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.

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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.

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

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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!

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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.

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Then I combined those and ran a few filters.

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

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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

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And here he is with the background.

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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!

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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!

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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 – 24 Mars 2020: How to Train Your Singapura, a work in progress (Cartoon Tuesday)

I finally watched How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World a couple of weeks ago. And, of course, Toothless reminded me a LOT of Izaak. So…

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I had to do it. First, the pre-sketch, and then a main sketch.

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This is the preliminary inking.

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And here’s the whiskers and eyeshine. I still have to do the second inking, base colour and texture (obviously)…but I am excited to finish it and see how it looks!

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.

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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.

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This was done underneath the clean ink layer.

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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.

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

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

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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.

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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.

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Then I did a clean ink outline.

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

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

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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.

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

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

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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 – 19 Juli: The Singa King (Photoshop Friday)

Tonight, Björn and I are going to see the new live-action Lion King movie. We have been watching the trailers for months now, and one thing about them has really struck us.

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Yep…

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There’s definitely a similarity there. And it’s not just Izaak, you know…Millions of innocent cats have been held up in the air because of The Lion King.

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….

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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 – 19 May: Little Cat on the Prairie (Singapura Cinema Sunday)

Since I moved to Sweden, I have absolutely fallen in love with Family Guy. Something about the razor-sharp New England sense of humour and the pitch perfect spoofs of pop culture…what’s not to love?

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Recently, we happened to see Seth MacFarlane’s spoof of the iconic closing credits of the classic 1970’s television show Little House on the Prairie. Then a couple of days ago, whilst outside with Lorelai and Izaak…I got inspired.

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It’s been rainy and grey the past few days, but today it was sunny and not windy and just…perfect for what I had in mind. It took us a while to get it just right…but at the end of the day, I am pretty proud of myself.

Aby-a-Day – 3 July: Paw & (dis)Order: Abyssinial Intent (Cartoon Tuesday)

In memory of cousin Taz, I am re-running his and Jacoby’s best cartoon appearance: Paw & (dis)Order: Abyssinial Intent.

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It started as a random comment at the Mansfield show in 2012 and grew into…well, this. Meg had brought a little girl called Tiger Lili, who had Jake and Taz all het up. So she became the star of the cartoon as well. Taz and Jake were wearing collars because Meg had gotten them both collars to wear; Taz’s had a sort of flower on it.

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Originally I was thinking they’d be Briscoe and <aCurtis, but they ended up being more like Goren and Eames (Taz being Eames, of course).

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Annnd…I couldn’t resist throwing in a David Caruso joke, because who doesn’t love crime procedural mash-ups?

Aby-a-Day – April 21: Starclan summons Batcat (Cartoon Tuesday)

As I posted on April 9th, Sophie the Aby was unable to recover from her illness. One thing that Sophie was known for on the Facebook Abyssinian Cat Club was her Batman complex.

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This is just my little tribute to a small young Aby who got the entire world to fall in love with her. Sleep well in Tuonela, Sophie.

(Click cartoon to embiggen, or you can view all cartoons in Slideshow mode on Flickr.)

Aby-a-Day – July 29: “Catatonic” (Cartoon Tuesday)

Catatonic is a synonym for Frozen…I looked it up.

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I’ve already mentioned that Jacoby would make a good Kristoff. Then it occurred to me that Kylie would be an awesome Elsa and the next thing you know…this happened. I don’t think you want to know how many layers went into this one…

Each cat can stand alone, too. I’ll post a breakout of each character at some point just for fun…I had really wanted to draw this in Photoshop but my tablet is wonky (ie I haven’t learned to control it yet), so it was drawn on paper and scanned, old-school style.

(Background derived from images found here. The mountains are from a photo of the Swiss Alps my husband took when he was skiing. And I used this AWESOME tutorial for the title effect.)

(Click cartoon to embiggen, or you can view all cartoons in Slideshow mode on Flickr.)

Aby-a-Day – October 9: Paw & (dis)Order: Case Closed (Cartoon Tuesday)

All’s well that ends well.

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I couldn’t resist throwing in a David Caruso joke. Although, technically, he’s more of a Red than a Ruddy.

(Click cartoon to embiggen, or you can view all cartoons in Slideshow mode on Flickr.)

Aby-a-Day – October 2: Paw & (dis)Order: Forensics (Cartoon Tuesday)

I love when Goren goes off one one tiny, boring detail.

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Definitely a case of not seeing the forest for the (cat) trees, I’d say.

Aby-a-Day – September 25: Paw & (dis)Order: Discovery (Cartoon Tuesday)

One little joke at a cat show blossoms into a four-panel cartoon story arc.

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This is based (loosely) on Goren and Eames. When I told her the plot, Meg said that “Lili will probably insist that it be all about her.” So, we’ll see.

(Click cartoon to embiggen, or you can view all cartoons in Slideshow mode on Flickr.)

Aby-a-Day – September 18: Paw & (dis)Order: Abyssinial Intent (Cartoon Tuesday)

This started out as a joke during the Mansfield show; someone (a judge?) said something about the Aby colour classes being “different but equally important” which of course led to me cracking wise about crack about “These are their stories,” and finally ended up with Jacoby being cast as Lenny Briscoe and Taz as possibly Mike Logan, but more likely Rey Curtis.

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It kind of mushroomed from there. This is part one of four…

(Click cartoon to embiggen, or you can view all cartoons in Slideshow mode on Flickr.)