Aby-a-Day – 30 Juni 2020: Hall of fame (Cartoon Tuesday)

I was so proud of my portrait of the Maltese Dashiell, I wanted to get an art print made with it. So, I went to Japan Photo‘s website (they’re a Swedish photo printing company, like Shutterfly) website and ordered something. I had to do it in Swedish, but I managed all right. One nifty feature they have is allowing you to see your artwork on a wall in a virtual room. That really helped me figure out what size to get. I thought about getting it printed on canvas, but ended up getting it printed on a metal plate.

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Today, Björn and I hung it in our entryhall, above the mirror.

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It works really well there, I think. It’s next to the 1965 print of an Abyssinian that bears a striking resemblance to Alfred.

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Finally, my vintage Australian Cat From Outer Space movie poster (that…apparently I have never posted about. Oops) completes our entry hall. I think Lorelai approves of our arrangement.

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I almost forgot! On the opposite wall, above the keybox, we have this small Abyssinian print I picked up years ago; it was done by Braldt Bralds, a Dutch artist. I’ve also seen this print as a greeting card.

I guess now I need to find a Singapura print to really complete the ensemble.

Aby-a-Day – 14 April 2020: Emma’s Baby Yoda (Cartoon Tuesday)

The other day, Titti sent us an Easter drawing Emma made. Little creatures in Easter eggs: a lion, an elephant, and…

…Baby Yoda! This kid is going to grow up to be awesome!

Aby-a-Day – 31 Mars 2020: How to Train Your Singapura…finished! (Cartoon Tuesday)

As you remember from last week’s post, I started working on a drawing of Izaak as Toothless the Night Fury from the How to Train Your Dragon films. The first step was the second, clean ink layer. I did something a little different than I usually do, though; I only used black for the outline on his eyes and his tail attachment. On the rest of his outline, I used dark brown, and on his collar, I used blues and silvers. And I finally worked out how the eyedropper tool works in Procreate! You’ll notice I didn’t outline the bones on the wings. I actually did, but then copied them to their own layer. I had an idea.

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I did the undercolouring in two layers: one of the basic shades, and another on top of that with the eyes and collar colour and the wings and prosthetic tail. I found a marvellous texture brush in Procreate that was perfect for the wings and the tail attachment.

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Here are the two undercolour layers combined…and then with the ink layer.

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Then I worked on the wing details. These are the outlines from the inking…with some transparency, layer enhancements, and…finally, a use for the plastic wrap filter!

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Then I switched to the background. I found a blank background from the movie art and deleted the bits in the scene I didn’t want. Then I added a paint layer to adapt the scene to what I wanted.

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Then I combined those and ran a few filters.

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But…when I switched from Procreate to Photoshop and put “Zakless” on the background, I discovered there was a transparency problem.

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You can’t always see the gaps in colour when you’re working in Procreate on a white background. But I came up with an easy fix.

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I made a quick solid, opaque figure on a separate layer between the background and the colour layers. This would actually turn out to save me time later on.

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Problem solved! Now it’s time for the collar and fur texture.

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I did the collar first. I actually used a photo of Alfred’s collar and changed the hue and lightness to get Zak’s blues and lightened the opacity to get the braid pattern. This is on a layer between the second ink and the undercolour. I could have done a similar thing with his tags…but I liked the way I drew them.

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Next, the fur texture. You’ve all seen my fur brushes, and I didn’t do anything new or unusual…except this: I found a wicked cool scale brush along with my feather and fur brushes. Never needed to use a scale brush before, and I really like the effect.

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Here’s the finished Zakless, including whiskers and eyeshine.

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And here he is with the background.

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Add his shadow (made using a copy of the opaque layer I had already made, just black, distorted, translucent and blurred)…and voilà! Here is the finished Zakless!

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Or is it? After I thought I’d finished him, I got a brainwave on how to improve the eyeshine…with the plastic wrap filter!

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I think it looks more realistic. I also added a tiny drop shadow to the collar. It’s barely noticeable, but it adds a bit of depth, which I like. Yes…I think he’s finished now.

