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21 posts tagged FAQ

(Sorry if you've received this ask like 14 billion times before, but I didn't see it in your FAQ.) What tablet and drawing software do you use? I'm sure that the quality of art doesn't have that much to do with just those tools, but I'm curious. :)


Hi! You’re right, I do get this ask a lot. But then I realized it’s probably because I haven’t officially answered it anywhere. So I am going to answer this tablet question ONCE AND FOR ALL and give you all way too much information.

This is the tablet I use most often - a Wacom Cintiq 21UX. The Cintiq is a type of drawing tablet that doubles as a monitor - basically, it lets you draw directly on the screen. Like so:

It’s the most “natural” way to draw digitally as there’s no disconnect with having to look at a separate screen while drawing on a different surface. The Cintiq is the tablet you see in most of my WIPs because it’s my main one, the one that sits in my home office. It is absolutely a great piece of equipment and many professional artists and studios use them. I LOVE my Cintiq. However, there are downsides:

  1. It’s completely NOT portable. So if you have a laptop and are hoping to draw on-the-go, a Cintiq can’t be your only tablet. The thing weighs 20lbs (although mine is an older model, the newer ones might weigh less… and they have Cintiq Companions now, which are sort of portable computer-tablets.) But in general, the thing will stay chained to your desk. Mine is ACTUALLY chained to my desk - mounted on a moveable arm. This is the reason why I own a separate small tablet, so I can work when traveling with my laptop.
  2. It’s pricey, and ultimately not NECESSARY. This is why I’ve been hesitant to answer the tablet question, because a lot of people automatically think that “oh, I need that tablet to create work like her!” Like anon said - the quality of your digital painting doesn’t improve with a Cintiq, just perhaps your efficiency. I don’t recommend dropping thousands of dollars unless you can absolutely afford it and are already comfortable with a regular tablet. And not that anyone asked, but my Cintiq was a generous gift from my bf years and years ago; it’s not the tablet I started out with (or would have started out with.) I have created, and still create, tons of paintings on this $99 Wacom Bamboo:

tl;dr Cintiqs!! I use one! Great but $$$! Don’t feel pressured to get! Buy cheaper tablet if you are beginner! Upgrade only when ready money-wise and commitment-wise!! And remember:

Ohh can we get a link for your inspiration side blog? I would love to follow you on there


Okay I’ve been keeping one in relative secrecy for a while now so I guess go ahead check out all the pretty posts I’ve hoarded for nearly two years! Please be warned I spam there frequently and I have no tag system. And it’s seriously just an infinite scroll of pretty pictures, absolutely nothing deep going on…

Alice will you be at Anime Expo 2014?


I’ll definitely be there, but not sure about Artist Alley yet, I’m on the waitlist because I screwed up and signed up too late. Soooo that’s TBD… OH HEY I GOT A TABLE so yes I will be there crying at Artist Alley

I’m also going to C2E2 this year! Those are my only scheduled cons for 2014 so far.


  • Sharing my art anywhere online (credit appreciated)
  • Copying/referencing my art for educational purposes (credit appreciated)
  • Using my art as your avatar or Facebook cover or w/e
  • Getting a tattoo of my art (photos pls)
  • Printing out my art from online JPGs (seriously it’s okay I understand not everyone can afford to buy prints)
  • Using my art for… like… SIMS?? Or as custom thingys for games? I swear I got some asks about this but yeah uh do what you want
  • In fact the bottom line is I really do not care what you do with my art at all as long as you don’t 1.) purposely remove my signature or worse 2.) CLAIM YOU DREW IT YOURSELF ok seriously I will kill you
  • Everything else is usually a-okay tho grasshoppers (◡‿◡✿)

Hi, so, I have an art assignment to do this firts week and i thought i could try doing your art of eleven, the one he's looking up, ya know. and I needed your permition. It's not going to put it on the internet or anything it's just school stuff. So pleeeease help me out??!


Guys, I must reiterate because I’ve been getting a lot of asks about this recently for some reason - it’s always okay to copy my art for educational purposes! Copying master works (not that I’m a master OTL but oof you know what I mean) is a great way to learn and I did it in school all the time - but of course it is absolutely essential that you don’t deceive your teacher(s) or audience about the source of your work! So just be sure to always credit your inspiration!

