Category Archives: Tips & Tricks

Advice and hints on how to create the perfect character illustration.

Once more into the crapper

On a dare, Hammerknight can show you how to make your own toilet in HeroMachine 3:

I can’t decide what’s more alarming, that someone drew a toilet or that someone dared someone to do it. Speaking of which, have you ever noticed how un-toilet-friendly most superhero gear is? No zippers, layers of armor, spandex out the wazoo, and an almost sinister lack of access to said wazoo in the first place.

Anyway, the speculation last week over just how he got the book pages in his grimoire was really entertaining, so we’re introducing a new feature this week — “Guess How!”

Take a look at this Hammerknight effort and see if you can guess how it was done, either just explaining what you think the tricks are, or trying to replicate it yourself (link to show your work!):

I’ll post the answer key after folks’ve had a chance to give it a try. Thanks HK, should be fun!

Magic Book recipe

Hammerknight once again has a nifty guide to custom item creation in HeroMachine 3, this time a cool looking magic book. Thanks HK!

Props 101

Many thanks to Hammerknight for putting together another totally cool guide to making some nifty stuff with HeroMachine 3. The table in particular is pretty rad, but the barrel is nothing to sneeze at. Great job once again sir!

Layering 101

Doyle’s been doing some fun stuff with, and has graciously put together a series showing how to assemble a scene there using HM3 parts. He notes that you CAN do all this in HM3 but that due to the crashing issues (hey, it’s an alpha!) it’s fairly painful to do so.

Enjoy! If you have questions or comments about the series, by all means speak up in the comments.

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Heraldic Shields

Thanks to Hammerknight for another couple of recipes in his Heraldry series, focusing on creating patriotic coats of arms for shields (click on either for a larger version):

Great job again, thanks HK!

Heraldic Helms

With Heaps of Hallelujias to Hammerknight, herewith are Heraldic Helms for HeroMachine. Alliteration is no charge.

Thanks HK, these are great as always! Click on an image to see it at the original, more legible size.


Hammerknight really stepped up to the plate for us and sent in another great recipe card, this time on how to do heraldic designs in HeroMachine 3. I am still without internet access in Colorado so had to sneak out to the library to post this. Thanks Hammerknight, you are a stud!

If you have comments for HK by all means let him know, and if you have questions or remarks about any other “how to” questions let ‘em rip.

Open critique and help day

If you have a question about HeroMachine, or art, or comics, or why we park on a driveway but drive on a parkway (apologies to Steven Wright), feel free to ask in the comments and I won’t judge you.

On the other hand, if you have a piece of art, either from the HeroMachine or that you’ve done by hand, you can request a critique from me and the community at large in the comments, and we will judge that! Just a couple of things to keep in mind:

  1. Please limit critique requests to just one per person.
  2. If you’re offering your feedback to someone, please be constructive.
  3. Never get involved in a land war in Asia.

Finally, Hammerknight has managed to shake loose some time and sent in this excellent recipe for how to handle shading with HeroMachine. Many thanks to him!

How to Draw Batman in a Bar

I did a plain text version of this once, but I thought a video would be easier to follow. If you ever wanted to draw Batman in a bar using nothing but letter shapes (and who among us has NOT wanted to do that?!), here’s your chance to learn how.


Otherwise, consider this your (late) “Help!” open thread, feel free to ask anything you like about how to do something in HeroMachine, or an illustration question, or all but one thing associated with the meaning of life.

Hand holding

Your Helpful Thursday guide for today is “How to Put an Item in Your Character’s Hand”, a question I frequently get from new users. The basic steps are:

  1. Put whatever item you want to go in that hand on the canvas, positioned over the hand where you want it to go.
  2. With that item the active one, click the Mask button:
  3. Click on the hand you want to put the item into. Done!

Please feel free to ask any questions you like in comments, about this or any other topic.