Category Archives: cats

endpapers instead of Endpapers

I’m working flat out to finish Thunderstorm Dancing before the end of the month, so I haven’t much time to post here. Nor is there much to post, because the illos for the book are under wraps until publication… apart from small snippets.

Yesterday I finished the endpapers for the back of the book. Today I’ll hopefully finish the front endpapers. I suppose it could be okay to post a bit of an endpaper on Endpapers.

Here’s part of the back endpapers.

Cornish Cat called Thunder

Cornish Cat called Thunder with seagulls and afternoon tea

And here’s my very hurried 52 Week Illustration Challenge contribution for this week (Under the Sea) which I made with some leftover fish bones drawn for Thunder endpapers. I’m sure leftover fish bones are an under-utilised art material…

This didn’t really work, because I was hurrying so much. Having said that, the imperfect, rough edges on everything are deliberate. I like the rough prickliness of the pasted fish and seaweed drawings, which gives them a fossilised or desiccated look.

Halloween Under the Sea

Halloween Under the Sea

Both of these works are made using drawings done with Prismacolour Artstick, scanned and coloured in PhotoShop, on top of watercolour and ink background washes.

Oh, and lastly, just this little fragment from one of my illustrations for the book. (The lightning page.) I love the close-up sections of some pages, with none of the action or figures present, making them abstract. This one reminds me of the skin of a whale swimming deep underwater. I feel I should paint a whale eye and put it in one corner. Perhaps later, when all is done.

Thunder lightning sky fragment

Thunder lightning sky fragment

 

Camperdown Sam

This post is to introduce you to Camperdown Sam. During our school holiday visit to Camperdown, on our first walk into the main street we met with various delightful local animal characters.

One local was Fred (Who belongs to Ted), a dog of strongly suggestive Border Terrierishness x Australian Terrierishness, who came from a rescue centre. (And according to Ted’s wife, I am completely wrong about his breeding.) We have yet to acquire some photos of Fred with ears aloft. They were lovely. More on Fred another time.

photo 1

Here’s Fred. It was hard to locate the crank handle to get him to lift his ears. These went up periodically to display neat, soft Border Terrier style ears but with tufts flying like pennants from the tips. I am determined to get a photo of those ears by any means necessary!

One was Sam. Sam looked at a distance like a small thundercloud. All furious black fluff, glaring yellow eyes, and very round. (Way too round for his own good.) But as Sam found himself being observed in his driveway, he demonstrated his highly social character by rushing over to introduce himself to us up close.

What with all the weaving, winding, and waving of his tail, Sam didn’t stand still long. At least that is the lame excuse I am giving for my poor photography. I was also stroking at the same time as photographing.

Sam in shadow

Sam in shadow – Check out that tummy, nearly touching the ground.

photo 1-1

Feather boa tail

photo 3-2 photo 4-1 photo 2 photo 4-2

Alright, so you get the idea.

Well, I’m only just getting started on Sam. I think he’s a lot of fun to paint. He’s so inky. But I’ve other work to do first.

Sam says happy birthday Ann James lores

For Ann James’s birthday I did this first Sam sketch. Poor Sam has been scandalously misrepresented in temperament. But it was so much more fun to draw him as a grumpy thundercloud cat. Especially wearing a party hat.

Camperdown Sam no tail judywatsonart lores

Then I did a couple of other quick ink paintings for the 52 Week Illustration Challenge (theme this week black & white… handy). This first cartoon Sam is ink with digital scribble on top. I don’t think it is a success. It could be, if I re-do the face or even just the eyes, but not at the moment. Anyway, his tail got lost off the edge of the page. Never mind.

Camperdown Sam judywatsonart lores

This one, I like. And here he is smiling, as Sam did in person. Note: I could have depicted them better, but I have tried to include the cute tufts of fluff that poke up between long-haired cats’ toes. I’ve made them too spiky, not clumpy enough here, so they look more like claws.

And now back to the last illos for Thunderstorm Dancing.

 

Week 39 WORDS

This week’s theme in the 52 Week Illustration Challenge first spawned a parliament of owls.

little owl judywatsonart lores

my first owl drawing and the one I don’t like. Yick!

o is for owl judywatsonart lores

I like this one, even though he is rather serious. His O needs kerning.

Barn Owl judywatsonart lores

I like this rough, painterly owl. The lettering is awful. Just a bit TOO careless.

owl patterned judywatsonart lores

This doodle didn’t even get any words added

It was getting late, but then I just had to do this dog and he was very quick.

