Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Kickstarter Cat Poster Project Now Live!

Hello kitty folks, and friends of kitty folks. I've just launched a quick kickstarter project to raise money to make four 11"x17" posters with eighty cats from the Cat Scratchin' book. It will run for 13 days (oh no dear friends, no superstitions here!!) and $500.00 is my goal. I hope I reach it. These posters look great and I'm only going to make as many as the project sells. So limited editon, and only available at kickstarter. Got it? Thanks! Here's  #1

Follow this link to the project. http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1547701634/cat-scratchin-limited-edition-posters-for-your-wal

Friday, September 27, 2013


Cat Scratchin' books are here now and they look fabulous! I am so happy, and kinda slap-happy giddy too. If you were a part of the kickstarter project I will begin shipping your 'rewards' next week. If you were not in on the project (and I'm sorry you weren't) you will be able to buy these books at my etsy shop or by contacting me. There will be an ebook available on Amazon (and if I get it together the actual book will be available there too.) In the meantime, take a look here, and never give up on chasing whatever dream you may have. I'm so happy to have been able to do this twice now. And stay tuned, there will be a new book project in 2014.  I will launch a limited edition poster series project with all of the cats from the book soon at Kickstarter. Thanks!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Little Cats On The Scratchboard

I've been scratchin' like crazy on little 2"x2" scratchboards that I will either turn into pinbacks or fridge magnets, or both. These still need some color on them. I'm out of town and away from my inks and such, so scratchin' is all I'm doing for the next two weeks.
The Cat Scratchin' book is in the capable hands of Liz Lester, the designer. I've sent off some final edits and changes and as soon as I see those we will pull the trigger and send the files off to the printer. Everything is on schedule and that makes me happy.
There are over seventy cats and their stories--I have read and re-read each story a ga-gillion times to proof and they are just as engaging, sad, funny, and sweet as they were the first time. This is going to be a great book, and I'm proud of it. I'm also very grateful for all who participated in the project, in whatever way--y'all are appreciated!
The above pins/magnets will be available (or some like them) in my etsy shop and also at the various holiday shows I plan on selling at. Price will be somewhere around $8.00 each. Not a bad price for a little original I think.
Ok, even though I'm on vacation I need to get a little scratchin' in. Later cats!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Cat Book--Down To Details

Just in case you were wondering...the above is my living room workspace today. Stacks of paper, photos and such. This is the Cat Scratchin' book in progress. The stories have been printed, edited, and now I'm making corrections and formatting all in order to upload to the dropbox container. My book designer is on a river trip until the 11th so I have a few days to get all of this together. The artwork is done, the page order is decided, and so this is the last of it. I usually don't like such detail work, I'm more of a 'big-picture' kind of person. With the dog book I found a spot in myself that really, really enjoyed all of this nit-picky stuff. Go figure. I guess I've evolved with age. Everything is right on schedule for the book to be in my hands by October, and then in all y'all's hands soon after. I hope sooner, but no promises on that. I'm working on figuring out a few places to do sales/signings in Fayetteville and Austin.
The other thing going on is my 'experiment' to see if there is interest in posters of the artwork. Right now until July 22nd I have a kickstarter project to create a series of four posters of eighty dogs from the dog book. It's already funded, but I'm open to more folks/funding--check it out by clicking HERE. It's pretty basic, you chose a funding level, I send you posters. I hope to gather at least double of what my goal was. If it closes high, I will most certainly do a similar thing with the Cat Scratchin' artwork.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Cats & Dogs Scratchin'

I know this blog is all about the cats, but some of us are cat & dog folks so I thought I'd pass this info along to y'all. The above are two of the four limited edition posters of the Dog Scratchin' book dogs. I just launched on this project on kickstarter, so please take a look and share with friends and folks who might be interested. If it's successful I will do the same or something similar with the Cat Scratchin' book cats.
Click here to see the project: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1547701634/dog-scratchin-limited-edition-posters-for-your-wal
Oh yeah, by the way, I am done scratchin' the 74 cats and am down to FIVE more stories to collect and edit.(herding cats and all) Then, everything gets formatted, the art gets scanned and cleaned up for print, the story page photos are tagged and it goes to the designer around the middle of next month. If things go well, we should be ahead of schedule. I'll keep y'all posted on that. Many of the smaller rewards were shipped this past week...ahead of schedule. I love that. Thanks for looking!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Kickstarter Rewards For Cat Scratchin' Project Are Here!

