Meme Art, Sergeant Mittens is Ready

I’m entering a very unusual artwork and post writing phase. If I’ve ever been in this situation before, I really can’t remember.Essentially, I have now completed multiple drawings and haven’t shared them – a backlog of finished artwork. Normally having art that’s done is the limiting factor, not the writing side. I think the reason is twofold; one, I’m just enjoying creating things. My daughters are wanting to draw a lot too during the quarantine, so it’s a fun thing for us to do together. The second is that I’m sort of running out of writing topics for posts! Not completely yet, but usually it’s no trouble coming up with a few paragraphs of discussion before talking about the art.

For this drawing, I went back to the rich well of memes. I was going to write something up about my website/artwork spring cleaning efforts, but I ended up putting together a separate post on the topic. That organizational effort did go well though, and I completed paper art re-photographing, sorting, and even updated graphics in my first book. Since that topic has been covered, what to talk about on a piece made from a meme? Well, unfortunately I’ve also talked in great detail about Internet memes in a somewhat recent post.

I won’t go into detail again about what a meme is, but I will talk about cats for a minute. We don’t actually have any pets, but if you asked my kids they would tell you differently. Our next door neighbors have two cats, which the girls have completely renamed and now consider to be ours. I’ve been putting out food and water for them for a couple of years now, so they seem to consider both houses to be their home territory. I wasn’t trying to cat steal; I just felt bad when I saw them during the winter, so I got some beds and whatnot for them in case they came around. Also, despite the fact that we live by a canal, I’ve literally never seen a mouse or a rat. Those cats are legit mousers!

Anyhow, since we’ve been home and the girls have been playing outside often, the cats have been around more. So, cats have been more and more of a topic of conversation. I figured it would be fun to draw a cat again! I’ve had some decent cat results before, which is nice because I wasn’t in the mood for skill boundary pushing. I thought about just drawing our neighbor’s cats, but I decided to do something funnier. I came across a meme at some point that was of a cat in a military uniform, with the caption “Mittens starts his Christmas tree destruction training.”

Here is my final portrait of Sergeant Mittens focusing during a very important briefing:

I really got a kick out of drawing this, but that was true of the last meme piece too. Technically, I straddle the generational gray zone between Generation X and Millennial, but my great enjoyment of Internet memes probably pushes me towards that Millennial bunch. To be fair, I definitely feel that Gen X cynicism at times, so maybe it’s a true blend. Regardless, it was a fun thing to work on. I changed up the drawing a bit from the original, trying to make the soldiers a bit less homogeneous, mostly because I found that more interesting.

The technical aspects of the drawing I think went according to plan. I took lessons learned from that previous cat piece, plus dogs I’ve drawn, to help ensure the fur was furry-looking. I also wanted to make sure it looked like the other soldiers were not interested in the cat at all, as if Sgt. Mitten’s presence in the briefing was totally normal. My biggest concern and challenge in this drawing was the camouflage. I hadn’t even realized or considered it, but I’ve actually never tried to render camo in a drawing. That was interesting to attempt…I figured I could probably blend blotches of a few natural looking browns and greens and get close to the right look. That was mostly true, but I can see where I got lazy in a couple spots.

So, like I said, overall this was a fun one. I’m also pretty happy with how it turned out. As usual, I made a progression .gif – here it is:

I already have another completed drawing that’s just waiting for some text to accompany it! This one is of me and my wife, and it’s another one that I thought was funny because of the situation and face I’m making. And beyond that, I have another portrait on the way. Whew, hopefully some powerful writing inspiration smacks me in the head.

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