Home • Archive • Store • Portfolio • EcardsLinksFAQEmail the artist

This making of After Eden presentation is still in development. If there is anything you would like to see added, let me know.

See more After Eden cartoons here:

After Eden cartoons

After Eden - The Creation Story (of a cartoon)

Take a journey back to the beginning and see a creation cartoon

come to life in six literal steps!

Step one: Ideas first!

Step two: Rough sketches

Step three: Pencils and inks

Step four: Scanning the artwork

Step five: Assembling, coloring, and final text

Step six: Convert files and Post on the web



1. Ideas first!

The process of creating After Eden cartoons begins with ideas. Before I launched this weekly cartoon feature, many hours were spent collecting possible subjects that would later be used to develop cartoons. Most of my time was spent thinking about the lives of Adam and Eve and other people in Genesis 1-11 and writing these thoughts down in one of several note books. No matter where I go, there is usually a notebook close by, ready for my next idea. If I don't write them down right away, I usually forget what the idea was. Not all of these end up turning into a cartoon, but the more ideas I can come up with, the better the chances of having one of them be a future cartoon.

Ultimately, of course, the credit for these ideas must go to the Creator of all creativity. Our creator God. That being said, I wish I could say the ideas all come easy. Thinking up good ideas is the hardest part of the entire process!



2. Rough sketches

Unlike our Creator, I cannot create things instantly perfect. I have to start simple and add more detail as I progress. The earliest drawings are usually quite rough looking little sketches. Sometimes many of these sketches are drawn before a "good one" is drawn. If one of these little sketches works for me, I will develop it with another sketch and rework the wording if needed.

Note that some of the examples shown here were made before I had decided to go with the title After Eden. The final look for Adam and Eve had also not been developed yet at this point as I was just trying to collect successful cartoon ideas. The sketches from this point on will be of those that produced the first drawn After Eden. I later chose to display this cartoon closer to Valentine's day so it waited around for a while.

This is the first successful thumbnail for the cartoon you will see develop from start to finish.

There have been many times where the final text is not decided upon until the artwork is complete. Thankfully, this cartoon's text was finished here.

The look for the cartoon versions of Adam and Eve needed to be developed. Here is the sketch that helped me do just that.




3. Pencils and inks

The next step is to take the good rough sketch and trace it into a preprinted cartoon panel. Notice this time the pencil lines are not so sketchy. This is very important because these lines will be used as a guide for the final ink drawing. The tracing is done on a lightbox.

=======PENCIL PHOTO=========

type of pencil info???


Are you shocked that I would actually trace? Well, I am not finished tracing yet! The next step is to use the refined pencil drawing to produce the final inked art. Again this is done on the lightbox. The ink lines are drawn with Rapidograph tech pens. They are fast to use and produce a very nice quality line. As you can see the inked art is drawn in pieces. This is to help me later, because I like to make the color of the line work in the background different than the line color of Adam and Eve. This is best done by drawing the elements of the cartoon separately. Later on these two pieces will be assembled on the computer.

This example is fairly simple at just 2 main pieces. Most After Edens are drawn in as many as 5 to 10 pieces.

************Show another example of one with MANY pieces******


pen size info??????



4. Scanning the artwork

The next step is to make the line art on the paper appear

on my computer. This is accomplished by using a scanner.

The scanner I use is made by Canon and the scans are made at 300 dpi (dots per inch).

Once the art is scanned into my computer, I convert it from the bitmap file the scanner makes, into a vector

art file. For this I use a program called Adobe Streamline.

The vector line art file is then opened in the next program I use in the process.


Converting to vector art in Adobe Streamline. The left half of picture is being converted to vector art.

The right side is finished.

========Scanner photo?========

Take with digital camera....Powerbook too.


5. Assembling, coloring and final text

Now that the line art is "in" my computer, the final steps will be completed quite quickly. The program used here is Macromedia Freehand 9. With this program I color the

artwork by mixing the ....................cartoon pieces and...

When the coloring has been completed...

I assemble the pieces of the cartoon ..........Notice in the art below, Adam and Eve are now on the green plant background but the art is still two separate pieces. One piece just lays on top of the other. See how the lines for the grass and trees are dark green instead of black. Again, drawing the artwork in separate pieces allowed me to do this. The dark green lines help set the background elements into the back of the picture and make Adam and Eve stand out more. The last thing to do with the art now is to paste it into the cartoon panel. It's ALMOST done. There's still one more MAJOR thing to do.

Since this cartoon had the final text decided very early on, it does not show what happens to most of the After Eden cartoons. At this point I usually either add the final text or make changes to the text until it works for the cartoon. Finalizing the text is probably the second hardest part of creating a cartoon. It might not seem like much, but if you don't get the text just right, the readers may not understand the cartoon, the cartoon might not be funny or it could be Biblically wrong. There are so many ways to get the text wrong. This is where members of the AIG staff become very valuable to me as After Eden reviewers. I show some of them the cartoon before anyone sees it on the web and based on their comments I make the final changes to the text. The cartoon is now ready to be converted into the right file formats to appear on the web.


Total drawing and computer time....1 to 2 hours. This depends on how much there is to draw and how fast a cartoon comes together. Sometimes I don't have to draw more than one rough sketch to know I have it just right.

The toughest time consuming parts are getting the ideas for the cartoon and then the tweaking of the text at the end. I cannot put a time estimate on those.

6 .Convert files and post on the web


Once I have the finished cartoon in Freehand, I convert it into a photoshop file. Photoshop then coverts it into the file formats I use to display the cartoons on the web.

Adobe Photoshop 6.0




Thumbnail too!


To print versions color and B&W

B&W for print...color also at 300dpi


Spanish copy

I don't do the translating...:-)


Dave Mateer -web guru PHOTO OF DAVE AT COMPUTER

Monday AM Eastern time zone USA


Emails - good and bad.

Thanks for writing in. Most emails are positive. Some negative. Christian cartooning draws all kinds of responses.

I try to be as Biblically accurate as possible. Thanks to those who give valuable input in the creation process.

See more After Eden cartoons here: After Eden cartoons

Home • Archive • Store • Portfolio • EcardsLinksFAQEmail the artist