The above are the hand-colored postcards (Rocky) and greeting card (Maggie) rewards for the kickstarter project. So, if you funded at below $50.00 I will be contacting you for your mailing address soon. I'm pretty excited about these. Well, I'm excited about all of it.
Here's the other news, while sorting through archives of my dear friend and poet/editor, Miller Williams, I found a cat poem he had written, that he forgot about. It was written in the 1960's and it's perfect for the book. He has given me permission to use it, and that's made me very happy. I had been sweating a little about this, okay, maybe a lot. I didn't have a poem, and he thought he didn't have one, and so I was just going to forget about it. Or try and write one myself. Whew, problem solved, I can breathe now. The other problems, which are vexing me; there are still a few stories to round up. At least I have all of the photos I needed to draw from. Come on people, you know who you are. There is no prize for being the last one to get your cats story to me.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Cat Scratchin' Deadline and Such...

This is today's drawing table boards. The rest are stashed away in a plastic tub, already scanned into the laptop, and waiting to join their stories and owner's photos next month, when I turn everything over to the book designer. That being said, I am still wrangling a few cats/stories/photos. But with 74 total cats in the book, I'm only missing two to draw, and 8-9 stories to edit.  The photos that go on the story page are the least of my worries (but I am missing quite a few of these, so send them damn it).  I'm pretty happy today. I've done or am in the middle of doing the last of 72 drawings...since March. Not bad. I'm also about to launch a limited edition poster project on kickstarter using the artwork from the Dog Scratchin' book, and I'm pretty excited about that. If it is successful I will definitely do something like that with the Cat Scratchin' images.
My message to y'all today is; please get the stories to me, and any other photos or information I need. Today is the deadline, but of course I will stretch it...just a bit.
When July 10th rolls around if I have nothing or am lacking info from y'all it'll be too bad, so sad. Really, this is it. I can not hold up the book when so many have been so good at responding quickly. Bad kitty, bad!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

I gotcher Cat Magnets Right Here!

Last night I made a bunch of these magnets with Tilly, one of the cats from Cat Scratchin'.  Love them!  Last year I out-sourced the manufacture of the magnets for the Dog Scratchin' book. They were ok, but these are better, heavier, and ta-dah~ hand-made. I actually love the process, I've been making different magnets from my artwork for several years and so I've gotten better/quicker at the assembling. The book is moving right along. Many of you have responded with your stories, and photos, or both. Having the stories and additional photos really helps me in the drawing process. In fact, there will be some new art pieces for some of these kitties because I now know more about them and that informs my interpretation onto scratchboard.
There are still a few that I'm waiting for. If I know cats and people I expect some of you may wait until the last moment before June 15th. That's ok. I understand. It doesn't thrill me, but I understand. This is going to be a really great book, I'm thankful for all y'all's participation. Those who read this blog who are not going to have their cat/s in the book? I do take on commissions and I think I'm very reasonable in price so give me a holler.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Calling Cats/Herding Cats

Well, I hate to do this, but I've been working my scratchin' fingers to the bone and there are still a few cats out there for me to draw so I'm going to start callin' y'all out. I also am lacking many stories for cats that I've drawn (thanks for sending the photos in a timely way).  The above page is a spoof (thanks to Catherine Bass for the idea last night) of what your spot in the book could potentially look like; no story, no owner photo, and a generic outlined cat. Is this what you want? You paid me money, and I aim to please all or most of you...so here's the deal, I will give you until June 15th to send the items I need from you. I hate to be harsh (because I'm not...) but to put it in simple terms, I will have to pull you and your cat from the book if I do not receive the items outstanding from you (and some of you owe me photo, cat name, story, uh, everything) by that date, period. And, sorry, no refunds.  I have drawn over 60 cats, and I'm so happy about that. Those who haven't sent this stuff, (you know who you are) and for one reason or another you keep putting it off, don't worry, I'm not mad, I'm just desperate because I must finish so the book can go to print.
Here are the cats and what I need from each: And please, if you've sent me these things already and I've missed it, or lost it in my email files, please tell me. I would love to be wrong about the following list.
Al-Story and Owner Photo 
Boo-Story and Owner Photo 
Finn-Story and Owner Photo
Fiona-Story and Owner Photo
Frank-Photo to draw from, Story, and Owner Photo 
Hunter-Story and Owner Photo
Itty-Story and Owner Photo 
Knievel-Story and Owner Photo
 Lana-Story and Owner Photo
Lilsagarde-Story and Owner Photo
 Miles-Story and Owner Photo 
Mr. Boots-Story and Owner Photo
 Sam-Story and Owner Photo
Sebastian-Story and Owner Photo
Smokey-Story and Owner Photo 
Sweet Pea-Story and Owner Photo 
Sydney-Story and Owner Photo
Varla-Photo, Story and Owner Photo
Zoe-Story and Owner Photo
+ Aaron who owes me everything including the cat's name.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Gettin' There...Almost!