Arghh I really hope that’s not what anyone actually thinks… I get the “BRUSHES??” question almost every single day without fail, but the reason I have a hard time answering isn’t because I’m trying to ~protect my secrets~ or anything. (That’s totally silly, especially as I believe that the idea that specific brushes would make your art any better is… highly questionable at best.) It’s because the brushes I use aren’t mine to redistribute. As in, aside from fiddling with program defaults I hardly ever make my own brushes - I trawl the internet for free (or if warranted, paid) Photoshop brushes that other hardworking creatives make available. I cycle through many brush sets, delete the ones I don’t like, and what I end up keeping comprises my current “brush set.”

This presents a couple of problems in terms of sharing. I would feel bad about uploading my brushes because they aren’t “my” brushes. I didn’t make them. It’s like that unspoken rule amongst online stock artists - free to use in your art, but don’t claim as your own. You’ll say I could just credit, which I’d love to do, but the thing is I’ve tested so many brushes and combined so many sets that I don’t remember who made what anymore. I didn’t have any reason to keep track. And even then, not sure the original makers would appreciate me redistributing.

OH MY GOD sorry for the longest and ultimately most unhelpful post ever. To make up for it here’s some information and a list of great free brush sets that I may not necessarily use anymore, but I know I downloaded at some point (keep in mind I use Adobe Photoshop and all info following pertains to that program only):

FIRST. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT. I actually use Tool Presets, NOT Brush Presets. For those who don’t know, a tool preset saves information for a brush such as color, opacity and flow, so you don’t have to adjust it each time you switch. You should definitely learn to use and save your brushes as Tool Presets because they speed up productivity and are pretty much better in every way.
Z-PS-Brushes-V6 and Z-PS-Brushes-V2 - so, these already come as tool presets (.TPL), not brushes (.ABR), they’re equally easy to install and I can vouch that both sets are amazing.
fox-orian’s Essential Illustration Brushes V3 - this is the original set where that famous “hexagon” brush I use in some of my works came from. Got a lot of questions about that brush…
Tony Hurst’s Tones Brush Set No.1 & Tones Tool Presets - I’m not sure if I use these sets anymore but they’re all useful and have great texture.
DITLEV’s Digital Watercolor - I’m pretty sure these brushes are huge and therefore sort of lag on my computer, but they do have a wonderful watercolor-ish effect. I use these sometimes for color blocking.
DanLuVisiArt’s Brushes - A very famous free brush set, probably the first result on deviantART, for good reason. One of the first I ever downloaded, I still use some of these, it’s an amazing set for digital painters. Highly recommended for beginners.
sandara’s Brushes - Another highly recommended set for beginners. Simple, basic, very useful.

Okay… tl;dr but hope that helped in the end! And like I said - the best “brush advice” I can give is to be proactive. If you’re feeling sick of your current set, wipe it and really spend some time testing out new brushes. DELETE the brushes you know you’ll never use (not only do the suck up your computer’s resources since you have to wait for all that shit to load, they are distracting.) Keep yo’ shit ORGANIZED. And most importantly - don’t FIXATE on the idea that only “good brushes will make my art good.” That’s total bull. Brushes are ultimately tools for your art, they are useful but they won’t make up for actual artistic understanding. A great watercolor painting is great because the artist painted it well - you don’t look at it and go “oh, it must be because they used Winsor & Newton watercolors.” Many digital painters create incredible things with the defaults. In the end it’s up to you to push your resources to the limit!


Hello! Are you going to be going to Fanime next weekend? And if so, where can I find you?


Hello! I unfortunately won’t be at Fanime. I actually can’t leave the house until I finish work for my show on June 7th… not even to see Star Trek

Since we’re here, this is my 2013 con/event schedule, subject to change:

MOMENTS" Solo Exhibition (opening reception)
Bottleneck Gallery, Brooklyn, NY – June 7 – confirmed

Anime Expo (artist alley TABLE C30)
➶ Los Angeles, CA – July 4-7 – confirmed

Bay Area Sherlock Con (special guest, artist alley)
➶ Santa Clara, CA – August 17 – confirmed

New York Comic Con
➶ New York, NY – October 10-13

Please note that before this year, I actually have NEVER sold at a con before (AX will be my first ever. I am a n00b.) So please be aware that I will probably massively unprepared and understocked until I get the hang of it… but… come say hi anyway! :)

As an independent artist making money from your own prints and things, how do you do your taxes? Is it hard? How do you calculate secondary distributor things like Society6 earnings? -The Boring One


Short answer: Yes, I pay taxes on everything I earn… such is life. I keep track of expenses vs. income all year, and have more knowledgable people assist me with the actual tax paperwork.

