acoustic.

6 years later, I’m still using a lot of the same techniques and software. But, I’ve streamlined the process quite a bit so that I can podcast in any location, for any type of situation.

On the professional side, I run the Go Media Podcast. We set up the conference room with three mics so that Bill, Heather and I can talk to each other, as well as our guests over Skype. We run our mics through a mixer that connects to my laptop. With the help of a 5-way stereo audio splitter, we can all connect our headphones to the mixer so we can hear our virtual guests.

On the personal side, I also run 5 other podcasts through the Fans Talk Podcast Family. There, I do a majority of the podcasting with virtual co-hosts over Skype, Google Hangouts, Blab.IM, or whatever else we wind up trying out. And yes, four of the series revolves around the wonderful world of professional wrestling. For those, I connect with various guests from all over the world via Skype.

You know that whole thought about not spending a lot of time on it? Well, I am known to over-extend myself a bit, but it’s become a passion, and honestly – how cool is it to know that people actually want to hear what you’ve got to say? Even if you’re talking about professional wrestling while drinking with your best friends? That’s awesome.

Equipment I Use For Podcasting

If you’re doing a solo show, or meeting your guests over Skype, you can get started with less than $100 worth of equipment. If you want to have multiple people on one side, you could get a 2-3 person setup for under $300.



I’m assuming you’ve already got a pair of headphones that you use and are happy with. Just in case, I use V-MODA LP2s. Luckily, they were a gift I received as a groom’s man. Otherwise, I might not have picked these up as they’re a bit out of my price range at around $200. Legit, they are the best pair of headphones I’ve ever owned. They really give me a great, focused sound. And, when you listen to music with these, the experience is amazing.

However, sometimes being connected to my laptop with a cable isn’t ideal. If I’m only doing a solo episode, or am the only person on my side as I connect with someone over Skype, I tend to use my Plantronics BackBeat Fit Bluetooth Headphones ($90). I got the green ones. They connect right to my laptop without an issue. While they do come with a microphone, the quality is not great. Not good enough for podcasting, that’s for sure.

I didn’t buy these specifically for podcasting, but have loved the flexibility it has given me during recording sessions. Since I do a majority of my podcasting at the home studio standing up, not being attached to the laptop with a cable is really nice. I can move around, walk away to get a beverage refill as my co-hosts continue to talk, and I don’t lose the ability to hear them.

But, in the end, as long as they aren’t leaking audio out into your mic while you’re recording, and are good enough to use to listen to music, you should be fine starting out with whatever you have handy.

Microphones & Accessories


This is a hot button topic for a lot of the podcasting industry. Condenser mics vs. snowballs, USB-powered vs. XLR-exclusives that go into a mixer, there are so many ongoing debates, it might be difficult to really find what works best for you and your budget.

I skipped all of that and went with something that seemed to be a good fit for my needs, as both a podcaster AND a musician. As well as someone who might just record with a guest over Skype or might connect with multiple people through a mixer. I wanted to be able to have flexibility without a load of different equipment.

I went with the Samson Q2U Handheld Dynamic USB Microphone. Out of the box, it also comes with a pair of headphones and some recording and editing software, but I never had much use for either. Headphones aren’t super comfortable, but in a jam, they can come in handy. And software is dated and really not useful for me, but maybe it could be for you.

Anyways, the Samson Q2Us can connect to either a USB input or can connect with a mixer via XLR. Or both at the same time, depending on how you’re recording or what you’re recording. It comes with both cables, so no need to have to pick up anything additional. You can plug your mic directly into your laptop or desktop with a USB cable and start using it right away.

Once you choose a microphone, you’ll need something to hold your mic for you. I’ve gone the route of desk stands, as well as boom mic stands which I took from my days as a musician that did semi-frequent shows around town. But, recently, I’ve fallen in love with my NEEWER Microphone Suspension Boom Scissor Arm Stand. They connect to the edge of the desk and can move around with you. If you want to sit, they can position right in front of you without a problem, and without getting in the way of your hands or your view of your guest, notes, beverage, mixer, or laptop.

