Sunday, June 9, 2013

How to Make a Flat Cat - Coloring


You have drawn and outlined your flat cat and now you are ready to personalize it by coloring.  There are a number of media I like, but colored pencils and soft pastels would be the easiest for an inexperienced artist.  One of the fun things is experimenting with color.  Your can use unconventional colors in the same way the Impressionists did.  Here is how I colored Julie's head above.

I apologize in advance for the photos.  On my phone the colors looked really dark, when I posted them, they looked really light.  Please enlarge so you can see more clearly strokes and the effects of smearing.  My own Julie flat cat was very cartoon like, but I'd like to show you how to use pastels.

 I erased most of the lines leaving just enough to guide me.  I blocked the dark areas out in light blue.  I got the idea to use blue from the little old ladies who used bluing to make their hair whiter.  MOL
 I added a background for contrast so you could see it better.  I rubbed my fingers on the pastel and swirled the color into place.  See how nice and soft it is?  A great technique for the face.
 Its a messy affair.  You need to shake the dust off your picture into the trash and wash your hands often.  When you use a pastel over color already laid down, you will need to wipe the pastel too.
I've put dark blue strokes in the darkest areas .  I'm using more color than needed because the final step will be added white strokes.  Smear strokes as needed.  I'm using a dark purple for the darkest parts.
I've smeared to blend some areas then gone over with large sweeping strokes in white.  Strokes should flow in the direction of the fur.  Experiment with varying the pressure, use less, more, or starting out heavy and ending light.
 I could end it here, but its not the 1960's
I've taken my meds and they've kicked in.

I've swirled my finger on a grey pastel and gone over the medium dark areas.  I'd like to keep some of the blues and purples.
 I've added pink to the lightest areas (still leaving the whitest areas paper white), added more grey.
 I've blended, smeared and added more pink.
I've added grey strokes, and worked on the ears and eyes.
I have no idea how I made this picture this shape!  I added a lot of white strokes which tones down the other colors.  And I've needed to wipe the white pastel off often.  A sharp edge will give a narrow stroke and a wider edge a softer, wider one.
This is the final product.  I've added some grey around the eyes and a few strokes.  I could continue refining it by working on the whisker holes on her whisker humps and a few other areas, but I think you get the general idea. 

By starting with blue and purple, I wanted to show you how easy it was to change the entire look of your kitty so you wouldn't be afraid to experiment and try new things.  I almost never use black.  I think you get a much richer look by using other colors.  I block out the darks first, then start adding color.  Think of and follow the bone structure under the fur.  When doing your kitty, keep your strokes flowing in the direction the fur grows.  The softer areas you can add color with your finger tip.

I think next I'll talk about finishing, then come back to coloring tabbies, unless you want tabbies first.  Let me know in the comments. Do you have any particular question?  I will be covering eyes after tabbies.

My Julie flat cat wasn't nearly as detailed as the head I did above and more cartoon like, I wanted to give you an idea of the range of techniques you could use.

26 comments:

Katie Isabella said...

I absolutely do admire you and all you have done to accomplish your flat cats. You have a great deal of talent. Serous talent. Xxooxx

Katie Isabella said...

I absolutely do admire you and all you have done to accomplish your flat cats. You have a great deal of talent. Serous talent. Xxooxx

meowmeowmans said...

Wow, Mom Paula! Your flat cats are the best, and we, too, are amazed at your artistic talent. :)

Mark's Mews (Ayla, Iza, and Marley) said...

TBT draw a cat? You got to be kidding. He can barely draw a straight line if he photos one and then traces it. The only 2 things he can draw are generic fish and a vaguely mammal-like something probably not seen for 50 million years. His cats and dogs are generally indistinguishable and sort of theoretical. He tried to draw a dog in Pictionary once and everyone thought it was a doe. MOL!

Mark's Mews (Ayla, Iza, and Marley) said...

Oh, and you know that Kids Page feature in the Sunday newspaper comics where they show kids how to draw simple animals with circles and simple shapes? He cant do those!