Just posted a new update at kickstarter--for backers only this time. The above photo has the cat scratchboards so far. I've got three more on the drawing table in progress. Only have those three and about ten others to draw before doing all of the tedious edits, page arranging and then sending it off to the designer.  There have been numerous warnings about the weather today; severe thunderstorms, maybe tornado's and such. I've spent a lot of time today planning for the worst, and thinking of what is most important to me. Guess what that might be? I've scanned all of the above into the computer (and will probably send them off to dropbox for safe storage), I've got a handy dandy plastic tub waiting for all of the finished artwork, my big three ring notebook that has all of the information I've gotten from all y'all so far, and my laptop. So, just for laughs, you can picture me later today, tonight, or tomorrow, hiding out, sitting in the bathtub with Opal Mae the cat,a plastic tub full of art, paper and computer. And oh yeah, maybe a fresca, flashlight, and my smart phone. In case you think I'm being over dramatic, I'm listening to the radio and they're talking about a tornado on the ground in Oklahoma City...just a couple of hops, skips and a jump or two over the border from NW Arkansas. Hoping for the best. Whoo Hoo!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

The End Is In Sight For Kickstarter Cat Scratchin Book Project

Here's what I have so far...plus there are 3 in progress on the drawing table. I've graduated to the second tier table. There are about 20+ more cats to draw and I am looking forward to each of them. I'm right on schedule, in fact, ahead of schedule for now. Still looking for a few cats who have not checked in with me...yet. I am hopeful that my pleading will prod those folks to get me the info. A gal can dream, eh?
These are all 5x7 Ampersand Scratchboard drawings. Working on 2-3 drawings at once has made me a scratchboard drawing machine...in a good way.
I'm happy, happy, happy. And oh yeah, since it's all over the place on the webs, Happy Mother's Day all y'all. I'll just say my relationship with my mother was "complicated" and so today is not so much a holiday for me, but a day of remembering how hard it was. Not really a "Hallmark" event for me. Oh well, I know I'm not the only one. And the "good old days are good because they're gone."

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Busy Scratchin' Cats...

The above is my current favorite Cat Scratchin' that was just finished yesterday. This is Lex and she enjoys going to the beach, but only in the Winter, as she does not enjoy dogs or strangers. Just one of many of the curious, quirky cats that will be in the book with their stories. I'm loving this project!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

What A Week

There is so much going on I've just been keeping my head down and scratchin' away at cats. Here are a few finished or almost finished pieces. (one of them is Socks Clinton, which I did just for fun, from photos on the internet. Sadly, not in the book.) I usually keep 3 going at once and I can say that things are right on schedule. There are a few cats whose info, stories or photos I have not received yet. Rest assured I will be emailing those folks this week and onward until I get what I need.
Without trying to make too much of it and my attachment to it, the events in Boston have really shaken me. I used to live in Central Square Cambridge, on Mass. Ave. I had a favorite 7-11 which was on the way to my work at the YWCA right around the corner. I'm guessing this might be the 7-11 the bombers were photographed in. I spent a lot of time in many of the neighborhoods that were directly affected by the bombing and bombers. Newbury St. is still one of my favorite Sunday strolls, and Copley Sq. my all time favorite downtown area. I never attended the marathon (too many people) But my time living in the Boston area remains a great memory and I try to get back to visit my beloved 'family' there as often as possible. I really hate that this happened to them, but I'm also proud of their response. It is one tough city, with amazingly resilient people. Things have changed because of this, and maybe we will all be a bit more suspicious and scared for a bit.  I believe though, we will just get stronger and will continue doing what we do so well. I know I will keep on making art and loving my life. Thanks for checking in, I hope all is good with all of you.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Art Making And Long Trips

I got to Austin last night after a long drive and will be here for a few days. I purposely didn't bring any scratchboards with me, just a sketchbook and a pen. I may do some drawings later, for fun. Currently I'm deep into doing the cat drawings for the Cat Scratchin' book. To answer a question about my process, here goes--I usually have two or three different drawings going at the same time--that's it. Work a little here, set it aside, scratch on another, back to the first, and then on to yet another. While that may seem like it lacks focus, it actually seems to help me to stay interested. I find I get a bit bored doing the same thing for any length of time. Typical Aries behavior. The above is the beginning of a long haired Tortie. I still have much to do and I've decided this time to not share the completed artworks, but just wait until the book is finished and out.  So, it's blurry because it's a phone photo, you get the idea though, right? I'm off to deliver art and visit with friends today.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Cat Scratchin' Book Kickstarter Rewards!