I’m also terrible at popping my ‘P’s, so I doubled up with two air filters. One is the On Stage Foam Ball-Type Mic Windscreen. This wraps around the mic itself, and keeps away any air that might be flowing through the room towards the mic, like fans and heaters. Then, I added a Dragonpad pop filter 360 Flexible Gooseneck Holder, which attaches to the mic stand. This adds a much needed buffer between me and my mic.



After months of debate, and knowing that we’d be having multiple people in the studio at Go Media, I decided to pick up a mixer. Specifically, the Behringer XENYX X1204USB Premium 12-Input 2/2-Bus Mixer. At $230, it might be outside of your price range. And realistically, it might be completely out of your needs as well. But, if you plan on sitting in-person with 2-3 other guests and don’t want to have to share a mic, this is a good option to have.

And, just in case you’re doing a mix of 2-3 guests in the studio with you as well as a guest over Skype, you’ll want to pick up a headphones splitter. That way, you can listen to the output from the mixer and everyone will be able to hear themselves and the Skype audio. I use PLAY X STORE®3.5mm 6-Port Multi Headphone Splitter, and at $5.50, it’s a really handy. It will split your audio for five headphones and all in stereo. Besides using it for podcast work, Heather and I also use it when we record Designer Face Off.

Pocket Notebook


This goes without saying. I must have something to write notes in. I try and keep track of coughs, Skype drops, or anything else that is either worth looking into removing from the final edit, or follow up questions to ask.

So for me, I go with the Go Media pocket notebook that was made available at this year’s WMC Fest. But, use whatever is available: sticky notes, a napkin, a moleskin, back of an envelope, etc.



You can get started with what you already have. Whether it’s the work-provided desktop or your personal laptop, you can do a lot with little.

For the first 4 years, I used my basic, under $200 tower to get the job done, and it did. For a while. Now, I mostly use it for show notes and talking to the live chat, or pulling up wikipedia to fact check my co-host.

Now, I use a Dell Inspiron i15RV 15” laptop. It’s got a 1.4 GHz Processor, 4GB DDR, and a 320GB Harddrive. Really, I didn’t even buy it for podcasting. I bought it so I could work remotely from the coffee shop. But again, it gets the job done.

I’m a Windows guy. They’re easy for me. But, Macs offer a lot of built-in support that’s enviable. Garageband specifically. So, by all means, do what feels right.

Software & Apps For Podcasting

If you’ve got a Mac, Garageband is a great tool for recording and editing podcasts. Windows doesn’t have that. But, you can record and edit with some free software. If you want to share files easily between hosts, including some quality cloud-based archiving, you could be looking at about $100 year at Dropbox/Google. If you want stream your audio live, add another $100. If you want to host your mp3s on a social-powered service with some slick, Facebook and Twitter friendly embeds, add another $135.



Audacity is free for both PC and Mac. For Fans Talk episodes, we’ve all become accustomed to recording individually through Audacity. Then, everyone exports their audio to an .ogg file, which is higher quality than an mp3, and a smaller file size than a .wav. It’s somewhere in the middle, which is great for file transfer speeds.

Quick Tip: I make sure my recordings are at least above -30db. That way, if there is background noise, which normally hits around -42db and below, it’s easier to remove. And, always record about 5 seconds of audio of just your background noise. Keep the mic on and just sit back quietly so that you can isolate that noise when you edit.

And yes, I also edit all of my episodes with Audacity, but we’ll get into that in a bit.



I’ve been using Dropbox for years to keep all of my PCs synced together. It helps me go from recording on the laptop to editing on a faster system like my desktops at home and at work. It also allows my co-hosts and guests to be able to send me their files. Either they upload to their own organized folder structure, or we share folders. Or, in the case of someone just doing a one-off appearance, I’ll have them upload to Dropbox using the new “File Request” feature, which will allow them to upload even if they don’t have a Dropbox account.

Dropbox comes in three tiers. The free account gives you 2 GB of cloud storage. For $9.99/m, which is the tier I’m using, you get 1 TB of space. And, for $15/m per user, you can get the Dropbox Business account, which gives you as much storage as you need.



