Aby-a-Day – 4 Maj: Isle of Dogs WIP (Cartoon Tuesday)

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!

IOD-templeSketch

And then…I had to draw it. This is the sketch…

IOD-templeInk

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.

IOD-temple

If you want to see the time lapse video of the work in progress, click the image to open it in another window.

Aby-a-Day – 6 April: Kiipi and her Kitten again – Work in Progress (Cartoon Tuesday)

I have been working on the drawing of Kiipi and her kitten.

kiipi-kitten-basecolourInk

This is the ink outline with the base colour filled in.

kiipi-kitten2-colour

Without the ink, the colour alone has a rather neat “paint by numbers” effect.

kiipi-kitten-InkColourShadows

And here is the ink, colour and shadows. I just need to add the fut texture and background, and this one is finished!

Aby-a-Day – 2 Mars: Remembering the Cat Pack (Cartoon Tuesday)

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.

redcarpetruddies

2009 was a good year for Abyssinians.

Aby-a-Day – 16 Februari: Finished! Finished at last! (Cartoon Tuesday.

So, you know that Singapura artwork Singapura illustration I was working on?

Noodle_ PaddleboardWIP

Well, today I finished it! And it is of Izaak’s niece, Noodle, the paddleboarding Singapura.

Noodle_Nigel

This is the final version. I’m pretty proud of it. What do you think?

Aby-a-Day – 2 Februari: Another memorial (Cartoon Tuesday)

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.

Aby-a-Day – 26 Januari: Misty watercolour memories (Cartoon Tuesday)

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.

Aby-a-Day – 19 Januari 2020: Progress! (Cartoon Tuesday)

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.

Aby-a-Day – 5 Januari: Izaak the Üumlaut (Cartoon Tuesday)

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.

ZakUumlaut

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.

Aby-a-Day – 29 December 2020: Not throwing away his shot (Cartoon Tuesday)

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.

DashHamiltonBase

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.

SuitLayers

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.

DashLayers

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.

DashHamilton+Shadow

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!

DashHamilton

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.

Aby-a-Day – 22 December 2020: Catty Christmas cards (Not Really Cartoon Tuesday)

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.

Aby-a-Day – 15 December 2020: Dashiell Hamilton inked (Cartoon Tuesday)

I finally got the ink layer done on my Dashiell Hamilton drawing.

DashHamiltonInkStroke

But, since I wanted a thin ink line, it’s not very visible, so in Photoshop, I added a stroke to the lines to make it more visible. Now it’s time for colours and textures!

Aby-a-Day – 8 December 2020: Create your own tabletop gaming minifigure (Kind of Cartoon Tuesday)

Well…I woke up this morning full of ambition to work on my Dashiell-xander Hamilton drawing, only to have a Facebook friend post the minifigure she made on Hero Forge.

talonvak_14.10.54

So, you know I had to make one, too.

talonvak_14.11.16

Annnnnd…I spent most of my afternoon creating what I would look like as my dream player character. Well, it’s kind of like drawing a cartoon…a 3D cartoon.

talonvak_14.11.06

Basically, you can create pretty much any character you can imagine (with a few limitations).

talonvak_14.11.16

Of course I made myself as a humanoid feline (or, if you prefer, a felinoid human) with a cute skirt, lots of jewellery, a pen and an iPhone.

talonvak_14.11.27<

Yes, that is a PEN, and yes, I know what it kind of looks like. And she has an iPhone because they didn’t have a laptop as an option.

talonvak_14.19.57

Maple leaves are scattered on the maple-wood flooring, of course.

talonvak_16.20.39

The interface on the website is super awesome. You can look at your character from virtually any angle. Cool, right?

talonvak_14.17.36

You can purchase your character 3D-printed in full colour for $44.99, but the colours aren’t quite as vibrant as they are in the creator.

talonvak_14.20.52

Still…I think it’s pretty cool. I’m getting one!

Aby-a-Day – 10 November 2020: Izaak and Major (Cartoon Tuesday)

Just an idea that popped into my head this morning…Izaak as Pixie, and Joe Biden’s Shepherd Major as Brutus. I used a Pixie and Brutus fan art by DiviantArt user Space Meme Stardust as my reference for the first rough sketch.

ZakMajor2

Because my new MacBook Pro hasn’t arrived yet, and because I hated the hand-drawn speech bubbles, I turned on my laptop for a few minutes just to add them (and my signature) in Photoshop.

ZakMajor

I also saved the video of my drawing process, just for fun (ie, because Procreate lets me). Click on the image to watch it on Flickr.

Aby-a-Day – 1 September 2020: Something I saw today when I was downtown (Cartoon Tuesday)

I was downtown today, and, on a whim, I thought I would check out the bookstore in the mall, and something caught my eye.

childscat_4763

There was a table where children could draw, and then a tree where they could hang their drawings. I almost didn’t take a photo of this drawing, but I remembered my motto: “The only photo you regret is the one you didn’t take.” So here is an adorable drawing of a kitty done by a random Swedish child.

