Frequently asked questions

Here You can read frequently asked questions from other visitors to the homepage.


My browser won't show the page correctly, why?

Perhaps it's because your browser has been set to not use Javascript. Both the menu and a few other parts of the homepage use Javascript (for instance the flashing buttons) and that is why your browser could have trouble showing the menu correctly. If you encounter problems with your browser, please write me, and I'll have a look at it. For now, all I can do is recommending using the newest version of your browser. I test the homepage on the newest versions of Firefox, Opera, Google Chrome, Internet Explorer and Safari for Windows, and everything should work fine if you use the latest version of one of these browsers.
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Which techniques do you use when drawing?

It takes a lot of practice to learn how to draw. I can start by describing my sketching technique: I am very fond of using blue pencils to do the initial lay out drawings. I use Col-erase pencils, but usually I don't erase that much.
When sketching it's better to work your way towards the final image with patience, slowly sketching the primary shapes with very soft pressure on the pencil, and not make any dark lines until you're absolutely sure where you want them. When drawing figures, once again start out with the basic shapes. Leave the hair, clothes, fingers etc. until later. This technique resembles the way artists work with stones or clay. Slowly carve away layer after layer until you end up with the final figure. If you rush it, you're bound to make mistakes.
Once I've sketched the image, I have to make sure that I'm satisfied with the image I've created. Of course we all have to draw the line at some point, but you'll find that the more you've learned, the more critical you will become of your own work. It can be hard to spot any errors in a drawing if you've been staring at it for two hours, so: Leave it alone and have a cup of hot chocolate. When you return, you will be able to look at the drawing with fresh eyes. Another trick is to look at the image through a mirror. It sounds crazy, but it works!
Once you're completely satisfied with your drawing, it's time to ink it. I use 0.5 filt tip pens. If the lines become too fine, a scanner will have trouble scanning them. Inking the image is an art form of it's own. It's not just a question of making the pencil lines darker - I've seen hundreds of good sketches destroyed by this kind of thinking. When you ink, you once again have to feel the character inked with each stroke. Otherwise important perspective and design is lost. Remember: An inked line has to replace perhaps two or three sketched ones, but it should look just as good as all of these lines combined. If you have any animators, assistant animators, cartoonists, inkers or inbetweeners among your friends just ask them, and they'll agree. Well, the rest of your friends will agree as well, once they've seen the difference a good inking makes.
When I scan an image, I always scan it at oversize. Once I then resize the colourized image, all minor "mistakes" will become invisible.
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What programs do you use?

I use two programs: Adobe Photoshop and Paint Shop Pro 5.
PSP5 can be bought at a fraction of the price of Photoshop, but it's just as good (it also uses layers and even reads Photoshop files). Once I've scanned the image as line art, I convert it to RGB mode (Photoshop). Then I make a basic colouring (no shades) of all parts of the image. Once all parts have their basic colours, I start shading, marking the area I want to colour using the magic wand tool, and shading using the airbrush tool. When shading, I use as big a brush as possible, as long as it doesn't destroy the image. This ensures smooth shading. The airbrush tool is set at either Normal or Darken when making dark shades, at Soft Light when making light shades, and at Normal or Lighten when making highlights. I don't use layers that often, but this is not because layers aren't a good idea - I'm just old-fashioned and use a more classical way of masking my airbrush images. If you want to be able to move the different image parts, layers are a must. I've used this to create the top page image, the banner ad and a few other images at the gallery part of the personal homepage.
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Can You describe the process when You do a commission?

Of course!
It is very important for me to keep a close contact to You as my customer during the whole process. This gives You the knowledge that You get what You want and I save a lot of time when I don't work in a wrong direction compared to what You had in mind with the illustration.
I always start by making a few lose sketches that You will have the opportunity to comment on. Using this approach we will find the basis for the illustration and the design of the characters. I then continue by cleaning up the illustration and adding details.
When it comes to coloured images, the colouring process is the same as the sketching ditto: I add a basic layer of colours, and You have the chance to comment on them before I make shading and so on - this is of course not possible with techniques such as water colour, though.

During the whole process I keep You informed of the progress, and during larger commissions I will mail more detailed informations of the progress and estimated time left.

If You want to, feel free to take a look at an example of a production in progress, take from an earlier commission!
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What is the system of payment?

The system of payment is connected to how well we know each other. With the first commissions, I work like this:
When I have finished Your illustration I mail it to You as a small JPG file. The image will be large enough for You to see that I have finished the illustration. At the same time I mail You an invoice (snail mail) with the details of how You can pay (with international commissions, the most common way of paying is using an international check).
As soon as I have Your payment I will mail You the finished image in whatever format You prefer (within the limits of possibility, of course). It's as simple as that!
If You have more commissions we will be able to change the system of payment along the way, so it is possible for You to get the finished illustrations in full size, even before You have paid.
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Can I get the images in original file format and not just as JPG or GIF?

No problem!
If Your commission will cost more than 270 Euro I will send You a CD-ROM with all Your illustrations in original Photoshop format, free of charge.
It is also possible to get the original files for smaller commissions, but the price of the CD-ROM and the P&P will be added.
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I have a group where we make signature tags etc. Can I use your artwork?

As long as it's non-profit use, and you only use artwork from the "personal homepage" part of my homepage www.jakobkramer.dk (that is, the homepage you reach when clicking the "Pers. homepage" link on the index page), you can feel free to use any graphics found in the galleries in connection with signature tags etc.

Any artwork found in the "freelance" part of my homepage has been bought by different commissioners, and therefore you can't use these images (I'm sure you understand).

When linking, please use this URL: www.jakobkramer.dk

Feel free to ask if you have any questions!
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