Recording on Audacity isn’t for everyone. Nor is it always possible. So, how can you get a solid,  individual track of my guests and co-hosts? While I’ve tried various Skype recording extensions, nothing came out perfect. Primarily because, technology isn’t perfect. Skype could drop at any moment, or the internet could buckle causing the audio to come to me to be really poor and useless.

While a few different sites like this have come out over the last few years, Zencastr is the new kid on the block. It records all sides of the conversation into individual tracks, which streams and saves to my dropbox instantaneously.

And, if you want to eliminate Skype or Google Hangouts, Zencastr just added a VOIP service to it’s features. But, keep in mind, this is just in beta. So, it can be a bit buggy.

Zencastr is currently free, but once they get out of beta their plans could range from $10/m to $20/m. Limited to 3 hour shows.



Sometimes, podcasting can easily start to feel like you’re talking to yourself or with a friend in a box. You might see downloads grow, but quality feedback, especially for a weekly series, is never guaranteed. I actually don’t expect it anymore. However, that feedback is so great. And timely feedback is even better. But, what if you could get instantaneous feedback as you record? That’s where a service like Mixlr comes into play.

It’s an app that works with PC and Mac, and even your iPhone and Android if you’re into that sort of thing.

Depending on how often or long you record, Mixlr will stream your audio and provide you a nice chat from $9.99/m ($99/y) to $49.99/m ($499/y). I use the first tier. There’s also a free version and it allows you to stream for an hour at a time.

In Closing

I’m really hoping this helps you start to think about what you need to get started with your new podcast. But after equipment and software, it’s time to start recording and editing.

I go in depth about the recording and editing process using Zencastr, Mixlr, and Audacity in my video tutorial on Go Media’s Arsenal.

Learn More Now

The whole wide world is waiting for you. Best of luck and let us know how it goes!

augmented reality tutorial

From Vector to Augmented Reality: A New Tutorial from Go Media’s Arsenal

Vector to Augmented Reality Tutorial

You asked, we answered! This all new, in-depth tutorial answers a question asked of us often here at Cleveland creative agency Go Media: “How do you create those awesome vectors?”

We’re answering that and a whole lot more, as in this two part video tut we’re teaming up with Photonic Creative Studio, a Cleveland-based company that specializes in 3D graphics, for an incredible project based on our vectors, known industry wide for being the best of the best.

If you were at our design conference, Weapons of Mass Creation Fest 6, you may have seen Photonic Creative Studio’s awesome augmented reality photo booth.

After receiving lots of interest, we decided to make a vector to augmented reality tutorial that shows how the 3D-modeled art weapons were created, specifically the futuristic x-acto knife. The process begins with one of the top questions we are asked at Go Media, “How do you create those awesome vectors?”


This tutorial begins with conceptualization, sketch and the creation of our vectors and then turns it over to Photonic, who imports the illustration and creates the 3D model in Maya. The result is remarkable; the process is captivating and tons of fun.

Shop Now

Here’s what’s included:


Sketch to Vector

Go Media’s Arsenal designer Jordan Wong will walk you through how he created the illustration of the futuristic x-acto knife. Beginning with the process of conceptualization and gathering references to work from, Part I will offer an inside look at how the original sketch was made as well as the steps of bringing the drawing into the computer via scanning. After a detailed walkthrough on turning the drawing into a vector in Illustrator, the segment will end with an overview of the finished diagram that was used to create the 3D model. (57 minutes)


Vector to Augmented Reality

Ian Zeigler, the founder of Photonic, uses Autodesk Maya to import Jordan’s illustration and create the 3D model. This segment will kick off with basic navigation of Maya’s interface, including an explanation of tumbling, zooming, and basic hotkey modifiers. Ian will cover importing, rotating and scaling the image to fit the needs of the modeling phase. You will also learn about polygon modeling and the tools used, like extrude, move and scale, to bring form to the model. The tutorial will conclude with assigning basic materials, colors and textures, as well as the basic outputs for rendering, game-engine, or 3D print. (2 hours, 57 minutes)


Resources Included

The tutorial includes:

  • Introduction Video
  • Step-by-step instructional videos (qty 6) outlining the process of taking a drawing from paper to vector, and from Illustrator to Maya. (3 hours, 55 minutes of content!)
  • Full working files of the example art weapons!

