Back when I was in SFI (Swedish for Immigrants) classes, they had a really cool poster of the Salta Lakritsfigurer cat. It was created by Tommy Hallgren, a Swedish graphic artist who designed several Swedish candy brands, among other things.
A couple of weeks ago, Björn found a framed print of the same poster at the second-hand store – signed by the artist!
Izaak, of course, had to “help” me take a photo of our poster.
This is how the Salty Cat looks on the actual candy boxes. But take a close look at the box on the right.
See the holes? Yep…Alfred, with his fierce belief that anything in plastic is food, bit the box.
Of course, Zak had to “help” me with the candy boxes, too.
When Emma was visiting, we watched Raya and the Last Dragon again, and this time I was reminded of the Serlots from the region of Fang. Their name is apparently a portmanteau of “Serval” and “Ocelot,” but they look more like Caracals. Watching the movie for the third time, I thought that Dashiell would make an excellent Serlot.
So I started with the sketch and the ink layers.
Then I needed a break from detail work, so I switched to creating the background. I played around with different textures to create the landscape.
After the background, I went back to the undercolour later, which I also did a bit differently than the way I usually do it; I used fur brushes rather than airbrushes.
I didn’t spend as much time on the fur layer as usual, probably because of my using fur brushes for the undercolour.
And here’s the finished Dasherlot. It’s different from some of my other works, but I kind of like it.
As usual, here’s the Procreate video in Flickr. It’s a little different from the other videos, because I exported it after two different drawing sessions and then edited it back together, but you get the idea.
Iris sent the cover of the show catalogue to all of us members today, and I thought you would like to see how my BBQ Marlin drawing ended uo being used. I don’t know if it will be printed in colour or greyscale, though…Probably greyscale. But I can still wish for colour.
After the other movie-inspired artworks I did, I got to thinking about Pepita, the flying jaguar Alebrije in the Pixar movie Coco.
I could see Pepita as Alfred, so I went with it. I took a different approach with the one; instead of just black line, I used the colours of Pepita to create the outline.
Then, as usual, I did the under colour. But instead of using the smooth airbrush to do the colour, I used an oil-painting brush which gave a very different effect..
Then I did a fur and feather layer. It really made a difference!
This is the combined fur and feather layer.
Then I started working on the background.
This is the final, combined image of Freddy as Pepita. Not only am I pretty proud of this artwork, but I TOTALLY LOVE the lighting on it. And OMG, getting to play with colour was amazing!
Here’s the Procreate video of my drawing process; click on the image to watch it in a new window in Flickr.
Last week, I posted my latest NEMO art project, Marlin eating a fabulous spread of BBQ. Last week, I had gotten as far as the sketch. This week, I finished it, starting, of course, with the ink.
Then, underneath the ink, I laid down the undercolour.
Over the ink, I painted the fur.
Here are the undercolour and fur layers together.
And here’s the completed Marlin.
That was as far as I could get in Procreate. But I almo needed to create a pattern for the bib. I found an image of a New England-style lobster/clam bake bib. It had anchors on it, but I replaced them with Nemo fish. I know, subtle, and I was probably overthinking it, but it’s the little details that make good art.
Then, also in Photoshop, I added details to Marlin’s eyes, silverware, whiskers, and the creases on his bib. You can see them in this close-up.
And here’s the completed Marlin! I am pretty pleased about how it turned out…even though it’s probably going to be printed in greyscale on the catalog cover.
Of course, I also save the video of the inking and colouring in Procreate. Click the image to watch it in a separate windo on Flickr.
Yesterday, Iris asked me for a Marlin drawing for the cover of the catalog for our show next year. I didn’t want to do yet another version of Marlin grilling; I wanted to do something new.
I thought about it a little bit, and, because the big theme this year is the outdoor barbecue dinner on Saturday night. So, I got the idea to do a sort of 1950’s-style guy eating at a table laden with barbecued meat, holding up a knife and fork with a napkin ties around his neck-
This is Marlin with the table of meat I found; it’s from an early 60’s Andy Griffith’s BBQ Sauce ad. I modified it in Photoshop and I may do more with it. Marlin’s feet won’t be in the final drawing; it will cut off at the bottom edge of the table, but I wanted to draw a complete Marlin in case I want to use some of the layers in another project later on. I also have a really fun idea of something to put on the bib. Stay tuned.
