New Bob cards…

Just a quick one!

Yesterday I got my little Gocco printer out to print some new cards…

First I traced the colour separations with a carbon pen – it has to be done with a carbon pen to expose the screens…


After I’d exposed the screens (three for this card – red, grey and black) I started printing… red first, then grey…


…and finally black…


…then I stamped my logo on the back of each one…


And ta daaaaa! Here’s the finished card, now available in my Etsy store


I also have a clearance/seconds sale in my store at the moment – drop by and you might find a bargain!

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Cats is where it’s at…

A couple of things of note happened last week…

Firstly, I finally bought some Promarkers.

Secondly, whilst rummaging through books in Forbidden Planet in Newcastle last week during a stopover for work, a cover caught my eye. Flipping through said book I spied some illustrations that caused a massive flashback to when I was little and I used to go through my parents’ vinyl records – not to play them, but to look at the pictures on the covers! The book was “The Curiously Sinister Art of Jim Flora”. So I’ve randomly stumbled upon an illustrator that probably, unbeknown to me, played a part in influencing my drawing!

I decided to try a little doodle last night with my new Promarkers, in a Flora-esque style… the main thing being not to use black outlines, and here’s the result:


It’s growing on me… I think I might try re-doing it in Illustrator on the Mac. The cats need to be more tangled (homage to my love of Celtic knotwork), and their expressions need to speak more, the colours aren’t quite right, but I’m quite excited about developing this, perhaps with a view to pulling some screen prints. What do you think?

In other doodle news, here’s another from last night, loosely based on a cute house in our town. This was sketched freehand with Promarkers, using Google Streetview to remind me of the details of the house:

ps – the cat with the odd black face? Yep, I messed the head up so went over it in black to try and disguise the mess… Nope, it didn’t work!

It’s all about Dave…

Happy new year everyone!

Seeing as we spent New Year’s Eve in Scotland, Dave went all Hogmanay…


Today has been quiet and chilled, and I’ve started work on an idea that’s been buzzing around in my head for a while… This is the first rough of a panel for a story/comic-strip/thing featuring Dave…


Not sure if I’ll move over to the computer to carry this one, or if I’ll stay with my sketchbook… Anyway, stay tuned to see how the story develops!

Cat news!

Ooops, has it really been that long since I blogged? Oh dear… Well here’s a little update of what’s been going on in the wonderful world of stupidcats!

I’ll start with something festive seeing as it’s nearly Catmas – sorry, Christmas!

Bob and Dave have their own range of Christmas cards, hurrah:

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Dave took *ages* trying to decide how to wear his hat! Each card features a two-colour Gocco-print on lovely textured Brampton Felt card, and comes with a Kraft envelope. There’s still time to order them in time for Christmas from my Etsy store if you’re in the UK (last orders 16th December), they’re £3.50 each or mixed 4-packs are £12.50.

Most recently I finally managed to release my line of t-shirts featuring the gang! Dave is also available on pink, orange, green and grey shirts, and I have a few childrens’ sizes available too!

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The designs are screen printed by hand by me, using the facilities at Nottingham’s very own School of Print in Cobden Place – I’m really enjoying this screen-printing lark. As with my tote bags, I sew a little label on to each shirt, so you know you have a real stupidcats shirt and not some kind of fake! The labels are on the outside of the bottom hem on the left hand side:

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Also new are hand-pressed pocket mirrors featuring the gang, to match the little button badges I showed you in a previous post:

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And my handmade notebooks now feature all four cats, and I now Gocco-print my own lined paper so you can choose blank or lined versions:

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A really exciting side project recently was being asked to be guest illustrator for the Crafty Creatives Paperhaul stationery subscription box, eeep! I choose a doodle of Dave and a birthday cake he made – I originally drew it to wish my pal Lesley from The Royal Bakery happy birthday (check out her AMAZING cakes!), and re-drew it especially for Paperhaul. The box features wrapping paper (my first attempt at a repeating pattern design), a birthday card, small cards (or they can be used as gift tags), postcards, a notepad and sheet of stickers:

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I was so pleased with how everything turned out! There *might* be a chance to win a box soon, keep your eyes peeled if you want to get your paws on one!

A new range will be appearing in my store soon in the form of hard enamel badges featuring Dave and Bob! I’m hugely excited about these – the backing cards are already printed and waiting for the badges to arrive. Here’s a sneak-preak – the Dave badge is a prototype
shrink-plastic one I made a while back:

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Watch this space for the real things!

Phew, I’m sure I’ve forgotten something… Oh yes! In my last post I talked about getting ready for Kirstie Allsopp’s Handmade Fair! I had an AWESOME time – here’s the space I had to fill (I couldn’t resist going for an orange carpet!):

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And here it is full of stupidcats!

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Squeeeeeeee!

