Aby-a-Day – 3 Juni 2020: Wordless Wednesday (Izaak sees a Wagtail)

zakwagtaiilClose_2766

Aby-a-Day – 2 Juni 2020: “Face masks in public spaces do not provide any greater protection to the population” (Cartoon Tuesday)

I have been very frustrated at the fact that Sweden doesn’t think masks work to control Covid-19. The State Epidemiologist, Anders Tegnell, has said repeatedly that “masks don’t make sense” and has literally scoffed at the very idea of wearing a mask in pubic.

toothless-zak-mask

So, since I have been using my Izaak Baby Yoda and Zak Toothless as my Facebook userpic and cover photos…I took out a little of that frustration by putting masks on their faces.

Didn’t work. I am still frustrated. And I am still wearing my mask.

Aby-a-Day – 15 Maj 2020: Gun-Hee and his tail (Photoshop Friday Flashback)

Gun-Hee loved chasing his tail. I posted a video of him chasing it in 2007, and then, a few months later, I posted a
“non-video” version of him chasing his tail.

gunhee-tail0260

Later, I took my three favourite shots…

gunhee-tail0264

…separated them from their background…

gunhee-tail0256

…and made a sort of action-collage of the three.

gunhee-triple3

I was so proud of this at the time, I even put it on a T-shirt…but looking at the original PSD file…YIKES! Those edges are so bad! I guess I have learned a thing or two in 13 years.

Aby-a-Day – 8 Maj 2020: *Tips hat* M’leggie (Photoshop Friday Flashback)

10 years ago today, I posted this photo of Jacoby’s amusing leggie pose.

picassojake

But what I never posted was a Picasso-inspired artistic version of this photo. So, here it is.

Aby-a-Day – 1 Maj 2020: This Freddy is PHOTOSHOPPED (Photoshop Friday)

The other day, I posted one of the photos of Alfred in the little toy car to the Facebook group This Cat is PHOTOSHOPPED to see what people would do with it. The above photo of Freddy getting “chimkin nuggets” at the Mc D’s drive-thru was made by Lucy Elizabeth West.

These were done by Helen Yang…I think the first one is so fetch!

Freddy doing donuts in a Walmart parking lot, courtesy of Charles Gipson.

I really like these racing ones Barbara Helms Clark made. The other cat is her outside cat, who also likes to sit in toy cars.

dandelionrossjoey

Then there’s the ‘shops I made. This one is Dandelion. I cannot explain why I thought Dandelion should be Baby Ross in Joey’s nightmare…but here we are.

grumpyVictoria-1890

The moment I saw this cat, I knew she needed to be Queen Victoria.

charlierökstenen

Charlie’s owner called him a Viking, so I put him next to Rökstenen runestone.

farrahhair

This Sphynx’s name is Farrah, so…

talcummermaid

Talcum’s human wanted him to be a mermaid. I am quite proud of this one. I didn’t know he was a boy until after I made it…but I still like the eyelashes.

deadpoolunicorncat

And finally…what else was I supposed to do with a cat wearing a unicorn hat!?

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 – 17 April 2020: This Jake is PHOTOSHOPPED (Photoshop Friday)

Since Jacoby’s deathday and birthday are so close together, I posted some photos of him on Monday In Meöwmorium on the Facebook group This Cat is PHOTOSHOPPED. I included some cutouts I’d already made along with some favourites…and wow, the other members did not disappoint! I especially love the image Trisha Pettingill made with Jake in the Red Sox dugout.

Lucia Robson made this one of Jake in Baseball Heaven (which of course is in Fenway Park).

Helen Yang, who had so much fun with Izaak and Lorelai a few weeks ago did this amazing one of Jake on the field with Rally Cat II at an Angels-Cardinals game in Anaheim!

She also did these of Jake in various forms of heaven. So sweet!

pirate

And then there are my challenges…this cat was named Pirate, so…

hencat

Dangles’ human wanted her to have legs, but I gave her eggs instead.

clawmachinecats

This was an amazing photo on its own…most people went with an ascension or jet pack theme, but I went in a different direction.

Kringle-obama-hope-poster

Mr. Kringle’s human wanted him to run for president. That was easy!

hellobook

This isn’t really a Photoshop challenge per se, but I had to do it.

sophiagradeschoolphoto

Sophia’s smile made me think of second grade.

catscandance

Someone commented on this photo of Bebby that Yoda the trapeze artist should be dancing with her. So here they are at the Bolshoi.

switch1920s

Switch’s photo reminded me of Theda Bara.