Aby-a-Day – 17 Mars 2020: Probably our last pub quiz for a while…(Cartoon Tuesday)

Last Wednesday, we did our usual pub quiz since Björn was working downtown and I had an appointment. Seems like such a long time ago, now.

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It seemed a little quieter than usual, but nothing out of the ordinary. I sketched some cats without names whilst I was waiting for Björn, as a bit of a test. He actually guessed wrong at first. Take a look at the two sketches above. Can you tell who they are?

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Well…this one is Dashiell. You can tell by his funny back legs.

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And this one is Izaak. You can tell by his cheetah markings around his eyes.

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The quiz started out being focused on Scotland and Scottish things, and one of the questions was “Vad är en ‘Scottish Fold’?” Well, of course we knew that one! And of course I had to illustrate what a Scottish Fold is, too. We won the quiz – 800kr, which paid for our dinner and drinks. I wonder if we got extra credit for the fold sketch.

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And, since today is St. Patrick’s Day, here’s a rerun from seven years ago. Sláinte!

Aby-a-Day – 21 Januari 2020: Castle Cats (Cartoon Tuesday)

So, on our way to see Frozen 2 downtown, I couldn’t help but notice a power box decorated with the very lovely Castle Cats.

I had no idea what they were or what they referred to, and come to find out that they’re part of a video game designed by PocApp Studios, based right here in Skövde!

How cool is that? I am not much of a gamer, but I may have to check out this game!

Aby-a-Day: 20 Augusti: Jackpot! (Cartoon Tuesday)

This upcoming weekend is NEMO’s seventh annual show! You may remember that I did a drawing of Marlin playing craps, because the theme of the show this year is “Lucky 7’s” with a Vegas theme.

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I also made this spoof of the infamous Vegas sign for the club to use as incidental art. I don’t know if they used it, but it was fun to make.

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For the cover of the program, Iris and I brainstormed other Vegas gambling motifs, and I came up with Marlin winning cat food from a slot machine. And, even better, I was able to incorporate my Vegas NEMO sign. I’m pretty proud of how it turned out; Iris said she thought it was one of my best! I wonder what the theme will be next year?

Aby-a-Day – 23 Juli: Louis Wain (Cartoon Tuesday)

In London, we spent a good bit of time looking for treasures in second-hand shops. I was on the hunt for anything regarding the early Abyssinians, and I figured England might be the place to find it. Unfortunately, I was unable to find any Victorian-era cat breeding books, but I did find a print by the pre-eminent cat artist Louis Wain. There were a couple of different ones, actually, but I thought the limerick was charming:

A girl, who was dreadfully flustered,
Helped Ma-in-law to a spoonful of mustard!
Her Ma-in-Law stared,
Asked how she dared!
But she told her she thought it was custard.

The print was marked as being from 1910.

When I got it home and framed it, however, I discovered it wasn’t just a print…it was a page from a book! And the other side was also very cute…but there’s a mark on it that I Photoshopped out when I scanned it, so I kept the limerick side out. Louis Wain is known for more than just his drawing…he also had some sort of mental issues (possibly dementia or schizophrenia; mental illness wasn’t as sophisticated 100 years ago), and, even though he was put in an asylum, he kept drawing cats that became more and more psychedelic as his illness progressed. In the filigree decoration on the back of page seems to presage his future drawings.

He was an incredibly prolific cat artist, and his work was published in books and as postcards. I found this very Aby-looking fellow online as a part of series of postcards celebrating “taking the waters” at Harrogate, one of the first ever “spas” where people went every summer for sulphur treatments. The treatments involved both drinking and soaking in the water, and Wain did four series of six cards each as souvenir/advertising. After finding the Abyssinian “sulphurer,” I became fascinated by these little glimpses into history…probably because, as a kid my dad tricked me into drinking sulphur water from the Lithia water fountain in Ashland, Oregon. I know what it tastes like!

In researching Louis Wain’s work (I was unable to find my images online anywhere, believe it or not, so I don’t know what book my page came from), I also came across this happy little guy. I know know much about him…but doesn’t he look like Izaak!? It actually kind of reminds me of that sketch of Zak I did back in March.