Last but not least, there’s been addition to the gang – Maggie (modelled on a real-life cat called Maggie who lives at Newcastle’s Mog on the Tyne cat cafe) just needs a bit of fine-tuning, then she’ll be available on notebooks, cards, badges, pocket mirrors, tote bags and t-shirts next year:

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Well, that’s enough for now! If I don’t post again this month, have a very merry Christmas and a fab New Year!

x

Inky paws…

Yo!

I shall start by giving you all a few minutes to play your favourite David Bowie song and sing along loudly. Off you go…
 
Right. I picked Ziggy Stardust – how about you?
 
And now to business. Wait, don’t switch him off – you can leave David playing as you read.
 
I’ve always fancied having a go at screen printing. And recently it’s become a more pressing need – particularly as I’d like to be able to produce my own greetings cards, and maybe even bags, t-shirts, and other fabric goodies. The thing that’s been holding me back though is the cost of all the equipment, and the lack of space on my desk in a tiny corner of one room, which I fondly call “stupidcats HQ” (the desk, not the room!). And then, the other weekend, whilst roaming around London on a bit of a jolly, we stumbled upon a little art shop. And right at the back, rather dusty and half hidden, was one of the screen printing kits I’d been looking at as a small, easy way to try the process out, and it was reduced to half the price I’d seen it anywhere else. Well, what else could I do except buy it?!
 
Monday being a rest day (I have one of those jobs where you often have to take all or half of your weekend on random weekdays) I bounced out of bed, all keen and eager for my first venture into screen printing. I’d done a little cat doodle at the weekend and decided to use him for my first test print:

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Here’s my doodle!

 
So I drew him in Illustrator on my trusty Mac and had a play with colour fills:
 

And here are a few variations of the computer version.



I decided to go with the bottom right one for my first attempt, and step one was to trace an image for each colour onto my screen:

I’d decided to use the drawing fluid and filler method for my first attempt, as I wanted the printed cat to look sort of wobbly – not clean and crisp like the computer version. And I liked the idea of painting directly on to the screen, and creating multiples copies of something hand drawn. So the next step was to draw the images in with drawing fluid and a paintbrush:

I had no idea if I’d put too much or too little drawing fluid on! I left it to dry for a few hours, then moved on to the screen filler. This involved using the squeegee to wipe the fluid down over the image in one stroke, and not to NO NEVER EVER TO do a second stroke or you’ll risk the blue drawing fluid starting to dissolve away…

I may have panicked a bit and not pressed down enough for the first few inches. Which meant the top image was completely covered in red goo. I may then have panicked a bit more and done a second wipe over the top image which is EXACTLY what you’re not supposed to do.
 
But I thought I’d plough on, as all experience is useful! I then had to leave the screen to dry overnight, then wait until the following evening before I could do anything else because work got in the way, humph!
I washed off the blue drawing fluid, leaving just the red filler behind…

…and got a bit more convinced that my double swipe of the filler had played havoc with his whiskers. Once again the screen was put aside to dry.
 
A couple of days later, when I had a bit of time to spare between shifts, I hit the ink! I just went for the blue ink supplied with the kit, rather than trying to mix anything lighter for my first attempt.


I ran off 20 prints, then masked off the blue inky bit, and when the prints were dry I moved onto the black.

Ta-daaaaaaaa! I was right about the whiskers! Now I’ve done it once, I know what to do differently next time to hopefully improve the results. I’m rather pleased with him though – the wobblyness is what I was after, although the cat outline is too thick and, of course, his whiskers have been in the wars! But all in all, it was a hugely enjoyable lesson and I’m itching to get the screen cleaned and start again – this time without dissolving his whiskers and mixing a lighter shade of blue. I’ve also got hold of another screen with finer mesh, which should help with finer details.
 
Keep your eyes peeled on my Twitter, Instagram and Facebook feeds for progress pictures of my next attempt!
 
And finally, while we’re on the subject of screen printing, I stumbled upon something today that made me squeak!
 
Cobden Place is a restored heritage building in Nottingham’s Creative Quarter. In their own words, “Cobden Place endeavours to incubate and support an array of creatively driven independent businesses, and encourage growth within Nottingham’s design industry.” Together with print studio Dizzy Ink and screenprinting technician Tom Camp, they want to create a “School of Print”. Again, in their words: “With a variety of printing methods including risograph, screenprinting and mimeograph, the School of Print will facilitate and educate practitioners of print through a varied workshop programme and the option of membership to come and use the space and facilities once trained on the equipment!
 
COOL!!!
 
They launched a Kickstarter today to raise £8,000 to make the School of Print a reality, and have already been backed to the tune of just over £800! This would be a fantastic resource for Nottingham and beyond – please help them reach their target by backing them, and sharing the link with the world! Thank you!
 
Click here to watch their video on their Kickstarter page
 
That’s all for now folks!

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!