A couple of months ago, I had an article in the Hillside-Quadra News, our local neighbourhood newspaper, and I mentioned when I posted about it here that I was thinking about doing a comic for them. I thought and thought, but didn’t know what to write about — I wanted to do something a little offbeat, from a different point of view. Then it dawned on me that I have been doing comics from a cat’s point of view— and Quadra Cats was born. I created this from start to finish during the weekend up in Whitehorse at Yukomicon — a very inspiring milieu it seems, because I’m very pleased with this.
So here it is, with some in-progress stuff:
The finished comic! I don’t usually do my comics in black and white, but I want to get better at this mode of drawing comics. It’s so elegantly simple, but hard to pull off right (for me, anyway). Created on 24-lb copy paper; I prefer this weight to 20-lb because of it’s opacity. It was the only paper I had taken with me, just 20 or so sheets in a folder to keep my luggage light, in case I needed to take notes or do a quick sketch. I used Pigma Micron pens, .02, .05, .08, after a light pencil sketch which was then erased after the ink was on.
First I had to write a story. It’s harder for me to write a one-pager then a multiple page story, but I keep at it, trying to get better. This image looks kind of blue because I was using a very pale pencil (4H), and used “automatic contrast” in Photoshop to bump up the lines so they’d be visible (I could do more to it and get rid of the blue, but I think this suffices to show the sketch. Besides, blue is pretty.
Then I needed to define my characters a bit more. Tux is based on my cat Mak (who has his own comic over there in the sidebar). Jazz is a bit like one of the neighbour cats, with whom the real-life Mak has a love-hate relationship. However, Tux and Jazz are best of friends. This was also in pencil, again treated to a click on the Auto Contrast.
And finally, our heroes in ink. I don’t have a name for the alien kitty yet.
The paper only comes out four times a year, but I think I’d like to do these guys more often, as I think of them. So watch for more of their adventures! Suggestions are welcome; I won’t guarantee I’ll use every idea, but if I do, you’ll get your name in the credits!
Name the alien cat contest? 😉
Now there’s a thought! Maybe after a couple of more strips. Eventually they’re going to have to introduce themselves to each other!
I LIKE it! It’s lively with its manageable cast of characters and they also speak good English (for cats and the young at heart alike).
I did a second take with one of the character’s names – “Tux”. That was also the name of a rescued Manx kitten I once upon-a-time helped to keep alive… “Tux’s mother” was killed on the highway and she left behind her a litter of 10 day old kittens. My friend, Joyce and I worked together to help save the babies – with goat’s milk served to the infants in pet feeding bottles to sustain their quests fir life.
Of course, of the four, I had a favourite – and I named him – “Tux Bono” (because Tux all on it’s own was ‘too little’). Tux and I spent some magical moments together as he and his litter-mates began to grow. This magical adventure grew with the kittens, all leading up to a most memorable day. I kept 2 of the babies with me. They were beautiful and loving little ones. But alas, this was only a few short weeks before I left Hot Springs, Montana to return home. With difficulty, I left Tux and his kin-folk with Tracy and her husband on their Ranch just outside of Hot Springs. The last I ever saw of Tux was him and a whole bevy of his pales playing in hay and pouring out of the barn’s loft just behind the main house. The scene reminded me of “Pinnochio” with all the kitten orphans clambering up the hay loft and then sliding down to the soft hay below. They were everything like happy little children.
A short time after I had the honour of telling the story of Tux Bono to a small group of children who, with the help of finger puppets, learned to visualize and love Tux Bono and his siblings as I did.
So! I like the gathering of your kittens, Karen. It’s a Universal and well-loved story
Thanks for the feedback, and thank you for the lovely story! Cats have always been a special part of my life, so I love hearing other people’s cat tales. The cats in the comic are speaking good English because it is in translation — they actually speak good Cat!
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