sketch diary, 12/22

December 22nd, 2006 | Uncategorized

longest night closeup copy

I’m experimenting with different kinds of paper and pens, but haven’t come up with a combo I really like yet. For this drawing, I used one of those fancy brush pens. I like how freely it moves, but I can’t get enough detail with it. And for some reason I keep doing the sketch diary drawings on tracing paper. I think that gives me the illusion that it’s only a draft, even though it’s not. Next time I’ll try to commit to bristol board from the get go.longest night

37 Responses to “sketch diary, 12/22”

  1. Ellen O. says:

    It’s amazing how much the kind of pen or brush affects the tone of the art. This piece reminds me of another cartoonist from the ’40’s. I’ll have to look him up. For some odd reason, I’m really drawn to the door in panel 3. Looks like a stage set.

    The conversations we have with our cats…

  2. Angi says:

    Haha. I have one of those, too.

  3. Deb says:

    So do I! But at least this one only sits there and stares. Mine jumps on my stomach then plays with my nose. ARGH!

  4. Alex K says:

    Chalk up one more cat who, when she smells smoke the NEXT time, will just say “The hell with it.”

  5. Sarah B says:

    Is there some sort of lunar activity at the moment because this is my cat as well (same cat who is now busy destroying gifts…)?

  6. Jana C.H. says:

    I like those brush pens, too. One can do better detail if the point doesn’t get frayed. I keep one brush that I use only for detail work, so the point doesn’t wear out as quickly.

    When I draw with pencil (my favorite medium) I’m always doing erase-and-correct, erase-and-correct. My drawing was much more spontaneous when I was younger. So for me the brush is discipline: once I start putting marks on the paper, I’m committed. I have to go with whatever’s there. Sometimes the drawings turn out horrible, and sometimes they turn out good. The truly horrible ones I throw away.

    The technique is especially good for rehersal sketches (which I do every year for the Seattle Gilbert and Sullivan society) because I have draw quickly in order to catch people on the fly.

    Jana C.H.
    Saith Floss Forbes: If you don’t know the tune, sing tenor.

  7. patrick says:

    I like the medium, at least as an experiment. It brings interesting shapes into your work that I don’t usually see.

    I had a cat like that once. Actually I still do. But now we’ve trained him to stay off the bed. 10 years ago, though, when he was a lad and I was in rehearsals for my first (and only) folk opera performance, I was crazy anxious all the time, barely sleeping, and he was doing just exactly what this cat is doing. Maybe that’s why opera singers are such emotional wrecks… their cats torment them in the weeks before opening night.

    LOVE the sketch diary. Thank you!


  8. Rohmie says:

    I usually use one of those Vis-a-Vis overhead projection pens to mimic brushwork. The conical foam tips are soft enough to do that by varying the pressure, yet firm and pointy enough that you maintain enough control to do detail work. The only drawback is that they are designed to be water soluble, so they are easy to smudge when it’s humid. My solution is to make photocopies. If it’s a long term work, I photocopy it in stages and I often wind up inking on top of copies.

  9. louise g says:

    I have been wanting a Pentel BrushPen for christmas. This blog had a link to, where I learned about one Jen Wang at who produces some ridiculously gorgeous illustration and says that’s what she uses. On further investigation I found a page with some nice comparisons of brushpens, here:

  10. dgll says:

    I love this cat’s expressions. He reminds me so much of mine. Once when he was being an especially bad kitty, I put him outside and he didn’t come back until the next day. I was worried that he might have just left us but he walked right in the next morning. I imagine his expression was the same as this cat in the last panel, as if to say: “This really isn’t so bad. We need a little time apart anyway.”

  11. mlk says:

    a night in the life of a cat owner! my fur girl would give me no peace if I had her on the wrong side of a door. where’d you put Julia, in the basement?!!??!

  12. judybusy says:

    The cat wanted to be let out all along. Alison has just reinforced its bad behavior. You’ve got a smart one, there.

  13. sturdy grrl says:

    I like your cat and that is that.

  14. Alexandra says:

    Hello Alison,

    Fabulous sketches. I love the cat’s expression in second panel! Those pens are difficult, but once you get into the groove of pressure/movement, you’ll love them. Very juicy, very intense. A joy to play with.

    Congratulations about your book in Time magazine, by the way. Excellent news! Hopefully London will see you more often in the future. (It’s a shame you missed Marjane Satrapi’s reading at the ICA, you would have probably enjoyed it.)

    I’m jamming everything in one post, can’t keep track of all the threads.

