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.
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!
Whilst Lorelai was busy getting busy with Ritchie, we went shopping in downtown Stockholm. On my way to O’Learys in Hötorget (which translates to “Haymarket,” so it’s kind of appropriate to have a Boston sports bar there.
But in Hötorget, I noticed this grafitti on the back of a solar trash compactor. I have no idea what it means (believe me, I googled it), but it really reminds me of the cat characters in Bittersweet Candy Bowl.
This is one of those ideas that seemed better in my head. I was going to work on my Dashiell as Hamilton piece, but the meme of Rudy Giuliani looking like villian Simon Bar Sinister from the old Underdog cartoons…and I had an idea.
I thought I’d try to draw Izaak as Simon, adding the whatever it was that was dripping down the side of Giuliani’s head last week…but meh. Not sure I like how it turned out. I think I need to go back to the late 1700’s.
I know, I know…I dropped off the face of the world for a week. Part of that was due to me getting a new medication that was kicking my butt until I got used to it. The other part is that last Monday I got this email from Iris:
Your former region (Region 1) and your adopted region (Region 9) are joining forces for a virtual qualifier show for the CFA International Top Cat Challenge, and Sharon asked me to help with promotional copy and/or a theme. What I came up with is really crying out for some kind of sketch that we can use on the flyer and platform. It’s “Paws Across the Sea.” I don’t have any visual ideas other than two paws reaching toward each other with an ocean in between, but I thought maybe you could come up with something better. Please let me know if you’d be willing to work on this. The time frame is short but not an emergency. . . If you could do something by the weekend I think that would work.
My mind instantly went to vintage Disney “It’s a Small World” art. I made a globe/earth that featured the US Northeast and Europe and then made the quick sketch above to map out the international breed representatives. I had many ideas, but finally decided on featuring a Siamese, a Russian Blue, a Maine Coon (Marlin, the NEMO mascot), a Scottish Fold, and a Singapura. I had wanted to include a Japanese Bobtail, but I realised that if you couldn’t see the tail, it might not be clear what breed it was.
I started by making a generic cat sketch. I enlarged it for Marlin, made it smaller for the Singapura, and stretched it out for the Siamese.
I made sketches for all five breeds, and combined them on one layer.
Then I did the ink outline in Procreate.
I did the undercolour layer beneath the ink layer in Procreate as well. Colouring tortoiseshell-and-white cats is difficult, but fun!
My best fur brushes are in Photoshop, so I moved to that to work on the texture layer.
Here are all three layers combined.
Then I add the whiskers, eyeshine and shadow, and voilá: a graphic for an international virtual cat show!
A slight postscript: I couldn’t fit an Abyssinian into the graphic…but who’s that holding the Siamese’s other paw?
Last night, Björn sent me a cartoon depicting the backstory of the woman yelling at the cat.
Well…okay, he knows what I like.
I was reminded of the two Abyssinian drawings I did for the Fall and Spring issues of the Abyssinian Cat Club of America. I made some marble magnetswith the images and just noticed them again the other day.
When I drew my cartoons before getting the iPad, I would do the sketches, trace them in ink, and then scan them and put them together in Photoshop.
I also had some inkbrush pens that I was experimenting with. Since the cover of the newsletter was printed in black and white, I wanted to do a different sort of springtime drawing. Plus, the snowdrops coming up through the snow is one of my favourite signs of spring. On the final version, I added the shadows and added an “icy” filter to the background.
I immediately knew what I wanted to do for the fall cover. Sometimes I would do several versions of a face or other parts to get the best drawing assembled.
I remember drawing these leaves. I sketched a few different styles and then traced them over and over again to get the look I wanted. It’s so much easier now that I have leaf brushes in Procreate and Photoshop! Even so, there’s something satisfying about drawing on paper…Someday I should finish the series with summer and winter.
This weekend I finished that romantic sketch I did of Lorelai and Io after their (hopefully) romantic weekend.
First I made the heart-shaped art-deco frame using elements I found online. I checked it against the coloured sketch to make sure it was the right proportions, as you can see above. On the frame, I added a glow and a metallic gradient to make the different pieces I used coherent.
I wanted to keep the style very 1920’s and simple. This is the ink.
Then I coloured in the outline.
You may remember from the drawing I did of Rory as a Vegas showgirl that Procreate has some really fun sparkly brushes. I thought this portrait could use a little sparkle.
After the sparkle was added, I took it to Photoshop and added the red background.
I decided not to use my regular fur brushes, because I wasn’t necessarily going for realism on this drawing. I left the colouration flat instead.
I then added a pink glow around the happy couple, and applied the oil paint filter.
I’m not 100% happy with it…but I do like it.
As always, I saved the video Procreate saves. I also discovered that it can make a gif of your drawing. I am not sure what I’m going to do with that, but it’ll be a fun thing to play with in the future.
Based on the events of this weekend, I wanted to do a romantic bride and groom drawing of Lorelai and Io.
So I did a quick 1920’s theme (being that we are now in the new Roaring Twenties), and then changed its colour and lightened it.
Then I did a second sketch.
I knew I wanted the heart and Rory’s flower to be red, so I made a “red layer.”
Then I coloured the sketch in.
Finally, a few highlghts, and…voilá: a finished sketch. I may come back and finish this, but at least the idea is out of my head.
And…because I can, here’s a video of the drawing in progress.
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.
Today, Björn and I hung it in our entryhall, above the mirror.
It works really well there, I think. It’s next to the 1965 print of an Abyssinian that bears a striking resemblance to Alfred.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
Here are the two undercolour layers combined…and then with the ink layer.
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!
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.
Then I combined those and ran a few filters.
But…when I switched from Procreate to Photoshop and put “Zakless” on the background, I discovered there was a transparency problem.
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.
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.
Problem solved! Now it’s time for the collar and fur texture.
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.
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.
Here’s the finished Zakless, including whiskers and eyeshine.
And here he is with the background.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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?
Well…this one is Dashiell. You can tell by his funny back legs.
And this one is Izaak. You can tell by his cheetah markings around his eyes.
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.
And, since today is St. Patrick’s Day, here’s a rerun from seven years ago. Sláinte!
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!
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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
And now, I have Goose the cat and Goose the Flerken figures.
Aren’t they cute?
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):
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.
Then I did this one, in which Taz seemed more interested in winning than Jake was.
When Meg brought a girl kitten named Tiger Lili to a show with Jake and Taz…I imagined this scenario.
And then there was the infamous Paw and Disorder, with Taz as Eames and Jake as Goren. That was so much fun to draw!
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.
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.
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.