Long answer that is still short because someone already explained this better than I could: Read this very helpful Taxes for Freelancers guide by illustrator Kali Ciesemier!

If the All of Time and Space Shirt was crazy-back ordered, does that mean some people may not have gotten it? Still waiting on the one I ordered in December. Not blaming you, I know stuff gets lost in the mail. But if you know anything about it, please let me know. Thanks!


Oh my gosh! That’s totally absurd that you haven’t received your shirt yet. That’s definitely not normal - I would open a help ticket with Threadless ASAP! I’m sure they’ll send the shirt out right away, or at worst give you a full refund (plus some store credit for your trouble maybe.)

However, I’m going to take this opportunity to state once and for all (since I occasionally get messages like this) that I personally have absolutely nothing to do with orders made on any website except alicexz.com. I have nothing to do with Threadless or Society6 products, so even if you bought something with my design on it, it’s not coming directly from me - I don’t know where your order is, I don’t know how long it will take to ship, I don’t know when a product will be restocked. These companies keep the majority of the profits from my art BECAUSE they do all the work involved with customer service, distribution, shipping, etc. so that I, the artist, don’t have to. So just letting ya’ll know that while I don’t mind if you send me a polite message inquiring about your order, there’s not much point in doing so because I can’t do anything but be indignant on your behalf and advise you to contact the company directly.

Sorry and hope you guys understand! Thank you to all of you who bother to purchase my prints and products - I really appreciate your support. :)

Because I’ve been getting a lot of messages informing me of this 9GAG post of my art (which I have seen and do not at all appreciate, considering they not only didn’t source me but stretched and distorted my artwork AND put their own watermark on)… I’m going to just quote my good friend Emmy in her excellent response to a similar 9GAG regurgitation of her work:


Pro tip for everyone: EVERYONES art is on 9GAG without credits! It’s what 9GAG does. It takes content from other users, posts it to its own website for page views (which it then profits off of) and gives 0 credit to the media-makers. This has happened to every content-making person I know. Websites like those (and there are MANY) are very harmful to the independent artist.

If you don’t want to encourage that kind of thing, DON’T visit websites like 9GAG or ICanHasCheeseburger or places like that :( Don’t link to them, don’t give them your valuable pageviews.

Please signal boost if you agree!

I know you get a bunch of these (and I know a bunch of people say that) but what drives you to finish a really time consuming piece of artwork? I can't seem to finish big ones! I want to start a Tumblr blog for my pieces (that I haven't exactly finished), but the little doodles I've done don't feel worthy enough to post online. I have the attention span of a horse fly... d'you think you could give a little advice?


Here’s the thing, which might be surprising… I never let myself “commit” a ton of time to an artwork unless I can already see the end result in my head. When I commit a long time to a painting, it means that there’s already a certain way I imagine the piece to look and only x amount of hours put into it will achieve what I want. If you have really good, well-thought-out vision and plenty of references and/or research to back it up, the hours of rendering work should come naturally.

Remember - time spent doesn’t automatically equate to great art. The danger of spending too much time on something is getting too attached to an idea, making you blind to any flaws; a poor initial composition is still just going to end up a well-rendered but poorly composed piece, and you won’t be able to start clean because you’ll think “I’ve spent too long on this to let it go.” Further, it’s much, much harder to take criticism on something you pour too many hours into.

I am in no way saying that being dedicated can’t lead to great results. Plenty of artists create only very involved and time-consuming pieces, and it’s amazingly admirable of them. But if that’s just not your thing right now, you shouldn’t feel bad about it! If you’re like me (short attention span!), mentally telling yourself “I have to spend a million hours on this piece! It’s gotta be BIG!” is a sure way to get discouraged and impatient unless you are incredibly enthusiastic about the idea. Don’t feel like you have to spend a ton of time in order to post it on your artblog. Listen to people’s feedback, look at inspirational work, and collect reference photos. Sketches, studies, and idle doodles are just as important, if not more important, than an artist’s “big pieces.” Each one will nurture your skills and make you more confident for the next piece, until one day you’ll have spent double, triple the time you normally spend and you won’t have even noticed!