Oh, how nice that was! Finally an assignment to make an illustration. I had actually caused the assignment myself, because I had thought of making a Zine (mini magazine) for all host families of the kitten shelter where I took in kittens. Due to the corona, our drink was always postponed and then eventually canceled. But it was nice to end the year together, especially after all the sick kittens we've had in our care over the past few months. The Zine turned out great, many nice reactions. Unfortunately, it is not for the general public. But I can share some of my work with you. Our first kitten of this year, Floris, was almost ready to spread his wings when it turned out that he was very ill. In the end, the vet found what he has, namely FIP. A deadly disease for cats. I will discuss FIP further on the cat blog, because there is now a treatment that is relatively unknown and difficult. For now I will tell you more about Floris, because he was given the opportunity to write a column for the Zine!! Includes an illustration! Here's his very first column:
I am Floortje! No, wait a minute, I turn out to be a Floris after all. Yes, I'm Floris, nice! I seem to be a kitten from the Kitten&Co Foundation. I have no idea, but I'm having a good time here. Although, I had a really hard time in the beginning when I met Tirza and Jaylee, what a ladies they were! I wasn't even allowed to hang in their tails or hotelbottle over them, which is something I love to do. And I was suddenly no longer allowed to hang a human leg. Really super big bullshit. But on the other hand, I got a whole room full of toys, a bowl of delicious food every day and lots of hugs. Later Jaylee, Tirza and I became the best of friends! What more could a Floris want?!? In the weeks that I stayed here, my friends suddenly left one by two. I still don't know where they went. I was left alone, something I actually liked, because I didn't feel very well. And now that I slept so well, this turned out not to be good either... I was supposed to be annoying, my human said. It's never good, I thought, and slept on. We went to the doctor the next day and after some examinations my human suddenly started crying. I was too tired to react to it and dived back into my travel basket, I had seen it again. Later, people explained to me that I had FIP, but that she was going to pick something up for me in Bergen op Zoom tomorrow. She was gone all day the next day, so I could sleep well in my warm basket above the stove. In the evening, people came to see me again and gave me an injection. I thought it was all cut and after a mountain of hugs went back to bed. After four days of injections I already felt a lot better! Now I didn't sleep that much anymore, I found it getting a bit boring in my room. My human had thought of that. I made trips to the big house. I really loved it and asked if I didn't have to go back to my private room at night. Fortunately, people and their fellow human beings were happy with that. I still get a shot every night, I have no idea how many people still want to give, but I'm fine with it. Every night she calls me the valiant knight, leader of the FIPwarriors, and I think that's the most beautiful name for me.
Floris is made on Fabriano drawing paper 200gr. I first made a rough sketch which I then traced using a light box on the drawing paper. Fabriano's paper (loose) is really one of my favorites, although you have to be careful not to work too wet. I'm thinking of looking for heavier paper from the same brand.
I first masked the legs, head and the holes and leather straps so that they remained neat. I then colored Floris with Van Gogh's watercolor paint. This works perfectly for setting up a base. Then I started with the shadows of the armor. I then left the drawing alone for a while. Sometimes the illustration needs to dry thoroughly.
The next day I continued with the harness. After it was dry, I brushed off the masking fluid and started with the face and leather straps. This time with my Inktense watercolor pencils from Derwent. This allows me to work in much more detail. Floris' mask has a yellow background, so first make the entire face (excluding the white spots) yellow. Then set up the tabby drawing layer by layer. I dyed the leather pieces with red-brown, the longer ones on the side overflow from brown to red. After the drawing had dried thoroughly, I started outlining the illustration with a dip pen and ink from Daler Rowney. The cool gray for the harness and the sepia for the leather straps. The head is lined with a fineliner that I used very lightly. I didn't want to use inky black lines, so the anthracite gel pen also played its part. :-) It is a pity that they are always so quickly unusable because the pen has dried out. If you have any tips for that, let me know! I lined the legs with a regular pencil. Weird choice perhaps, but the most beautiful effect. For the bottom, I chose grass. I didn't want it to attract too much attention so with little detail. I did add shade. Not by smearing gray on it, but blue. This makes the green darker and you get a shadow effect without a hard gray cloud. I'm glad I chose this line, it makes the whole look friendlier and could be used in a children's book! To be repeated!
And here is Floris in real life, on his own castle...