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I can’t believe I get away with this

Here’s a card I did for my sister’s birthday. She has a cat. The cat does this to her. That cat can’t believe its luck!

I used a thicker nib for this, and coloured direct with markers, which can lead to a bit of smudging, but does make for a nice final card (I think so, anyway).

Update: You can now buy this cartoon on a t-shirt, hoodie, or sticker at RedBubble. How can you resist?

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Penguin in a cloak

Update: You can now buy this cartoon on a t-shirt, hoodie, or sticker at RedBubble. How can you resist?

Here’s another drawing of a penguin in a cloak.

This one is interesting to me because of how I achieved it. First, I copied from a picture of a penguin I took at London zoo.

I sketched it in pencil and then sketched in the mask and cloak. Then I put it on the lightbox and drew the outline on a new sheet using a tria marker with the brush nib.

Then I scanned it and adjusted the levels to get the white paper white. I copied the layer and coloured it in, and put that coloured layer under the original scanned layer, using the Color Burn blending mode.

The nice thing for me is that I like this sort of look and I’m gradually working out how to achieve it. Gradually.

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Flying dog: the less publicised early years

Here’s today’s cartoon.

This one presented a lot of challenges. With the basic idea I had to find a way to make Flying Dog a wimp, but it’s hard to do without the idea that people are about to die horribly in a fire. Sarah saw it and said I hadn’t got that across well enough initially and so I got the mouse to say it had called 999. If I’d designed that in earlier it probably would have been better placed on the page.

Compositionally, I think it would have worked better to have the title at the bottom so you’d see the scene, read the words from Flying Dog and the mouse, and then get the title of the scene. I was trying to incorporate it into the picture but I don’t think it really works there – too many things fight for your attention at once.

The final challenge was the technical one of drawing it and making it look right. Check out that perspective on the house! I really struggle with this but it’s getting better. The colouring doesn’t come out terribly well on the scan which is annoying because it’s quite subtle. I erased the background on the speech captions after scanning, but I couldn’t get a similar effect on the title, whereas the original does have a lighter background there to pull out the text. I could probably do with either buying or working out how to mix a more dog colour for the dog. I like dogs in blue, but I think it detracts from the outfit here.

Nib and ink on bristol board with ink wash colouring.

And an added extra:

This was an experiment to see what would happen with nib, ink and markers. The result: smudging. Hmmmm.

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Reworked bad cat

I decided to try to rework the quick sketchy comic I did the other day.

This is a challenge and I often struggle with final versions of pieces – I find it hard to get the quality of line I want, and the colouring to look solid enough.

I’ve a theory that ruled lines around the boxes make for a far better finish, but today I tried a new approach – I ruled the lines in pencil and then went over them freehand in pen. I quite like the result, but I think ruled lines are probably better. I used the brush pen for the cat and various fine liners for the other line work. I was going to use the Rotring pens, but don’t trust them enough – I can’t always get a clean line.

I sketched this very roughly first, but probably should have worked it out a bit more before inking. I think I’d have got better cat expressions if I’d done that.

The major new thing here is that I drew it a3 – I know that creating these larger and reducing gives more opportunities for a clean result and I think that has pretty much worked.