Shop Now

Vector to Augmented Reality Tutorial

The Wait is over! This is Dirty: From Sketch to Vector Illustration Video Tutorial is Here!

From Sketch to Vector Illustration Video Tutorial

The wait is finally over.

The long awaited, highly anticipated video tutorial by Cleveland brand design services guru & Go Media President William Beachy, is finally here. Based on his wildly popular blog post, From Sketch to Vector Illustration, “This is Dirty: From Sketch to Vector Illustration Video Tutorial,” is an intimate look into Bill’s design process.

{Whoops! Somehow missed the popular “From Sketch to Vector Illustration post? Check it out here.}

“This is Dirty,” is a compilation of all Bill has learned over twenty years as an illustrator, designer and entrepreneur.

I want it now.

You’ll spend an intimate 1 hour, 11 minutes with Bill, pouring over an illustration he has created specifically for this tutorial. Bill gives you a raw, rare look into his process from start to finish. Giving away all of his secrets, tips, tricks and talents, Bill shares the resources you’ll need to follow along and includes the following recommendations/information:

The Staedler Mars mechanical pencil and sharpener
Eraser of choice
The pros and cons of hard vs. soft lead
Preferred paper type

Drawing (Pencil Sketch)
Getting into the right head-space
Getting your arm loose
Why starting with rough sketches is so important
Getting started
Having proper expectations of yourself
Being flexible while drawing
Drawing using basic geometrical shapes
Drawing the human face
Developing a series of cheats to draw
Shading – how much black vs. white
Using reference materials

Equipment specifications
Scanning specifications

(Vector) Inking
Equipment and software specifications
Dell(PC) vs. Apple
Mouse vs. Wacom
Nodes and bezier lines
Setting up your layers
Setting up gradients and picking colors
Inking options
Creating shapes in Illustrator
Cross hatching

Photoshop vs. Illustrator
Setting up your layers
Process strategy
Highlights and secondary light source
Adding Shadows
Adding a texture

What you receive with the download:

  • Extended Tutorial (MP4 Video)
  • Blue Concrete Square texture (jpeg)
  • This is Dirty Illustration (pencil art)
  • This is Dirty Illustration Version 1 (jpeg)
  • This is Dirty Illustration Version 2 (jpeg)
  • This is Dirty Illustration – Final (AI File)

Yes. Let’s do this!

We can’t wait to see what you create! Share your work with us over at our Flickr Pool Showcase.

From Sketch to Vector Illustration Video Tutorial

The Tutorial you’ve been waiting for is finally upon us.



Long awaited, highly anticipated.

Our newest tutorial on the Go Media Arsenal release is based on Go Media President William Beachy’s wildly popular blog post on our ‘Zine, From Sketch to Vector Illustration.

This is Dirty: From Sketch to Vector Illustration Video Tutorial is an intimate look into Bill’s design process.

Included in this 1 hour, 11 minute intimate instructional tutorial:

* All the resources you’ll need to follow along including: the extended tutorial (mp4 video), textures, pencil art, jpeg illustrations and AI illustration file

* Bill’s tips and tricks on >

– Supplies (the Staedler Mars mechanical pencil and sharpener, eraser of choice, the pros and cons of hard vs. soft lead, preferred paper type)

– Drawing (Pencil Sketch) (Getting into the right head-space, getting your arm loose, why starting with rough sketches is so important, getting started, having proper expectations of yourself, being flexible while drawing, drawing using basic geometrical shapes, drawing the human face, developing a series of cheats to draw, shading – how much black vs. white, using reference materials)

– Scanning (equipment specifications, scanning specifications)

– (Vector) Inking (Equipment and software specifications, Dell(PC) vs. Apple, Mouse vs. Wacom, nodes and bezier lines, setting up your layers, setting up gradients and picking colors, inking options, creating shapes in Illustrator, cross hatching)

– Coloring (Photoshop vs. Illustrator, setting up your layers, process strategy, highlights and secondary light source, adding shadows, adding a texture)

Stay tuned to this spot, as well as to our Arsenal to find out when and how you can buy this product.