Monday was my birthday! And also the day that the cats who will be the images on the rewards were chosen. At random. From a basket full of names. By the poet Miller Williams, with his wife Jordan looking on as 'judge'. I can't put this in the update at kickstarter because they have rules about raffles, contests and such associated with projects. I guess this picking of the cats might stretch those rules, and lord knows I hate breaking rules. But 'stretching' them? Not so much a problem for me. So, without too much more yakking, here's the cats--
For the image on the Postcard (which will be printed as a black and white line drawing that I will then, hand-color;  ROCKY G!  He's a large tabby boy out of Tennessee (born in Arkansas)
                                                           Rocky G

For the image on the Greeting Card; MAGGIE H!  She's a classic orange kitty with nice white markings.
                                                           Maggie H

For the image on the Fridge Magnet; TILLY B! She started out as Atilla because she was hostile with everyone. She grew into a sweet, loving cat and so she became a Tilly.
Tilly B
There you go. These may not be the specific photos I use to draw from, I just wanted to give you an idea what they look like. Now I've got to get to work on them so I can send them out for printing. I am glad and relieved that they are all so different. I must admit, I was worried for a minute that maybe they would all be Orange cats, or all Black cats, or fill in the blank, all the same color/type of cat.  But this worked out perfectly. And Miller and Jordan were lovely to help with the drawing of the names. If your cat was not picked, don't worry, they will still have a special place in the book, and in my head and heart. While working on the dog book I spent so much time with the photos and stories I felt like I knew all of them and their owners personally. I anticipate that happening with the cats as well. What a beautiful gift this is for me to be allowed to draw your beloved cats and tell their stories. Thank you!
If you are a backer and in the book and haven't gotten photos or stories to me, you still have time. I'll be drawing and doing edits for the next two months. Please, don't wait till the last moment though. I'll be pulling my hair out if you do. (and that's NOT pretty)

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Fixin' to Draw Cats

The title says it all. I'm a fixin' ta draw cats...everyday. Also, I'm a fixin' ta do a lottery drawing of cats to choose which ones will be the images on the postcard, greeting card, and magnet. (kickstarter rewards y'all)
Tonight at midnight is the deadline to get a photo and cat name to me(only if you are a part of this project...and don't worry if you can't do it right now, I'll be gathering stories and photos for the next month or so--it just means your cat won't be in the lottery drawing tomorrow).
The list below is the cats who will be in the mix. At least for now. It's just about 12 noon here in NW Arkansas so there's time enough to get yours in.

Arya and Daenerys
Emma and Sophie
Fuzzy Warm
Jack B
Kallie Jane
Murranda Jane
Omar and Lucy
Sweet Pea
Sydney Van
Tex and June Bug
Zerg and Ghost

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Working Like A Cat

I know the above photo is not a cat but I just wanted to illustrate the page layout for those folks who will have their cat and story in the Cat Scratchin' book. This page is from the Dog Scratchin' book. Those of you who are not in the book, please be patient, I'll try and entertain you later in this post. This page shows the max number of words, which is around 360. We will do our best to fit your story and photo on the page, but there may be some cropping and edits. If you haven't gotten your story or photos or both to me, please for the love of cat, send them soon. If you are technology challenged, I do have a PO Box you can send them to. Leave a comment here and we'll figure it out, or go to my website and email me from there.Now, for some entertainment: Oh crap, I've got nothing. That was a tease to keep you reading. Oops, sorry. All I can say is, I am working, working, working to pull this book together. It will take about 6 more months, or so before the actual product will be here. I've heard the cliché, 'I've been working like a dog' and I have to say while I know what the intent of that is, I'm not sure I've seen that many dogs work (OK, I know the herding and hunting breeds 'work'). And even fewer cats work, right? Although I guess sleeping, eating, pooping and killing small things after playing with them for a while could be interpreted as 'work'. So I'm working like a cat in the sense that I'm doing everything I can to not break a sweat. I am, however, making art from your photos and gathering your stories daily.
You can follow me on Instagram at blueyemonkey. I've been posting photos of progress on cat drawin' there.  I also tweet at LCSheets, and I'm on facebook (which honestly has gotten so boring I don't post much there anymore, but you can friend me anyway) My Linda Sheets Art facebook page is mostly empty because I just don't see the point and so haven't kept up with it. Go to the other sites if you want to keep up with it, and of course, here where I try to stay current. If you know someone who has a cat and would like to be a part of the book, send them my way. I have room for just a few more cats. It will require an investment, you can look at the kickstarter project for an idea of how much.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Two Special Cats and Their People

I received photos and stories about these two cats today via email. The orange tabby is Zerg, the white, blue-eyed ragdoll is Ghost. I haven't started drawing them yet, I'm still knocked out by their stories, and even more touched by their owner's story. They live in a military family. Sarah and her boyfriend have both served around the world. He is currently in the Middle East and she is back home with PTSD. She had some injuries and surgeries which caused her to be discharged. The most serious injury to her was one that gets talked about now and then, but is brushed away just as quickly. I'm not going to go into it here, it is her story which will be shared in the book. Suffice to say, both of these kitties are very important to her recovery. They have their own compelling stories of their rescue from shelters or the street. I am always so moved by the experiences folks go through in their 'normal' course of living. It's an honor and a privilege to be invited to draw these cats, (well, all the cats from the kickstarter project) and to share the stories. More to come soon, stay tuned. In the meantime, love on those cats that you have, adopt more if you can, support your animal shelters, and thank you!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Looking for cats to draw...felines friends

