Don’t ever go into those woods alone.

[Flashback. INT - The Grooter household. We see that the speaker is MRS. GROOTER, telling a frightening bedtime story to her three daughters. COT is doing household chores in the hallway, but is able to hear the story while working]

Not ever, do you hear me? The Ghost Forest is an evil place.

I’m not scared of no ugly old trees, mama.

I knew a girl who said the same thing, once.

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The Field Guide To Magical Animals by Joe Wierenga

I want to say a brief word about how this comic is made. I draw it in Photoshop, which makes it a fast and easy process (comparatively speaking), but I really don't want it to feel digital. A highly polished, clean-and-crisp look works well for some amazing artists out there, but it's not my thing. With my real-life art I work with a lot of ink and watercolor: tools that can sometimes get out of your control, and I love those chaotic and unexpected things a brush or a crow quill can do. So it was important to me to find ways to replicate that look. I've found a couple of custom brushes I really like, I want to tell you about them.

I draw all the linework above with the Stumpy Pencil brush preset. This is a free brush and it really gives you that grainy, irregular, graphite-on-toothy-paper look. If you like drawing in Photoshop I can't recommend it highly enough. It's great.

To color these pages I've been using Kyle's Ultimate Watercolor Set. I think I spent thirteen bucks on Kyle's Ultimate Megapack a couple years ago, and even though I only regularly use five or six brushes out of the 120 that come with it, I still think it was totally worth the price.

For any young artists reading this who want to go out and find their own unique voices, I hope that helps. Try as many different tools as you can and see what works for you. Do great things.

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