    My vote goes for Lois. Or a Lois-Mo merger. Sydney’s too much like myself, as my girlfriend annoyingly points out.

    Warm cuddles from London, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and your loved ones.

  15. --MC says:

    One word: Moleskine. Get one of those Moleskine sketch books and a reliable travel pen, and you can draw diary comics whenever the mood strikes, wherever.
    Our cat has been lobbying for more food in her dish in the middle of the night, and like a fool I caved in last night. I put a miniscure bit of kibble in her bowl and said, “What do you say?” She replied “Nyah”, and ate it up, and I could go back to sleep.

  16. The Fact Lady says:

    The longest night of the year was that night. Winter solstice.

  17. Maggie Jochild says:

    LOVE all the experimentation with medium and form — or rather, the fact that you’re sharing it with us. This blog is the best.

    My Domestic Shorthair Wackjob Dinah wants me to point out that, as usual, humans are missing the existential lesson which cats struggled to pass on to us, generation after generation: Closed doors are Evil.

  18. Maggie Jochild says:

    P.S. — Sturdy Grrl, how lovely to have you among us. You are very entertaining. Thanks ever so, JudyBusy, for introducing us.

  19. Colino says:

    I think Judybusy has got it right. Typical of cats: you can only make them do what they want, to make them do what you want is near impossible.

    A bit of news about the Angoulême festival: the 2006 prizewinner, Trondheim, will be president of the jury for the 2007 edition and his line of thought regarding the event is this: “take the pictures off the wall and show the authors at work. Let people understand that in itself, it’s not something difficult to do comics, that anybody can make it. It’s not for nothing that the poster shows a fist and a pencil: it means power to drawing.”
    He wants to break the routine of the prizes: there will still be a prize for the best album, but not for the best story, the best drawings etc… those will be replaced by five “essentials” (whatever that means).
    As for the members of the jury, Trondheim says: “I didn’t want to pick friends and impose a vision. I prefered extremes. If those six manage to agree, that’ll mean the books they have chosen are really good.”

  20. beth says:

    Ah, but my cat does not think closed doors are evil, but rather open doors are meant to be walked through. If this means the human must rise and open the door, then so be it.

  21. Jennifer says:

    When the sun comes up my kitty:

    1. sits outsite the bedroom door and yowls
    2. comes in the room and claws the mattress
    3. when I go to grab her, runs away
    4. comes back and claws the mattress
    5. when I grab her and get her on the bed, stands on my chest
    6. eventually sits on my belly then moves between my legs
    7. passes out between my legs
    8. when I turn over she wakes up and runs away
    9. I fall asleep and then wake up 90 minutes after my alarm goes off
    10. I have been late to work for the past two years.

  22. AnnaP says:

    Love the look of the cat in the 2. panel.

    We have the strangest cat ever. He actually likes to sleep in the staircase on the hard wooden floor. And he is convinced that if he doesn`t go outside at 6 in the morning to check out the neighbourhood something evil is going to happen. This morning he was yawning and looked really tired but left anyway. Such a responsible young man.

  23. Pam Isherwood says:

    Don’t you have cat flaps over there?

  24. --MC says:

    My cat has cat flaps, but that’s because I feed her extra food in the middle of the night.

  25. Carol says:

    My cat Filbert sleeps curled around my head. That is acceptable, and even kind of sweet. But when he decides to move to another part of the bed to launder his ears at night, it makes me crazy. I can sleep through the sound of violent thunderstorms, but the ear routine is impossible.

  26. Actually, I do have a cat flap on the bedroom door. What I really did was shove the cat into the hall, close the bedroom door, then place a basket of socks in front of the cat flap so she couldn’t get back in. But I couldn’t fit all that in four panels.

  27. At least Filbert isn’t laundering your ears.

  28. Sonya says:

    Aww, kitty! You’re lucky that you have a kitty that will *let* you close the door — both my cats would make all sorts of hideous noises, to the point where I’d *rather* have the stompling in bed.

    One of them, Bill, comes into the bedroom at dawn going, “merrAAH? merrAAH?” until one of us eventually gets up to feed him, and if we try to squirt him with water he’ll scatter for about sixty seconds and then start in again with the “merrAAH? merrAAH?” He’ll also walk over our pillows/heads/bodies while he is doing this. And if that doesn’t work, the other one, Emily, will hop up on my dresser and will start knocking shit off of it so that it clatters on the wood floor. If we’re lucky we get to sleep until 6:30, but sometimes it is more like 6:00 or 5:00 or even 4:00.

    They’re cute. I love cats.

