Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Step Forty Two: The World's Most Evil Cartoon Character ;-)

Dearest Sylwi

Today, I had intended to try out Cyanotype, a method of photographic printing using UV light that produces beautiful, blue prints. However, it turned out to be a very unco-operative, grey, November day. The sun appeared briefly this afternoon, but not for long enough to try printing, so I had to come up with a Plan B!

I decided instead to try something I've wanted to do for ages, but have been putting off through fear! Creating a cartoon character. :-)

Last week, I signed up for Nanowrimo intending to write a novel about my rescue dog. I do, as you know, have plenty to scream about of stories to tell on that subject! After only 3 days and 4,500 words though, I ran out of steam! :-( I literally couldn't think of one more single word to write about her! :-)

I did begin to think, though, that rather than trying to force her unwillingly into a novel, she would make a funny subject for a comic strip. Drawing out her naughtiness could be a good (healthy) way for me to vent my anger. ;-)

I searched on the t'internet for lessons on cartoon drawing and came across this superb book, "Cartoon Animation (The Collectors' Series')" by Preston Blair and before I knew it, it had arrived in my post box! Damn that "one click!" feature on Amazon! :-)

So, for today's Step, I set about coming up with a cartoon character for my dog... more commonly known as "that damn Shelter Dog!"

It was sooooo hard to draw her face. Oh my goodness. I drew and drew and drew and hated all of them. None of them looked anything like her. So, I decided to stop trying to do the hardest bit first and drew her body, closely following the instructions in Blair's book.

Ok, so ignore the face! That looks nothing like her! The body, I took from the instructions at the top of this pic - you can just see them at the top right. You draw 3 circles for the body, then 4 ovals as paws and then just connect them to create a dog.

It was amazing to see it all coming together in front of me. Me, who can't draw, drew that there (shelter) dog. Yes, it took me ages, but gee! It was fun! :-)

I changed the paws and legs a bit to make them more like my pup's, but otherwise it was just a direct copy of Blair's body. This totally captures my pup when she's in trouble, though. That stance - hee hee! That is HER through and through!

The body was relatively simple, but I took FOREVER to draw her face! After ages of frustrating drawing and rubbing out, I took a break for an hour... and when I came back, I sat down and drew her face first time!

Then it was time to crack open the watercolours and get to the fun bit, the colouring in...

I was really pleased with it ... and then I took another break for an hour. When I came back, I realised that her nose was the wrong shape... and if she was slinking around like this after being bad, both of her ears would be pinned flat to her head...

So, there's still a lot of work to be done to create her. I really loved playing with this today, though. Using ink and watercolour (even though I don't really know how to paint with watercolour, or understand how to create shadows yet) was sooooo much fun.

How on earth cartoonists draw comic strips though, I'll never understand. It took me so long to come up with just this... I couldn't imagine how long it would take to write a whole strip! :-)

Ten Steps to go. Yikes! How quickly a year goes past! Can't wait to see what you come up with this week (if you have any time?!) :-)

Lots and lots of love


  1. love the pup but the tail between her legs makes it look like she has a very mean owner, which I happen to know is not true! Maybe a docked tail would be better, or a wagging tail, best of all.

  2. o wow! Fi, i'm totally impressed. I admire your determination!!! and i have the same question to cartoonists. i cannot imagine that i would be able to draw one character 100 times and that it will look the same all the time... I've always wanted to illustrate a book for children but feared that it won't be possible if I need to draw one character a few times ha, ha ;)