ReginaldSethDoc2

But this is my favourite of my projects this week. When I saw Reginald in his cowboy hat, I instantly thought of A Million Ways to Die in the West. I knew what I wanted to do: Reginald with Seth MacFarlane’s Albert and Doc Brown. It was a lot harder to get the parts to match than I expected…but I think I finally got it to look pretty good in the end.

Aby-a-Day – 10 April 2020: More PHOTOSHOPPED cats (Photoshop Friday)

Continuing last week’s Photoshop Friday, I did some more Photoshop challenges on the Facebook group This Cat is PHOTOSHOPPED. I also posted the meme about the green screen dress Queen Elizabeth wore when she gave her COVID-19 speech last Sunday.

3jakequeen

And, of course, I had to give Her Majesty a Three Jake Moon shirt.

mya-gollum

When I saw this photo of Mya the Sphynx, I had only one thought and one thought only. Isn’t she precious?

Jezebel-chewing-down-tree

Jezebel’s original photo had her on her scratching post. I thought she needed a real tree.

Chonky-Hindenburg_disaster

THIS is one of my favourites from this week. When I saw this chonky girl, my brain instantly went to…well, Manchester Township, New Jersey. One member said that it should be a poster. It’s always interesting to work in greyscale.

Yoda-cirque-trapeeze

Athletic Yoda reminded me of a trapeze artist.

How-To-Train-Your-Void

This face! I had to do this.

Chandler_Central_Perk

This cat’s name is Chandler, so I had to do this…

chandlercentralperk

I didn’t think that sofa looked “Central Perk” enough, so I used this one instead. Much better!

chandlercentralperksmelly

Then Björn made a comment…eh, it was inevitable.

harleypowderwhitealbumjpg

Harley and Powder’s human wanted them ‘Shopped onto a rock album. Hey, no problem.

MIAbear

I had saved this photo of the bear and was waiting for a cat to fill it. I thought it was Mia…but I wasn’t so sure after I finished it. But her human loved it, so that’s good enough for me.

peso_owl_flying

Peso is a semi-celebrity in the group – I mean, look at those eyes! Behold, the majestic Peso Owl in flight.

williejoust

Willie’s human wanted him Photoshopped riding something “bad ass”…well, what’s more bad ass than Joust? This was a lot of fun…I learned how to pixilate photos with this one. It’s always nice when one of these challenges teaches me a new trick.

willieputin

Then, someone in the comments posted a photo of Putin, shirtless, riding a horse, and said, “Someone please put him on the horse with Putin!” Challenge accepted.

gilliganabydos

Gilligan reminded me of an ancient Egyptian cat, so I put him in the temple at Abydos. Not super happy with how it turned out…but Gillgan’s human loved it. Again, that’s kind of the point.

ColGentlemanFlipped_Sitting_Behind_the_President's_Desk_in_the_Oval_Office

This is Colonel Gentleman. His original photo looked like he was sitting behind a desk, so… Fun fact: the base I used was a photo of Socks sitting behind Bill Clinton’s Resolute Desk.

3kittens-nightlights

Another person posted her adorable foster kittens Meeps, Sully and Toque….it was the obvious choice. I wish Toque’s photo had been larger, though.

jawscatposter

Another obvious choice. I had fun with the bubbles.

peadaniel

Daniel had to have his back leg shaved for an operation, and his owner wanted us to cover it up. I used a photo of a peacock I took at Borås Djurpark last summer, and used feather brushes to fill in spots.

baileytrump-empty-chairs

This is today’s project. Bailey’s human wanted him to turn his blep against evil. This was the most evil I could think of.

baileyjoeexotic<

Well, either that, or this. Potato, potahto.

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 – 3 April 2020: This Cat is PHOTOSHOPPED (Photoshop Friday)

I have been having a lot of fun with the Facebook group This Cat is PHOTOSHOPPED. Since we’re all staying inside these days, I have set myself a challenge to do one request a day, to practice my Photoshop skills and try things I might not normally do.

kittywileEcoyote

One of the first was this one. It’s pretty basic, but the cat was a pregnant stray and the poster wanted to convince her husband to adopt her. One thing she mentioned was that they lived in Southern California and there were coyotes in their neighbourhood, so…(Spoiler alert: he said yes)

babykitties

This photo was just an average phone photo, but it was so sweet. The poster wanted it fixed up so she could frame it, so I did this.

womanyellingatFunny

This is just a silly joke, really. That face! When I shared it, I commented, “Well…SOMEONE had to do it!”

coronasylvy

I did this Covid-19 illustration for a contest to be the header photo for the group. I saw the photo of Sylvy and had an idea…

jabbatubcat

This was originally a cat lounging in a bathtub…and Jabba the Hut was the first thing I thought of. I was surprised nobody else had done t!

salemtoothless

Same with this one…I was surprised no one else made the connection between Salem and Toothless. I had a lot of fun working on this one! I even used my scale brushes to add some scales into Salem’s fur.

mamanchi-wood

This was today’s challenge: Mamanchi on the parquet floor. Someone said she should be herringbone, like the floor, and I knew what I wanted to do. I actually learned some tricks doing this blend, and I am pretty pleased with how it turned out.

