Tag Archives: Illustration

Words Matter

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Thanks to Google translate, I now know how to spell “meow” in both Arabic and Persian, the two languages most spoken in the seven countries included in the current U.S. ban on refugees. And, while I know that words matter, (and I like to use words, sometimes too many words, ask my husband,) I’m just going to let my picture do the talking for me this time.Protest cat. #pussygrabsback #nomuslimban

As an aside, I was so interested in this idea of language, that I looked up a few statistics and found out that there are more world-wide native speakers of Spanish than of English, for example. English is the 4th most spoken language, followed by Arabic. (source)

 

 

Waiting

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Still having fun with the Inktober drawings. Here’s my interpretation of Hungry. 

Pen and ink drawing of a man at a table.

No free breadsticks!

Man at a table

I started with a photo of my dad waiting at a table for a meal. I wanted to explore more mark-making and value range with my pens.

You can see what I chose to keep in the drawing compared to the photo, such as the position of the subject, and the overall composition.

However, I changed many of the details, like the location, and the place settings, in order to make the overall content of the image more interesting.

I like to work with photographs as reference, to understand proportions or to get an angle or pose, but not as a way to recreate exactly what’s in the picture.

I used similar techniques with the drawing for the prompt, Collect,  which you can see here.

I know I’m behind on the Inktober prompts, but keep checking in! I’ll catch up eventually. Happy drawing!

 

Challenge Accepted

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Last year, I participated in Drawlloween, a challenge for artists to post a work every day for the month of October based on Halloween themed prompts. Despite my most sincere efforts, I can not draw anything that looks really scary, but, I proceeded anyway, rendering my subjects in watercolor and pen. You can look back on my interpretations starting with Drawlloween with Cats, where I present the first four drawings I completed, including Return from the Dead, Mansions and Manors, Spider Day, and Better Homes & Goblins.

Drawing of a cat running

Day 1: Fast

I contemplated joining in the spooky fun again this year, but, instead, opted to do Inktober, which follows a similar format by providing daily drawing prompts. Inktober is decidedly non-seasonal, and the only rule, really, is that the drawing must be executed in ink. I find the discipline of using pens quite appealing, and I admire artists who do fine inking work. My favorite of all time is Edward Gorey, but a recent find is the illustrator Franco Matticcio. Both of these artists employ fine, directional marks, layering, and a variety of patterns and textures to create contrast and build form. Their drawings are also whimsical, and they both draw cats, among other things.

Drawing of barking collies.

Day 2: Noisy

Across the board, interpretations of these prompts varies wildly, with incredible artists submitting their works. It is SO inspiring and fun to see what other people draw. You can see what other artists are doing by searching #inktober and #drawlloween on any social media site!

Already a couple of days behind the Inktober schedule, posts will arrive as I complete more drawings.

 

Make It Funky Now

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Maybe you’re familiar with the Cha Cha Slide, that ubiquitous dance number played at exactly every wedding I’ve been to since 2000.

Cats dancing to the #chachaslide

I tend to appreciate a line dance with directions, not because I’m not an able dancer without the prescribed steps, but because, suddenly, SO MANY other people are out on the dance floor. It’s like being  in a music video with your auntie, or a flash mob with the bride’s little cousin. So, thanks, friends and relatives who have this song played at their wedding receptions, because, I’m certain I wouldn’t experience the Cha Cha Slide for any other reason. Party on, cats!

Recording Summer

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I was an art teacher for 20 years, so I always considered summer as the time when I could “catch up” on my art making. I couldn’t wait for my schedule to be free so I could start drawing again. Now that I’m working full time as an artist, I draw with more frequency, but I’m still habituated to the arty pull of summer.

I like to record my travels as I am inspired by my surroundings. Sometimes these drawings are quick sketches, with impressions that are grabbed quickly to preserve a memory, color or thought.

Colosseum drawing, Ancona, and gelato

The Colosseum, the coastline of Ancona, and an empty gelato cup from a trip to Italy in 2011 demonstrate on-the-fly sketches I might collect.

Other times, I rework or create new drawings or paintings back in the studio after collecting sketches and photos. These entries are more complete impressions of my surroundings where I incorporate objects, scenes, and details to capture what has seeped in during my visit. Like with the quick sketches, colors, objects, and landmarks dominate the work resulting in a portrait of the place I visited.

