Aby-a-Day – 23 Juni 2020: A quick editorial sketch (Cartoon Tuesday)

Chatting with a group of friends yesterday evening, I had a sudden thought that I needed to draw immediately, because I knew it would amuse them. I drew this in almost exactly an hour; I asked for a breed suggestion at 19:33 and shared it with my friends at 20:31. I am not going to explain it here…if you get it, you get it. That’s the nature of editorial cartoons.

MCGA

I also exported the drawing stream, because they are so much fun to watch. Remember that this is all one hour, and you can see my idea evolving as I draw it (Click on the image to watch it in Flickr).

Aby-a-Day – 5 Maj 2020: Sink-o De Mayo (Cartoon Tuesday)

Okay, so admittedly, this is a repeat of a cartoon I did five years ago. The original sketch is above.

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Since Cinco de Mayo happens to fall on a Tuesday this year, I thought I would share it again.

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 – 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 – 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 – 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”.

falukorv_5380

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.

Aby-a-Day – 6 November: Sketchy Singapura (Cartoon Tuesday)

This is a work in progress of a Singapura drawing I’m working on…

What do you think?

Aby-a-Day – 19 June: A tattoo for FIP (Cartoon Tuesday)

I have wanted to get a tattoo to commemorate Gun-Hee for years, but I never came up with a design. And then I got Logan, and he also died because of FIP. So my tattoo idea changed. It needed to include both Gun-Hee and Logan. So I came up with the above sketch. I am actually getting a tattoo on Thursday by Linus at Magic Man Tattoo here in Skövde…not cats, but magpies. I have always loved magpies, and I had one on my SCA arms (sable, on a maple leaf argent, a magpie displayed gules, marked and breasted argent (or, in other words, a black shield with a white maple leaf with a red magpie on it).

armsenamel

It looks like this…this is an enamel piece I made in university, sometime around 1988. But I digress. When I go in for my magpie tattoo, I want to talk to Linus about my next tattoo…the one I have wanted since Gun-Hee died.

FIPtattoosketch-colour1

This is my first colourised version of the sketch; I want to make a second version before I see Linus, but I’m not sure if I’ll have time to do it before Thursday. I can’t decide about the banner; I want to have something about FIP, but I don’t know if I like the location of the banner no matter where I put it. I want to have it done on it on my right calf. I am really pleased with the way Logan’s profile turned out, and Gun-Hee looks like Jacoby…but still looks like himself (it’s hard to explain). I can’t wait to hear what Linus says about it!

Aby-a-Day – 5 June: Just a sketch on a whiteboard (Cartoon Tuesday)

I’m not quite sure if this is meant to be Jacoby or Alfred, but I was trying to describe how small Logan was compared to one of them during some sort of class presentation.

Aby-a-Day – 10 April: A sketchy packing job (Cartoon Tuesday)

While I was at the Winners Show, I found this sketch I had done on my (then new) iPad Pro with the coordinated Apple Pencil. I am not sure where I was going with this, but it had something to do with packing to move to Sweden. I wish I had put in the conversation Angel and Jacoby are having.

Aby-a-Day – 26 April: Never too busy to sketch! (Cartoon Tuesday)

When we were at Manchester City Hall filling out the marriage license application, I noticed that there were crayons and scratch paper out for kids to entertain themselves.

jakeweddingsketch

So, while I was waiting for the Justice of the Peace to type out a proof copy of our marriage certificate…I entertained myself.