Thursday, September 20, 2007

Custom Cat

I have been working on a custom order for one of my best customers at my shop. I hope she doesn't mind me posting the progress here. I love seeing other peoples works in progress, it feels a bit like you are are learning their secrets...

This is the original sketch I did for her.This is Neo, this little man cat went off to kitty heaven to cause havoc. He has a wonderful interesting face with lots of character...
I did a few roughs first, to get it all set up and then sketched my "final rough" onto illustration board. I have a drafting table thats devoted to painting, so I can leave out projects and work on them over time. I use a Sta-wet painter's palette, which keeps your paint wet over days or even weeks. I spread a few pictures of Neo around to make sure I get his splotches in the right place.
I rarely paint two paintings the same way. I learned from a few fantastic illustrators in university that everyone has their own way, some work on the whole image, some finish small places then move on to the next. I am usually an "all over" kind of worker. I kind of painted him in reverse, using the background to carve him out. On a lot of my paintings, I use a pigment liner to draw the image then kind of colour it in with paint. But Neo needed a more "traditional" painting feel to him.Ok, I could have put another photo before this one as its progressed quite a bit. I usually go progressively darker and darker, and then start all over with lighter over top to get more contrast. Make sense? My best friend is the hairdryer. I lock each paint wash by drying it.

You can see that even though this is a somewhat realistic painting (for me) I messed about with his face a bit to make him smile. I had to fight the urge to give him fangs, even though his don't show like my cat. And here is the final face. I will admit, its a bit "prettier" than the real cat is. In the photos he is a bit more handsome and masculine, but I have come to terms that I just paint pretty. Its what I like. Most portraits do it intentionally anyway... As always, the original painting looks vastly different than the scan, the computer just can't capture it. You loose the transparency of the paint and it deadens the c0lours. So here is is! The final painting. I wish I could frame it up in a antique oval frame painted black and rubbed with white, and hang it up at my house. :-)

Bye Neo.


  1. How cool to show us your process. I love this painting and I also want to see it in an oval frame! Maybe your buyer will send you a follow up photo.

  2. I love how he turned out!
    P.S.- I've linked you on my blog as well :)