Today I am going to talk about materials. Although I didn't laminate my Flat Cats, you may want to, and that will affect what kind of paper you'll want to use. It should be smooth since textured papers may leave little air pockets when laminated and not look right. That will rule out coloring with watercolors or acrylics since they require heavier, textured paper so it won't curl or pucker when painted on.
I just used cheap copier paper because my nicer papers weren't large enough and I didn't want to run to the store. You might be able to get away with paper that is 8.5x11 (standard letterhead size), depending on your pose. I used 11x17 paper.
For coloring, I suggest using either soft (chalk) pastels or colored pencils. Crayons don't smear and you can't go over the first layer again. Whatever you put down is what you are struck with. If you decide to try pastels, don't buy oil or hard pastels, or pastel pencils. They are not the same thing as soft pastels, and are hard to smear and work with. They also contain oil which could stain your flat cat.
Pastels blend really well.
Biggify to see how you can get soft edges in the fur
and sharp lines in the eyes with pastels.
We will go over these techniques later.
Make sure you have a good eraser. The cheap pink things remove paper as well as unwanted lines. Put fingers above and below where you want to erase so you don't crinkle the paper when erasing. Good quality erasers are only a couple bucks and are a great investment. I love kneaded erasers. When they get dirty, you tear them apart and smoosh them back together to clean them. I have fond memories of surreptitiously molding kneaded erasers into all kinds of animals under my desk in grammar school.
2 kinds of good erasers. To the left is a kneaded eraser.
(I always have a spare.)
While you might feel more comfortable with colored pencils, give some thought to soft pastels. They are inexpensive and fun to work with. They do produce a lot of dust and you will need to wash your hands often. I use the dust to smear the color around. It produces a nice, soft fur-like finish that you can't get with any other medium.
A relatively new set of soft pastels.
Its normal for them to break as they are used.
I don't advocate this brand, its just what I had.
I would pay attention to what colors are in the set,
try to find one with colors close to your cat if you can.
(I was disappointed with the tans in this set.)
Pastels break easily, but that is ok. You can use the sharp edge to define small areas and the broad side to fill in large areas. You can go over, rework and erase pastels. Since pastels smear easily, you have to be careful not to smear areas you don't intend to. And you will need to use a fixative when you are done.
Fixatives are notorious for changing pastels' colors.
Biggify and look at MMM's neck for large yellow patches.
The fixative did that.
Less obvious are the white patch on her neck
and the white areas on her legs and toes.
The fixative darkened the whites so they are quite subtle.
Aside from that, notice the softness to the colors,
look at her inner ear to see how well colors blend together.
Erasers, pastels, fixative (which I'll talk more about later) and paper, if necessary, are available in art supply or arts & crafts stores. Tomorrow we will continue with the steps after tracing your cat. Til then!