November 30, 2011

The Very Edge of New Harare

illustration by cat scott - the very edge of new harare

Another illustration for Alfred Hitchcock Mystery magazine is in the books! I'll take you through some process and behind the scenes stuff.

First of all, this story was great. That's my favorite part about writing for AHMM is reading these great, interesting, mysterious little stories. I doodle in the margins of the pages while I read. This story, The Very Edge of New Harare, was about a city in Africa that was transitioning from rural to urban, forcing the native animals away. Meanwhile there are some murders on the edge of town. I don't want to give too much away... Read the excerpt (this link may only work until the next issue is live), or you should just get the magazine!

I put all of the thumbnails into a PDF document with a description of what's going on; sometimes the thumbs are so loose it's hard to convey what the final image would actually look like (click to see larger):

The art director chose #1, which is a giraffe overlaid with African wilderness, juxtaposed against an urban scene. This was in reference to a scene that's described when a giraffe is suddenly in the middle of a highway. The giraffe looked lost and confused about losing his home.

My in-laws just returned from an Africa trip with hundreds of amazing photos, including some great close-ups of giraffes. I gathered all my references:

And started working on the final. That's the other great thing about AHMM; we go straight to final instead of needing a final sketch in between. It makes the process feel more like "mine" rather than "drawing for the man." I do a final drawing for my own purposes though; make sure the artwork size is correct, get placement and composition stuff figured out, etc:

Then I trace the illustration onto Bristol paper using my most favoritest Hi-Tec C pen:

I almost always get scared before I put the paint over the drawing, so I scan a copy of the final ink part before I paint on it:

Here it is after paint:

....Which felt too flat; not contrasty enough. At the illustration Academy, I learned that Photoshop is our enemy, but I think that's a crock. It's a wonderful tool. Just look at Yuko Shimizu's style. So I started messing around with lightening and darkening the background:

I kind of liked the last one, but AHMM prints on newsprint so I can't go too dark with the overall layout. The others just felt too boring. So I tried reversing out the background just to give it some "oomph," again playing with light and dark options: 

Now we're talking. But the left version was too dark, right option too bland. I ultimately decided on a version in between with a few tweaks to the reversed background (I didn't like the cars or signs reversed out) and we had our final! Thanks, Photoshop!!! 

I've done another illustration for AHMM since this one, and another is in the works. They plan REALLY far in advance so it will be a few months before I can post either of those. Thanks for the assignment AHMM, and for reading my dear followers (if you made it this far you deserve some sort of award!)


Cat Scott Larimore
Louisville Graphic Designer and Illustrator

October 20, 2011

West African Stew - Recipe

west african stew

First time posting a recipe on the 'ol blog! But it seems I cook more than I draw lately (gotta eat!) so why the hell not. It's creative, isn't it? I made this tasty dish from Kristen Swensson Sturt's recipe over at Serious Eats. Kris keeps (kept?) an awesome food blog called Cheap Healthy Good that has tons of amazing recipes that are cheap, healthy, and... uh... good. (Not just a clever name). Her recipe is below with my comments/suggestions to the side. It's damn tasty and perfect for crappy rainy fall weather.

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 cups onions, sliced into 1/4-inch crescents [I just used two small-medium onions]
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced [garlic from a jar is your friend if you're lazy, just put a big heaping spoonful of garlic in there]
  • 1 pound sweet potato, peeled and chopped into 1/4-inch half slices (about the size of a checker) [typically 3 average sized potatoes]
  • 1 large tomato, seeded and chopped [I used a variety of tomatoes from my garden and my friends, and have also made this with a drained can of diced tomatoes]
  • 1/2 cup raisins [I would use a bit more raisins... I love how juicy and sweet they get]
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon [A little extra might be tasty]
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper [I love heat but this doesn't seem to need a lot - I only use about 1/8 tsp]
  • 3 cups low-sodium, reduced fat chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 14.5-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 3 cups frozen chopped spinach [one block package]
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt [I added more... once you add the spinach it really needs it]
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • A yummy grain (rice, couscous, etc) [I like a whole wheat couscous]
  1. If making rice, go ahead and get that started.
  2. In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium high. Add onion and cook 8 or 9 minutes, until very tender, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add garlic. Saute 30 to 60 seconds, until fragrant.
  4. Add sweet potato and tomato. Saute 5 minutes.
  5. Add raisins, cinnamon, cayenne, and broth. Turn heat to high and bring to a boil. Once boiling, cover, drop heat to low, and simmer for 15 minutes. Add chickpeas about halfway through simmering if you like them a little mushy, which I do. Otherwise add them with the spinach after simmering.
  6. Uncover. Jack heat up to medium. Add spinach, stirring to combine.
  7. Cook until spinach is totally thawed and chickpeas are warmed through, for me this was about 10 more minutes.
  8. Season with salt, black pepper, and maybe a little garam masala (that makes everything better) Serve with rice, couscous, or any fun grain you can think of.