St. Francis, Ganesh, and a wildfire

Top: My homage to Georgia O’Keefe after visiting her home and studio in Taos, New Mexico. Bottom: St. Francis and Ganesh were both images I encountered in the mountains of Santa Fe. I was there in 2013 while a large wildfire raged on the mountain.

I rarely leave the house without a means to record the world around me. I wrote a post about what to include in your portable studio, which you can see here.  I find that having a sketchbook is a great alternative to staring at your screen in the airport or on long car rides. The drawings don’t have to be perfect, just a sincere effort at recording your impressions. You don’t have to travel far to find something to put in your sketchbook, either.

Watercolor landscape sketch

The perfect spot to draw. This small beach is just down the street from my house.

After all, as an artist, it is your duty to find the beauty in the seemingly mundane things around you, to find the extraordinary in the ordinary. I’ve drawn things ranging from other travelers to my kitchen serving bowls. I even spent one summer drawing the salt shakers in restaurants in which I was dining. You’d be surprised at the variety!

I hope you are inspired in your own way to record a memory this summer. Happy art, everybody!

Shelter

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I may have mentioned it before, but I love Illustration Friday, a site where illustrators respond to a weekly prompt based on a theme. It’s a great place to see a lot of creative responses to the motif, and to post your own theme-related work. This week’s prompt is SHELTER, which fits perfectly with some of my other recent posts. Like this Friday Art Cat on Katzenworld, this previous post about Los Gatos de Panama, and this one about a little kitty who lives in a culvert.

Cat under an umbrella, watercolor painting

Rainy cat.

Here’s a watercolor sketch that was inspired by a rainstorm and my cat, Miss Bean, who is wary of any water that falls from the sky. For me, it’s not only a portrait of my own cat who was a stray, but also a symbol for all the cats, and other homeless animals who need protection, food, medicine and shelter.

Getting All Christmas-y

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When I work on illustrations of cats, I use a reference because I’ve never been an artist who remembers the details of an object from my imagination. A lot of times, I can work out the surroundings, or take a quick look at something, say, a table, and draw it. But, for the main subject, kitty!, I usually work from a photo. I like photos not so much because I want to capture every whisker, but more because there’s usually the placement or angle of a pose that I want to capture.

Watercolor painting of a cat with presents with the comparison photo of the same cat used as reference for the painting.

My sweet, long-suffering Emily was just waiting for me to finish working  in the studio one night when I took this shot. Later, I used it as inspiration for the painting on the right.

For my holiday series, I  first come up with the idea for the composition. Then, I search through my hundreds (literally) of cat photos for the poses that I think will best fit my idea. On the rare occasion I don’t find what I am looking for, I might go in search of a willing model, but it’s hard to get a cat to pose! That’s why I take pictures frequently to use for reference later. That way, I almost always have the exact look I want.

Side by side comparison of a drawing of a cat before the watercolor and pen work is added.

On the left is an example of the drawing I made for the finished painting on the right.

In the beginning, I block out the composition in pencil, finally adding the details with watercolor, and sometimes adding in pen for contrast and definition.

I have quite a collection of Christmas Cats at this point. So, I thought I would have some of them printed on greeting cards. I use a local printer who works with me to accurately represent the original color when translated to the digital reproduction. I’m so happy with how they turned out, that I decided to offer them for the first time in my Etsy shop and at the local holiday markets!

A collection of Christmas Cards featuring Cats from Carol Parker Mittal at Attack Cat Studio

My collection of Christmas Cats! You can find them at Etsy, or just send me a private message for special orders.

If you want your own, find them at Attack Cat Studio: https://www.etsy.com/shop/AttackCatStudio

 

 

There Be No Werewolves Here

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Powerful and mysterious, the moon tugs at the oceans, determines our calendar, and causes mischief when we see the sun’s reflected light during the full lunar cycle. I always welcome that illuminating glow and the moon’s transformative luminosity. The succession from full, to waning, to half, to waxing is a comfort and a beacon, connecting me to my friends all over the world because we all gaze upon the same moon. So, today’s prompt, Beware the Full Moon, is more like an invitation for contemplation than a warning against danger.

Cats on a branch.

The Monster Under the Bed

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The truth is that the scariest thing under my bed is the hideous monster of self-doubt and indecision. It lurks in the darkness and dust until the middle of the night. And as I toss and turn, the beasty infiltrates the space around me, waking me with torment. So, for today’s prompt, Monster Mania, I decided to show you some cute kitties. Hopefully, they will keep the monster under my bed away.

Scaredy Cats Under a Bed

Be gone, foul beast!