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 – 18 Augusti 2020: Seasonal Abyssinians (Cartoon Tuesday)

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.

springsketch1

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.

springsketch2

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.

fallsketch2

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.

fallsketch1

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.

Aby-a-Day – 28 April 2020: The Maltese Dashiell (Cartoon Tuesday)

Today I finished that special portrait of Dashiell I started almost a month ago. Because Dash is named after the author Dashiell Hammett, who wrote The Maltese Falcon famously portrayed by Humphrey Bogart in the film version, I had an idea I wanted to make real. Above is the fur texture layer along with a neutral grey background.

DashHamFalconShadow

Then I added a shadow of the Maltese Falcon based on one of the two photos of Bogie I used as reference.

DashHamHat

Of course, Sam Spade needs a dashing fedora.

DashHamTrench

And a trench coat.

DashHamFinal

Then the final touch, to give the portrait a real Film Noir feel…the shadows.

DashHamFinalFinal

But something was bothering me. I went back to my other Bogie reference photo and realised what was missing: There is a dark shadow of his hat, and the original background had a shadowy texture. I went back and fixed those two things and…voilà!

DashHamFullsize

However, I generally crop my drawings to a standard size, but I draw on a larger canvas. This is the full-size version. Not really different, apart from the proportioning. It’s such a great feeling to finally get the image out of your head so others can see it.

Aby-a-Day – 21 April 2020: Dash’s portrait project, the colour layers (Cartoon Tuesday)

I’m still working on that special portrait of Dashiell I shared two weeks ago. While it isn’t finished, I have actually got more done that I am posting today. Above is the colour layer, ink layer and whiskers layer.

<DashHamJustColourWIP

This is the only the colour layer, which is underneath the ink layer. Instead of painting inside the lines, I painted under them. It’s a neat technique. This was all done in Procreate using what fur brushes I have there; now I need to add a texture layer (for his ear furnishings and ticking) with my fur brushes in Photoshop, but I think I got his base colouring pretty well. As someone commented last week, getting the markings and colours right on an Aby is not easy!

And, of course is just the Dash part…there’s still the background and the other details to be finished.

Aby-a-Day – 7 April 2020: Dash’s portrait project, a work in progress (Cartoon Tuesday)

I’m working on a special portrait of Dashiell. I don’t want to give away what it is, but I can share these early sketches. I’m actually using a different method of sketching on this drawing, because I want to capture all of his colours. The head model I am using is this photo of Dash that was taken on his first ferry trip from Finland to Sweden. The body will be different.

DashHamColourInk

This is the ink outline (using brown, not black) and the “map” I will use to paint his base colours. I know, it doesn’t look much different from the sketch layers, but trust me, it is.

This is just the Dash part…there’s still the background and the other details to be finished.

Aby-a-Day- 19 Mars: Kalle’s birthday card from Emma (Cartoon Tuesday)

Last week I posted the birthday card Emma drew for Björn. Turns out, she also drew one for Kalle! (Björn and Kalle’s birthdays are three days apart.) And, like Björn’s card, Kalle’s card features cats that look especially Abyssinian-like. And, even though she’s coloured brown, she has a bow on her head, so I think she’s meant to be Lorelai.

I find the drawing on the inside of the card particularly hilarious. The first side says, “Congratulations you are now 16 years old!” but the other side…it says, “That was not me.” Even though she doesn’t live with cats 24/7, Emma clearly understands cats. I suspect this is meant to be Jacoby.

Emma added another drawing on the back of the card. It’s a black and white version of the cat on the front…perhaps it was meant for Kalle to colour in?

Aby-a-Day – 12 Mars: Björn’s birthday card from Emma (Cartoon Tuesday)

Björn’s birthday was on Sunday, and Emma came for the weekend to celebrate his and Kalle’s birthdays. She made him a birthday card which we are fairly certain is meant to be Jacoby. It definitely looks like a ruddy Abyssinian!

Here is the inside of the card. On the left it says “Congratulations for 54 years life! Meow! Meow! Meow!” On the right it says, “A stupid cat has eaten up my sauce!” And that stick toy the bottom cat is playing with looks a lot like the stick toy Emma and Lorelai played with last summer…

Aby-a-Day: 5 Februari: Till Pappa från Emma (Cartoon Tuesday)

Björn sent his daughter Emma a copy of The Lego Movie last week, and on Thursday he got a handmade thank you card from her. I am pretty sure this is meant to be Lorelai; the last time Emma visited, she spent a lot of time playing with Rory and her wand toys. Although…those eyes…it could also be Izaak.

Well, whoever it is, it’s adorable.

