Valentina
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I recommend smaller more frequent meals. They feel more satisfied but aren't getting more food. We also have the Feliway collar. It has pheromones to make your cat calmer, and it has helped my cat get a lot more mellow.

My cat would really get edgy around meal time. Lashing out at you and being naughty to the point of no return.

My theory was as follows:

  1. He was a stray that had a rough start. I think once he learned that he was living in a safe place with a secure and consistent food source
  2. He was a young cat/kitten when I got him at about 3 months old. His feeding behavior improved slowly over time and finally "resolved" at about 12-15 months.
  3. Auto feeder saved my life.

I got an auto feeder that rotates so you can put wet food in it, not just dry food and he immediately cut back on meowing at me every time I got near the kitchen or meowing at my bedroom door for food during the night. I recently read that cats are automatically on defense when they're eating, so it's best if they can face the room instead of the wall. This is how I set up the auto feeder and it seems to have improved the situation as well. We place the feeder near a corner, a few feet out from the wall so they can eat with their back to the wall and can see anyone approaching.

If they feel safer, they might not be as nervous during and after feedings.

Valentina
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There will always be the older work that I enjoy. Nastaglia, or because it appeals to me in a way that other work doesn't. It has moved into a poition where it isn't judged on the marrits of the time, but the merrits, and there's plenty there I haven't even gotten to yet, but I should probably be forgiving of the stuff I don't automatically get so I don't miss out on so much. I've been meaning to get into Deadpool again.

Greg Capullo quickly became my new favorite a couple of years ago with the stellar art that he had been putting out. For this reason I am able to find a number of his earlier works also good. His run on X-Force and Spawn, while never appealing to me at the time were not viable options.

I'm also a fan of Francis Manapul due to the effort he put into his run on the Flash. What I like about his work is that his paneling is creative, while his covers never cease to catch my eye when I am going through the comic shops.

And while I am by no means a fan of the Teen Titans book, Brett Booth did a great job on the art, leading me to buy some of the issues that appealed to me. Both of these example show that with good art you can do a lot to draw in an audiene that was not that before and brought the book up to a whole new level visually. It just goes to show that there are also some great DC guys. Though the ones working at Marvel have been able to out do them since the beginning.

I think that a lot of confusion comes from the definition of "modern" art, what is it when you look on the shelves? One thing that really defines it for me is "realistic" since this is something that was not common back in the day. Though plenty of artists did go to different measures to achieve it. Nowadays you have people like Extremis to Bagley setting standards for art. Mike Allred style is reminiscent of a modern pop take on the silver/bronze age artists withut feeling dated. When that is paired with the gorgeous retro-tastic colors of his wife Laura, I suspect you'll find them to be your new favorites.

His stuff is great.

While this is true for the art itself there can be a problem when you mix that with modern techniques like blured Backgrounds, when I see this I find it jarring because they like like they've been blurred by Photoshop which they have been. If the artist wants to employ a DoF effect I prefer it when the blur effect is, respresented in the drawn imaged rather than computerized.

If Bagley is standard I guess what I miss is that standard look. It just feels more like a comic book to me. I think it's amazing what these newer artists are capable of doing, but to me it feels wrong for comic books. And I really find it to be a barrier to stuff like Fantastic Four, although I'm not too happy with the writing in that one either.

Marcos Martin style is wonderful, it reminds me of a cross between Steve Ditko and Hugo Pratt.

His covers for Marvel are stellar and the work that he did for the digital-only comic with Brian K. Vaughan, The Private Eye, which is pay what you want (even nothing), so no reason not to check it out.

It is also worth checking out some of the work of Francesco Francavilla. Francesco's work is a combination between pulp and moody realism. You won't find many new comics from him right now since he is mostly working on covers where is the best suited.

While I hate to say it, it is true that some styles don't blend with the in his own right, but only when he is able to create a spectacular Hollywood blockbuster splash page in the vein of Michael Bay. Tony Moore has a very pleasing art style that stays away from these shiney pages.

I'll just stick with the few that I mentioned but the list could be much longer, it just depends on tastes.

Valentina

This is about bad art in the conventional sense that you may think of, art that maybe won't sell or get any compliments or even look pretty.

This is honestly so important. I didn't create just about anything for four years just because I knew it'd be shit

I think it's so hard to break past beginnerhood sometimes because we are so terrified of making something that isn't accepted by a group of my/your peers.

Then you need to just create a piece with no goal in mind, move the pen against the paper and don't care if it looks pretty.

It's about pushing past the point of wanting to be good, in order to be an artist.

Anything and everything that you can draw has merit. Even if its only job is to help you discover what doesn’t work well.

All practice os valuable.

Valentina

Speed drawing is the best practice you can do on a regular basis. A lot of people throw style around, they act like it is a must. But when you are just starting out, well, style is a dirty word. It is the last thing you should be worrying about at this stage!

Line of Sight

There is a nice site that I enjoy using called Line of Sight https://line-of-action.com/practice-tools/ that has a nice tool that rotates through images grouped in different categories at set time intervals to help you practice efficiently. There are all sorts of tips on what and what not to do, but honestly just going out and drawing is your biggest resource.