I'm still gathering cats from the kickstarter project. I have about 15 to draw so far, out of the many who will be in the book. See the previous link for instructions if you are one of those folks who have not responded to my emails and kickstarter updates. I know I told you the end of March, but now I'm nervous that the rest will all arrive all at once on the last day.  If you have friends who didn't get in on the project while it was funding, just have them contact me and we can make arrangements to include them. I have just recently started to create the patterns and transfer them to the boards to begin drawing. I will include a shot of that next posting. Until then, love on those little purr boxes and enjoy your life!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Everything You Need To Know

I thought I'd add this today, for the backers who will be in the book. Mercury is Retrograde and so far it's been a doozy for me. I'm double-crossing my t's and double- dotting my i's. And still, it's hard to make sure communication doesn't get mucked up!
Cheers my sweet cat lovers!

Dear Backers of Cat Scratchin’—the following is what I need from you for the book;

*Several photos, the larger the better. They can be attached to an email, imbedded in an email, or even via smart phone. The most important thing is that it should be clear, focused and a LARGE file. I will work from the photos; if they are only around 2x3 inches when viewed at 100 percent I can’t use them. That being said, I’ve worked with some pretty blurry photos, so don’t get too anxious about this. Email me if you have questions.

*Description of the cat, physical and personality traits, such as eye color unusual markings, behavior, etc. name of cat.

*How the cat came to you (or you to the cat) Name of shelter (this is helpful because I put a directory in the back of the book and I try to share books and a percentage of sales with most of them)

*The story (some of which might be the above) Using around 325-340 words you can describe your life with the cat, what it means to you, how your life is better, (or ‘worse’ and I say that with tongue in cheek, having had a cat who coughed up hairballs on Persian rugs on a regular basis)

*On the story page there is room for a small photo of you, your cat or you and your cat, please send a copy of that with this email.

*Also, how would you like to be identified? First name? Full name? No name? In the dog book, most opted for full name, but it’s up to you.

I am working with two professional book designer/publishers so please don’t worry about making your story a masterpiece, we will edit.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Calling All Cats...People!

This is sweet Iggy--also known as "Spinky" or "Spinkus Minamus". He has been gone for a few years now and belonged to a good friend of mine. He may be in the Cat Scratchin' book. I'm still waiting to hear from his person about which cats she wants me to draw. I am noting today, just how different dog and cat folks are from each other. When doing the dog book I got funded quickly and the stories and photos came in rapid-fire without much prompting from me.  (kind of like a happy tail-wagging enthusiastic dog) The cat book, on the other hand, took longer to fully fund (although it funded well above said dog book) and now two weeks after funding ended and my doing mass emails, I've only gotten 4 responses so far. That's ok, I can work with that. Hint, hint, hint, the end of March will be here before you know it, so get those photos and stories to me soon!  Like cats, I'm realizing that folks don't always do what you want them to.(of course I knew this)  They will participate at their own pace, and I may have to poke, poke, poke them in order to get everything I need to make this happen. Reminds me of every cat I've had. They do what they want, when they want to, in spite of your desires to control them. Consider this, the sooner you get your cat photos and stories to me, the sooner I get this book together and into your hands.
As always, I will keep y'all posted.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Daily Cat Report

Today I spent many hours typing and sending emails to those backers of the kickstarter project whose cats I will draw for the book. Whew! I'm tired of staring at the screen, and my hands are a bit cramped. I'd really rather be staring at photos of cats and scratchin' away on a scratchboard drawing of said cats. Soon...soon. If doing a book projects has taught me anything (and it taught me a lot!) it's that sometimes it's slow, slow, oh.good.golly slow. And then right when I can hardly stand it anymore, it's up and at rocket speed! Needless to say, but I'll say it, I'm at the slow portion of the project right now. But, it could be worse. I'm sitting comfortably in a spacious living room at the house I'm caring for while friends are gone. I've been in this house many times, as I used to live right down the hill and I was a friend to the former owner, and now with the current owners. The big Texas sky is starting to darken with the gloaming time of day. The trees have become silhouettes and all is good and quiet here. It's been a perfect day in Linda-Land. The project funded at kickstarter and while I'm raring to go, I still know enough to keep an even pace. If you thought about getting in on it and didn't, there is still time to have your cat immortalized in the book. You can comment here, or just contact me at lcsheets@blue-eyedponystudio.com and I'll fill you in.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Funding and Such

The kickstarter funding ended on Weds. I hopped in my truck and drove to Texas the next day.  Doing a lot of scratchboard classes for the rest of the month. Today's class at Casa De Linda in New Braunfels was excellent. Tomorrow I'll be at Jerry's Artarama in Austin from noon to 3 and then back at Casa Tuesday morning from 9 to noon.
I'm very happy with the dollar amount raised at the Cat Scratchin' kickstarter site, wanted to let y'all know that I'll continue to raise dollars via pledges to draw cats until mid-April. If you wanted to and didn't get in in time for the funding there, just contact me at Lcsheets1@yahoo.com and we'll get the ball rolling. I'm sitting in Austin Texas right now, happy with the weather and looking forward to seeing more friends. It's a good life.
If you are part of the project, don't worry you will hear from me in a few days with every bit of info you will need (and what I will need from you) Have a happy weekend!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Kickstarter Funding...Almost Done!

