Practice Drawing – Cats, cats, and more cats!

I am slowly working my way through the book Craft-a-Doodle, playing with the tutorials for drawing fun little doodles. I got stalled on the exercises in the second chapter though, which was about drawing pugs. The tutorial is very straightforward. The problem is, I didn’t want to draw pugs. To me, pugs seemed to be the signature motif of the artist who wrote the tutorials for that chapter – Gemma Correl. Her pugs are adorable, but they’re also her pugs, and I’m not doing this drawing practice so that I can perfectly imitate anotehr artists.

I opted therefor, to draw cats instead. I know nothing about pugs, but I’ve lived with cats all my life. We have three prime specimens in the house right now, in fact! So, after reading through Gemma Correl’s pug-drawing tutorial, I set baout drawing cats.

The basic idea behind Correl’s pug drawings is that they’re very simple and very cute. Everything is composed of basic shapes, mainly circles and triangles. So I tried to stick to that idea when I drew my cats. However, things didn’t quite workout the way I wanted…

I drew my first cat in Paper on my iPad and immediately ran into problems. Paper doesn’t give me a lot of control over how the tools work. I can pick a tool and I can pick the color to draw or paint with, but I can’t make any adjustments beyond that.  And there’s a definite limit to how far I can zoom in. In some ways, that makes Paper the perfect app for doodling, but in others, I feel crippled by the app. I can’t draw as smoothly as I can in other, more sophisticated apps, nor do I have the tactile advantage of working with more traditional media, like markers and card stock. Anyway, I drew the first cat, and here’s how he turned out.

Okay, he’s not bad, but I wanted to draw him with a thicker line and I didn’t have the option to do that. The result was a scratchy little drawing that just disappeared on the page. Since the lines were so thin, I thought maybe coloring him would help him pop out more. I opted to give him Siamese coloring, and discovered that the watercolor brush in paper has some quirks when it comes to blending and layering colors. Frustrated, I decided to redraw my cat in another app.

Here’s cat number two, drawn in Tayasui Sketches. Again, I did a simple pen drawing with watercolor.

To me, this was even worse. The water color blended better, but I had such limited control over the size of the brush that colors were constantly bleeding into areas where I didn’t want them. Keep in mind, I wasn’t using the pro version, of Sketches, although I did pay to unlock all the features in the version I am using, so I’m not sure what the differences is between the two apps. I also don’t know if the pro version would allow me more control over the brush size. That’s something I’m going to ave to investigate. But the biggest problem I had with Sketches was that it worked sooooooooo slooooooowly on my iPad. There was a definite lag between when I drew a line and when it actually appeared. I don’t know what the problem was, but that’s something else I’ll have to look into.

Anyway, frustrated with both Paper and Sketches, I finally opened up my favorite drawing app, Sketchclub, and drew a cat in that. Sketchclub has a pen tool, excelelnt zooming, panning and rotating capabilities, layers, and shape drawing tools. It doesn’t have water color brushes, but it does have plenty of other tools that I think make up for that. And since at this point I was damned and determined to draw a cat the way I wanted to draw one, I ditched the whole idea of a simple doodle and pulled out all the stops to draw a Siamese cat. And here it is!

Again, not a doodle at all, and the complete opposite of the point I think Gemma Correll was trying to make, but this was the one cat drawing I was happy with, so there you go.

This is not the end of the cat saga, of course. I had not accomplished the goal of the tutorial, and I refused to be beaten by this, but I did set the tutorial aside for a while. I’ll show you the results of round two next week!

Creature Comforts – Day 18, More Granny Squares!

Ugh. I know what you’re thinking. “Isn’t she done with this stupid blanket yet?!” Uh, no. And I apologize for yet another post about the granny square blanket of DOOOOOOM. But I am almost halfway done with this monstrosity. Take a look! 

Granny squares!

Three rows assembled and another in the works!


I did not get to work on the Jake pillow today because the Hubster decided to fumigate the house all day. Everything had to be moved and cleaned and sprayed and let dry and then put back and so the whole house was in an uproar all day. Fun times, I gotta say.

Anyhoo, good night for now! Hopefully I can get the Jake pillow done tomorrow. If not, then MORE GRANNY SQUARES!!!!!1!!!

Krampus Challenge – Day 16, Krampus Ornaments in Progress


Krampus Ornaments in Progress!

My Krampus projects are all in pieces right now.

These are two very different ornaments in progress right now – a shrunken elf head and a Krampus raven. I thought I had picked a dark red for the elf hat, but then I put it next to the raven’s wings and saw that it wasn’t really all that dark after all.

Hopefully, I’ll get one of these finished tomorrow. I’m also working on a Christmas gift for a family member. That needs to be done this week too. Oh, and did I mention I now have to bathe our cats on a regular basis? They have fleas, and I’m going to be cleaning them up for a while. Cats really are the creatures of Krampus, especially when they’re being bathed.

November Drawing – Day 11, Details, Details

I’ve gotten all the line art and base colors done on both the Pirate Queen and the Mermaid drawings, so now I’m working on the details. Lots and lots of details.

First, the Pirate Queen…


Pirate Queen!

Her tentacles need spots!!

Again, this one is drawn in Concepts on my iPad. I’ve mainly used the pen tool and the filled stroke tool. I’ve been trying to stick to a limited color palette, and I think this one works pretty well.

Now for the Mermaid!


Mermaid haid!

I love drawing flowing hair in water.