Aby-a-Day – 2 Juli: Sketches in London (Cartoon Tuesday)

Even though the posts have been coming regularly every day, Björn and I have been in London since last Thursday evening. We came mainly because I got tickets for both games of the two-game series of MLB games between the Yankees and the Yankees, the first time major league baseball has been played in Europe. Even though Boston was the official home team for both games, and despite there being more Red Sox fans in attendance than there were Yankees fans…the Evil Empire ended up winning both games. But it’s been a lot of fun, and we’ll be home Thursday afternoon.

When we weren’t at the games, of course, we have been doing a lot of sightseeing and shopping. One necessary stop, of course, was Harrod’s. Whilst in the souvenir shop, there was a display of pens, 3 for the price of 2. Whilst Björn hunted for pens, I decided to test them out on the provided pads.

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First, I drew Jacoby…but I didn’t like the way it turned out; the ears were too small. So I tried again, with Izaak. This one turned out much better. Still not as good as I’d have liked…but then, the pen I was using wasn’t the best.

Harrod’s is known for its souvenir shopping bags. I bought a rather generic one back in 2002 the last time I visited…but this time I found something much, much better! And, not to mention, Cartoon Tuesday-appropriate.

One last thing: at the first baseball game, we were sitting just in front of a Red Sox fan, Charles, from Connecticut who had come all the way to London to see a game. After the first inning, he started sketching, saying he was “a bit bored.” He was a wonderful artist! Here is the drawing he did of the game; Björn is in it, but I am not…the lines to buy merchandise were insane, so I sucked it up and went to stand in those. For four innings! If you ever happen upon this post, Charles…it was great to meet you!

Aby-a-Day – 21 Maj: Singapura Stinkeye, Pixie-style (Cartoon Tuesday)

Last week, I did some sketches of Izaak in the style of Pixie from the webcomic Pixie and Brutus. There is one particular cartoon that really inspired me to do a Singapura Stinkeye PixieZak. So…here it is.

I tried to do this entirely in Procreate on my iPad Pro, but I had to do a couple of things in Photoshop after I had finished. One, Björn thought Zak’s eye was too big, so I made it a little smaller…and two, I could not, for the life of me, figure out how to paste my signature into the drawing on Procreate.

However, whilst Procreate may be lacking in layer-pasting abilities, it does have a very nifty feature: it records your drawing, which you can then export as a video! So…here is me drawing Zak as Pixie.

Aby-a-Day – 23 April: Release the Flerken! (Cartoon Tuesday)

Warning…this post contains spoilers for the film Captain Marvel. However, if you have read the comics, it’s not really that much of a spoiler.

I am not a huge fan of superhero comics (I’m more of an Archie’s Gang kind of girl) or the “Marvel Universe.” I enjoy Deadpool (because he’s funny) and I love Big Hero 6 (because Disney animation and because San Fransokyo is awesome). And it’s kind of cool for me that I used to work with Chris Evans’ mother’s sister (she lived in Somerville) and now he’s Captain America…but by and large the who Avengers/X-Men/Spiderman movie monopoly just leaves me feeling…meh.

Until I discovered Captain Marvel. Of course, I had heard of her, but didn’t know much about the comic. Then I discovered that she’s a Red Sox fan and she has a cat. So of course I had to see this movie, right? Well…in the movie, she’s in LA and the desert and someplace in the South, and there is no mention of baseball or the Red Sox, so it was a bit of a let-down on that front. But the cat…oh, the cat more than made up for it!

Goose the cat (a female, but played by four cats, mainly a boy tabby named Reggie, along with Rizzo, Gonzo, and Archie) is easily the best part of the film. Goose even has her own poster!

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For years I avoided Funko Pop! figures when I saw them in stores, because they are a) cute, b) have something for EVERY fandom you can think of (I am not kidding…they even have a figure of Joey wearing all of Chandler’s clothes!), and c) they are exactly the kind of thing I could get totally addicted to. But after seeing The Last Jedi, I had to get a Porg figure, because the Porgs in the movie reminded us so much of Logan

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And now, I have Goose the cat and Goose the Flerken figures.

