Thanks to some very useful videos on YouTube I discovered the secret of colouring with the lasso tool in photoshop. You can use it first to lay down flat colour by just filling in the selected area or to use a big brush. After such a long period of painting in a traditional way with coloured pencils, markers and acrylics it is fun to go back to photoshop!
It seems that I am doing this cat cartoon from back to front. Once again the story: Once upon a time there was a little village up there in the mountains. Outside the village a pack of cats lived – wild, fierce creatures. One day they came into the village, hunting for rats (really big ones!) and mice. Above is the illustration for that scene. The humans first were afraid of them, but when they learnt that the cats did away with the rats and mice, they welcomed them.
Once every month wild men came into the village, everyone with a sword, and forced the villagers to hand over the little what they had. The village people were desperate and thought about leaving their homes. The cats witnessed the attacks from behind the bushes and one night they decided to hold a council in order to talk about ways of helping their human friends. See this illustration: and that one:
They put up guardian cats on the hill in front of the village (see this illustration) and every time the robbers approached the village, the cat pack attacked them with claws and teeth. In the end they decided to go somewhere else…
That is the story. It is now much clearer than in the beginning. The illustrations also changed – in the beginning there was only an llustration and a story. Now it got more and more cartoony, inked with a staedtler fine liner, scanned into photoshop and coloured in photoshop so far.
Another of these quick cat sketches (I hope you don’t get bored with them!), done with a Staedtler pigment liner. I then scanned the sketch and decided to colour the eyes in photoshop. But once I was colouring the eyes I decided to try to colour the whole sketch in photoshop. This was something I haven’t done for ages, and I must say, I enjoyed it very much!
Another quick sketch which might serve as a reference for my cat cartoon / illustrated story. Just now I am collecting various poses and cat gestures and practising quick ink sketches.
This is a preparatory sketch for the next panel of my illustrated cat story. The scene will show how the cats are fed by their human friends, thus showing the tight connection between them and the people in the village.
It is not done with a pencils, so there’s no way to erase wrong lines. It is one of my art goals to get better in drawing. I’ve loads of scrap paper, so when I’ve got the feeling that the drawing has gone wrong I just throw it into the trash can and begin anew.
I am afraid this is the most unprofessional way to do it. I got the ideas of a story, which you can read here. Instead of doing thumbnails which cover the whole story and not only a part of it, I am focussing on the cat council, which discusses whether and how the cats should help their human friends. It seems that I’m in love with my cat characters and have a pretty good image of them: They take pride in their strength and wildness, and look upon their human friends as weak beings.
Compared with that the images of the humans in this story are rather vague. Okay, they’re poor, and they live in a village. They know that the cats are useful for them because they hunt rats and mice, and so they offer them an occasional bowl of milk. They are not allowed to carry weapons because that is only something the nobility can do. So they can’t defend themselves against the robbers. I haven’t answered one question yet, however: who are the heroes? the humans or the cats? Is it a cat story, in which humans exist in order to provide a problem which the cats have to solve? And in which way does the end of the story change the relationship between cats and humans? So many questions!
My first ever cartoon panel. I know that I have to work on the lettering! Actually when I did the Guardian Cat I never thought that it would become my first illustrated story. I didn’t have the story in mind when I drew the cat – but looking at it made me think of a story. This drawing above is an illustration of the cats’ council. One evening in the month of May they meet in the forest in order to discuss ways of helping their human friends against the robbers. The cats take turns to enter the wooden stump and speak, and obviously this guy here is one of the bolder, more decisive feline species.
I’ve got some ideas about the rest of the panels/drawings/paintings: One panel could show how cats and humans live together – maybe some cats hunting in a barn, killing rats and mice, and one panel could show how the robbers attack the village. This is quite a challenging undertaking because I have to draw and paint in a way that I am not familiar with. I definitely will have to come out of my comfort zone. On the other hand I feel that the connection between writing and drawing is the thing which I want to focus on.