Aby-a-Day – 11 Juni: Happy 14th Birthday, Angel!

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Even though we’re pretty sure what day is Angel’s real birthday, we celebrate it on 11 June.

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Even though she’s done this since her second birthday in 2009, the candles still make her a little nervous.

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A fear she gets over with pretty quickly when food is involved. I had to blow those candles out pretty quickly to avoid singed whiskers…or worse.

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Once the candles were out, though…she didn’t hesitate to dig into her “cake.” I can’t believe she’s 14 years old.

Aby-a-Day – 4 Juni: Paulo and some ‘Shop requests (Photoshop Friday)

Our friend Kinsey posted this photo to the “This Cat is PHOTOSHOPPED” facebook group and asked to have Paulo wearing a mask.

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Welp. That was easy. Then I had an idea.

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LOL why not, right?

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But then I got the idea to put my Singapura mask on Paulo.

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Pretty cute, eh? Then…Kinsey asked for Paulo to be dressed up in a tux for prom.

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Considering I already have the perfect cat-sized tuxedo bib and tie, top hat, and cuffs with cufflinks…not a hard ask.

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The shadows are already perfect, too. This was fun.

Aby-a-Day – 28 Maj: Family portrait (Photoshop Friday)

Our friend Kinsey shared some professional photos that were taken of Izaak’s brothers, Paulo and Keiko. I instantly knew what had to be done.

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A family portrait, of course! Since all three boys came from Poland, I chose a Polish flag as my background.

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Then I decided to set the scene…literally.

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Finally, every portrait needs a frame, right? Can you tell who is who?

Aby-a-Day – 21 Maj: Putting more spring into spring (Photoshop Friday)

Remember back in January when I took I took those awesome winter photos of Izaak? Well, I was inspired when we were outside the other day; it was such a gorgeous, perfect spring day that I got an idea to put Zak in his tree and take some spring photos, and then take some more in the height of summer and autumn and make a four seasons thing.

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Just one problem. On that outing, I was using my long lens, and the blossoms and sky were washed out and not nearly as bright as they actually were. I knew it when I took the photos. After I looked at them, I told Zak, “No worries. We can fix that in post.”

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Because this is how the sky and blossoms really looked. But it’s a super-easy fix. Just cut out the washed out sky…

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…add in the good background…

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…brighten it up a bit, add a little blur, and…perfect! Stay tuned for summer!

Aby-a-Day – 18 Maj: Marlin’s back! (Cartoon Tuesday)

Yesterday, Iris sent NEMO club members a draft of the flyer for our first post-Covid in-person show. It’s only open to exhibitors, and masks will be required unless eating or drinking. When I saw it, I knew what I had to do.

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So here is the new, improved, mask-wearing Marlin doing his BBQ thing.

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Here’s how it looks on the flyer itself. Not bad, eh?

Aby-a-Day – 7 Maj: “Awesome. Wow.” (Photoshop Friday)

The other day in This Cat is PHOTOSHOPPED, someone posted this picture of Froot Loop and asked if anyone could give him a throne to sit on.

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I could not resist. It’s silly, and it’s not really one of my best…but it made me laugh so I thought I would share it.

Aby-a-Day – 4 Maj: Isle of Dogs WIP (Cartoon Tuesday)

Last weekend, we watched an amazing movie called Isle of Dogs. It’s a Wes Anderson film, which I find rather hit-or-miss, but I did like his first stop-motion animated feature, Fantastic Mr. Fox, and it looked intriguing, so we gave it a shot. And, oh, was it worth it!

For a movie with the word “dog” in the title, it was actually, surprisingly, quite focused on cats. It’s an interesting Japanese pastiche in which the cat-loving Mayor Kobayashi has banished all dogs to Trash Island. In the introduction to the film this is all explained with some beautiful illustrations and scenes. My favourite, which is only seen for a minute or so, is the incredibly elaborate Cat Temple (seriously, look at that link; they did an incredible amount of work to create something that’s basically only one scene)! Of course, I instantly noticed the five cat statues to the right of the temple doors…one large, one tiny, two medium-sized and one small. I had to pause it and point out how the five cats matched our own five!

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And then…I had to draw it. This is the sketch…

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And here’s the ink. Covid aftereffects have really been kicking my butt this week, so it took me a while. I know where I want to go with this, and how I want the colouring to look, but it’s taking me longer to actually do it than I planned.