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Aren’t they cute?

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But wait, there’s more! The Flerken version is swallowing a blue glowing cube called the “Tesseract”…which glows in the dark! There’s also a third version I like to call “The Slurp” with Goose retracting her tentacles. I haven’t gotten that one yet…but I will.

One last thing…movies like this almost always have a special extra scene after all the credits have rolled (and which most people miss because they leave to early). About halfway through the film, I knew what the bonus scene would be…and if I was wrong, Marvel would have missed the best opportunity for a joke ever. I was not wrong, and I was not disappointed. Here it is if you would like to see it (yes, it’s sideways, but it’s apparently the only one on YouTube):

Aby-a-Day – 16 April: Taz and Jacoby together on paper (Cartoon Tuesday)

Jacoby’s cousin Taz (GC, GPD, NW Anubis Taz Mania), died last July on the same day as my friend Molly’s husband, Don. Jake and Taz were show buddies. And because they were show buddies, Taz appeared in several of my Aby Cartoons. The first was based on this final at the Seacoast show in 2012.

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Then I did this one, in which Taz seemed more interested in winning than Jake was.

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When Meg brought a girl kitten named Tiger Lili to a show with Jake and Taz…I imagined this scenario.

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And then there was the infamous Paw and Disorder, with Taz as Eames and Jake as Goren. That was so much fun to draw!

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When I spoofed Psy’s Gangnam Style with Jake, I knew I would need to expand the visual joke and illustrate other scenes from the video.

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Of course, Jake is Psy, but also featured are Louis/Fire as the dancing kid, Taz as the guy in the elevator with the cowboy hat, and Angel as the yoga woman’s butt.

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Taz’s final appearance came after the Seacoast show, when he was retired. Once Taz was out of competition, Jake finally had a chance! Jake and Taz were such a team…I hope they still are, somewhere.

Aby-a-Day – 1 Januari: “For breakfast she makes coffee that tastes like Cham – poo…” (Cartoon Tuesday)

This is a repeat cartoon, but it’s one of my favourites. In case you missed it the first time, I hope you like it!

Aby-a-Day – 11 December: Mini and Maxi (Cartoon Tuesday)

Recently a new cartoon has appeared on the internet: Pixie and Brutus, about a tiny kitten and a retired military war dog. Now, I know Pixie has stripes on his back…but other than that, he looks and, more importantly, ACTS just like a Singapura.

I know my sketch is a bit disproportionate…but I imagine this is what the Maine Coons felt when they first met a Singapura…inspired a bit by Pixie and Brutus.

Aby-a-Day – 27 November: Kalle’s sketch of Jacoby (Cartoon Tuesday)

This is a little drawing Kalle did whilst we were on a train home from Jönköping using my iPad Pro and Procreate.

I set him up with a photo of Jacoby to start with.

Then we set it to 75% opaqueness, and he worked on it. It’s a little wobbly, because the train was, of course, moving. I keep asking him to finish it, because I think it has a lot of potential. I really like it.

Aby-a-Day – 13 November: Cat Mob (Cartoon Tuesday)

Okay, not exactly a cartoon, but I see this sticker grafitti stuck to a wall-ashtray everytime I go to Commerce downtown. It’s just so happy! I mean, I know it’s grafitti…but it’s adorable.

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They also hit a postbox with a Sharpie, and this time Cat Mob has a friend. I really love his tail. I have no idea what or who Cat Mob is, but I appreciate their mascots.

Aby-a-Day – 23 October: “I’m done packing!” (Cartoon Tuesday)

Remember when I posted this sketch? Well, my friend Teresa aksed me for a drawing for an upcoming issue of Cat Talk: “The theme for October is “Homecoming”…as in how to place cats, rehoming cats & those issues, etc…What I’m thinking is something with a cat moving to a new home.”

I remembered the unfinished sketch and sent it to her, asking if it would fit. She did, and so I finished it. I did the outlines in Procreate, and then the colouring and other details in Photoshop. I wish I could remember the original dialogue that I had in mind…but this works.

