Custom cats…

Hello fellow cat-people! And non-cat-people too!

Back in May last year, I doodled some cats…  
Then in July of this year, after re-opening my Etsy store, I tried the doodle in a stupidcat style because I rather liked his cheeky face:

 

I liked it so much, I did a proper version in grey:

  

Cheeky ain’t he! He’s available to buy as a print from my Etsy store.

Shortly after re-opening my store, I was approached by a customer who I’d drawn a couple of custom cats for a few years ago – “Could you do a drawing for my other half’s birthday?”

After agreeing on colours and style (I felt that somthing in a similar style to the doodle-based-grey would suit, and the customer agred), out came the oil pastels and ink. I haven’t been able to show you this drawing until now, because I was waiting to hear that the gift had been given, and this morning – hurrah! – word came! So here he is…

  
I’m hugely fond of this one! I kept finding myself pulling a similar face to his as I was working on him! 

Whilst I don’t currently list custom drawings in my store, please feel free to contact me if you’re interested – with plenty of notice and if my work schedule allows it, I’ll be happy to accommodate you if I can!

Pretty in print…

Greetings!

Those of you that follow me on social media will know by now that I recently started making my illustrations available as Giclée prints – this is something I’ve wanted to do for ages, mainly because I get a bit upset parting with my originals, and also because I wanted to make my illustrations available to more of you.

Last week I added a new print to my Etsy store, in the form of Cousin Louisa Gentlepaw – you might recognise her from my previous post:

stupidcats

There she is looking pretty in a frame, and here’s a close-up:

image

She’s printed on 240gsm archival quality Archelles Aquarelle Rag paper – the texture is beautiful, and I think it really adds to the character of my illustrations.

I spent a lot of time researching the different methods of reproduction, and finally decided to go with Giclée printing, as it would give folk a gallery-standard, archival quality print – and the examples I’d seen looked beautiful. Yes, it’s more expensive than other digital print processes, but I wanted quality rather than quantity. Digging more into the Giclée printing lark, one of the first things I discovered is that it’s pronounced zhee-clay. I also learned that there are three main things that make a Giclée print a Giclée print…

1. The resolution of the original. It must be created at a minimum of 300dpi to make sure that the output print is sharp.
2. The paper it’s printed on. It must be of archival quality, which means it has to be acid free and either cotton or rag based.
3. The inks and printer used to print it. The inks must pigment-based rather than the dye-based inks you find in your standard inkjet printer. Pigment inks will last 100+ years without fading (providing you don’t hang a print in direct sunlight, which to be honest you should never do with a picture – even an original oil painting!). The printers used are generally large format printers with 8 to 12 different colour ink cartridges – as well as CMYK, it also has different shades of each colour to make the prints look even smoother than is achievable with just CMYK.

Further research led me to a company in Nottingham who specialise in work for artists and galleries, which meant I could keep things local – even better! I’ve now visited them twice with work for outputting, and am so impressed with their attention to detail and willingness to spend time with you making sure that the finished results are perfect. I took this picture on my first visit and can’t tell you how excited I was seeing all my cats creeping slowly out the printer!

stupidcats

One of the best things about now selling Giclée prints instead of originals is that at last I’ve been able to offer for sale prints of a large picture I drew way back in 2001 – I’ve been loath to part with it, but now it’s available as a print and looks absolutely smashing!

stupidcats

I have plenty more cats in my sketchbook, so keep your eyes peeled for new prints!

Finally, you may or may not know that I’ve finally set up a website – it’s rather basic at the moment, but has links to my Etsy shop and this blog. Head over to stupidcats.co.uk for a peep!

A quick tip….

Somebody on Twitter recently asked me how I transfer my sketches from tracing paper to the proper-paper-for-drawing-on without them coming out back-to-front, and I had one of those little “Ohhhh, I thought everyone knew that!” moments – and I was also transported back to primary school, when I was having the same problem with a squirrel whose tail came out on the left side when I wanted it on the right, like the drawing in the book I was trying to copy. My teacher at the time showed me this little trick and I reckon it’s quite possibly one of the most useful things I ever learnt at school!

Step one: Trace your image. Or draw it on tracing paper – with my cats, I do a sketch in my sketchbook, then trace it onto tracing paper that’s marked up with the borders of the finished piece:

  
At this point I’ll work on tidying up the drawing, and making any final tweKs and changes until I’m happy with it. Note that her eyes are looking slightly to the right!

Step two: Turn the tracing paper over, and go over all the lines with your pencil on the back of the paper.

  
See how her eyes are now looking slightly to the left? That’s because we’re looking at the back of the trace. Make sure you don’t miss drawing any lines!

Step three: Turn the tracing paper over so that you’re looking at the front again. Now position your tracing paper on the paper you want to use for your finished drawing, and start going over all the lines again with your pencil. It’s very important at this stage that you don’t move the paper – you might want to tack the paper and the tracing paper down, just in case!

 
See the thicker black lines, where I’m going over lines I’ve already drawn?

Step four: When you’re sure you’ve gone over every line, lift off the tracing paper.

  
If you’ve done it right, you should be left with a copy of your drawing on your paper, in the correct orientation. Ta daaaah!

Of course, you could scan your image, flip it on the computer, trace it and transfer it that way, but I prefer to do it the old-fashioned way!

So now you know – if you didn’t know this trick, I hope it comes in useful. And thank you Alice (aka @sequinnedsheep) for reminding me of the squirrel and prompting this post!

Heeeeeeeeere’s stupid!

Hello! I’m back! My Etsy shop is open for business again and I’m raring to go!

I’ve was mulling over having a go at a sugarskull stupidcat a while ago, and did a rough doodle:

  
I’m now itching to have a proper go at it, so watch this space! It’ll probably be a larger size than my usual stupidcats due to the amount of detail. And I haven’t decided yet if whiskers will work or not…

And speaking of whiskers, this little chap is almost finished, just needs whiskering and framing:

  
More news when I have some! Hope you’re all fine and dandy out there in the big, wide world. 🙂