December 30, 2009

Best of 2009

The last year of the “Oughts” has been a significant one, so for the first time, I’m going to treat my faithful readers to some highlights!

My close friends know that I love music.  My busy schedule combined with my tightened purse strings has resulted in a reduction of live music in my life, but fortunately I made it to one of my “Must See” shows – WILCO.  I saw them at the Wiltern back in June and it was everything I hoped it to be.  A very close second was the intimate performance by Vampire Weekend at a small theater in Long Beach.  If I hadn't already seen them a couple times, it could have been #1!  Both were incredible shows. 

I got to do quite a bit of traveling this year.  I rang in the new year on a cruise ship somewhere between Jamaica and the Grand Caymans, I got to see family and friends on a long trip to Nashville, Louisville and DC, and we took many small trips around California to Santa Barbara, San Diego and Monterey.  But the highlight of the year came after a flight to Silver Bay was cancelled: Jason and I decided to cancel the whole trip and we took a spontaneous trip to Yosemite. It’s quite possibly the most beautiful place I have ever been.

I moved in with My Biggest Fan, Jason, in March.  He’s an excellent roommate and the reason I finally got my ass in gear to start marketing myself.  He also doesn’t seem to mind too much that I commandeered the dining room table as my studio.

Speaking of reigniting my marketing, this was a big year for that. I redesigned my website, sent out mailers, and started blogging regularly again (you’re welcome).  I still have a lot of work to do, and I have been doing some soul searching in terms of style and markets I'm interested in, so 2010 could be a big transitional year too.

My favorite job of 2009 was the piece I created for Louisville Magazine’s article on Spaghetti Junction.  It had never occurred to me to do a finished illustration in my “sketchbook style,” so I was thrilled to create one for them, and I love the way it turned out.  It has a raw energy that my “polished” pieces lack.  I want to have more of that raw energy in my newly evolving style.  Here's my original blog post about it.

My favorite sketchbook piece of 2009 was the sketch I did of Jason while we sipped a couple of brewskies at LAX before our trip to Nashville.  I enjoy drawing people in life, but have too much anxiety and self-awareness to draw any stranger that might see me (how do I overcome that?).  Therefore, Jason makes an excellent model.  He has been using it as his Facebook photo since May, and I’m flattered because of that J

It isn’t all about me, though, as I have tried to relay with my introduction of Tuesday Coolsday.  I’m always looking at blogs and other illustrators' sites, and sometimes I get sick when I see some of the brilliant work that is being done out there.  My favorite Tuesday Coolsday feature of the year has been Zina Saunders. Her work and dedication has been very inspiring for me.

Back to me J  Since “Print is dying,” I decided that I should teach myself XHTML and CSS from a couple books recommended by  my brilliant web developer brother, Phil.  With my newfound knowledge, I built my first “From Scratch” website,  I think it's a good sign that people are amazed I built it all on my own.  The Illustrated Babies project in and of itself has been received well and is a lot of fun.  I like having it as a part of my greater “Cat Scott Art” concept.

Some goals for 2010:
  • Finish my new “From Scratch” portfolio site.  It’s a beaut.  It even has a contact form!
  • Separate my graphic design work as a separate entity with it’s own site, and help the illustration work stand out on its own.
  • Create a new portfolio of work in a new sketchier style – probably celebrity portraits (back to my college roots!)
  • Create some illustrations for the children’s market and send samples out to publishers and magazines in that genre
  • Double my income from freelance work*
  • Get at least 3 new clients*
 *A girl can dream, right?

And with that I bid you adieu.  A very happy new year to you all, faithful readers (especially those of you who made it this far!)



December 21, 2009

Chama - Illustrated Babies

Chama, originally uploaded by Gato81.

Puppies are babies, too! This cute little guy was commissioned by a friend as a Christmas present for her sister. I really enjoyed drawing the puppy and all of the little curls and would be happy to do more dog drawings in the future!

See more at

December 18, 2009

Unicorn for Sarah

Unicorn for Sarah, originally uploaded by Gato81.

Sarah wanted a Unicorn, preferably with wings, for Christmas. So this is what she's getting. You can't tell in the scan but all the pen marks are done with glittery gel pens - this thing sparkles like crazy! Just like a Unicorn drawing should.

Speaking of crazy, it's been a hectic couple of weeks. I am back in Louisville next week for some much needed relaxation!

Thanks for stopping by,


December 9, 2009


Here's a sheet of Bristol paper that has survived a few experiments and tests, and turned out pretty interesting in the end.

December 7, 2009

Dream Holiday

I had an illustration in mind for my holiday card this year. I had even collected reference materials and started on the preliminary sketches.

Then, I woke up last Sunday morning from a weird dream: I found myself in a storage room for an apparel company with someone who was showing me all of their old marketing materials. This one piece I stumbled upon, which I think was a jeans hang tag, really struck me. I turned it over and studied it and thought to my Dream Self, "I could totally do this!" I woke up shortly thereafter, grabbed a post-it and jotted down what I could remember.