Here's a really big cat! This photo is from the Turpentine Creek Wildlife Rescue in Eureka Springs AR. I got to visit them this past summer and I was so impressed with the work they do rescuing big cats (plus a bear, monkey and any other wild thing that should NEVER be considered as a potential house pet). They gather all of these exotics from people who should not have had them and build them nice green areas to live out the rest of their lives. This one is in a holding cage near the entrance. They are a non-profit org and could always use donations to help with their mission.
My kickstarter Cat Scratchin' book project is almost done funding. Just about 4 hours from now I'll be sitting with friends visiting and watching to see the final outcome. I am so excited and happy with how this has developed. Cat folks have out funded Dog folks! Not that it's a competition, ok? I love both cats and dogs, but my oh my are they different!
Even if you miss the end of the funding at kickstarter this evening at 6:01pm central time you can still jump in if you contact me before the end of March. Here we go, making a book about rescued cats!! Love it. Thank you!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Making A Book Of Cat Drawings!

This is Nelson. He's going to be in the Cat Scratchin' book along with a bunch of other cats. I'm so excited, the kickstarter project reached it's goal last night and I've got about 45 cats to draw. Go here to see it, and add your kitty if you haven't already. There are 3 more days to pledge, check it out and see if you'd like to be a part of it, I'd love to have more cats to draw. As with the Dog Scratchin' book I will be giving a portion of sales to rescue groups, and also giving books for them to sell.  I'm so thankful for everyone who jumped in to join me. I'm looking forward to drawing all of the cats and telling the stories. Yippie eye Meow!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Kickstarter Cat Book And Such

The Cat Scratchin' book project is rolling right along. Today we are 94% funded with 5 days to go. If you have a great rescued cat story and photos of said cat I'd love to draw them with Ampersand Art Scratchbord and include them in the book. There are many different pledge levels and 'rewards' for the pledge. Click on the link above to check it out. I'm creating this book to use to raise some funds for rescue groups, for me to become a better artist, and to give some recognition to the 'ordinary' cats and their folks with stories need to be told. Please join me. The above cats are, Trixie, who really isn't my cat, but she lives outside and comes for food and, Opal Mae, who has PTSD from watching her siblings snatched away by an owl in the barn she was born in. She's around 10 years old and has never gotten over it. This morning she was hissing, spitting and growling at her own reflection in the mirror and sliding glass door. No amount of loving or encouraging words can change her neurotic behavior. Oh well, she's pretty dear anyway. Trixie is dear too, but because of Opal, must stay outside. So, I'm going to try and find her a safe home. Wish me luck, she's about half feral, so getting her in a crate should be an adventure.( I'm going to put hashtags, don't know if they mean anything or link to anything here) #cats #kickstartercatscratchin

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Kickstarter Cat Book

Oh so close to the goal. Please help or share, this is going to be awesome!

I'm feeling lucky! This is Jack, he lives in Taos. He's an amazing cat. Well, aren't they all?

Friday, February 1, 2013

Not The Damn Cat Book Again!

