Sunday, June 2, 2013

How to Make a Flat Cat, Part I

Kitties, this is the mom.  Much to their chagrin, the kitties here had to acknowledge they couldn't help much making flat cats, except for snoopervising.  So you are stuck with me.  I had to promise them I would behave and also lots of crab and ham.

Our Flat Cats.

I suggest you work from a photo of your cat.  It will help you with the correct proportions and colors.  You want your flat cat to have a wide base so it will be stable, so poses sitting up and laying down are best.  I've found some good images by looking up "white cats" through Google Images.

Nice wide base, good shot of face.
Good shot if you are going to use a photo.

The base of this may have to be modified a little.  Good if you are going to try drawing the kitty.

This is good, the feet and tail will make a nice base.  Perhaps the small dark area behind the front feet could be modified and filled in with fur if you are drawing, but it would work as a photo too.

This cutie would need some modification, especially on the left side,
and the paws could be pulled in a little.
Best used as a drawing.

I am going to start with the easiest way and work up to free hand drawing.

The easiest way, of course, is to enlarge a photograph to the size you want the flat cat to be.  If your photo becomes pixelated or you can't blow it up large enough to suit you, then you will need to be a little more creative.

The next easiest way is to blow up a photo in black and white on a copier then color it to match your kitties.  If you have a photo you love, try blowing it up on the copier at work.  Your employer will love this!  When you have it to the proper size, then its ready for coloring.

If you don't have a photo to use, try Googling "white cats" and look for a kitty with the same basic body shape as yours that can be colored to look like your cat.  Then blow it up.  A dark contrasting background helps.

Perhaps you are a little more creative and would like to draw your kitties, but don't feel very confident about your abilities.  You can again blow up a photo to the right size then tape it up in a window, tape a blank sheet of sheet over it and then trace it.  Perhaps you have a projector and can project the image on a wall then trace it that way.  Maybe you could trace it very gently and carefully on your monitor.

Then there is free hand drawing, but I am going to cover that in another post.  We are going to go back to tracing the image because I think most people would feel more comfortable doing that.

Here I've enlarged a photo of Julie with a dark background so it was easy to see her image while tracing, like the white cats at the beginning of this post.
Here I've traced a photo of MMM.

Here are the tracings when I took them down.  Notice I did the outlines and a few features only.

I forgot to take a photo of Carl's tracing when it was in the window.  I really don't think this one works because it doesn't have a wide base, but I am going to use it to show coloring techniques, so I am not worried about that.

I then removed the tracings and firmed up the lines while studying the original photo and the copy I traced from.

So here is Julie's head.  I am going to use it to show you how to shade.
 I really like how MMM's face came out.  Please biggify these to get a closer look of the amount of detail.  And sorry, but I have a very scratchy style of drawing (figures), which I've tried to minimize.  I couldn't see where her hind leg went from the photo, but I just tried to lightly indicate the approximate location.
I've drawn 2 possibilities for Carl's base.  One has his tail wrapped around to the front and the other shows his hind paw and leg.  Remember, one of the great things about drawing is you get to do it your way, and no one can tell you it is wrong.  So you can change whatever you like to how you'd like it and that is ok.  I've always felt if you want a piece of art to look like a photo, take a picture.

Notice in the last set of drawings I have taken the time to firm up the lines, the eyes, the nose, etc.  This is the time when you work out all those details.  Use a number 2 pencil, and draw lightly.  Enlarge the photos to see my heavy, dark lines are many light ones.  And use a decent eraser, not that horrid pink thing at the end of your pencil!

A couple tricks I learned in my college drawing classes many life times ago are:   One, look at your drawing upside down and two, look at it in a mirror.  You are looking critically for irregularities, like crooked eyes, one side of the mouth not matching the other and things of that nature.  Since you traced, you shouldn't have many of these issues, but you should check for them anyway.

Take a little time to think about what you'd like to do and how you'd like to do it, but don't start until we have covered materials.  Tomorrow I will talk about materials, coloring media and erasers, then we'll cover drawing without tracing, coloring/ shading and then final assembly.  Please forgive me for not doing comments while I write this series, I have a lot of work to do!  But if you have questions, leave a comment and I'll answer them.


