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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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 – 18 Februari 2020: The Zakdalorian (Cartoon Tuesday)

Like 90% of the world, Björn and I watched the The Mandalorian a few weeks ago. and the minute I saw Baby Yoda/”The Child” sipping a cup of bone broth, I knew what had to be done.

Zak_Baby_Yoda_Ink

So far, it’s just at the sketch and ink phase…I am trying to decide how I want to colour it. The green of Baby Yoda’s skin is almost the same colour as Izaak’s eyes, but it won’t look as much like Baby Yoda if I colour it in sepia tones…so I am still deciding how I want to finish this. I also have an untested idea of doing a pale green background, with an overlay of sepia ticking.

I need to think about this. Stay tuned for the finished version!

Aby-a-Day – 11 Juni: The Incatibles (Cartoon Tuesday)

Our new kitten, Dashiell, is named after the author of The Maltese Falcon, Dashiell Hammett. When I lived in San Francisco, I lived a block away from the apartment building Dashiell Hammett lived in at 891 Post Street). But our kitten isn’t the only one named after him: Dash, the older son of The Incredibles is named Dash, too (full name: Dashiell Robert Parr). And I got to thinking…okay, Dash…we’ll have five cats…two girls and three boys…hmmmmmm….

incatibles-sketch

So, using this image of the Incredible family, I came up with this. Alfred, our biggest cat, is Mr. Incredible; Angel, of course, is Elastigirl; Lorelai is perfect as Violet, Izaak is Jack-Jack (or, if you prefer, Zak-Zak)…and Dash is, well…Dash. Now I just need to colour it in!

Aby-a-Day – 25 December: The sole of Christmas (Cartoon Tuesday)

In Sweden, the main Christmas celebrating is done on 24 December. After the ritual of Donald Duck, the presents are opened and then dinner is eaten.

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The traditional Julbord, which Björn’s mother orchestrated every year to perfection, consists of pickled herring, smoked salmon, hard-boiled eggs with kaviar,

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the Julskinka (ham with mustard), boiled potatoes, Janssons Frestelse (a sort of potato casserole with anchovies), cabbage rolls (which I can totally get behind because they’re also a Russian thing), handmade köttbullar (meatballs – ours were moose, lamb and wild boar),

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Prinskorv (sort of like hot dogs, but better), a ball of cheese and bread, and a cheesecake.

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This was our first year assembling the feast ourselves, and the first we have done at home instead of going to Jönköping. Beer, wine and shots of aquavit are usually drunk before, during, and after the meal, but this year we also added my kickass eggnog with rum, tequila, whiskey and hazelnut liqueur. Because, hey, let’s start our own traditions! (I also introduced the hanging and filling of stockings, which we open on Christmas day, because that was MY tradition. I still have the stocking I was given on my very first Christmas, when I was six months old.

The one Swedish Jul tradition I am not completely onboard with is the Christmas Day dinner of lutfisk served with potatoes and peas. Not that lutfisk is bad…it’s just bland. It’s basically like eating hard-boiled egg whites. Which is great, I love hard-boiled eggs. Just not necessarily for Christmas dinner. And I don’t really like peas all that much, either. We would always eat it at Björn’s mom’s house…but this year, we are having goose and starting our own tradition (which also includes the oranges my mom always used to put in our stockings).

lutefisk

The first Christmas I spent in Sweden, I drew this silly little drawing of a “lute fisk” as a joke for Björn’s brother…and today I got the idea to update it a bit with Abys. And a Singapura. Just a sketch for now, but…Happy Christmas, everyone!

Aby-a-Day – 4 December: Falukorv (Cartoon Tuesday)

A couple of weeks ago, I posted about how, when Logan was the same age as Izaak, he was acting more like a tomcat – peeing, yowling, pacing – whereas all Izaak has done is just gotten tomcatly bulk. I also mentioned that I call him “my little sausage”.

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Specifically, a Falukorv, a Swedish sausage made of pork and either beef or veal, with potato starch and spices which originated in Falun, about 330km North-Northeast from Skövde.

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Relax, Zak…It’s kind of like baloney. Different, but…that sort of taste.

zakfalukorv

But as he’s been bulking up, I’ve been calling him my Falukorv more and more. And today, I did a little sketch…

zakfalukorv-wrap

…Which turned a little whimsical. I may need to finish this one up.