Yappy the Dog

Yappy the Dog

Finally, I went to bed. But I wasn’t finished with doodling, so I took my pen and a bit of paper. Total inanity prevailed.

water torture judywatsonart lores

First Yappy the Dog got water tortured by Amy the Toddler

knawty flat judywatsonart lores

Then following on the theme of Gnawty dogs… (oh dear)

And noisy dogs

And noisy dogs

parrot purr judywatsonart lores

And noisy parrots… and naughty cats…

owling at the moon judywatsonart lores

And a few more owls to finish up. Whew!

Kitten Called Thunder

The paper clay kitten that dried out on our window ledge this week, has come to life! (And it’s madder than a march hare.)

kitten holding yarn judywatsonart lores kitten toy plain judywatsonart loresThe 52 Week illustration theme this week is TOY.

 

Week 32: PSYCHEDELIC

 

Cat trouble again

Cat trouble again

I don’t know if the cat is directly responsible for this little dog’s trippy bad dream, but she is certainly doing her best to mozz him.

Continuous line drawings in French

The 52 Week Illustration Challenge theme this week is LINES. 

new hat judywatsonart colour loresThese are some line drawings done in the car during a rainy soccer training session in half darkness. I am quite pleased with them because they were done from the imagination and without any visual reference. I let the words of the french lesson lead the direction of the doodle. I tried to do them almost completely using a continuous line, except where my pen fell off the page. And above, I did some rather crude scribble in the speech balloon as well.

the amusing dog judywatsonart lores

the boy she likes judywatsonart lores

And below is one of my Calculus Fashion ladies with a bit of colour added. I am quite liking the effect on the parchment and print. calculus fashion5-colour judywatsonart lores copy

Sometimes I draw quite complex continuous line drawings in my mind, while lying in bed at night. It’s very relaxing, and the resulting drawings take up very little storage space.

Occasionally I forget where I put them, because I fall asleep :-)

Blue Cornish Shadow Dance – a work in progress

blue tabby Cornish shadow dance

Thunderstorm inking is in progress this afternoon. I stopped to paint a cat on a discarded piece of paper (a piece of paper with two eyes cut out of it for Greyfur the puppet and a great deal of splodgy ink). This is actually a glorified-blob drawing. The blob suggested the Cornish Rex, and then I finished it off and put some shadow play in the background, experimenting with tone and shape in the way that I want to much more in the future.  The Greyfur eye holes (bottom right) can be seen but have been filled in with a collaged piece of watercolour paper behind.

But here’s the thing. The original hard copy looks like this (below).

Cornish shadow dance original in progress Judywatsonart lores

I’m reasonably pleased with this picture as a start. But it needs more tonal contrast and more definition in some areas I think. I shaded those blue areas over the top of this image in PhotoShop, almost without thinking, because I’m using PhotoShop so much to edit and enhance illustration work at the moment. I wanted to see what would happen if I added a further layer of colour and shape.

Now I can go back and add this over the real image if I want to. Or in a different colour and pattern. It’s a handy experiment that I hadn’t thought of before that might be quite helpful with my painting practice sometimes.

 

Puppet Challenge… Weaselly Wolves and other unfinished creations

Weasely Ones

Weaselly Wolves – painted in 2013 for ‘One Word One Day’

Finding myself trying to make Greyfur too anatomically kangarooish was making my puppeting challenge hard. Indeed, my son asked me if the incomplete Greyfur face was a dog or a deer.

Other subjects I’d earlier considered making for the Puppet Challenge had included the following. All have been covered by other puppet challengers as it turns out.

The Big Bad Wolf

The Big Bad Wolf is a favourite topic of mine, as I’ve been a fan of Angela Carter’s writing for many years, but he’s not a local myth like Greyfur. I also find wolves pretty easy to draw because along with their doggishness is the fact that the BBW is now such an icon, that he is recognisable in any kind of shorthand format and is way above any kind of need for anatomical realism.

young wolf young wolves 10167981_483105751790707_574541033_n

Wolfish types (above), bearing little resemblance to Canis Lupus.

Puss in Boots

Puss is also not a local tradition. Angela Carter does a fabulous rendition of this fairy tale too. And as I seem to be obsessed with Cornish Rex cats at the moment, my Puss in Boots sketches were distinctly Cornish in flavour; black, big-eyed, big-eared, narrow-framed.

This one was for the 52-week Illustration challenge, but I was thinking about Puss in Boots for the puppet challenge at the time.

