New Family Pet, a Ragamuffin Cat
Earlier this summer, our family finally made a much-discussed leap to adopt a little fur-ball. If I haven’t already mentioned our new cat offhand in another post, I am certain he’s at least made some brief cameos in art progression videos as he walks right across the drawing space! As this is our first family pet, there has been a bit of an adjustment period. When I was growing up, we usually had various pets (dogs, cats, hermit crabs, fish, etc), but I have never owned one as an adult. My wife’s story is pretty similar. So taking care of a little creature was something we all had to get used to.
For a long time now, we have told our kids that we would definitely get a family pet once we moved. And now that we’ve been in our new place for a while, it was time to live up to our end of the bargain. The girls wanted a cat – in fact, through their meticulous research, they even narrowed it down to a specific breed (our oldest even did a school project on cat breeds last year). We landed on the idea of getting a Ragamuffin, primarily due to their almost dog-like personalities. They’re kind of similar to Ragdoll cats – big, friendly, and furry. It took some time to find one, but once we did, things moved quickly.
Our fluffy little dude has been a great addition to the family! As expected, his Ragamuffin temperament shines through often, as he likes nothing more than to be petted and to sit with us. He even loves playing with the girls, or even just sitting near them watching them play. He’s a very curious fellow. As I mentioned at the top, there has been a bit of an adjustment. All litter box and feeding duties have fallen to me, which will definitely change as the kids get older. And we do have to warn them sometimes to be gentle with him; he’s gotten pretty large already, but they have to remember he’s still just a kitten.
Since we’ve had the little fellow for months now, I figured it’s time to initiate him into the family for real by drawing him! It’s not an especially detailed one, but here’s our 10 month old guy:
This was a quick study on the trouble-making fur-ball. The progression video clocked in at just around 30 minutes. And I never paused or took a break with a new recording session, which is honestly pretty rare. I think it helped that he’s mostly white, with some grays and light browns scattered throughout his fur. As is obvious from looking at the home page of this website, my usual art subjects are people. I’ve done a few animals here and there, but it’s definitely not something I have much practice with. I can definitely see improvement from when I drew my sister’s cat, and even a bit from ol’ Sergeant Mittens.
Despite the lack of familiarity, I think I have done enough now to have a vague idea of how to proceed. Fur is obviously quite a different task to depict compared to skin, but in some respects it might actually be easier. Blending drawn lines into a look that simulates “softness” isn’t a heavy lift in my opinion. But, the difference is huge between my very basic animal fur versus the fantastically detailed animal fur captured by someone like Australian painter Carla Grace. Recognizing how my cat drawing is limited, and keeping my expectations at the appropriate level, I can say after those caveats – I think it turned out well!
I went a bit overboard on the fluff – our little guy is fluffy, but not quite to this degree. But overall, it is at least a fairly recognizable depiction. I got his coloring mostly right I think, and I am particularly happy with how the eyes turned out. I often have issues capturing the right pupil positioning, reflection, and general coloring when it comes to eyes. And that’s for people – cat’s eyes are an entirely different, unique ballgame. So, I was glad in this case it seemed to work.
Above, I’ve embedded the progression video I mentioned earlier. Like I said, this was a very short one compared to some others! Multi-person scenes are usually the most time consuming pieces; in fact, I’ve got one coming up soon that took almost three hours! That’s almost an eternity for a drawing coming from an impatient artist like myself. This cat only took 30 minutes, so even creating a four or five times normal speed time lapse made for a very short video indeed.
I’m in a somewhat rare moment when I’ve actually finished more drawings than I’ve had time to share. Usually, I’m not backlogged at all in that respect! After sharing this cat drawing, I am sitting on three more finished portraits that I haven’t posted here! That feels sort of weird, like I’ve been slacking somehow. I really went on a tear last weekend – almost like an artwork bender or something. The urge was there, so I kept at it! Anyhow, more to come soon I hope!