Here’s the video of my preliminary sketches in Procreate; click on the image to watch it in a new tab on Flickr.
Two weeks ago, I posted my drawing of Lorelai as Sisu the last dragon. Well, there’s another creature, sort of an armadillio/pillbug/hedgehog mashup called Tuk Tuk. And in one of the early scenes where he’s a baby, he reacts to a cat in a way that really reminded me of Izaak. this is the first sketch; I liked it so much I was almost going to keep it as the outline, and skip the inking stage.
But I did the ink anyway, just to see how it looked. As it happens, it came out even better than the sketch did!
Next, I filled in the base colours, underneath the ink.
Which looks like this when finished.
Then, over the ink, I did the shell and fur textures. This is just the textures…
…this is with ink…
…and finally, with the undercolour.
Add some whiskers and eyeshine, and we’re ready to go into Photoshop.
I added the hand and the background there, along with a bit more eye details. But there was one more thing I wanted to do.
Finally, I added some lighting effects. I really like the way this one turned out!
And here’s a video of the Procreate process, which you can watch in Flickr. There are a LOT of layers on this one – fifteen in total!
NEMO is having a cat show next month, and Iris asked me for an outline of our mascot Marlin. Well…there were a few problems with that. Back in 2013 when I originally drew Marlin, I did it old school: ink on paper, scan, and fill in Photoshop using the paint bucket tool. Eight years ago, it was fine…but I can do better now. Also, back then, I didn’t put outlines and colours on separate layers, so I literally didn’t have the outline handy.
I put the old logo into Procreate and redrew Marlin. I wanted to keep him as close to the original as possible, because he’s our brand, so I didn’t change anything. I just refined him.
Then, also in Procreate, I did all the colours except the base cream coat.
Then I shifted back to Photoshop. Sometimes, the old tools are the best tools. I duplicated the outline and filled it all with cream using my trusty paint bucket tool.
Here are both colour layers together. Keeping with preserving the original, all the colours are eyedroppered from the 2013 drawing.
And this is the result, a shiny new NEMO logo for the Roaring Twenties!
We finally got to see Raya and the Last Dragon on Disney+, and I was absolutely mesmerised by the dragon Sisu, voiced by Awkwafina. She reminded me so much of Lorelai that I had to draw her as the dragon. Here is my first sketch.
Followed up by the ink outline.
I did colour layers both underneath and over the ink outline, and then covered up some of the black lines with matching colours.
This is the finished Procreate drawing, sans background, before shifting to Photoshop.
Add a background and some outer glow on some of the layers…and here is the finished piece.
As always, here’s the video of the Procreate drawing process. Click on the image to watch the video in Flickr.
The other day, Björn and I watched a movie I bought ages ago to have enough to get free shipping and then completely forgot about: Une Vie de Chat – A Cat in Paris. It’s a French film about a cat named Nico who leads a double life: Cat burglar’s partner by night, little girl’s adored companion by day.
It’s a marvelous movie, with suspense, intrigue, pathos and humour. But what struck me most was this one cat during the opening credits.
Kind of looks like an Abyssinian, don’t you think? At least the colour is spot on.
Whilst the plot definitely holds your interest…it’s the art that really captivates. It looks like hand-drawn colour pencil drawings, and the way it’s done, the colouring is constantly moving. It’s kind of mesmerising. We watched the dubbed version, and the English voices are a nice mix of British and American; it’s better than most dubbing jobs. If you can find it, it’s a great cat-themed film, showing that cats can be loyal and love their humans.
There’s a fun meme going around that involves a simple line drawing of a cat’s head and four paws, captioned “Complete this cat for the laughs.” Well. I like cats, and laughing, so sure!
As a warm-up, I did this silly sketch of two cats dancing.
Then, I decided to play with colours and brushes, so I drew Jacoby in his parka.
Painting fur was fun, so I decided to paint some feathers. I also made the kitty a little happier. Silly, maybe…but any excuse to draw, right?
My friend Pat plays with a colour-by-numbers app called Happy Color and often posts her favourite creations. Last week, she posted this cat painting and asked the hive mind if we thought it was an Abyssinian. Of course, everyone agreed that it definitely was! I may have to try this app out!