But that’s not all. I also posted a few of the professional photos of Izaak and Lorelai from the Örebro show, including a couple I had already separated from their backgrounds. Yanna Spite made the top photo on this post using a phone app, and Helen Yang made all of these. Rory skydiving…

…Rory doing a little song and dance…

…Zak as a member of the cast of Cats (the stage production, thankfully, and not the movie)…

…Zak and Rory in the sky with sushi…

…Zak and Rory with Paula Deen and, of course, butter…

…and, um, this portrait. Still, it’s great fun and a great diversion from reading the news right now.

Aby-a-Day – 31 Mars 2020: How to Train Your Singapura…finished! (Cartoon Tuesday)

As you remember from last week’s post, I started working on a drawing of Izaak as Toothless the Night Fury from the How to Train Your Dragon films. The first step was the second, clean ink layer. I did something a little different than I usually do, though; I only used black for the outline on his eyes and his tail attachment. On the rest of his outline, I used dark brown, and on his collar, I used blues and silvers. And I finally worked out how the eyedropper tool works in Procreate! You’ll notice I didn’t outline the bones on the wings. I actually did, but then copied them to their own layer. I had an idea.

toothless-zak-undercolour1

toothless-zak-undercolour2

I did the undercolouring in two layers: one of the basic shades, and another on top of that with the eyes and collar colour and the wings and prosthetic tail. I found a marvellous texture brush in Procreate that was perfect for the wings and the tail attachment.

toothless-zak-undercolour3

toothless-zak-undercolour+Ink

Here are the two undercolour layers combined…and then with the ink layer.

toothless-zak-colourInk+wings

Then I worked on the wing details. These are the outlines from the inking…with some transparency, layer enhancements, and…finally, a use for the plastic wrap filter!

toothless-zak-originalbackground

toothless-zak-paintbackground

Then I switched to the background. I found a blank background from the movie art and deleted the bits in the scene I didn’t want. Then I added a paint layer to adapt the scene to what I wanted.

toothless-zak-finalbackground

Then I combined those and ran a few filters.

toothless-zak-transparency

But…when I switched from Procreate to Photoshop and put “Zakless” on the background, I discovered there was a transparency problem.

toothless-zak-transparencyClose

You can’t always see the gaps in colour when you’re working in Procreate on a white background. But I came up with an easy fix.

toothless-zak-opaque

I made a quick solid, opaque figure on a separate layer between the background and the colour layers. This would actually turn out to save me time later on.

toothless-zak-pretexture

Problem solved! Now it’s time for the collar and fur texture.

toothless-zak-collartex

toothless-zak-collartex-close

I did the collar first. I actually used a photo of Alfred’s collar and changed the hue and lightness to get Zak’s blues and lightened the opacity to get the braid pattern. This is on a layer between the second ink and the undercolour. I could have done a similar thing with his tags…but I liked the way I drew them.

toothless-zak-tailscales

Next, the fur texture. You’ve all seen my fur brushes, and I didn’t do anything new or unusual…except this: I found a wicked cool scale brush along with my feather and fur brushes. Never needed to use a scale brush before, and I really like the effect.

toothless-zak-furtex+whiskers

Here’s the finished Zakless, including whiskers and eyeshine.

toothless-zak-texture+background

And here he is with the background.

toothless-zak-final

Add his shadow (made using a copy of the opaque layer I had already made, just black, distorted, translucent and blurred)…and voilà! Here is the finished Zakless!

toothless-zak-final-final

Or is it? After I thought I’d finished him, I got a brainwave on how to improve the eyeshine…with the plastic wrap filter!

toothless-zak-final-finalclose

I think it looks more realistic. I also added a tiny drop shadow to the collar. It’s barely noticeable, but it adds a bit of depth, which I like. Yes…I think he’s finished now.

Aby-a-Day – 10 Mars 2020: The Northuldra (Cartoon Tuesday)

Last week, I posted Izaak as Olaf the snowman from the Frozen movies. But there are some new characters in Frozen 2, and I had two cats who hadn’t been cast yet. Lorelai and Alfred are perfect as the Northuldrian brother and sister Honeymaren and Ryder. As always, I started with a sketch in Procreate.