The Mermaid is being drawn in InkPad for the iPad. Again, InkPad is a free app, and one of the best vector apps around. I’m using the brush tool to draw the ink lines and the shapes of the shading, similar to the way I use the filled stroke tool in Concepts. The difference here is that I can adjust each point on the curves of the shapes to get exactly what I want.

So there are two different vector drawings in two different vector apps that are still rather similar but different. Differently similar. You know what I mean. Whatever.

November Drawing – Day 08, Definitely a Pirate Queen!


Pirate Queen!

She’s definitely a pirate queen… an UNDEAD pirate queen!

I’ve been having way too much fun playing with the colors on this one. The color palette is limited to Copic colors, with no way of mixing  your own colors, but that’s still a pretty big palette, and since I can EXPORT THIS IMAGE IN SVG, I can touch up the colors in CorelDraw. Yay!

November Drawing – Day 07, Pirate Queen of Hearts?


Pirate Queen?

I don’t know who she is yet, but maybe she’s a pirate queen.

I’m playing around in Concepts again today. They did a big update yesterday and added a new tool – the filled stroke tool. This tool does the same thing I’ve been doing with the brush tool in InkPad – tracing a shape and leaving a filled area with no outline around it. It’s great for setting up larger filled shapes too, like the ones in this drawing…  

Unlike InkPad, Concepts doesn’t let me adjust the nodes on the shape, so there’s no precise way for me to refine what I draw with Concepts filled stroke tool. And that’s okay! Because I want a different feel of drawing in Concepts, and having things be a litle different accomplishes that.

So I’m pretty pleased right now with Concepts. I’ll keep working on this drawing and on the other one I’m doing in InkPad and see what happens!

November Drawing – Day 06, the Mermaid and her Sailor

So I finished up the “inking” on the mermaid drawing, and here’s a view of what I got done today!


Mermaid inks!

Look! The mermaid has a friend!

I like my mermaids to be creepy and sort of predatory, and this one definitely fits the bill! I started doing more work on the colors as well, playing around with a color scheme. I’m not entirely happy with the colors of the dress yet, but I’ll get there.

No mushroom today, but I may do more drawing tonight in Concepts and post that tomorrow 🙂

Move It Mama Monday! Why I LURVE the Yoga Studio App

Welcome to that special hell known as “Don’t gain 50 bazillion pounds over the holidays!” I both love and hate this time of year. I love it because everything is so festive and the smell of cookies and fancy flavored over-priced coffee is everywhere! I hate it because everything is so frikkin’ festive and the smell of cookies and fancy flavored over-priced coffee is everywhere along with magazines and commercials and ads to remind me not to stuff my face and gain any weight whatsoever over the holidays.

Seriously, have you looked at the cover of women’s magazines during the holiday season? The articles featured on the cover are always about the latest most fantastic holiday recipes that use twenty tons of cream, butter and sugar. And right beneath those are the articles that exclaim “You can lose 500 pounds in just 5 DAYS!” (The rest of the year, these magazines only feature non-holiday recipes that use twenty tons of cream, butter and sugar, and they tell you that you can only lose 495 pounds in just 5 days.)

Anyway, that’s the atmosphere that permeates the holidays every year. And because everything is so busy this time of year, it can be hard to make it to the gym or even step outside for a simple walk, which makes the whole “EAT EAT EAT LOSE WEIGHT LOST WEIGHT LOSE WEIGHT” message even worse to deal with. To combat the artifical sense of guilt that I know this message is trying to instill, I make sure my favorite yoga app is cued up on my iPad so that can stretch wherever I am and do it in short bursts during commercial breaks no matter where I’m watching holiday specials on TV.

And what is my favorite yoga app, you ask? It’s Yoga Studio. Yoga Studio comes with pre-made yoga routines (lasting anywhere from 10-60 minutes) and lets me make my own routines using either individual poses from their pose library or short routines that I can string together in the order I prefer.

But the thing I love the most about Yoga Studio is that I can choose what music I listen to while I do my yoga routines! And I don’t mean choose from the very limited and ear-bleeding options of wailing desert flute or wind-chimey, brain-dead mood music. I can actually make a playlist from the music I have on my iPad and listen to that while I do yoga! You have no idea how much that matters to me. Really, I can’t stand the typical music most yoga apps and videos and classes play. It makes me want to slip into the corpse pose and kill myself.

So what music do I have on my Yoga Studio playlist? My current playlist starts with Imelda May’s “Oh My God, It’s Good to Be Alive!” and then goes straight into “Rehab” by Amy Winehouse. Next up is Gin Wigmore’s “Man Like That,” followed by the Kongos’ “Come With Me Now.” Yes, I prefer pulse-throbbing, heart-pounding, rockin’ and rollickin’ music when I practice my stretching and deep breathing. Because that’s the kind of gal I am.

This is the app I used over Thanksgiving break while we visited the Hubster’s family. I was able to set up in the guest bedroom and stretch my groove thang for half an hour, then go stuff myself with delicious food, then take a long nap and then repeat the whole cycle all over again. I did go for a daily walk, although I didn’t get in the usual 30-60 minutes like I do at home. But still, walking! I will eventually complete that “Walk to Mordor” quest.

I don’t know if using the Yoga Studio app helped me keep off the extra pounds over Thanksgiving break, but honestly, I don’t care. Like I said, the best thing about the app is that I can load the music I want to hear on it. And I made sure to turn up the volume nice and loud so I never had to hear about how I had to stay rediculously slim and trim while stuffing my face this year. And that made me very thankful indeed 🙂

Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving! I’m gonna stretch out and take a nap now.