October 5, 2011

Sketchbook self portrait

self portrait sketch

Tiny sketch in the tiny moleskin with the tiny nibbed Hi-Tec C. Yet somehow I ended up with a gigantic nose.

Cat Scott
Louisville Graphic Designer and Illustrator

September 14, 2011

Listen, Learn, Love, Opera by Thomson Smillie - Book Design and Cover Illustration

For the past 10 months or so, I have had the pleasure of working with Louisville performing arts writer, Thomson Smillie, on a book about learning to love Opera. He wrote this book based on talks he gives on high-end cruises around the world. The speech attendees begged him to produce a book they could take home to learn more, so here we are.

We decided to publish with CreateSpace because I had just had an excellent experience with them while designing and publishing my dad's book.

To my delight, Thomson also asked me to illustrate the cover of the book based on the facade of La Scala milan. Future editions might even incorporate more illustration work throughout.

The proof arrived yesterday, to which Thomson said, "It's not what I expected... it's far more beautiful!"

We quickly ordered the first batch to arrive just in time for Kentucky Center's Carmen performances, where Thomson will be selling copies.

I highly recommend you pick up a copy while you are there, or purchase one directly from him ahead of time so you can appreciate Carmen to its fullest! The book is also available through the CreateSpace store and (will link once the product page is ready).

This was a fun project and I had a great time getting to know Thomson and his wife. He's full of ideas so I'm certain this won't be our last encounter!

Thanks for reading,


Cat Scott
Louisville Graphic Designer and Illustrator

September 13, 2011

Yogis in Class

sketchbook drawing of yogis sitting in yoga teacher training

I started yoga teacher training last week and realized very quickly that it is an excellent place to draw. Yogis sit VERY still. However, we have assigned spots so the subject matter won't vary often. Also, I'm usually too busy frantically writing to be able to sketch.

Cat Scott
Louisville Graphic Designer and Illustrator

August 24, 2011

Landscape Drawing

sketchbook drawing of the grounds of Papa Johns International

My company is across the street from Papa John's international headquarters. Surprisingly, they have an incredibly well landscaped campus complete with rolling hills, walking trails, ponds, picnic tables, bridges, and a fountain! When it isn't ungodly hot (or cold) it's a wonderful place to take a walk, or drawing break.

Cat Scott
Louisville Graphic Designer and Illustrator

August 12, 2011

Dorney and Friends at Corner Door

sketchbook drawing of Dorney & Friends at Corner Door Louisville

Another sketch from our favorite bar & restaurant, Corner Door. This is Dorney & Friends, a talented bunch who played a great range of oldies, bluegrass, and classic rock.

Cat Scott
Louisville Graphic Designer and Illustrator

August 2, 2011

Yoga Crazy

yoga crazy bikram illustration

I might legitimately be crazy. My obsession with yoga has spawned a blog of its own,, in which I write and illustrate about my experiences with yoga and document useful information on yoga studios around Louisville. I've decided to do an illustration with as many posts as possible, so that site will hopefully populate quickly with some fun yoga inspired drawings.

If you don't care about yoga, I don't blame you for not following the site. I'll post some of the drawings up here from time to time so you don't feel left out ;)

Cat Scott
Louisville Graphic Designer and Illustrator

July 13, 2011

Sketchbook: Corner Door

sketchbook of my beer at a Louisville bar called Corner Door

I've been trying to carry my sketchbook around again, and after 2 or 3 beers I got gutsy enough to sketch in public. Probably the first time in a year that I've done that. The waitress took the beer bottle away before I could finish it, whoever guesses what type of beer it was wins a prize!

Cat Scott
Louisville Graphic Designer and Illustrator

June 16, 2011

Updated Illustration Portfolio

With the wedding and our new house purchase behind us, I am finally finding time to nurture my illustration practice (while I simultaneously nurture my relationship, my new home and garden, my full time job, and my other new favorite practice, yoga).

To that end, I have updated the illustration portfolio of my website. This reflects my shift to working in my "sketchbook style" only. Not only do I prefer working in this style, it seems to be a big hit with the art directors.

I have also added a Newsletter Sign-up form to the site so you can choose to receive a concise monthly digest of some recent work and/or news. There is also a mini-sign-up form over there in the sidebar --->

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more new work!