RoryFreddyhoneymaren_ryder_1stInk

Then I did a preliminary ink outline. I had a LOT of fun with this, because, unlike Zakolaf, I got to draw clothing, too. The Northuldra were based on the Sami people of Northern Scandinavia, and I have long had an interest in them from my SCA days (in fact, that was one of the reasons Björn and I became penpals). Drawing their clothing, and especially the knives (I have a collection of Puukkot, the traditional Finnish utility knife), was awesome.

RoryFreddyhoneymaren_ryder_2ndInk

And then, the clean ink layer. More fun refining the clothing.

RoryFreddyhoneymaren_ryder_flatcolour

Switching to the laptop and Photoshop, I did a flat colour layer.

RoryFreddyhoneymaren_ryder_flatcolourInk

This was done underneath the clean ink layer.

RoryFreddyhoneymaren_ryder_Texture

Then the ticking, and texture on the clothing. This took a long time, because I needed to experiment with fabric textures. For some parts, such as the trim on the neck and shoulders, and the puukkot, I found photos of actual Samí trim and knives, and overlaid and blended them into my drawing.

RoryFreddyhoneymaren_ryder_Knives

You can see how the puukkot are slightly photographic.

RoryFreddyhoneymaren_ryder_Background

Then I switched to the background. As with Zakolaf and the Zakdalorian, I took a generic Frozen 2 background and painted over it.

RoryFreddyhoneymaren_ryder_Texture

As always, on a separate layer, I added the whiskers and eyeshine.

RoryFreddyhoneymaren_ryder_LeavesShadows

And then, their shadows and the obiquitous leaf swirl.

RoryFreddyhoneymaren_ryder_Final

And here’s the final version. As with Zakolaf, I find it a bit dark…but the Enchanted Forest was shrouded in fog and mist, so it’s kind of supposed to be dark.

Aby-a-Day – 3 Mars 2020: Catatonic 2 (Cartoon Tuesday)

You may remember, six years ago, I made this wonderful cartoon with Jacoby, Angel, Kylie and Tessie as Kristoff, Anna, Elsa and Sven the reindeer from Frozen.

Zakolaf-frozen_sketch

Zakolaf-frozen_1stink

Well, of course, Frozen 2 came out last November, which made me revisit my original cartoon. Of course, Kylie and Tessie still live in Boston, and Dashiell can take Jake’s place as Kristoff…but it occurred to me that I now have the perfect cat to play Olaf! Izaak! Of course, Olaf should be a Singapura! I started with a sketch and then a rough ink on my iPad in ProCreate.

Zakolaf-frozen_2ndink

Then I did a clean ink outline.

Zakolaf-frozen_flatcolour

Switching to the laptop and Photoshop, I did a flat colour layer.

Zakolaf-frozen_whiskers

On a separate layer, I added the whiskers and eyeshine.

Zakolaf-frozen_background

Then I switched to the background. I took a generic Frozen 2 background (there are plenty of wallpapers available online) and painted over it, the same way I created the background of the Zakdalorian.

Zakolaf-frozen_leaves

Then I added a swirl of windblown leaves, to give it the feel of the film.

Zakolaf-frozen_noshadow

Then I painted the ticking and Zak’s other markings with my fur brushes.

Zakolaf-frozen_2Final

Finally, I gave Zakolaf a little shadow, to ground him in the scene. I wish this was a little brighter, but that’s just the way this scene is; it’s not as bright as the snow scenes, because it’s autumn. Can’t do much about that.

Oh, and don’t worry…I have characters for Lorelai and Alfred to play. Stay tuned…

Aby-a-Day – 25 Februari 2020: The Zakdalorian again (Cartoon Tuesday)

Last week, I posted a sketch and a preliminary inking of Izaak as The Child (aka Baby Yoda)

Zak_Baby_Yoda_2ndInk

Starting with the shaded ink layer I did last week, I changed it from black to blue-green and did a second, cleaner ink layer.

Zak_Baby_Yoda_2ndInkWhiskers

The whiskers and eyeshine are actually on their own layer. I really like having the whiskers as a separate layer from the rest of the drawing. There’s also a slight outer glow on this layer.

Zak_Baby_Yoda_colouronly

Using the clean ink version, I made a flat colour layer. This layer is about 70% opaque.

Zak_Baby_Yoda_colourtexture

Using the same colours, and following the shading done on the first ink, I added a texture layer, with the fur and ticking and the rough cloth of the robe.

