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 – 10 July: The Girl with the Aby and Singa Tattoo (Cartoon Tuesday)

You might recall a few weeks ago I was about to go in and get a magpie tattoo on my arm and plan my next tattoo with Linus, my new tattoo artist here in Slövde. Linus is amazing, and tomorrow I am going to get it coloured in. I can’t wait! Since the 21st, I’ve had a half-done, just black lines and shading. It’s going to be amazing to finally have it finished.

In the meantime, I have worked up two better-coloured versions of my original sketch. The one above was coloured in on my iPad Pro using pencil and an incredible app called Art Set which works well…except it hasn’t got layers. So I did more colouring using Photoshop…and the result is above.

Then I thought my rough-sketched maple leaves, pussy willows and cherry blossoms were kind of…lazy. So I found some Photoshop brushes and line art and created a better background. At least I have something to show Linus tomorrow during my appointment.

Aby-a-Day – 8 May: First sketches of Lorelai

Dammit, I am going to start drawing more on my iPad Pro. So I started today. Here are some doodles of Lorelai, trying to nail down her cartoon form.

Aby-a-Day – 10 April: A sketchy packing job (Cartoon Tuesday)

While I was at the Winners Show, I found this sketch I had done on my (then new) iPad Pro with the coordinated Apple Pencil. I am not sure where I was going with this, but it had something to do with packing to move to Sweden. I wish I had put in the conversation Angel and Jacoby are having.

Aby-a-Day – 19 April: Sketches on a train (Cartoon Tuesday)

I drew this on the train back from Washington DC last Wednesday after my residency permit interview at the Swedish Embassy. I used Adobe Sketch…it’s actually rather a frustrating program! I used my iPad Pro and Pencil…which should have been like drawing on paper. Not so much.

jakeweddingsketch

It does have different media, though. I started out with a pencil…then I inked it in.

I also drew this whole thing, from scratch, TWICE because somehow I managed to delete the first one. Seems there are sketches and projects in Sketch, and once you delete a project – a whole set of sketches – there is no way to get it back! Arrrrrgh…

jakeweddingfinal

However, it was definitely easier than drawing on a Wacom tablet and having to look at a screen away from where you’re drawing to see what you’re doing. I just need more practice. Anyway…here’s a little doodle of what poor Jacoby must be thinking since I couldn’t bring him to our wedding in Manchester yesterday. Don’t worry, Jakey! You’ll be Best Cat at our Swedish wedding!

Aby-a-Day – 15 March: Playing with Pencil (Cartoon Tuesday)

So I broke down and bought myself an iPad Pro and an Apple Pencil to go with it. I haven’t had much time to play with it yet, but I did do this quick sketch of Jacoby.

jakePSsketch

It’s so much better than trying to draw on my Wacom tablet, but I still need some practice…