Aby-a-Day – 11 Augusti 2020: Disney Eyes Snapchat (Cartoon Tuesday)

You’ve probably heard about the new Snapchat filter that gives your pets Disney eyes. I actually downloaded the Snapchat app so I could try it…but I couldn’t get it to work on any of the cats. So, I did the next best thing: Photoshop the eyes on. Above we have Lorelai and Izaak. I like this one.

freddyDisneyeyes

Alfred also looks about right…plotting, as always.

DashDisneyeyes

I spent the most time on Dashiell’s eyes, but I couldn’t get the left eye to not look kind of goofy. I like the right eye, though.

angelfilDisneyeyes

I found a closed eye that was perfect for Angel.

flatjakeDisneyeyes

Now, I said I couldn’t get the filter to work on the living cats…but, rather hilariously, it did work on Flat Jacoby!

Aby-a-Day – 4 Augusti 2020: Marlin recycled (Cartoon Tuesday)

On Saturday, I got an email from Iris asking for a picture of Marlin on a laptop for the flyer for NEMO’s upcoming virtual online show. She needed it, like, yesterday. I knew I didn’t have time to make a new Marlin from scratch…but I had an idea.

NEMOvirtualMarlinArms

I started with the Jackpot Marlin from last year’s show program cover…and removed his celebratory arms. I then drew laptop-typing arms in Procreate.

NEMOvirtualMarlinFur

Transferring the image back to Photoshop, I added the fur layer. I also touched up bits of the base Marlin’s fur.

NEMOvirtualMarlinlaptop

I used the laptop from this cartoon and cleaned it up a bit.

NEMOvirtualMarlinLaptopAby

Then I put the Abyssinian that was on the original flyer on the laptop’s screen and gave it a little drop shadow…

NEMOvirtualMarlin

…Add the new arms to Jackpot Marlin, find a photo of a plain table (in Nemo’s signature orange, even!)…and here’s the final image. Considering how quickly I put it together, I am pretty pleased with it; Iris likes it, which is the important thing.

Aby-a-Day – 21 Juli 2020: Happy 10th birthday, Emma! (Cartoon Tuesday)

Björn’s daughter Emma’s 10th birthday is on Thursday. Usually, she and her mom come here to celebrate and Björn makes her a special cake. But because of Covid-19, that’s not happening, so Björn mailed her a birthday card today. As usually, I did a quick cat sketch…it’s meant to be Izaak, but meh. Also rethinking my choice of gold pen. But here it is.

Aby-a-Day – 7 Juli 2020: 12th Night in July (Cartoon Tuesday)

Back when I was active in the SCA, instead of Christmas cards, I made Twelfth Night cards, since this is the SCA’s “Chrstmas.”

I have posted a few of these drawings back in 2015, but I just found another card I sent to Björn in 1993. I had totally forgotten that I drew this! The joke was that Harri, my Siamese, was more popular than we were…so he got all the Twelfth Night gifts.

harri-Aframe

Like most of my old SCA cartoons, it wasn’t exactly an exaggeration…

12thNight1993

The original card was red ink on forest green cardstock. I did a lot of cartoons on…interesting…colour combinations, and I don’t have any black and white copies. Thank goodness for Photoshop!

Aby-a-Day – 23 Juni 2020: A quick editorial sketch (Cartoon Tuesday)

Chatting with a group of friends yesterday evening, I had a sudden thought that I needed to draw immediately, because I knew it would amuse them. I drew this in almost exactly an hour; I asked for a breed suggestion at 19:33 and shared it with my friends at 20:31. I am not going to explain it here…if you get it, you get it. That’s the nature of editorial cartoons.

MCGA

I also exported the drawing stream, because they are so much fun to watch. Remember that this is all one hour, and you can see my idea evolving as I draw it (Click on the image to watch it in Flickr).

Aby-a-Day – 9 Juni 2020: Freddy the cat burglar (Cartoon Tuesday)

I had an idea today that I just had to sketch out. I was musing that I draw a lot of cartoons witch feature Lorelai and Izaak (especially Zak), but not so many starring Alfred. And I had a lightbulb go off in my head. I started out with the above sketch and a sneaky walk animation sequence I found online.

secondsketch

This is my final sketch. Freddy the cat burglar! He’s got keys and a crowbar because his specialty is breaking and entering.

Fredburglar Sketch

Because Procreate has a recording feature, and I did all this work on my iPad (unlike some other drawings that go back and forth between Procreate and Photoshop), I also have a video of the drawing developing. Click on the image to watch it in a new tab/window on Flickr.