Mark's Mews (Ayla, Iza, and Marley) said...

And, not to leave TOO many comments, but TBT went to Target and found the bowls yer Mom mentioned. The new ones are deeper than we would like, but we sure thank yer Mom for thinking of us and the bowls.

Cheri Wildcatwoods said...

You make it look soo easy!

cats of wildcat woods

The Furries of Whisppy said...

I can't believe how easy you make it look. Having 2 tabbies, I would love to see how you'll color tabbies first before the finishing. :)

Sparkle the Designer Cat said...

You are very creative, and you make it look easy. I get the feeling it isn't quite that easy for most humans! Mine could do it, if she were flat-cat inclined, but she took years of art classes as a kid and teenager, which included - yes! - soft pastels.

Sometimes, Cats Herd You said...

Seeing the process you go through and how the colors layer together to make the final process is amazing. We're looking forward to seeing how you did the tabbies (since we have Ashton here), but the head peep isn't sure she's brave enough to take on pastels.

Marg said...

Wow, that is one great tutorial about how to do the flat cats. You did such a good job on it. Love the colors.Take care.

The Island Cats said...

You are a real artist and your flat cats are looking so great! The mom says hers would look like stick figures. MOL!

Brian said...

That is so nice and so fancy! We are quite impressed!!!

Pat Hatt said...

You make it look so easy, even with colorful fingers haha Pat would screw up this part big time.

The Meezers or Billy said...

wow you are furry talented!!! our the mom could nefur do something so beautiful!

Hannah and Lucy said...

Your flat cats are great - there's as much chance of Mum doing that as us winning the lottery - even sewing one button on takes days of anticipation!
Luv Hannah and Lucy xx xx

Layla Morgan Wilde ( Cat Wisdom 101) said...

This takes flat cats to a whole new level!

Cathy Keisha said...

HAH! When it comes to drawing, TW is a failure at stick figures! That's why there's a Plush CK. No muss, no fuss, no talent needed. Yours is beautiful. You are tres talented.

da tabbies o trout towne said...

R questshun iz if yur mom iz knot teachin art classs N gettin paid ...why iz her knot....her doez furtastic werk !! if we had a art class rite her we could never due this good..we gived up on alien dai$y and thought sauce wood be a good eye dea coz him iz just black and white...uh....well.....ok then....we due like de get R handz dirtee part tho !!! thanx for de advise heer, we can keep on tryin N hope for sum thin ta kinda sorta look like a kitteh...may bee !!!

ABBY said...

This has been an outstanding tutorial thank you for explaining this so well.

Caren Gittleman said...

You are one SERIOUSLY talented lady, you should make these and sell them! You really need to go back to your art work my furiend, you are SUPER TALENTED!
And...the patience to blog about each step? WOW!
xoxoxo

Tom, Tama-Chan, Sei-Chan, Bibi-Chan, Gen-Chan, Vidock, Violette said...

Most impressive, and beautiful, but #1 says that t looks rather beyond her (low) level of artsy competence.

Purrs,
The Chans

Avalon's Garden and Mewsings of Garden Cottage Cats said...

we thinkz your mom iz a furry good artist ^.,^ she did EXCELLENTAE' job on Julie! da mom luvz it, she sayz it remindz her ov Penelope..... ♥♥
We jus wunderin...., when your mom getz done makin flat catz iz she goin somewhere????? ^..^

Headbuttz~ ^.,^ x5 ♥♥♥xoxoxo

Kitties Blue said...

Mommy has enjoyed watching you create, but says we shouldn't hold our breaths 'cause the chance of her doing this is less than none. She will continue to follow; though, as she may ask a friend to do a flat kitty for her. Purrs and hugs from the kitties at The Cat on My Head, Lily Olivia, Mauricio, Misty May, Giulietta, Fiona, Astrid, Lisbeth and Calista Josette.

Spitty-the-Kitty said...

The only way my Human could do this is if you did it for her. HA HA HA!

Willow said...

That was some awesome blending to make the color of a flat self. It is well beyond anything Mom could do for me.