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If you want to see the time lapse video of the work in progress, click the image to open it in another window.

Aby-a-Day – 30 April: Spade and Archer (Photoshop Friday)

Well…I’m back. And yes, I actually did test positive for Covid-19. As did Björn and Kalle. My symptoms, oddly, were mainly stomach and intestinal, not lung-related. Not really what I was expecting at all. Of course, I really wasn’t expecting to get the virus at all, since I was following the rules my adopted country wouldn’t…but here we are. And I am pretty angry about it, too. Nobody wears a bloody mask in this country except me and I still get sodding Covid. Don’t get me started.

But, you know…this is a happy blog, about kitties and happy things, not anger at the way a nation has mishandling a worldwide pandemic…so…

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Here is Dashiell in the office of Spade and Archer in San Francisco.

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And here it is again, with a little extra noir added for good measure.

(PS: Covid-19 is no joke. Seriously, you don’t want to experience it.)

Aby-a-Day – 16 April: This wasn’t the way I wanted to go viral (Photoshop Friday)

So, since I posted last week, Björn is still in the hospital (he may get out tomorrow), and I have tested positive for Covid. Despite having asthma, my lungs and breathing are remarkably all right; my biggest reaction has been in my gut. Nausea, a metallic taste in my mouth, and zero appetite. Since the last time I weighed myself (the last time I weighed the cats), I have lost 5kg (11lbs). Hey, every cloud has a silver lining, right? Anyway, the other night at about 4am, I had this brilliant idea for a 1950’s-style weight-loss ad…it doesn’t include a cat, but it’s a pretty decent Photoshop if I do say so myself.

Aby-a-Day – 3 April: Here comes Zakky Cottontail (Silly Saturday)

In the Abyssinian and Somali Facebook group I admin, every Saturday is Caturday, the day where people can post non-Aby/Somali cat photos. Every week, I make a fresh banner, featuring Izaak, that’s a different colour scheme so people can tell them apart.

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Since this weekend is Easter, I added bunny ears on Zak’s head. I was pretty pleased to find a photo of a rabbit that was almost the exact same colour as Zak. I wonder if rabbits come in sepia?

Aby-a-Day – 2 April: Welcome to 2021, the year of the silly memes (Photoshop Friday)

2021 seems to be defining itself as the Year of the Meme. First, we had Bernie Sanders and his mittens, and then, last week, we had , an enormous container carrier ship the size of the Empire State Building stuck in the Suez Canal, blocking all other carriers and stopping roughly 10% of global trade. So, of course, “Boaty McStuck-Face” launched a fleet of silly memes. Of course, I had to make one…and a cat sitting on top of a bunch of boxes with the ubiquitous “If I fits I sits” caption. I posted this in the Facebook group This Cat is PHOTOSHOPPED, and so far it’s had almost 2,000 (!) reactions.

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And then, I did this. Because of course I did.

Aby-a-Day – 30 Mars: Happy Birthday to my sister, Karen! (Cartoon Tuesday)

My sister’s birthday is tomorrow. I got her a card, but things being what they are, I didn’t mail it in time. So, I reckoned I’d just sent it to her electronically. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I always draw a little cartoon in the cards I send people. But if I’m Messaging my sister her card, what’s the best way to add my traditional drawing?

KB Birthday Sketch

With Procreate and Photoshop, of course! And this card drawing is better than most, because I was actually able to do a sketch beforehand. Usually, I just freehand the drawing in ink.

KB Birthday Ink

This is the ink version, done in Procreate.

KB Birthday

If you’re interested, you can watch the Procreate time-lapse video of the sketch and ink on Flickr. Click the image to view the video in another tab.

KB Birthday Card Inside

And here is the inside of the card that my sister will get tomorrow. The Swedish translates to: “If you were a cat, you’d be turning a hundred and eleventy-twelve years! Congratulations on your Birthday!”

Aby-a-Day – 12 Mars: Origin of the species (Photoshop Friday)

The origin of the Singapura breed is not without controversy. While some people say that the breed occurred naturally, on the island nation of Singapore, others believe the breed is a deliberate hybrid. And it creates a bit of a rift in the Singapura community; not unlike, say, mask-wearing, both factions can be rather…attached to their viewpoints.