So as I wrangle my cat book project on kickstarter I am beginning to  really understand the difference between cat people and dog people. Uh, NOT. Please, allow me to ramble on a bit. The dog project was funded earlier than it needed to be and then just sat for a while before going up and over the amount needed at the end. It had a certain frustration, but at least I knew it was a 'go' and could sit back and breathe for a minute. The Cat Scratchin' project, on the the other paw, has been up and down, dribs and drabs, with a few bursts of funding. We are close, but not there yet. Kind of like my relationships with the feline persuasion. I have a new cat in the house, the above Ms. Opal Mae. She's not-so-new herself, being 10 years old and a little gray chunky scaredy cat. In fact, I believe if you look in the dictionary for 'Scaredy Cat' you will see her picture. Reportedly she saw her siblings snatched away in front of her by an owl when she was a little barn kitten. So, she is scarred and scared for life. I like to think of her as a 'survivor'. She spent much of the first 3 days here under my bed. Now she only spends about 14 hours in a 24 hour day under there. The rest of the time she is eating, drinking, pooping, peeing and, damn it, poking me in the face very early in the morning. Do I wish she would sit on my lap or rub up against me looking at me with love? Oh sure. Will I resign myself to the notion that 'I will get what I will get' from her? Yes. What else can I do?
While sometimes annoying, this relationship works for me. The new dog Bo is now on the 'family exchange' program (long story, suffice to say, when I was growing up my brothers and cousins were shipped back and forth between various Aunts and Uncles to 'straighten' them out.) Anyhow, Bo is at his cousin's house and Opal Mae who used to be there, is here. When he was here I found I couldn't get anything done because:
A. He's a puppy and his bladder is small and he is high maintenance.
B. I'm a pretty self-centered artist type who just wants to make things, or think about making things, and I travel a bit.(soon to travel more)
C. My dear friends who are my family here fell in love with him. Now he's a part of their pack, and I am a part too.
I get to visit him, take him for walks and do fun loving stuff with him, then I come back to Opal Mae who just pokes me now and then.
My point here is that I'm hoping that cat people are just as mysterious as their cats and will come aboard the Cat Scratchin' book project at kickstarter (look here) sometime in their own time and before the funding ends on Feb. 13 at 6:01pm central time.
Shall I say it's kind of like 'trying to herd cats?'  I push and push with this project on various social networks and not much happens. Dogs just want to please, Cats do as they please. Hi ho! Come on cat lovers! Line up and sign up. Or maybe when you get a moment, will you consider it? Pretty please? With Tuna on top?

Sunday, January 27, 2013

How To Draw A Cat

 I start with a photo. This one was taken by Austin Photographer Deborah Cannon (this kitty showed up at her house and she put the photo up on facebook to find it a home)  I'm using it here with her permission. First I create a pattern either by tracing major lines with tracing paper or doing a free-hand drawing and then making a copy of that with my printer on white paper. I could use the tracing paper pattern to transfer, but it doesn't show up well on the black surface of the Scratchboard, the lines kind of disappear.

 Then, I transfer the lines to the board by rubbing white chalk on the back of the pattern, taping the pattern to the board, then drawing over the lines. After that I lightly cut the lines in with a scratchboard knife. The chalk then can be wiped off.  The board I use is made by Ampersand Art in Austin. Their official name for it is Scratchbord and it is the best.
 Next I start adding detail using a fiberglass brush tool and more cutting with the knife. I've added some ink already just to illustrate for you how it is moving on.

Scratching even more out here. I love when it starts to pop off of the board. Instant gratification!

I've added more color and more scratching here. I'm using a combination of Claybord Inks by Ampersand plus Liquitex Acrylic Inks and even some Pelikan Ink.

After the ink is dry I scratch some more away and add some background fun. This photo is not the greatest but you get the idea. There's a lot of detail lost in this photo, I will scan it into my computer later and it will be perfect.  Last thing to do is give two light coats of Krylon Workable Fixitif spray. Then I'm done. This is basically how I do it. I will be drawing kitties for the Cat Scratchin' book in about a month...but only if I raise the total amount of funding on kickstarter. Look for the link here. If you can toss in some dollars to help that would be sweet. If you've got a cat for me to draw, even sweeter. There are some pretty great rewards(at least I think so!) for you at all different levels.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Cat Visit and Such...

This is Opal Mae. She's visiting me today. Well, actually she's hiding under my bed because she's not too sure about me. I will be drawing her from this photo today and she and her story will be in the Cat Scratchin' book. She belongs to a couple of very dear friends of mine. Bo the dog is at her house visiting his 'cousins' Cletus and Hattie Anne. It's good for all of us to have a 'respite'.
The kickstarter project is about 60% funded with 21 days to go. I'm crossing my fingers that it will fund and I will be spending much of 2013 drawing cats and rounding up stories. If you've got a cat, ever had a cat, or know someone who would be interested in this book, please send them my way. Take a look at the link, even if you don't have a cat, you can toss in some $$ to support the project....
I hope all y'all are warm and happy today. I'm working on a bunch of things, not just cats, more about that later.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Got Cats?

I want to draw them and tell their stories. Please join me at this kickstarter link to find out how.  I need to raise $7800.00 by Feb. 13th to create and publish the Cat Scratchin' book. Thanks for checking in. Photo by Kristin A. Hogan (I've been following her cat adventures on facebook)

Monday, January 14, 2013

Book, Cats, Why?