Hand Lettering Tutorial Release: How to Letter with Jason Carne

Hand Lettering Tutorial: How to Letter with Jason Carne

Hey there Go Media Faithful! Love lettering like we do? You’re in luck. Today on the Arsenal, we’re releasing the hand lettering tutorial you’ve been waiting for!

Today, we’re expanding our knowledge base thanks to one of the best: hand letterer extraordinaire Jason Carne.

Jason’s no joke; he has worked with international musicians and touring artists such as Def Leppard, Protest The Hero, and Boyce Avenue as well as global apparel corporations like American Eagle Outfitters.

And now, with the click of a button, he’ll appear in your living room.

This would be the button.

The goods

Today’s release, Hand Lettering Tutorial: Techniques from Conception to Completion with Jason Carne, demonstrates how to create a hand-lettered piece from conception all the way through completion in Adobe Photoshop. Jason guides us through his very detailed process, while reviewing laws of lettering, favorite tips, tricks and tools that he attributes to his success as an artist.

If you’re ready to learn to get your own ideas on paper, as well as valuable lessons like the process of creating unique letters, coloring techniques and preparation for print –

You know what to do.

We promise Jason’s process will awe and inspire.

Take a peek at some images from the tutorial

hand lettering tutorial by Jason Carne heroshot

hand lettering tutorial by Jason Carne - preview  hand lettering tutorial by Jason Carne preview 2 hand lettering tutorial by Jason Carne preview 4 hand lettering tutorial by Jason Carne preview3

Now go create your own masterpiece!

The graphic designer's guide to motion graphics

Introducing the Graphic Designer’s Guide to Motion Graphics

And now, for something completely different

If I recap the latest Arsenal releases, we have things ranging from mockup templates, vector packs, to texture sets. Which is, don’t get me wrong, great. Today, I have a different product to put in your eager hands. Behold, the Graphic Designer’s Guide to Motion Graphics (A video course by Pete Maric).

The graphic designer's guide to motion graphics

Why this video class?

We have a great number of video tutorials already on the Arsenal. They cover Photoshop and Illustrator quite in depth, either through the vintage art approach from Jeff’s Beauty is a black hole Wacom illustration tutorial, or through the clean and detailed approach from Bill’s 100 series about vector illustration. One of the types of work we’ve only scratched the surface of so far is 3d modeling and motion graphics.

Well, the wait is over. We’ve enlisted an amazing contributor in Pete Maric (the brain behind Triplet 3d) to create a tutorial that would start from some of the Arsenal vectors most of you are already familiar with, and shows you how to create this kind of end result:

Exciting, right? In case the video isn’t loading, head straight to Vimeo.

Let’s have a look at what Pete is covering

  • Planning your work with story boards
  • Setting up vector artwork for import into Cinema 4D
  • Creating 3D geometry based on vector paths
  • Materials and setting selections
  • Animation techniques using manual keyframing, MoGraph cloners, and splines
  • Adjusting animation parameters using Cinema 4D’s timeline
  • Three-point light set-up
  • Render settings
  • Post-production techniques in After Effects
  • Sound Design using Garage Band (obviously Mac only, sorry Windows users – but there are Windows alternatives)

You can also read the full table of contents. It basically gives you the keys to understand the basics of 3d modeling and of motion graphics to animate simple elements, using various techniques. The demo video is obviously a combination of everything that’s covered, but you can do simpler, shorter, longer, more complex, etc.

The graphic designer's guide to motion graphics The graphic designer's guide to motion graphics The graphic designer's guide to motion graphics The graphic designer's guide to motion graphics The graphic designer's guide to motion graphics The graphic designer's guide to motion graphics The graphic designer's guide to motion graphicsThere’s more!

In order to help the people (like me) that are a bit scared by the Cinema 4D interface, he did a “Cinema 4D 101” kind of series on his blog. It’s pretty great, and well detailed. There are eight posts in the series so far. I now officially don’t have any more excuses to not learn it. And neither do you!

