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!