Sunday, June 16, 2013

How to Make a Flat Cat - Finishing

Hello, kitties!  The is the last of the "Flat Cat" series.  Today we'll talk about finishing our masterpiece.  You've drawn and colored your kitty and you will want to protect it in some way, especially if you've used pastels.


You can buy sheets of laminate, which you could use to protect photos as well, or you can use fixative made for pastels and other types of artwork.  If you want your flat cat to last awhile, I'd try the laminate.  Personally I haven't used it before, so I can't say how well it works.  My advice is to take a sheet of paper, scribble it with pastels and give it a try.  I can't think of why it wouldn't work and next time, I plan to use this method.

Laminate comes in different thicknesses and you only need a thin one to protect, so a 1 mil thickness would be ok.  If you can find a 5 or 10 mil, it might be thick enough to skip mounting the flat cat to cardboard.  I looked around and here is a link to laminate sheets.  Since it can be rolled, it must be the 1 mil laminate.
http://www.staples.com/Duck-Clear-Laminate-18-inch-x-8-Yards/product_825000

The adhesive and fixative I used.
I am not advocating any brands, just letting you see what they look like.
They are available at any arts & craft or art supply store.

There are 2 types of fixative, workable and final.  You want to use a final fixative.  As the names imply, you can continue coloring with a workable fixative but once the final fixative is applied, that's it, you're done.  Spread newspapers out and use in a well ventilated are.  I do it outside.  This stuff is dangerous, so follow the precautions.  Apply light coats, allow to dry between applications.  Unfortunately, the fixative will change your colors, mostly darkening the light areas, so that may be another reason to use a laminate.

If you look online, some people will tell you hairspray works as a final fixative.  NEVER USE HAIRSPRAY!  Hairspray has conditioners and oils in it that can blot and leave oil stains on your flat cat.  What a shame to put in all that time just to ruin it after you've finished.  Fixatives cost about the same as hairspray.  I have no idea why someone would do such a thing, maybe they don't care about quality or they think they are saving money.  Fixatives are specially formulated to spray evenly and are oil free.


The next step is to spray the back of your cat with adhesive and attach it to cardboard.  You could use poster board but don't use the cardboard with flutes in the middle.  They crush easily as does Foamcore.  There's a better grade of Foamcore called Gatorboard.  Gatorboard doesn't leave marks if a sharp edge or fingernail rubs against it like Foamcore does.  I personally don't care for either and think they are too thick.  I used the inside of a postal service mailing box.  (Hey, it was free, so the price was right!)

Again, follow the directions on the adhesive, and the same precautions apply.  I do this step outside too, spreading plenty of newspaper around.  I put another piece of cardboard over my cat when pressing down to adhere it to the board, just to spread the pressure around and protect the art.


Once the adhesive is dry, cut your cat out using an X-Acto knife, a box cutter or scissors.  Color the cut edges with a black Sharpie, and attach a stand.  You can buy single or double wing easel back stands, but you could make a stand as well.  Here's link to a stand:  http://www.officedepot.com/a/products/152217/ArtSkills-Easel-Backs-10-White-Pack/

That's it, you're done!  I've love to know if anyone makes a Flat Cat.  It's a big project if you are drawing your cats, but you can put their personalities into it by emphasizing or de-emphasizing characteristics, unlike a photo.  So, good luck, may the spirit of Techne be with you and guide you.  Thanks for staying with me during all these posts!


Unless there are specific areas you would like me to address, or a type of cat colored, this will be it.  Purrs!

15 comments:

meowmeowmans said...

We know we sound like a broken record, but you did a truly amazing job with these lessons! We LOVE your flat cats (almost as much as we love your real kitties)! :)

Sparkle the Designer Cat said...

This was a great project, but seriously, your work is exceptional! You have a special talent, for sure.

Sometimes, Cats Herd You said...

Those are just amazing! Thank you for sharing so much detail with us. The head peep was actually thinking they should be attached to foamcore, so you saved her from that mistake.

Katie Isabella said...

Your work IS exceptional. Very. I have followed along and I have to say I truly admire your creativity and the quality of your work.

Pat Hatt said...

Damn, you are grand at your land. I think that part I could actually do.

Brian said...

We are so impressed and the finished flats are just amazingly cool!!!

Annie Bear said...

I am still astonished how beautiful your flat cats. Of course you have some great kitties to draw but I just love the personal flourishes you added to make them truly unique.

Thank you for your note about Simba. Believe me, hearing from cat blogging friends really does help, knowing you're thinking and caring about us.

ABBY said...

Wow making a flat cat is a lot of work, but yours turned out beautifully.

da tabbies o trout towne said...

oui...THANX MEW mew veree much for postin all de posts... R big "lesson" wuz not ta start with dai$y....N carl...lookin good dood !!!! R mom bee wunderin if puzzle paste wood werk....like when ya get a puzzle done N ya wanna gloo it all two gether....itz cleer.....manee thanx onze again...we dunno if we will bee brave enuff ta show R flat cat....

The Island Cats said...

Your flats are really great. They almost look like the real cat! Thanks for showing us all how to make the flats. The mom says maybe when she has the time, she might try this. :)

Kitties Blue said...

Thanks again for this series of informative posts. I know it was a lot of work, and you did a great job of explaining and illustrating. Purrs and hugs, Lily Olivia, Mauricio, Misty May, Giulietta, Fiona, Astrid, Lisbeth and Calista Josette

Texas, a Cat in New York said...

My human has been saving the entire series to read together (hopefully next weekend!) - that's why we didn't comment on the others :-/
Purrs

The Furries of Whisppy said...

We're late getting here but we're glad we made it or we would have missed the finishing!
Great tutorial!

Gracie=^o.o^= said...

OMC! I need to catch up on your classes. This is exactly what I need the mom to do for me.
Thanks for posting.
You need to let the TCC members know you have this information available.

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

We mus MIEOW, Your mom makez Eggcellent flatcatz!!! but we wunderz...... iz she goin sumwhere???? ( maybe sum house trashin iz comin down da pike ^.,^)

♥♥♥xoxoxo♥♥♥