Where do I land on the subject? I have been following Singapuras since I first learned about the breed in the early 1980’s. I even wrote a letter to Tommy Meadows, the founder of the breed when I was in high school (and which I wish I could find, because I’m sure I have it somewhere), even though I have only recently joined the Singa community, I have a lot of book knowledge about the breed. So, I lean towards the Burmese/Aby hybrid theory.

This is not without a lot of though, so let me explain: First point: Tommy Meadow’s cattery name, USAF, is attached to both Abys and Singas; she worked with both breeds. She also had Burmese (haven’t been able to figure out if she bred them, too). She imported some cats when she moved from Texas to Singapore, and these were listed as Burmese and “brown Abyssinians” on the import manifest.

Second point: Singapore is an island, and, like mosts cats native to islands (Japan, the Isle of Man), the majority of Singapore street cats have some sort of tail deformation. Singas occasionally have tail deformation, but no more so than appear in other breeds (Siamese, for example). Of course, some long tailed Singapore street cats may have been used in breeding programmes, but that’s quite a bit different from an actual native breed (In Japan, you see feral cats that look almost exactly like purebred Japanese Bobtails).

Third point: Singapore was a British possession colonized in the early 1800’s. Given the British interest in exotic cats from foreign lands (Siamese, Burmese, and particularly the Abyssinian, purported to have been brought back from soldiers after the Abyssinian Wars) and the increasing Victorian interest in creating purebred animals and the Fancy, if the Singapura really was a native breed running around Singapore, don’t you think the British would have jumped on them and exported them back to England they way they did with other cat breeds?

At the end of the day, this is just my opinion. I know there is a romance in the “party line,” but honestly, so what if they ARE a Burmese/Aby hybrid? What’s so awful about that? Ocicats are Aby/Siamese/American Shorthairs, and that’s okay. Pointed Persians (Once the Himalayan breed) are Persians bred with Siamese. Burmillas are Chinchilla Persians bred with European Burmese. That’s all okay. You believe the origin story you feel most comfortable with.

All of this backstory has a point: Last week, I got the newest issue of Kattliv, featuring the (European) Burmese. I was struck by how much some of the photos reminded me of Singas, and I got an idea. I took a photo of Jacoby, and a photo of Butters, the cream EuroBurm we met at a show in Groton.

Aby layer

First, I reduced opacity on Jake and softened some edges.

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Then I did the same with Butters, and erased his eyes.

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Then I superimposed the two layers, and added a Sepia (of course) photo filter. But the eyes still just weren’t quite right.

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So, I made a layer with Izaak’s eyes, reduced their opacity, and added a green photo filter.

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And…Voilà! Okay, so it doesn’t look exactly like a Singapura…but it looks like it could be a computer-generated witness-descibed wanted poster image of a Singa.

Aby-a-Day – 5 Mars: “Reindeer seem over-serious” (Photoshop Friday)

At cat shows, judges have complemented Izaak’s “perfect reindeer coat colour.”

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The other day, I woke up with the idea to do this.

Aby-a-Day – 26 Februari: Where there’s food, there’s Freddy (Photoshop Friday)

Apparently, posting about the big cats at Borås Djurparken inspires me with Photoshop ideas. I woke up this morning with this idea, based on the time Alfred climbed up a tree. Because of course Freddy would fight a Lynx for food.

Aby-a-Day – 19 Februari: Just lion around (Photoshop Friday)

I was working on more of the photos from Borås Djurparken today and had an idea…

Aby-a-Day – 17 Februari: Wordless Wednesday (Because someone asked…)

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Aby-a-Day – 14 Februari: Alla hjärtans dagen!

It’s Valentine’s Day! I thought I would share some old Valentine’s art I made for calendars years ago.

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This, of course, is Angel. I think the original photo was taken the first Valentine’s Day after she came to live with us.

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This one was taken the weekend before Harri died. He and Patrick were such good friends…they were such great boys, too.

Hsppy Valentine’s Day everyone!

Aby-a-Day – 12 Februari: “I’m here live…I’m not a cat” (Photoshop Friday)

The meme of the week has been the Texas attorney who accidentally turned on a kitten filter during a Zoom court proceeding. And of course, once it got out, the jokes and memes followed.

Inevitably, that woman showed up to yell at the poor kitten lawyer.

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So, yeah. You knew this was going to happen.

Aby-a-Day – 5 Februari: One more Bernie meme (Photoshop Friday)

I know it’s been a while, but I literally woke up with this idea in my head…and here it is.