Aby-a-Day – 6 January: “The eyes are the windows of your face”

Those of you who remember the last time I posted on a Saturday may recall that I was a participant in the Saturday Photo Hunt. Each week bloggers would be given a word to portray with a photo. It was a fun little challenge, but, sadly, the last word was Saturday, 31 December…2016.

So. There goes my easy Saturday topic! I am working on a series of posts about our flight to Sweden, but it’s going to take me some time; that will start next Saturday.

So…let’s have Silly Saturday today, shall we? I saw the above meme posted on Facebook somewhere and I absolutely cracked up, for obvious reasons. So as soon as I could, I found me some googly eyes. Yellow, of course.

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Unfortunately, even the largest ones I was able to find were still too small. And, well, there wasn’t a really good way to keep it on her face. I tried Scotch tape, and then duct tape, but neither one worked. I was barely able to keep it on long enough to snap this photo.

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So I had to resort to my good old friend Photoshop. Much better.

Aby-a-Day – 1 April: Remembrance of Fools Past (Friday Flashback)

I was so preoccupied with all the things that are happening in April I completely forgot about April Fool’s Day! So I don’t have my traditional April Fool’s image for you. However, since it’s Flashback Friday, let’s take a look at the last 5 years of foolishness.

The first time I did an April Fool’s image, Jacoby met his namesake on the field.

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In 2012, The Improper Bostonian published an issue with a certain ballplayer on the cover. Challenge accepted.

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But then I also came up with a spoof of the infamous Jake From State Farm commercial, so I had two jokes in 2012.

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In 2013, the foolery shifted to Cartoon Tuesday, starting with a little KPop satire.

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The next year, it was Norway’s turn.

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And then, last year…Three Moon Jake!. I was actually wearing the T-shirt I had made at BlogPaws and ran into the people from The Mountain…and they loved it!

Hopefully next year I’ll come up with something really brilliant to make up for missing this year.

Aby-a-Day – 12 February: Jake’s man bun (Photoshop/Fashion Friday)

So okay. Man buns, stupid as they may be, are a thing. Björn sent me this gallery of politicians rocking the man bun, and I was hit with inspiration.

Oh, yes I did. I took this photo of Jacoby and this Pinterest photo of a sad, sad hipster and brought the magic.

And there you have it: Jake with a man bun. Now can we stop this madness?

Aby-a-Day – 10 February: Wordless Wednesday (“Draw me like one of your French girls”)

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Aby-a-Day – 19 January: Sketching a smile (Cartoon Tuesday)

Sometimes, a cartoon idea can come from one simple idea. Like this one from May 2014. It started from a discussion on Facebook about the “Aby smile.” Abys seem to smile a lot…especially when they’re being naughty. That, coupled with a silly desire to draw Grumpy Cat, led to these rough sketches.

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And of course, the final version…

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Turns out, Tardar Sauce is way harder to draw than you’d think! I spent more time on her sour face than on the whole rest of the cartoon.

Aby-a-Day – March 31: Three April Fool’s Moon (Cartoon Tuesday)

This is not actually based on the (in)famous Three Wolf Moon T-shirt. It’s actually based on the even more awesome Three Grumpy Cat Moon T-shirt and the equally hilarious (if slightly illegal) Three Keyboard Cat Moon T-shirt.

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It had to be done. And I am going to try to get a shirt made, too. I’m holding my breath to see if Zazzle will let me make this – if they do, I’ll try to make a version for sale:

The moon background is actually two different moon photos by Moon-WillowStock on DeviantArt.

(Click cartoon to embiggen, or you can view all cartoons in Slideshow mode on Flickr.)

Aby-a-Day – March 6: On the wings of a woodpecker (Photoshop Friday)

So, I’m sure you’ve all seen the incredible and internet-infamous photo of a weasel riding a flying woodpecker by now.

If not, you probably saw my Wordless Wednesday post this week.

However, after I posted this on Wednesday, I got to thinking that…while it was good, it could be better. So, last night I went back and fixed it. And while I was doing that, I thought people might be interested in what I’d done to make Jacoby ride the woodpecker.

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For the quick original version, I went through all my photos of Jake looking for one of him in a pose similar to that of the weasel’s on the bird’s back. I finally decided on this one of Jake playing with the kittens in the Kitten Bowl.

Then, I found the biggest, highest-res image of the #WeaselPecker on the internet that I could, and I erased the weasel, leaving only the bird.

Then I scaled Jake down, put him on the bird’s back, and filled in the “holes” with colours taken from the bird and painted on underneath Jake using a feather brush. I also refined Jake’s edges using the “Refine Edge” tools under the “Select” menu. Then I toned Jake down to match the lighting on the bird a little better and put a slight motion blur (1 pixel) on him using the Motion Blur filter.

And it was good…but I knew I could do better. Jake’s front arm didn’t look right to me, his shoulder looked Photoshopped – even though it really wasn’t! – and I didn’t like the way his tail looked. So I went through the photos again, looking for arms and tails that would look better on my flying Jake.

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I found this photo of Jake hooking a toy with his paw, so I selected just his arm and shoulder, copied it onto a new layer over the current Jake and sized it down.

Then I erased the original arm, and blended the new arm in. Using the “Warp” function under the Transform menu, I tweaked the arm a little bit to make it look like Jake was holding onto the woodpecker’s neck (despite what National Geographic might think, it’s not that hard to make a mammal virtually hug a woodpecker).

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I also wasn’t happy with Jake’s tail. Even though that’s how it really looked in the original photo, on the back of the woodpecker it looked odd. So, I took Jake’s tail from this photo of him and Angel.

Just as I’d done with the arm, I selected the tail and part of Jake’s rump, pasted it onto a new layer, and blended in to the rest of Jake.

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I still wasn’t happy with Jake’s neck and shoulders in the original version. Even though they weren’t Photoshopped at all, they looked like they were – it looked like I’d attached Jake’s head and shoulders to a different body, even though I hadn’t. So I took a nice shot of Jake’s body that I had considered as a possible arm donor…

This time, I didn’t need to flip it. I sized the body piece down, placed it over the rest of the body, and blended it in using the eraser in brush mode, with one of my fur brushes.

I did one more tiny tweak to Jake’s tag, bending it back with the “Warp” tool to make it look like it was being blown back by the wind. Then, when I had all the body pieces blended together the way I wanted them, I merged the layers to create a consolidated Jake.

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I turned the woodpecker layer back on, placed Jake on the bird’s back, and touched up the empty spaces underneath Jake with the rubber stamp tool. Then I added a slight motion blur to Jake as well as a slight drop shadow. And there you go: Jake riding a woodpecker!