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.
This isn’t really a cartoon, but it’s pretty cool. Björn’s sister mailed him some old postcards which arrived today. They had been sent to him back in the 1960’s, and, interestingly, they all featured cats.
I guess even back then, Björn was a cat guy.
This card is my favourite. This cat is completely done with your nonsense. And no, it’s not at all creepy to think about these cards are over fifty years old, and the cats are…well, you know.
Do you remember back almost two years ago, when I envisioned our five cats as The Incredibles? Well, I finally got around to finishing it.
It’s not entirely finished, though. I still need to do the fur texture and a little touch-up. But it’s a lot closer than it was!
The other day I was reminded of the “Cat Pack” of 2013. They included Strollercat (of course), Rosie and Louis, my friend Kathy’s two Abys; Jafari the jogging cat, my friend Christopher’s Aby; and, of course, Jacoby’s cousin Toki Nantucket, my friend Julie’s supermodel Aby. I did a little sketch of the famous cohort.
2009 was a good year for Abyssinians.
I’ve mentioned my love for Pixie and Brutus cartoons. Well, last week, I got something I have wanted for a very long time: a Pixie plush!
Of course, Izaak had to check her out.
“I guess we do look a little bit alike…”
But the best thing about my Pixie plush?
She glows in the dark!
Back in 2014, I drew the cartoon above based on a photo and caption a Facebook friend of mine, Mike Ruemmler posted in the old Abyssinian Cat Club. Sadly, we all learned that Mike was found dead in his home last week. My friend Kristen posted to the New England Abyssinian Rescue page:
“Sad news for our NEAR family and the larger community of Aby owners. Last night we learned that our dear friend, Mike Ruemmler, passed away over the weekend.
Mike fostered and transported several Abys for us. He foster-failed one of our seniors because he couldn’t bear the thought of putting her through another transition. I once sent him on a grand overnight adventure to transport an Aby only to have the owner change her mind at the last minute. He worried about that Aby as much as I did. A year later that same Aby came into rescue after the owner had placed her in a bad home. If I asked for help, he said yes without hesitation.
If you were friends with Mike, you often received a cat meme in your mailbox to brighten your day. Mike retired last Fall and seemed to be making the most of everyday, even in these trying times. He was dedicated to his cats and friends. A wonderful person who will be deeply missed.
NEAR’s Max, Lucy, Pele, and Ellie were all saved through Mike’s help. Give them a chin scratch or two if they are in your home today.
Mike left behind 4 Abys. A friend of Mike’s quickly took the cats in and contacted us for help. The cats are safe and being appropriately spoiled. Now we need to begin finding the right homes for these special Abys.
Gregor and Soska are 11 year-old male litter mates. They will be placed together.
Pop-Tart is a red female. We are waiting on vet records to confirm her age.
She can be placed with Gregor and Soska or on her own. She would do best in a home with a limited number of cats and no other females.
Pele is the red female Mike adopted from us. She is 16 and doesn’t readily accept other cats.
All of Mike’s cats were spoiled, loved, and received veterinary attention whenever needed. They are in St. Louis, MO. We will only consider adopters who can physically pick these cats up.
If you are interested in any of these cats, please submit an application: www.neabyrescue.com/application
Mike, I picture you in a beautiful garden reunited with many of your feline family members. You will be fondly remembered and forever missed.”
I really enjoyed his posts about his cats. Once again, my heart has joined the Thousand, for my friend has stopped running today.
This is by no means a cartoon, but I wanted to share this ethereal watercolour of Bugsie that was done by her friend Arlven Leonardor. I think it captures Bugsie’s spirit perfectly.
I have done a bunch of new ideas, but now it’s time to finish old projects. This sketch and ink from 2018 really needs to be finished. I started today, and here is the base colour. Then my iPad needed charging…stay tuned.
A couple of weeks ago, I happened to see Men in Black: International on television. At the very beginning of the film, we see a cute little blue Terrantian in the lead character’s childhood bedroom. Molly helps the little guy escape from the Men in Black and as he leaves, he says something to her.
He was a stocky little guy with big, round eyes…so of course I had to draw Izaak as him.
I did most of the work on this in Procreate; just the background, signature and lighting effects were done in Photoshop. Playing with feathers was a lot of fun. Here’s the time-lapse of the drawing process for those who are interested (click on the image to watch in another tab on Flickr).
One of the bright spots of quarantining has been Disney+. I’ve been watching all sorts of movies and shorts, one of which was Tangled: The Series. It’s set between the events of the original Tangled movie and the short Tangled Ever After. I had no idea this series existed, and binge-watched it over the last few weeks. I was intrigued with the art style in the series. And then, I saw the episode The Way of the Willow…featuring an odd little creature called Üumlaut. Well…when I saw Üumlaut and her rattle, I knew what had to be done. So here is Üumzak.
And, because I know some of you like to watch the process, here’s the Procreate video (click on the image to view it in Flickr). The only things I did in Photoshop were straightening the Üumzak and creating the shadow on the rattle. This was actually more of a challenge than it looks; borderless characters are harder to do than you’d think, and I learned how to do a couple of new things in Photoshop. Still, I think I captured the style of the series pretty well.
It’s finished! I finally finished Dashiell Hamilton! It was a real process, too. But as I mentioned last week, I got a new Paperlike screen protector for my iPad, and it makes drawing on the screen so much more natural and organic. In fact, I did most of this in Procreate. Only the last few bits were done in Photoshop.
And the very first bit. I started with a photo of the suit and a photo of Dash in Photoshop. Then I went to Procreate and did the sketches.
Getting the suit just right was my biggest challenge. It took five layers to make it look the way I wanted it to. I did two base colour layers in Procreate, and a low-opacity layer of the actual suit (done in Photoshop) to add the sheen and texture. Then the ink layer was moved above the colour layers. Finally, I discovered a lace brush in Procreate, which was perfect for his sleeves and cravat.
Dash himself was a little easier, because…well, I’ve done more ruddy Abyssinians than I’ve done 18th century emerald-green silk suits. All layers except the top fur texture layer were done on the iPad.
Put all the layers together, along with the whiskers and a little shadow, and put him onstage…and, finally, history has its eyes on Dash!
And, just because I can, I saved the video of the whole Procreate process for anyone who’s interested. Click on the above image to watch the magic happen in Flickr.
Okay. Now, I know these aren’t cartoons. But I have been working on colouring Dashiell Hamilton every day. I want to get the green of his suit just right, and it’s taking a lot longer than I thought…and I haven’t even started on colouring Dash himself! I am trying to do as much as I can in Procreate…but yesterday I got a new Paperlike screen protector, and let me tell you, it is a game changer! It really feels like I’m drawing on real paper, and it is so much better than drawing on glass. Even though it’s digital, it still feels organic. I’ve also ordered a set of Pen Tips, which should also improve the drawing experience. While Paperlike and Pen Tips ship worldwide, they are based in Germany and the Netherlands respectfully, so I don’t have to pay any import taxes!
Since Dash-Ham isn’t finished enough to post an update, I’m sharing some Christmas cards I’ve received. The above card arrived today from my Sverak club AbSolut Kattklubb. That is one lovely blue Somali.
This card came a couple of days ago from my friend Donna in Massachussetts. I think these Birmans are adorable. At least, I think they’re Birmans…hard to tell when you can’t see their feet!
This cute little Siamese postcard came today, also from Donna. I love that she keeps sending me postcards…it’s nice to have physical notes from friends sometimes, especially during a pandemic.