So the above is Bumpkins, a fairly early cat scratchin' drawing of mine. The owner who commissioned it was pretty happy, me too. But this was done several years ago and my style has sharpened and improved. (At least I think so...) The Cat Scratchin' book project is ongoing at kickstarter, you can see it here. It is 40% funded and there are about 29 days to go to raise the entire $7800.00 that I will need to put it all together. I may even do an e-version of it, although I'm not so impressed with full color art books on an e-reader. Hell, I've got a book of poetry on my kindle that doesn't seem to 'track' right compared to the old fashioned paper variety. I still am attracted to things that are real. Now we all know that 'reality' shows are not real. I still watch them, I even love them, but know full well that they are scripted.  I buy and sell paper ephemera in a couple of antique malls here. A one hundred and ten year old document still knocks me out. Just the fact that it still exists is pretty cool. Especially if it is true ephemera and would have normally been discarded.  I wonder what the future ephemera will be? Some crappy video game?  Some e-book that doesn't have paper and binding? One of the activities I've been doing lately is organizing and cataloging the correspondence between my favorite Poet and many famous and almost famous writers, politicians, and such. I've noticed how extremely dear and significant the hand-written or hand-signed letter is compared to what he's collecting now. A personal letter on stationary, signed by Bill Clinton or Jimmy Carter or even a post card from Flannery O'Connor seems to be more real than an email that is received, printed, and then filed.  But, that's what we've come to.  There's hardly a touch or essence of the person communicating now. I don't write letters any more, I hope I don't lose the ability, but I might. I still pay bills with checks, but assume that at some point I will be forced to do online bill pay. Here's the deal, I don't want a virtual friend, or virtual pet. I need the real thing. I have the real thing right now in the form of a newly adopted puppy (I know, this is a cat blog and book project, but stay with me on this.) For the past 12 years I've 'had' numerous animals that belong to others. I've house-cat-dog sat for a living, and it was fine. I got the animal energy, a little bit of money, and then turned them back over to their owners. Limited responsibility. That worked for me for a while.  Now I have this little creature who needs me to think about him, train him, feed him and take care of him full time for the rest of his life. I wonder, am I up for it? Should I just embrace the impermanence of life and have no attachments?  I'm sorry, I got off track and on a bit of a tangent. What I'm trying to say is, actual physical books are still important. I was so delighted to hold the dog book in my hand and look at the quality of the printed page, to see the drawings that looked exactly like the original art. So many of the animals that I draw came from our disposable society. They don't fit into our 'lifestyle' or we get too busy for them and back to the shelter they go. I have that option for little Mr. Bo dog. They told me that the night I took him home. Even as I struggle to train this little guy, I can't imagine giving him up, or giving up on him. So, just to close this long winded post, I want to put together a book of my drawings of your cats with their stories so they will be around for a long, long time. To show in some small way, that loving something that is real, that you can touch, and hold is as important as it gets.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Cat Book Cover Art

Late last night I got word that the parents of Sid the dogcat (pictured above) pledged at the $1500.00 amount at my kickstarter project (link here) so he will be the cover of the book. I told them that he was in the running for the cover if no one pledged that amount....they went ahead and pledged to make sure he would be. I am thrilled. He was a dear little boy. I had the privilege of caring for him many times when I was in his neighborhood. He's no longer here, but his legend lives on. This pledge and one that followed put the project THIRTY-FOUR DOLLARS away from the first $3,000.00 of the $7,800.00 that I need to raise in 30 more days. I have several cats to draw now, but not enough. Consider this; My 5x7" scratchboard artwork, just the artwork, sells at Wally Workman Gallery for $100.00 to $200.00 each. (Commissions that size are $200.00) For the $140.00 pledge amount you get the finished artwork, plus a book and the other rewards, plus you and your cat and the story are in the book...forever.
I'm not asking for you to just give me money. I want you to be a part of this project. Kickstarter won't allow me to say that I'm giving books and money away to rescue groups. They have new guidelines that prevent it. But that's what I've done with the Dog Scratchin' books. 10% of the sales have already been distributed, more books and money will be in 2013.
Please, if you can, join me in telling these stories and I promise I will draw your cat with great love and joy.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Cats Cats Cats

The kickstarter Cat Scratchin' book project has officially launched. It will run until Feb. 13th. Here is the link to see what it is all about. Kickstarter has changed some of their guidelines so they didn't allow me to say much about the books and money that I will be giving to rescue groups. Rest assured, that is still part of the mission of the book. I have already given 10% of the money earned from the dog book sales to rescue groups around the country, in addition to that, I have given books to them to sell to raise funds. So, even though I couldn't say it on the project page, I will be using the Cat Scratchin' books to help raise awareness of cat rescue, the groups that help them, and to raise $$ for them. Please join me in this quest. If you don't have a cat you can 'sponsor' someone you know who does. Thanks folks. I feel so happy and lucky to be able to do this. I am raring to go!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Cat Scratchin' Book Launch Almost Ready!

I've been a busy, busy artist the past few months. Distributing the rest of the dog books and preparing for the kickstarter launch of the Cat Scratchin' book project. Soon it will be up and ready for y'all to see. I'm so excited! The above is Nelson, he belongs to a friend of mine. We got him all worked up over a ribbon from a xmas present and I snapped a photo of his paw in the air...claws out. It's the usual art medium, Ampersand Art scratchboard and inks, 5x7 in size. Let's go 2013!