Today is my birthday! Yesterday, I got this sign from my friend Meg. I absolutely love it…I just need to figure out where to put it. Thank you, Meg!
Yesterday, I discovered something very sad. FooPets, the online game I discovered 11 years ago and fell in love with because it featured Abyssinians, has shut down completely. Rumour>/a> has it that when Flash stopped being supported, the game stopped working and/or the original creator (a veterinarian) just didn’t renew the domain. I used to have a shortcut on my browser and I accidentally clicked on it yesterday; trust me, do NOT try to visit the site. It now directs to some…unsavoury images.
I hadn’t really checked in on my flock of Abys since last year, but I always thought about them.
The main reason I stopped going to the site was because they got rid of my favourite thing, Heart Park, which is the closest thing I ever found to a cat-themed online role-playing game.
It was a simple game, really, but I liked it.
You could even have kittens!
I wish I had taken screenshots the last time I visited the site. My main apartment was a loft in Cambridge with a view of Boston! I never thought about it going away, so I never took any of that view.
Yesterday, Iris sent NEMO club members a draft of the flyer for our first post-Covid in-person show. It’s only open to exhibitors, and masks will be required unless eating or drinking. When I saw it, I knew what I had to do.
So here is the new, improved, mask-wearing Marlin doing his BBQ thing.
Here’s how it looks on the flyer itself. Not bad, eh?
So last night, we watched the most recent, and quite possibly the best, episode of Family Guy…Season 19, Episode 19: Family Cat.
While it does include some dog-centric stereotypes, it’s actually a pretty cat-friendly episode, and it discusses the conundrum of Toxoplasma gondii. And, you have to admit, that one cat on the far left looks a lot like a cartoon Aby.
I am not sure how long this link will last, but you can watch the episode on YouTube.
Last weekend, we watched an amazing movie called Isle of Dogs. It’s a Wes Anderson film, which I find rather hit-or-miss, but I did like his first stop-motion animated feature, Fantastic Mr. Fox, and it looked intriguing, so we gave it a shot. And, oh, was it worth it!
For a movie with the word “dog” in the title, it was actually, surprisingly, quite focused on cats. It’s an interesting Japanese pastiche in which the cat-loving Mayor Kobayashi has banished all dogs to Trash Island. In the introduction to the film this is all explained with some beautiful illustrations and scenes. My favourite, which is only seen for a minute or so, is the incredibly elaborate Cat Temple (seriously, look at that link; they did an incredible amount of work to create something that’s basically only one scene)! Of course, I instantly noticed the five cat statues to the right of the temple doors…one large, one tiny, two medium-sized and one small. I had to pause it and point out how the five cats matched our own five!
And then…I had to draw it. This is the sketch…
And here’s the ink. Covid aftereffects have really been kicking my butt this week, so it took me a while. I know where I want to go with this, and how I want the colouring to look, but it’s taking me longer to actually do it than I planned.
If you want to see the time lapse video of the work in progress, click the image to open it in another window.
I have been working on the drawing of Kiipi and her kitten.
This is the ink outline with the base colour filled in.
Without the ink, the colour alone has a rather neat “paint by numbers” effect.
And here is the ink, colour and shadows. I just need to add the fut texture and background, and this one is finished!
My sister’s birthday is tomorrow. I got her a card, but things being what they are, I didn’t mail it in time. So, I reckoned I’d just sent it to her electronically. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I always draw a little cartoon in the cards I send people. But if I’m Messaging my sister her card, what’s the best way to add my traditional drawing?
With Procreate and Photoshop, of course! And this card drawing is better than most, because I was actually able to do a sketch beforehand. Usually, I just freehand the drawing in ink.
This is the ink version, done in Procreate.
If you’re interested, you can watch the Procreate time-lapse video of the sketch and ink on Flickr. Click the image to view the video in another tab.
And here is the inside of the card that my sister will get tomorrow. The Swedish translates to: “If you were a cat, you’d be turning a hundred and eleventy-twelve years! Congratulations on your Birthday!”
So, two weeks ago, I posted my progress on my drawing of the cats as the Incredibles family.
Well, today I finished it. First I added a fur texture layer.
Then I added a few details to the ear fur and collars.
One final tweak…and well, it’s as finished as it’s going to be.