Where can you get it?

On the Arsenal, of course!

New Arsenal Release: Hand Illustration for T-Shirts, Part 3 of 3

Finally available: the 3rd and final installment Steve Knerem’s “Keep me safe” video tutorial series

Hello all!

I’m very happy to announce that we’re releasing the 3rd part of Steve Knerem‘s video tutorial series today! For those of you that have followed part 1 and part 2, you’re probably jumping with excitement. For the others, I’m inviting you to go read Steve’s “Getting Inked” post for a quick recap.

Also, both Steve and the Arsenal team would like to apologize for the delay, but we’ve had to slay a few dragons fight some video issues (video flickering and sound track). When a video file doesn’t want to, it doesn’t want to.

So, what’s in the box?

Hand Illustration for T-Shirts, Part 3 of 3 - Go Media's Arsenal

In this last installment, Steve covers his digitization and coloring techniques:

  • Color palette choice
  • How to use Illustrator’s tools to add various elements that bring the place together:
    • Vector brushes
    • Halftones
    • Patterns
  • And more!

The hour-long video is as usual laced with tips, tricks, and cool music. While the tips and tricks might not be the ultimate demystification of the process, they should at least make it more of a relaxing walk than an uphill battle.

A few screenshots

Hand Illustration for T-Shirts, Part 3 of 3 - Go Media's Arsenal

Hand Illustration for T-Shirts, Part 3 of 3 - Go Media's Arsenal

Hand Illustration for T-Shirts, Part 3 of 3 - Go Media's Arsenal

Hand Illustration for T-Shirts, Part 3 of 3 - Go Media's Arsenal

Hand Illustration for T-Shirts, Part 3 of 3 - Go Media's Arsenal

Hand Illustration for T-Shirts, Part 3 of 3 - Go Media's Arsenal

A few notes from Steve

Hey Guys,

Well if you been following this tutorial you know that it’s a long time coming. We’re finally at the finish line and now you can on the in depth look into how I color and finalize my tees for print. I’m super pumped to get this out to you and a mega props to Go Media for being a great company to do some work for and letting me use their stage to help anyone learn something new and grow as an artist.

If you purchased the first two tutorials, you can expect more awesome music from some awesome metal bands such as Onward to Olympus. I drop a bunch of personal insight that I’ve picked up over the years illustrating that hopefully will help, let you in on some of my technical “secrets,” and show you how I conduct business.

Lastly the tee will be or already is printed! Go to Buy a tee or five and wear it proudly and send me pics of you wearing it to [email protected]. AS A BONUS: the first 50 tees will have a labeled tag with the ETF name on it, my signature and I’ll write in the order # of the tee you purchased it ( i.e. 1/50, 10/50, etc.). Finally I am getting a printed tag made up that on one side shows the final art and the other side shows the making of the art.

Thanks for purchasing and viewing, always let me know what you think, ya’ll are the best!

— Steve Knerem

One, no, two, no, three, last things!

One: again, you should totally go buy that last part of the tutorial on the Arsenal. Also, if you haven’t gotten any of them yet, we’re making the 3 parts available at $69.99. Just buy the 3 parts at the same time. This is a $20 discount, and it won’t last forever. You should totally take advantage of it while it lasts.

Two: if you follow the tutorial, we’d love to see what comes out of it! Don’t hesitate to mock it up, post the result on the interwebs, and to link to your image in the comments below. Or better yet, post it in the Go Media Flickr pool, and you might be featured on our monthly showcase.

Three: like the art Steve has been designing throughout the tutorial? Well, it’s available on shirts, as Steve said! You should totally purchase one in your size on Establish the Front Line, Steve’s apparel line. Also, something tells me that Steve will share a few more things about that shirt yet (like production pictures, etc), so you should totally watch this space.

Hot Rod Monster Design Process

Hi, Philip Hepler here from 316 Graphics. A few weeks prior to writing this, Jeff Finley and I discussed possibilities for the next Arsenal vector pack. We decided to concept some hot rod elements which later turned into a vector set inspired by the art style of Ed “Big Daddy” Roth. Here’s the design process for this fun vector pack.