Zak_Baby_Yoda Background

The background is a combination of the original screenshot I based my drawing on, and a painted background using bark and grass brushes, run through the oil painting filter.

Zak_Baby_YodaShadowBacklight

I also added a shadow and backlighting, to capture the feel of the original scene.

Zak_Baby_Yoda_brothsteam

One final, tiny touch: I have a set of steam/smoke brushes. One little stamp at 60% opacity, and…the bone broth is hot!

Zak_Baby_YodaFinal

And here is the final, complete drawing. I am pretty proud of this one!

Aby-a-Day- 31 Januari 2020: The manbun that wouldn’t die (Photoshop Friday)

You know, say what you will about the internet and Facebook in particular, but sometimes it can be a very silly and hilarious place. Remember Jacoby’s manbun? The other day I found a Facebook group called This Cat is PHOTOSHOPPED.

Well, of course I had to join! By way of introduction, I posted the close-up photo of Jacoby with his manbun.

And it BLEW UP. I posted it on Wednesday, and as of this evening, my post has had 1,568 reactions and 98 comments. Wow.

Some of the comments on my post were awesomely hilarious:

“Khajiit has wares, if you have coin.”

“This cat has a 100% chance of stealing your girlfriend”

“This Cat is STEVEN SEAGAL”

“That’s one sexy cat! 🔥🐈
I am a little concerned about the fact that I think a cat is sexy though…”

“Jason Momoa in cat form?” “Jason MeowMeowa”

“He looks like he became a millionaire from Bitcoin but has since spent most of it on cocaine.”

And then, people started commenting with Photoshops they’d done including Jake and his Manbun.

Miroslav created a dating profile for Jake, with the caption “Unpopular opinion, Jacoby.” Someone else responded, “Nah, he vapes catnip in enclosed public spaces”

Micaela included Jake in a collage of celebrity manbuns.

Abigail had Smudge the cat confront Jake. Someone commented on her work, “I’m just here, trying to enjoy my salad, and I’m getting upstaged.”

Angela envisioned him as part of the cast of 90210.

But perhaps my favourite was the first photo comment, which started with Jessica asking me, “Can I use this photo for my religion? (ask me what my religion is). When I said, “Ohhhkay…what is your religion?, she responded with this:

I’m interested.

Aby-a-Day – 24 Januari 2020: Giant Military Cats (Photoshop Friday)

This week I discovered an interesting Giant Military Cats. As you might guess, it features giant cats Photoshopped into military settings.

Well. Challenge accepted! And I knew just the photos I wanted to use. So…

RoryGrabF16

…here you go, Giant Military Lorelai.

Aby-a-Day – 17 Januari 2020: Woman yelling at Izaak (Photoshop Friday)

You’ve all seen it, I’m sure: the meme of a woman yelling at a cat. The woman is Taylor Anderson from Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, and the cat is Smudge.

womanyellingatZak1

Well…you know I had to do this! I knew that at least one of the professional photos of Izaak we had taken at the show in Örebro last year would be perfect for my own version of this meme.

womanyellingatZak2

Actually, there were two photos of Zak that were perfect, and I couldn’t decide which one I liked better. So, I made them both.

womanyellingatZakText1

womanyellingatZakText2

Regardless of which Zak-face is better, I knew the perfect argument for them to be having!

Aby-a-Day – 7 Januari 2020: Art in garbage (Cartoon Tuesday)

At one of the cat shows we entered recently, I happened to notice a shape in one of the paper towel trashbins in the toilet. Can you see it?

papertowels_E9149catoutline

Now can you see it?

Aby-a-Day – 3 Januari 2020: Using the tools you have to get the results you want (Photoshop Friday)

The ferry boarding photos I posted yesterday were not, exactly, the photos I originally purchased on the boat. We did get a photo of Izaak and Lorelai, but it was the close-up above. I had wanted one of them together in a photo with one of the special frames (I really like those because they have the date and the ship we were on). The photographer told me she couldn’t get that photo to fit the frame, and she had only gotten one shot of just the cats.

I asked if I could have the digital photos with my purchase, and she emailed them to me. I assured her that I could fix it.

Then too, that nice photo of Björn and me boarding together with the cats? Yeah, that also wasn’t exactly the perfect shot. They got one of me…with a cheesy Minnie Mouse suitcase behind me. And they got a decent one of Björn, dragging our crippled suitcase onto the boat (this was the trip that it finally became an ex-suitcase and ceased to be).

So, as you saw yesterday, I fixed that, too.