And for beginner tips I guess I would say, a big thing you are taught early on is just hand/eye coordination so that you avoid hairy lines. Some people might be confused so I will add: a "hairy" line is a line that has a lot of stops and starts. It stems from a lack of confidence in where the line is going. The way to practice this is through a method called "ghosting"- practicing lines in he air just above the paper before actually drawing them in.

Draw, draw, and keep drawing!

It requires that you have a need to have a solid understanding off to consider yourself versed in the basics:

  • Perspective: Drawing without learning the structure underneath will train your hand but not your understanding of the form.
  • Line quality: Thick v. Think, and remember no "hairy" lines!
  • Composition
  • Proportions/life drawing
  • Anatomy
  • Lighting

When it comes to books. There are so many great options that it seems unfair to actually name one for each of these areas, but if I would suggest an artist, I would say: pick up the books from Andrew Loomis. Specifically, Figure Drawing for All Its Worth. It has been reprinted in nice reasonably hardback edition, and it is fantastic to say the least.

Then, while it is not necessarily figure drawing, the Bridgeman books Constructive anatomy and the human machine are good.

Drawing is also mindset. You have to put yourself in the right frame of mind when you draw. While you may not be where you are today, if you keep working on it it will get better over time.

Valentina

Cats like to remain clean but then again you probably do too. Cats don't want their scent to alert their prey and predators and rivals that there's a cat in the area.

Grooming by other cats with their barbed tongues keeps their fur free of knots which can become dirty and hold scents, which they want to avoid, and the saliva cleans the fur too. The other reason is connected to this: cats have nerve endings clustered in such a way that being groomed feels good.

It's all part of bonding.

This is an evolutionary function: If grooming feels good, they'll groom more often and be groomed by other friendly cats. By grooming each other, they all remain clean and therefore safer and more likely to get a meal. They all benefit from this. So cats who enjoy the sensation of something rubbing against their fur, e.g. another cat's tongue, or a human hand, are more likely to clean and be cleaned, and therefore survive. The same nerves that make them enjoy a cat's tongue are activated by a good rub/scratch from their loving humans.

Cat bath

The petting they then expect is just part of the cat social structure.

The other reason that is suggested as to why they like petting so much is also connected to tongues.

They want to share a scent with you, to make a smell that they associate with family. This is a more controversial point as it's not known for sure whether cats use scent as a social/familial marker, as this would seem to contradict with their neurotic attempts to remain scentless.

Though as most of us know, our own cats normally do have a gentle scent, and it's normally absolutely lovely!

Valentina
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A good cartoonist always has learned to draw realistically first. To give a cartoon body a sense of realism you need to get how real bodies work.

Basically you got to know the rules before you can break them.

I know it's basic and boring advice.

But doing art studied will help you can an understanding on how to construct any sort of image. Studying from life will give you plenty of practice and help you break down more complicated drawing tasks into shapes or whatever your preferred method is if you do it enough. You can go to a used book store and go to the art section and pick up anatomy books and life drawing books pretty easily.

And this works if you want to approach a certain style too.

Look at your art inspirations and study their work. Learn what you like and what you don't, put your own spin on it.

It boils down to practice and challenge yourself in some different way with each new practice session. It can be really hard for yourself to accurately judge how much you've improved since you see the work on a regular basis. You've probably improved a lot more than you think. Posting an album of your chronological work may help people give honest opinions.

Don't give up!

Valentina
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I loved trying to mix different media and came to a lot of neat combinations. For example I realized that sharpie and acrylic are great together. Even years later my paintings still look fine with no purple fading in the blacks.

Now I actually use the more art friendly versions of artist sharpies which produce a nice deep black, but if the regular ones work for you use them. The sharpie oil based paint pens are better than just the traditional old sharpies but not perfect. Just a darker black.

Now when I use them I outline first with sharpie then go over in paint pen. And I have never had color or smearing issues while sealing them.

I would also suggest giving the sharpie a day or so to dry before glossing.

Valentina
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My best advice is work in a multitude of mediums.

That is why I have painted in just about anything that you can actually paint in. Ink was one the first mediums that I tried after I worked in oils and acrylics and it was a lot of fun. But it felt like I needed to learn more with ink than I did with other properties. The physical difference between inks and paints is that paint is a liquid medium with tons of tiny flecks of solid pigment suspended in it.

Inks are a liquid medium with a liquid pigment.

So ink can be thinned down virtually forever and can be used to mix with the liquid base for paint to produce interesting effects.

One thing to be aware of with inks is if you are using them to do layering/shading you can get bleed through if you try to cover them and they are not /completely/ dry. They're translucent paints you can use to to help "glaze" strong colors over the top of other paints without destroying the light and dark tones. Inks are pretty translucent and they will not darken the area in the way that washes do.

This is why I will still mix in ink to make final piece. It was this major moment when I relied how easy it would be to darken an area for painting shadows. I simply use a wash. If you want to change the color of an area without darkening it, use an ink.

And if you wonder what type to use, India or Sumi-e, remember; India ink- bottles, has a better consistency to it than Sumi-e, it is also generally darker although this can depend on the brand. But it does come in more colors than Sumi-e. The colors are really concentrated so they look very bright and crisp. If you need it to be more dull and muted, simply add water to it. Forget the sumi stuff.

Now it is time for a cookie!