Aby-a-Day – 4 Juni: “Forget about style; worry about results” (Cartoon Tuesday)

Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals was yesterday, and the series is split 2-2, with Boston and St. Louis winning a game each home and away. Last week, I posted a drawing of Jacoby as the iconic “flying Bobby Orr”. This week, it’s finished!

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But apart from sharing the final drawing, I thought I would also share the layers that create it. This is the “Uniform” layer, which I coloured using the incredibly useful NHL Uniform Database to make certain I got the colours and stripes right.

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This is Jake’s colouring. It’s actually three different layers merged together to get the depth of colour in his fur. The whiskers and eyeshine are on a separate layer.

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This is the finished Jake and his shadow. Then, for the background, I ran the original photo of Bobby Orr through the “cutout” filter.

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I am particularly proud of the way his head turned out. Aby markings are deceptively complex to render realistically.

Hopefully this will give Boston a little luck in the next two or three games…GO BRUINS!

Aby-a-Day – 26 April: The night Jacoby Stole Home (Photoshop Friday Flashback

Ten years ago tonight, Jacoby Ellsbury did more than juststeal home against the Yankees at Fenway Park on ESPN’s nationally-televised Sunday Night Baseball…he also gave my 12-day old ruddy kitten his name.

We had been discussing names for the kitten, and my ex wanted to call him Jake. I thought that was a little too Cat From Outer Space (You know, like naming a Collie “Lassie” or naming a Siamese “Pyewacket,” “Tao,” or “D.C.” But the moment I saw Ellsbury steal home…I knew what the kitten’s name would be. But, as I explained, I did not name my Jacoby after the player. I named him after the amazing thing that player did that time because someday he’ll probably betray us…but that thing he did will never not be awesome. And, sure enough…in 2014, Ellsbury did precisely that: he joined the Yankees!

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But back to happier times. For the 2011 April Fool’s Day post, I put Jake together with the real Jacoby, playing a little ball.

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Then, in 2012 the Improper Bostonian Jacoby Ellsbury on its cover of the end of March/early April issue. How could I resist?

It would have been fun to, just once, have the human Jacoby meet the feline Jacoby…

Aby-a-Day – 12 Februari: Till Koshka att måla (Cartoon Tuesday)

Along with the thank you note Emma drew for Björn, there was something for me, too. I have given Emma a couple of Top Model kitten colouring/sticker books, and she sent me one of the pages to colour in myself.

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I decided to scan it and colour it on my laptop. The kitten she sent me kind of looked like a Singapura, so that determined my colour scheme.

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The only problem was that, when I was finished, the eyes looked…wrong. Not very Singapura-y…basically, they were just too small. So, I enlarged them. Not quite sure I like the way they look, but they bother me less than the original.

Aby-a-Day – 9 November: Behind the scenes (Photoshop Friday)

This is a silly little thing…but I thought it was kind of interesting. With yesterday’s post with Kalle, Lorelai and Izaak, I only had two photos to work with…and in one of them, Zak’s head was blurry.

So, I found a different head.

And fixed it up to match the body in the photo.

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And…well, you saw the result. A photo with a nice, sharp, Zak head.

Aby-a-Day – GO SOX! (Photoshop Friday Flashback)

You may recall my post a couple of weeks ago, remembering the last time the Red Sox were in the the World Series in 2013. Well, the good news is, the Red Sox are in the World Series against the LA Dodgers, and they are up 2-0!

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I had this one awesome shot of Jake looking at the TV when they were showing the Prudential Building with “GO SOX” spelled out in the lighted windows. The shot was great…the photo, not so much. The flash went off, and the photo…sucks.

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So, I thought I would try to fix it using Photoshop. First I tried to fix the flashlight eyes; they are hard to fix when they are really shining, but I did my best using a soft black brush, the band-aid tool, and the rubber stamp. Then, I needed to fix the Pru. I went through photos I had taken when I was down by Fenway earlier that evening. The Pru was lit up with red and blue lights…so I am pretty sure they were using an old shot of the building. So I went through my older photos and found one I took during the 2003 playoffs – that’s the one at the top of this post.

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I tweaked the perspective on the building and adjusted the opacity and blended it in…and voilà! I’m not completely happy with Jake’s eyes, but I did manage to turn a crap photo into a much better and passable picture.

Aby-a-Day – 19 October: Come on kitties now…Everykitty get together (Flashback Photoshop Friday)

This morning, Facebook greeted me with a reminder of a post I made four years ago. I was challenged to post five photos of my cats, and I decided to post five group photos. Getting a photo of all the cats in the house together at the same time is harder than some might think. So, because of the reminder that Facebook sent me, I decided to post all the “family photos” I have been able to capture over the years.

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The oldest is this, of Sigrid, Harri, and Patrick cuddled together on my sofa. This was taken in autumn 1997. It looks cuddly, but actually Sigrid and Tricky were sleeping there, and Harri decided to squeeze in between them. Still cute, though.

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This is after I’d moved to Boston. Harri and Patrick had been joined by Tessie and Kylie. This is the first photo of all of them together.

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This is my favourite photo of this group. I even used it as a Christmas card.

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…And this would be the outtake of that photo…

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This was Christmas 2006. Harri had died in August and we had just adopted Gun-Hee.

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This photo is less posed, but more my favourite. Love Kylie’s arm!

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Another photo of Gun-Hee with Patrick, Kylie and Tessie, this time all gathered on our bed.

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This is another shot from that session, “arted up” in Photoshop.

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One evening, all the cats lined up on the back of the sofa.

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I had this shot…but Gun-Hee moved his head.

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Thanks to Photoshop, I was able to replace Gun-Hee’s head and make this into a usable image.

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This is another “art” composite photo. All of them were on the tree together, but this is multiple shots combined so each cat looks good.

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Food and the kitchen is a great way to get everyone together. Here we have (anticlockwise) Jacoby, Angel, Tessie and Kylie.

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However, they did have other motivations to gather together.

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After we moved to Sweden, the kitchen was more a gathering point than ever. Here we have Alfred, Jake, Angel, Logan and Pyret.

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And then, suddenly…our five cats became Jake, Freddy, Lorelai, Angel and Izaak.

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A collection that was also easier to gather in the kitchen.

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But they also gathered spontaneously on our bed! No Photoshop required.

Aby-a-Day – 28 September: Behind the artwork (Photoshop Friday)

I thought you might be interested in how I create a cartoon. I only rarely ever draw a complete drawing in one go. At least not when I am drawing on paper and scanning the the result.

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When I draw on paper, I do a sketch and then trace the sketches in ink. I sometimes do more than one trace of the sketch on the inking sheet.

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Then I assemble the best parts and start colouring.

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Other bits, like the BBQ grill and the apron, are drawn and assembled on separate layers. But when it’s all assembled, it looks like the image at the top.

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The next year, I added Dory. While Marlin is a cream Maine Coon, Dory is a blue Oriental Shorthair. I actually did draw Dory in one go, so her layer is not as exciting.

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For the newest NEMO iteration of Marlin, I realised I didn’t need to redraw all of Marlin, but only certain parts. Just his head, both arms, and some whiskers. But it worked. And it was so much easier than reinventing the wheel. Thanks to Photoshop, I didn’t have to.

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The Singapuras were a bit more tricky.

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I drew each one separately and three of them are complete, stand-alone cats. Only the one in the very back is a partial Singapura.

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The whiskers were done separately.