For the record, here’s my list of tools I’m working with:

  • Plain copy paper
  • “col-erase” blue pencils
  • Mechanical pencil (.9)
  • Light table
  • Intuos Wacom tablet
  • Adobe Illustrator CS5
  • Inexpensive scanner/copier/printer
  • 27” iMac


Since we wanted to be inspired the art style of Ed Roth I did a Google image search for inspiration. I also checked out the official Ed Roth web site Rat Fink was an anti-Mickey mascot that represented Roth’s attitude and style in the 50’s and 60’s. I always get sucked in to learning more about the artist, and in this case, ended up spending some time checking out his crazy car creations and wild monster hot rod themed illustrations. I ended up with four or five key examples of his work which I printed out and pasted above my drawing table for inspiration. Next I did a little brainstorming and made a list of possible elements for this theme. Some of the elements on my list were chrome pipes, flames, smoking tires, gear shifters, flying eyeballs, and Hot Rod Monsters of course!

hot rod monster vector pack


Next I took the strongest elements on my list and did a rough sketch of each, constantly referencing my inspiration images and imagining how those elements should look in this art style. I’m in the habit of using col-erase pencils to rough sketch my ideas on plain copy paper. The light blue lead of these pencils help me stay loose and general with my sketch so I can get the basic look right and leave the details for the next step. Then I draw over the blue sketch with a mechanical pencil to refine it more and add more detail.

hot rod monster vector pack

I also use a light box and a fresh sheet of paper to refine and clean up my sketch even further if necessary. With my rough sketch ideas on paper I scanned and saved them as a pdf file and sent them off to Jeff to see what he thought of the elements so far. He replied back quickly that he was digg’n the elements, but also had a great suggestion to make multiple monster heads and facial features as separate elements. This would allow users to make their own Hot Rod Monster “Mr. Potato Head” style with mix and match parts. What a great idea! Now I was really getting excited.

hot rod monster vector pack


With Jeff’s feedback and suggestions I did a few more rough element sketches and decided it was time to color them up in Illustrator. I scanned my revised sketches and placed each scan into my Illustrator file on a background template layer. For the more organic shapes of the monster features I used the brush tool with a 3 pt. round calligraphy brush and set the diameter setting to Pressure with a Variation of 3 pt. For the longer smooth strokes and more mechanical elements I used a custom art brush with rounded ends. Using my trusty Wacom tablet, I traced my sketches, trying to emulate the hand inked look of Roth’s illustrations.

hot rod monster vector pack
hot rod monster vector pack
hot rod monster vector pack

Tip: instead of making multiple brushes of different widths for your graphic, you can adjust the thickness of individual brush stroke paths by increasing the stroke weight in the stroke palette. This is a quick way to get variable stroke weights in your graphic without having to duplicate and modify multiple brushes in your brush palette. See the video link below if I’ve lost you.

I also used the Blob Brush tool to fill in larger areas like the monster’s mouths and some quick irregular shapes and details. Feeling good about how the elements looked, I saved another pdf of the vector elements, sent it to Jeff for review, and hoped for the best.


Thankfully Jeff loved the elements and how the vector pack turned out! But before I could send him the files I needed to clean up the elements and make everything nice and neat. First I saved a new copy of the file and then selected each element and expanded the appearance of the brush stokes to create objects (Object-Expand Appearance). With all the brush strokes now converted to black filled objects, I used the Unite function to make the objects one shape (Pathfinder window-Unite). For vector pack art like this, uniting the artwork as one shape makes cleaner, neater elements to work with. Just in case I need to go back and adjust or modify something later, I can always go back to my previous file where my brush strokes are still “live” and editable.

hot rod monster vector pack
Live brush strokes

hot rod monster vector pack
Brush strokes expanded to objects

hot rod monster vector pack
Expanded objects united as one composite path.


Here’s a video of how one of the elements was drawn in Illustrator, the brush settings I used, and the method to my madness!


I would like to thank Jeff Finley and Go Media for the opportunity to work on this latest vector pack release. It was a lot of fun to draw and I hope it will come in handy for one of your future projects!