Aby-a-Day – 14 August: Pining for the fjords (Cartoon Tuesday)

Whilst working on a new project for the upcoming NEMO show, I came across an old drawing I did for Iris five years ago for the National Norwegian Forest Cat Breed Club’s show catalogue (the show was around Columbus Day, as I recall). I’d forgotten all about it, but considering where I live now, it was too funny not to share.

wegieship-colour

Seeing it again also reminded me that I had always wanted to colour it. So, it being a rainy Tuesday, I figured, what the heck?

Aby-a-Day – 7 August: Hela familjen (Cartoon Tuesday)

Björn’s daughter Emma came to visit us this past weekend, and she presented each of us with this drawing of all the cats. She’s just turned eight years old and is getting a bit clever: she only did one drawing and gave me, Björn and Kalle each a photocopy, saying it was “easier than doing three different drawings”!

Aby-a-Day – 31 July: You’re never done learning (Cartoon Tuesday)

I am endlessly amazed at how popular the Warriors series is in Germany and Holland. I mean, it’s way more popular than it is in the UK or the States. If you search Amazon.de, you can find all sorts of Warriors merchandise.

Look at all this! Sticky notes, badges, notebooks, gloves…I have the laptop stickers and I love them. You can’t get any of this on the other Amazons (.com and .uk.co), trust me. I looked.

Because I order my (English) Warriors books from Amazon.de, they send me emails when new Warriors items are released. Usually, they’re translations of the series books in German, but a few weeks ago they sent me an email about an interesting book entitled Warrior Cats – Katzenzeichnen: Von den Grundformen bis zur Clankatze (Warrior Cats – Cat Drawing: From Basic to Clan Cat).

Now, I have been drawing cats for over 50 years, and apparently I’m pretty good at it, since people like the drawings I do. But this book is amazing, even for someone like me. Because you can always learn more drawing techniques. Look at the instruction on drawing paws (well, hands, if you’re doing Abys).

The book goes into great detail about all aspects of cat life, and it even has blank pages for you to practice on. Unfortunately for me, it’s in German, and it’s a translation of the original publication…in Dutch. So there is no English edition of this book yet. Considering that the original books were English, it’s a bit interesting that the Germans and Dutch have taken to the cats so much that they’re coming up with all kinds of original items and books that aren’t available in English!

Izaak Sketch

Using some of the book’s recommendations, I did this sketch of Izaak. What do you think?

Aby-a-Day – 24 July: Showtime! (Cartoon Tuesday)

The other day, we were talking about Lorelai being “our little showgirl.” Next thing I knew, I couldn’t get the image of her as a classic Las Vegas showgirl out of my head. I recently discovered an awesome application for drawing on the iPad called Procreate. It’s meant to work with Pencil, and while it takes a little getting used to, it works incredibly well. Most importantly (to me, anyway), it uses layers. I need to have layers to draw the way I want to.

Rory_Showgirl_sketch

First, I need to do a pencil sketch. I sketched this over the reference I found online.

Rory_Showgirl_ink

Then I hide the reference and ink over the sketch. When the sketch layer is hidden, the ink looks like this.

Rory_Showgirl_colour

Then, using various brushes, I colour Rory in underneath the ink layer. This is important to preserve the outline. The colouring was actually done on three layers and merged. As I colour, I go back to the ink layer and erase bits and redraw them as needed.

Rory_Showgirl_flash

Finally, I add a top layer with a little sparkle and flash…and whiskers. I always do my whiskers on a top layer. The finished Procreate drawing is at the top of this post.

Rory_Showgirl_white

The only thing is, I have some amazing feather and fur brushes in Photoshop. So when the drawing was finished on the iPad, I exported it to my Mac. Now, what’s really cool about Procreate is, you can export drawings as .PSD files, which preserves all the layers. So I worked with my fur and feather brushes and touched up the colouring a bit…

Rory_Showgirl_

…and, then, just for fun, gave her a Vegas show stage as a background.

Rory_Showgirl_shadowglow

Finally, because the red in her outfit blends in with the red curtains onstage, I modified the layer style, adding some glow and a little drop shadow, and this is the final result.

Aby-a-Day – 17 July: Cats of the World (Cartoon Tuesday)

Okay, technically not a cartoon, but you may remember when I took Alfred to Anicura to say goodbye to Logan, I mentioned the “Cats of the World” poster hanging in the cat waiting room.

Here’s the Abyssinian…he looks grumpy, like Jacoby. The ears seem a bit small, though.

They illustrated the red Abyssinian separately. Again, the eyes and ears seem small. They didn’t include the other Aby colours.

The Somalis were included on the poster together. Again, they don’t look quite like Somalis, do they?

Last but not least, we have the mighty Singapura! Of all the drawings, I think they caught the Singa best of all.