  29. mlk says:

    Lydia (my fur girl) attempts to open a closed door — that’s what drives me crazy!! she’s very persistent . . . like her human companion. and because she’s able to open doors that aren’t properly latched she’ll attempt to open anything.

    I’ve trained her — or think I’ve trained her — not to wake me up in the middle of the night to be fed. the irritable, chasing her off the bed routine didn’t work. had more success when I started calmly telling her that it wasn’t time to eat, this was sleep time, and then told her to lie down (stroking her all the while). I wouldn’t let her budge me from bed until at least 6:00 AM.

    she’s gotten past waking me up every night and generally doesn’t pester me before 6:00. but she still curls up on the back of my legs after she’s eaten (and I’ve gone back to bed) which is a perfect excuse not to get up!!

  30. judybusy says:

    It’s official. This blog is worse than smack. I usually don’t get on the computer on the weekend–too busy actually living. But I HAD to see what everyone is saying. Glad I did–laughed out loud at Jennifer and Carol’s cat stories. There is a charming book, The Autobiography of Foudini M. Cat that cat lovers will appreciate…very light reading and you will see parts of your cat on every page.

    Maggie–I quite agree sturdy grrl is a great addition. We work on the same floor, but have talked more to each other in the past two days since the however many months we’ve been sorta co-workers! Is this what “they” mean by the internet building community? Pathetically enough, we IM each other about the blog while we’re supposed to be working.

    Fact Lady–thanks for the reminder we are now on the upswoop to Spring!

    The rest of the weekend and Monday are all about family (a good thing in my world) so I will be checking in Tuesday. Happiness and peace to all!

  31. Straight Girl Fan says:

    I’m still giggling over the line, “If I go insane, I won’t be able to feed you.”

  32. Danyell says:

    I agree with Ellen O. The brush pen gives more anger.

    I can only appreciate the humor here to a small extent. Since I’m not a cat person, I don’t “get” cats.

  33. Katie says:

    I find that the Faber-Castell PITT brush pens are the best. They last the longest, and are the truest black. They’re also awesome for details compared to other brush pens, because they have a “harder” tip.

    Working double-size with a brush pen aids in the “angry” lines as well…

    (From someone who does all her inking in brush pens.)

  34. Willendorf says:

    Ellen O. Says:

    “It’s amazing how much the kind of pen or brush affects the tone of the art. This piece reminds me of another cartoonist from the ’40’s. I’ll have to look him up. ”

    Peter Arno. You’re thinking of Peter Arno. Or at least I am.

  35. Hannah says:

    Hi…some will remember me from the strip blog as the idiot with 40 cats. Take what Allison’s cat is doing and multiply by 40. Arrggh!
    The worst by far is Booboo. He is white, with a little black cap of fur on his head, a black tail, and a black spot like a belly button on his fat belly. His real name is Budha, however it degenerated to Booboo pretty quick.
    This is what Booboo does….
    Chirrups…licks noses…pats faces…plays with necklaces..and drools…and here’s the catch–all at one time! It is IMPOSSIBLE to sleep with him in the room, and impossible to put him out because he will rattle the door for hours.
    And he isnt the only cat shakin’ the door. I swear I have seen the doorknob shift and half turn! We have compromised on keeping the worst door shakers in with us and leaving the rest in the living room.
    I cant remember the last time I made love WITHOUT two cats minimum sitting on my butt during….
    Any body wanna adopt a cat or six?
    I love them all though. The pound will kill them the same day, and the no kill shelters have a 2 – 5 year wait list. I AM a no kill shelter at this point! Just not accepting any more, and waiting for time and natural attrition to lower the population pressure.
    Love the strip. Allison! And I like the brush work. Keep experimenting!
    Yeah, almost all are indoor cats due to living in a neighborhood with a very busy dangerous road, and pitbulls living down on the corner. The house work is insane, my decor is early plastic lawn chair, but my house does stay clean and relatively smell free, believe it or not, but we work very hard at it. You do know I have animals, but we keep it clean enough to not be offensive. No one with pet allergies can visit though. We vacuum the equivilant of several more cats worth of fur a day. Thankgod most are short haired!

  36. mysticriver says:

    Ellen O. and Willendorf, beat me to it. Definitely Peter Arno!

    Ooooh…I love when this blog gets all arty…

    (Love those brush pens, too!)

  37. Dylan Edwards says:

    I’m going to second the Faber-Castell PITT brush pens. Best ink, best nib, and very easy to control. It would be extremely dangerous for my art supply budget if the Faber-Castell people started making different sizes of brush pen. Marvy LePlume is good, too, if you want a fatter brush.