I’ve been thinking about seasons and cycles lately; not only the natural ones, but personal and cultural ones. I have noticed that one of my sets of seasons consists of art challenges: February is Opus Practice, July is (as of this year) Zooly, and October is Inktober! I look forward to these with the same anticipation I give to spring flowers, beach vacations, and carving jack-o-lanterns (and oddly, the times coincide!).
I’m one week into Inktober, and thought I’d share what I’ve done so far. I chose a project this year: “Alien Cat’s Compendium of Galactic Felines”. This will be a companion piece to my Quadra Cats books and webcomic. I decided to work primarily in brushpen, because that’s something I want to get better at, and that’s what art challenges are all about. I’m working on 5.5 x 5.5 inch pieces of smooth bristol paper (Strathmore), which I’ve pre-cut so that I can just go in the studio and grab one each day without any fuss.
The other thing I’m challenging myself to do this time is to get to work in the morning. Confession time: I’m a terrible slug in the early part of the day, and have a tendency to veg away some hours that could be very useful for getting more art done. So far I’ve managed to start work on each of these drawings while sipping my morning tea. Which is usually before noon, heh.
I haven’t scanned any of these yet, just been taking photos with my iPhone to post on my social media, so that is how they appear here. If you’d like to keep up with them daily, you can follow them on Instagram and the Quadra Cats Facebook page.
From Alien Cat’s Compendium of Galactic Felines:
“The Mercats of the water-world Wet are a soggy bunch, but their credits are good. Principal exports: fish-bone jewelry set with the rare blue pearls of the giant eye-clam. Their sushi takeout is unsurpassed in the Feline Federation.”
“The Centaur Cats of the third moon of Sagittarius 4 are a wild, nomadic species when at home in the harsh mountain climate along the steep west coast of the northern continental mass. In space, they are renowned as savvy traders, always on the lookout for new market frontiers. They offer tours of their mountains for those hardy souls who wish to escape the ennui of modern galactic life.”
“The Krakenpuss of the planet Toebeania is a playful sort, though not overly bright. Generally solitary in nature, these felines gather at the winter and summer solstices for mating and birthing, respectively, as well as catching up on whatever there is to gossip about deep in the ocean. They produce no exports, but the native Procyonids, who find the Krakenpi a danger to shipping, have a well-developed and excellent take-out cuisine. Ships always carry a barrel or two of takeout to distract a playful Krakenpuss while they make their escape.
“The gigantic Zeppelin Cats of the gas giant Heliumtopia sail on the eternal winds, feeding on the rich plankton-like life forms that drift in the currents. Although they can steer using their tails and broad foot-paddles, they must still go where the winds take them, which has led to a profoundly philosophical approach to life. Their main export is their poetry, which is renowned as the finest in the Galaxy. They enjoy visitors, but as their pace of life (and their speech) is so slow, tourists must be very patient, or at least have brought a good book.
“The Dragoncats of the iceworld Japra 4 hunt with specially-bred large bipedal primate companions, very similar to the ones on Takeout Planet. However, they are very rare, and highly sought-after for their clever hands. The most prized ones are also excellent storytellers, a valuable skill for long hunting trips away from civilization. The Dragoncats export pickled fish and squid, ice-pearls, and eel-leather. Do not ask them about exporting their primates, this is taboo. However, if you would like to train your own large bipedal primate, we have a surplus of them on Takeout Planet.”
“The flying cats of the Purple Sun live high in the mountains in the summer, in cities among the giant disc-trees. Employing the natural platforms of the trees as landing platforms and a place to attach tents made from sheets of dragon-silk weatherproofed with the resin of the trees themselves, they live a carefree sociable life for half the year. In the winter they descend to the southern seacoast to spend a contemplative time in south-facing cliff-caves soaking up the sun.”
“The warrior cats of Lhet’gho are renowned for their formalized style in conflict. When the rest of us disagree, we just fluff our our fur and yowl (and maybe get in a swat or two) until somebody backs down, but the Lhet’ghoians make an appointment for a duel, then don fancy armour before the yowling and swatting part. Duels are resolved by a panel of judges who evaluate on three main points: quality of swagger, intricacy of armour, and creativity of insults. And also by who is left standing at the end.”
(And yes, this last one is inspired by the Klingons of Star Trek — the name is a bit of word play. I may have to have another go at this one — the costumes are so wonderful!)
Back to work — I still have time to draw Day 8 before noon!