This one was for the 52-week Illustration challenge, but I was thinking about Puss in Boots for the puppet challenge at the time.

first sketch, always too naturalistic, but he almost captures the devil-may-care nonchalant cat personality I was going for.

first sketch, always too naturalistic, but he almost captures the devil-may-care nonchalant cat personality I was going for.

shadow puppet perhaps? I like the idea of the sail-like ears being semi-transparent and the rest being solid black card.

shadow puppet perhaps? I liked the idea of the sail-like ears being semi-transparent and the rest being solid black card.

a further attempt to get whole figure on the page!

a further attempt to get whole figure on the page!

marionette?

marionette? With Yarn body and wooden boots?

black yarn knitted or crocheted body?

black yarn knitted or crocheted body?

puss in boots 6

Back to the shadow puppet idea. I drew the shadow puppet ogre and the mouse that he turns into, foolish fellow. I also drew the king and had a couple of goes at the lad.

puss in boots 7

 

puss in boots 8

Troll with Billy Goats Gruff

We live by a creek with a bridge so this had some local relevance. And this was the first one that I considered using the crumpled paper for. I had it in my mind that the curling horns of the goats would look great if made out of crumpled and twisted paper. And I was intrigued about the challenge of making three goat characters and capturing the varying ages and personalities of the three (a theme I had a lot of fun with in The Middle Sheep by Frances Watts.)

Three goat siblings I drew for 'The Middle Sheep' by Frances Watts

Three goat siblings I drew for ‘The Middle Sheep’ by Frances Watts

I seem to have misplaced my puppet goat sketches. They’ll turn up somewhere unlikely one day…

Greyfur the Kangaroo

A couple more sketches I found while I was looking for the goats!

greyfur study 1lores greyfur study lores

 

So anyway… I went back to the wolves in the picture at the top of this post! These two rather weaselly looking wolves are plotting mischief together. Below are some photos of the fun and messy creative process the other night on my kitchen floor. The boys were having a fantastic time for much of the evening, playing with a sack full of puppets that I had tipped out onto the floor. Puppets really do inspire all sorts of creative play.

Two (Big, Bad) Wolf Brothers

starting point

starting point

eyeballs

eyeballs

one weaselly nose and some fingers with claws drying in front of the fan heater

one weaselly nose and some fingers with claws drying in front of the fan heater

three toes before strapping together to make a hand. I was careful this time to make the outside and inside fingers the right length.

three toes before strapping together to make a hand. I was careful this time to make the outside and inside fingers the right length.

strapping together to make a hand

strapping together to make a hand

adding a thumb

adding a thumb

two hands, one with a wrist

two hands, one with a wrist

two hands with wrists

two hands with wrists

positioning some eyeballs!

positioning some eyeballs!

adding eyelids

adding eyelids (with rough dots for pupils)

time for some teeth after the lower jaw added

time for some teeth after the lower jaw added

teeth side close2

I wanted the teeth to be very crooked and uneven

I wanted the teeth to be very crooked and uneven

both with eyes and with ears under way

both with eyes and with ears under way

All ears connected.

All ears connected. The Brains (left) has narrower eyes to make him look more sly. Brawn will have the lolling tongue.

Indian ink on crumpled paper. A very satisfying process

Indian ink on crumpled paper. A very satisfying process

Would you buy a used car from these two?

Black paint on. I may add more later.

This guy is just asking for a tongue now.

This guy is just asking for a tongue now.

would you buy a car from these two-2

tongue and teeth with some white added

tongue ready to attach. Teeth and eyes with some white added. Brains will have moving hands. Brawn will have a moving mouth. (This is probably rather counter-intuitive but there ya go!)

with tongue, painted mouth, bloodshot eyes and Granny's bonnet.

with tongue, painted mouth, bloodshot eyes and Granny’s bonnet.

Would you buy a used car from these two?

Would you buy a used car from these two?

This is where I had to stop. If I have time Brawn (Actually, I think his name is Willy) will get a nightdress slightly stained with blood on the front, and lacy sleeves from which will protrude his long, black claws over the bed clothes.

Brains (Hmmm… Ernest, perhaps, because he’s anything but earnest) will have working arms, but I’m not really happy with the high attachment I’ve started here. I think he’d be more impressive without such a distorted scale. I might give him long arms and move them with rods instead so that they can creep in from the side in a lurking sort of way. I think these two should look rather long and rangy like their original drawing, rather than dwarfed versions of themselves.

Weasely Ones

I’d love to add whiskers, but not sure where to get those twirly feathers from that people use on puppets. I could modify some of my chickens’ feathers I guess…  But I’ll have to leave these rascals for now.