Aby-a-Day – 9 October: Crossword Cats (Cartoon Tuesday)

Crossword puzzles are very popular in Sweden. There are dozens of different crossword magazines available, and all the daily newspapers also publish them. A friend sent me this one from https://www.dn.se/kultur-noje/kulturdebatt/sveriges-korsordsmakare-var-korsordstradition-ligger-snart-i-spillror/Dagens Nyheter a year ago, and I recently found it whilst I was looking for something else.

I love it, of course, because it really illustrates a FIFe show’s layout. And the breed depictions are really nicely done. I couldn’t find much out this illustration at all, sadly, but I did find the artist, Ann-Charlotte Odén, on DeviantArt, so I may send her a message asking about it.

As for the translations: The top running pair are saying, “I suggest we start a sports club for cats instead!” (He’s probably a Turkish Angora) The other cat is saying “Okay!”

“Ouch! He only had 10 points to go to 100!” says the Abyssinian.

The black silver classic tabby British Shorthair says, “That’s not the right way to hold (a cat)!” and the Cornish Rex agrees, saying, “Oj! What’s happening!?”

And the human is saying, “Ow! I pulled (a muscle) between my heel and calf!” I have no idea what that means…I suspect all of the comments are clues to the crossword puzzle itself.

Which means the answer to that last one is probably “Achilles.”

Uncle Clancy hunts with StarClan

Okay, 2018. Seriously. We need to talk. This death thing? You really need to knock it off with the cats I know and love. Because…and I cannot fathom that this has happened again, and only a month since the last one…Jacoby’s Uncle Clancy joined StarClan today.

Clancy was Jake’s uncle. Clancy and Scar had the same parents, but were born to different litters. Clancy is most likely the red kitten in the back on the left in this photo.

Clancy loved to wear coats in winter and costumes at Halloween. This is him in a hot dog costume with Finnegan in a flame cape.

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Clancy and Seamus even starred in one of my cartoons.

I have gotten the best holiday cards with Clancy and Santa.

This was his birthday present, four years ago. He obviously loved his new cat tree. He was only thirteen. My heart has joined the Thousand, for my friend has stopped running today. Sleep well in Tuonela, dear Uncle Clancy.

Aby-a-Day – 28 September: Behind the artwork (Photoshop Friday)

I thought you might be interested in how I create a cartoon. I only rarely ever draw a complete drawing in one go. At least not when I am drawing on paper and scanning the the result.

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When I draw on paper, I do a sketch and then trace the sketches in ink. I sometimes do more than one trace of the sketch on the inking sheet.

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Then I assemble the best parts and start colouring.

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Other bits, like the BBQ grill and the apron, are drawn and assembled on separate layers. But when it’s all assembled, it looks like the image at the top.

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The next year, I added Dory. While Marlin is a cream Maine Coon, Dory is a blue Oriental Shorthair. I actually did draw Dory in one go, so her layer is not as exciting.

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For the newest NEMO iteration of Marlin, I realised I didn’t need to redraw all of Marlin, but only certain parts. Just his head, both arms, and some whiskers. But it worked. And it was so much easier than reinventing the wheel. Thanks to Photoshop, I didn’t have to.

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The Singapuras were a bit more tricky.

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I drew each one separately and three of them are complete, stand-alone cats. Only the one in the very back is a partial Singapura.

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The whiskers were done separately.

Aby-a-Day – 28 August – Marlin meets Singulls (Cartoon Tuesday)

As I have posted, this past weekend was the NEMO CFA show back in Massachusetts. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend…but I judged the costume contest, sent a box of Swedish swag for the raffle, and did a new illustration of Marlin for the show catalogue cover.

I was thinking of the seagulls going after the grilling fish…and then I tried to eat something around Izaak.

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I also did a new one last year, showing Marlin with Dory, an Oriental Shorthair, which I haven’t shared with you yet, so here it is.

And, in case you are a new reader, here is the original NEMO logo I did and also
the cover illustration for our third show, which had a film and cinema theme.