BTW, We are hosting an event at the Tabby Cat Club today, "What Makes My Home Town Special", so pop on by to read all about some pretty wonderful places!


GLOGIRLY said...

I remember your flat cats from least I think I do...and they were FABULOUS!!! So well done, so clever.
: ) Glogirly

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

Wow, we learned something new, thanks!

Summer at said...

Your human is very talented and creative! Mine won't do a flat of me, because I have told her I prefer being mysterious.

P.S. My human looks at HERSELF in the mirror and sees crooked eyes and one side of her mouth not matching the other - and she isn't even a drawing!

Cats Herd You said...

This is great! Our head peep didn't think about tracing us. Her freehand drawing is.... well, let's just say that stick figures wouldn't adequately convey Ashton's curvy figure.

Marg said...

Wow, those are some wonderful instructions for making flat cats. What a good idea. They look just terrific. Hope you have a great day.

The Furries of Whisppy said...

Looking at how much drawing this needs, Mommy is going to have to stick with photos. She's lousy when it comes to drawing or even just tracing!
Even so, we look forward to the next parts because it's really very interesting.

Katie Isabella said...

I love these instructions. Mom is lazy and won't do it I don't think but...if she does, she has the excellent instructions to use. I would love to see a flat version of me.

Carl will be totally manly in his and Julie..she is so feminine looking. MMM will look mahvuluss!

Ditto on G+. Yuk.

The Island Cats said...

Thanks for the flat cat lesson! The mom says yours at BlogPaws were really great! But she also says she can't even draw a straight line! So she's not sure about drawing one herself. Maybe blowing up a photo will work...or hiring you to make us flat! :)

Pat Hatt said...

Great step by step indeed. Sadly pat couldn't even do that. His stick men don't even look good haha

Brian said...

WOW! Great instructions, and I am glad someone else made the flat me instead of my Dad MOL!

Team Tabby said...

Very good written instructions and detailed drawings, excellent. Thanks so much.

Annie Bear said...

Oh my. Well, first, great lessons. I'm very impressed by your talents, but that's coming from someone who couldn't even trace when she was a kid in the dreaded arts and crafts classes. Also, if I were to trace Annie, that would lead to a new meaning of your "wide base" term.

da tabbies o trout towne said...

carl N crew...manee thanx for de falt cat hintz....we trooul like de step bout copyin frum werk !!! tee :)

sinz we iz layin down N all de time...we will make grate base models for sur !!!

hope everee one haza mega mackerull monday N thanx again !!

da tabbies o trout towne said...

N how bout if we spell rite: FLAT and TROO LEE knot falt and what ever trooul iz....


wowie you are extraordinarily talented. Mom nearly got lost on tracing!

Cat and DOG Chat With Caren said...

It is incredibly kind of you to take all of this time to teach everyone this! Now I know who to refer to for when I need some done the next time!

meowmeowmans said...

Great job with those instructions, The Mom! We think the flat kittehs you made are AWESOME. You are SO talented! :)

Kitties Blue said...

I have a neuro-muscular disease and can't draw a lick or trace because of trembling. Will their be other methods and instructions? Thanks for putting this very detailed list of instructions together. Janet

Cat Tee Mission said...

Very creative! Love these instructions, your flat cats sound fab! :)

Ellen Whyte said...

That's a LOT of work! have a good trip.

Sweet Purrfections said...

Great lesson! Our mom needs to do another Flat Brulee because the one she did is a little blurry!

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

WOW! dat sure iz sum tootorial! ^..^ do you getz to color at wurkz too ??? ^..^
owr mom iz jus too tired SHE sayz, WE call it lazy ^.,^ she sayz she'll jus carry in her iriver thingy ..... ^..^

Special Kissiez fur MMM ^.,^ from her bff Lolly ♥♥♥xoxoxo

Fur Everywhere said...

Our mom likes the tracing idea, and she totally forgot you could trace by putting it in the window!

Anonymous said...

I was a bit worried when I read the title, BOL!
My biped is going to try this. Your drawings are lovely.