Charlie looking his fuzzy self

Image description: Black and white digital drawing of a mackerel tabby cat sitting upright facing the viewer with his tail stretched to the right. He sits slightly skewed, his whiskers are luxuriant, and his fur is fine and full.

A drawing of Charlie using Procreate (mostly). I’m still experimenting—mixing and matches brushes, trying (with limited success) to find the right textures. It’s harder with Charlie than with George because his fur is stippled rather than striped; it’s also finer and longer. It makes it harder to capture definite outlines.

George is simpler to draw; he was also my first Procreate guineapig:

George thinks he’s still a kitten

Image description: Black and white digital drawing of a tabby cat too big for his old kitty condo and so having to half sit, half stand on two platforms at once.

Even though George was my first Procreate kitty portrait, in some ways I think it’s more successful than Charlie’s. This beginner’s luck is something I’ve noticed often over the years, whether with physical activity or artistic practise: the first unselfconscious aikido move/sketch/song/story/axe-throw/clay model/painting is always far better than it has any right to be, and then it takes weeks to reach the point where I can consciously create something as good as that first unselfconscious attempt—which often wasn’t that great to start with. So of course what happens is that most of those hobbies turn out to not be worth the bother.

Some hobbies do turn into part- or full-time professions, at least for a time: singing and music; martial arts and women’s self-defence; writing. But there’s a limit to how many for-money occupations a person can have—especially ones that don’t pay brilliantly. Some go back to being hobbies—but only if it’s with unfamiliar instrument/tools. So for example I no longer teach self-defence of practise karate or aikido, but I like wheelchair boxing. I no longer sing with a band, but I like to noodle around with my ukulele. But these no-longer-professions are only fun for me if the results are very, very clearly amateurish and I don’t take it seriously. Because the minute I take it seriously I get obsessive. Obviously I didn’t give up on writing, and now that I’ve found the right non-messy tools—my iPad and Pencil—I suspect I won’t give up on drawing. The trick is to do it for play not pay—which is part of the reason I’m sharing this stuff publicly even though it’s not very good: it’s so that I don’t obsess about trying to make it good enough for pay; to not worry about it being (very much) less than perfect. Time will tell. But right now I’m having a good time.

The lovely thing about drawing the cats is that I’m spending a lot of time observing them closely which is always a joy. I’m learning to see them more clearly. For example, both Charlie and George tend to sit slightly off-kilter in the same way—though mirror images, with their tails going in opposite directions. Their eyes are differently positioned, too. And Charlie’s pupils are almost always less dilated than George’s.

Anyway, in the future expect occasional kitty pix of varying quality.