Wednesday, December 12, 2012
I was asked if I'd do a commission of my cats drawn as Precocious characters - and it kinda threw me at first. My cats can certainly inspire GREAT characters, and I would love writing a comic use such characters - be it them or someone based on them - but I do have an aversion writing real-life associates into comics. What if the comic is popular and runs for a few years - and what if something happens to one of my kitties. I'm not sure what I could do with the cat-inspired characters then. It'd be weird.
Well, I'm coming around. Maybe not a full-Precocizing, but I think drawing them as actual kitties might work. Anyway, none of those comicking issues matter for a one-shot commission. The thing holding that one up was me wondering if it would be weird or difficult to pull off. But once that idea got in my head, I could NOT abandon it. I love these thought exercises, and I had to see it through!
So here are my kitties in the Precocious style. I'll explain them all shortly. They look different ages here, but the point of this sketchbook page was to find their look, not settle on a drawing concept or design. I can age or de-age them as needed. I mean, it's not like it's all in sync. Root's the biggest one, but he's the second youngest. If you're wondering, Cleo is around 10 (may be older, I'm not sure), Penny is 8, Root's about 5 and Little Stuff's coming up to a year and half old. Anyway, on to the kitties and my thoughts on them.
Cleo - She had a rough childhood, spending much of it as a loner, and even though she's had it calm and cushy for a while, she's still very skittish and distrustful. She's smart, but also cynical. Even when she wants to cuddle and be sweet, she's not entirely sure how. Get close to her and she's growl and hiss to scare you off - although she's not mean at all, and won't hurt you. She's vulnerable and sweet when she lets her guard down. (She actually doesn't growl/hiss nearly as much as before - except to Root, but that's with good cause.) For her character, I had to scale back the darkness in her. She's all black, so I have to get creative. I decided to depict her as the mopey one, wearing baggy clothes and telling most who get near her to leave her alone.
Penny - This *my* cat. I raised her, and I broke her. Penny is like looking in a feline mirror sometimes, as she's intensely neurotic and self-destructive. She has major anxiety issues and freaks out when anything changes, or someone she doesn't trust is around. When she came out of the box at Animal Allies, everyone in the room gasped at how beautiful she was - but we were warned she LOVED to eat. They did not lie. This cat is all about food, and she's a copper-colored basketball. (Ok, not *that* bad - but that's the joke we use.) For her design, I made her a neurotic nerdy type. She's merely chubby here, because cats can handle a lot of extra weight before they cease to be totally adorable - and I'd rather preserve her cuteness with huggable curves. I drew her short, but she's the size of a regular cat - maybe even a bit above average - it's just that Cleo and Root are giants. Penny has tiny paws and a slightly shorter tail proportionately that the rest. I should note that this one, the most damaged of all cats, is the one everyone in this house fights over. We have shared custody. I get Penny during the week. The tenant's son gets to care for her during the weekend.
Root - He wasn't always the jerkwad he is now. Well, he was always a jerk, but also used to have a loving side. Then my brother decided to start letting Root outside, about three years ago, and somehow the cat transformed. He started spraying after that, despite being neutered very early on, and he's become far meaner. He annoys Cleo (who could probably kick his butt if she wanted) and picks on helpless Penny. He rarely cuddles now, choosing instead to raise hell (or spray) until let outside again. Root kinda sucks, and he's affirmed my stance on not adopting male cats if given the choice. (Root was a rescue from an about-to-be-torn-down cat colony. We saved him because he was stupid and fell asleep in the open, even though he knew I was there as I'd already tried to grab him twice.) For his look, I decided to go the bully jock route. I'm not sure I'm sold on the jersey colors, but that's easy enough to switch around. He has big boy cat paws and that squinty lion stare to him at times.
Little Stuff - Whenever we adopt a kitten, mom calls it "Little Stuff." This time, the name stuck around. Fortunately, she has remained smaller than the rest. Again, this means's she's regular size - but Cleo and Root skew perspective. She's the baby of the house - another rescue, by the way - and a total kitten. Her favorite thing is to do acrobatics on her cat tower. She runs around the house for no reason, wants to play with everyone and is intensely curious. She's also brings out the only redeeming quality in Root, as he'll play with her, while Cleo and Penny want no part of it. She's a sweetheart too, and a total delight to have around. So, yay, we have an undamaged cat. FINALLY! Mom, thank you for fighting off that other lady on the side of the road who wanted Little Stuff instead. (My mother keeps a can of wet cat food in he car JUST IN CASE this stuff happens.) Little Stuff was easy to design. She is a young child - must be younger than the rest - and I gave her a cute and innocent look. (She gives you those big-eyed "What? Me?" looks every time after she causes some destruction.)