This post was written by:
Philip Hepler

I’m the man behind the curtain at 316 Graphics, a full time freelance graphic art studio specializing in apparel graphics. The emphasis of my work is on hand drawn illustrations and the ability to adapt to a multitude of art styles and looks. Check out to view my portfolio, inspiration section, and freebie downloads. I live and work in Thomasville, NC (home of the big chair), love classic cars, and drink a gallon of southern sweet tea every day.

Video Tutorial: The Making of Andrew Jackson Follow Up

Hey guys,
It’s me, Jeff Finley, with a quick video message for everyone thinking about grabbing The Making of Andrew Jackson video tutorial.

You know I still get emails asking about the process & techniques I use to achieve that authentic worn vintage vibe seen on most of the Parachute Journalists posters. I always respond that you can literally watch the techniques develop in real time on the Andrew Jackson video tutorial, which is much better than any description I could write.

Well enough typing, here’s my video message wrapping up The Making of Andrew Jackson Video Tutorial.

band poster

Again, thanks to everyone who has purchased the tutorial. If you have lingering questions about the techniques I used in the video tutorial, ask me in the comments! If you still haven’t picked up this tutorial, I promise that it will beef up your creative toolbox, so check it out.

GMZ Reader Special: The Making of Andrew Jackson

Hey Go Media Zinesters, Jeff Finley here. If you didn’t know, I actually spent all of August working on new Arsenal and Zine stuff exclusively. To be specific, I was working on some really rad tutorials. One of which you folks read last week about how I created the artwork for my band’s song “24th of January.”

Andrew Jackson album cover

Learn to Create This Exact Design

Well I’m writing to tell you about my latest tutorial which I think you will really like. This time it’s of the premium video variety, downloadable from the Arsenal for only $49.99. If you keep reading, you’ll see a $10 discount exclusively for GoMediaZine readers! It’s a 2.3-hour complete walkthrough of my entire design process from start to finish. If you liked the artwork I’ve been doing for Parachute Journalists lately, then you’re going to love this tutorial. It’s for our newest song called Andrew Jackson.

Video Tutorial Preview

The song itself was inspired by the education (or lack thereof) in schools about the dark side of former U.S. President Andrew Jackson. He’s well known for his Trail of Tears where he marched thousands of Native Americans out of their homeland which led to lots of disease and death. The song is a satire and is a little different than our other songs because it’s sung by our bass player Jeff Steinwachs. It’s catchy and and a little rough around the edges, which is just how we like it.

Listen to the song

<a href="">Andrew Jackson by Parachute Journalists</a>

close up of the Andrew Jackson typography

The artwork I created for the song took inspiration from the Trail of Tears. That’s where the tear drop shape comes from and in the video I described my design and color choices in more detail. The typography was very 1800s inspired and you’ll see how easy it is to create the type treatment in Illustrator. I do some hacking with some of Illustrator’s built-in toolset to get my desired results. You’ll see!

Andrew Jackson tutorial features

close up of the Andrew Jackson illustration

Even if you’re an experienced designer curious about how a fellow designer works, there are things you can take away from this video.

Topics Covered in the Tutorial

  • Sketching and The Importance of Concept
  • Creating a Type Treatment From Scratch
  • Typography Tricks and Shortcuts
  • Using Photoshop and Illustrator Together
  • Authentic Vintage and Aging Tricks
  • Retro Lighting Techniques
  • Creative Usage of Arsenal Vectors & Textures
  • Wacom Tablet Illustration and Line Art
  • Combining Illustrations and Photos
  • Graphic Design Composition and Layout

GMZ Reader Discount

The tutorial normally costs $49.99 but Zine readers get it for $39.99 throughout the rest of September. Just enter the coupon code “ajtutgmz” at checkout.

Coupon Code: ajtutgmz


I am excited to see what you guys come up with after watching some of the techniques I use. I think the stuff I teach you is versatile enough for many different applications. Let me know what you think!

Tutorial: Iconic Poster Design

New Arsenal Release: Wacom Illustration Video Tutorial