In the dream, it was double sided, so I sketched what I could remember about both sides. But since I don't really need a jeans hang tag, and I was in need of a Christmas card design, I changed some things around. I gotta say I'm pretty proud of my Dream Self. I wish I could always work out a solution to an image while sleeping - that would be Ultimate Multi Tasking!

December 3, 2009

Old Painting: Jeff

12" x 24" - Jeff's Tattoo

Sometimes I forget about the old canvases I have back in my closet; some of them are kind of interesting. Here's one from a few years ago of my best friend's husband, Jeff. The subject was triggered by the Illustration Friday subject of "tattoo" - he has a lot of them.   The painting isn't half bad. I feel inspired to try more large format pieces instead of the works on paper. Get loose. Get messy.

In the meantime, I'll be practicing drawing horses - another illustration from Louisville Magazine is in the works. Hooray for busy-ness!

Have a great weekend.

December 1, 2009

Tuesday Coolsday: Bruce Scott

Will Rogers Park - 11.25.09 - by Bruce Scott

This is a little cheesy, but this Tuesday I would like to give props to my dad, Bruce.

My dad wasn't an artist, but he was always doing something creative with his time.  When I was little, he taught himself how to watercolor in our basement.  He worked on plans for the never-ending landscaping project that was our tiny backyard while I worked on long division.  The blueprint to the left shows some of his sketches for the white picket fence he built in our backyard (click for larger view).

He's been retired for several years, and since then, he has been a cello player for the Lexington Community Orchestra, written a book, hiked hundreds - thousands? - of miles, and still has time to garden and work on little projects here and there.

Additionally, without all the boxes and boxes of Crayola and Mr. Sketch markers that he bought me as a kid, I may not be doing this art thing.

So dad, thanks for all the markers, thanks for inspiring productivity, thanks for letting me major in art, and thanks for coming to visit me over Thanksgiving!

November 25, 2009

Vintage Chics + Leaf

Before I head out on my Thanksgiving adventures, I will leave you with a few sketches I did this week, and a few things I am thankful for:
  • Living an easy bus ride or short drive away from my office - I got a taste of some gnarly traffic earlier in the week. 
  • Having a boss who is always sharing his chocolate.
  • The freelance work I have been getting lately - it's challenging but fun and rewarding.
  • Having my dad in California for a week; he spoils me rotten.
  • Curb Your Enthusiasm for its hilarity.
I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving!



Grain Edit showed some vintage photos by Tom Palumbo, and I was struck by this girl. 

I love Hot Dogs puts up screen shots from old movies. This chic from the 1975 film Maitresse needed some marker love.

I did a brush pen drawing of a leaf, scanned it in, and went nuts in Photoshop experimenting with textures.

November 24, 2009

Tuesday Coolsday - Orba Squara

Do you like great music?  Does photography tickle your pickle?  Do you get goosebumps at the thought of a road trip?  Is a hand-lettered and illustrated journal your idea of a good time?  Are you into funky graphic design? Are you bored at work?

If you answered YES to any of the above questions, then this website is for you!  Turn up your speakers, lean back (with your hand on the mouse/wacom pen), and spend a good hour or two cruising through this beautiful Flashumentary* of a band, Orba Squara, promoting their album, The Trouble with Flying.

This is quite possibly one of the most beautiful, creative, and inspiring websites I have ever....visited experienced.

* Did I just invent a word?

Found via Doodler's Anonymous.

November 19, 2009


I'm in the middle of a crazy complicated illustration assignment with a whole bunch of spots (sketch for one above).  I think I understand why they call it moonlighting - you see a lot of moonlight when you do this stuff.  But I'm not complaining!  Bring it on!

November 17, 2009

Tuesday Coolsday - Mary GrandPrè

images courtesy of

Apologies for the absense, I was back in my hometown of Louisville last week celebrating my mother's birthday.  Now I'm back to it.

I've mentioned in the past that I'm reading the Harry Potter series, and I have to admit I'm enjoying the nightly escape into the magical world of Hogwarts, Muggles, and Quidditch. I'm five books into the series and am looking forward to seeing how everything wraps up in the end.

One thing I love about these books are the illustrations by Mary GrandPr√®.  Most people will recognize her vibrant cover illustrations, and I urge you to look at them closely.  There's a lot going on, and the attention to detail is impeccable.

As cool as the cover illos are, I have to give props to the beautiful chapter illustrations.  These tiny drawings (that most people don't give a second thought) are like mini masterpieces.  The compositions are balanced yet dynamic, the values are spot on, and careful attention is paid to every millimeter of the small artwork.  Brilliant.

Thirty (30) of these mini masterpieces are completed in a timespan of only 3 weeks, according to this great interview about her work on the Harry Potter series.

All of her illustrations (which can be seen on her website) have vibrant color, interesting shapes, and strong value, all of which I strive for in my own work.  She is a new addition to my list of inspirational female illustrators.

I have another assignment for Better RVing Magazine in the works; hopefully I can summon her creativity for my own piece!


November 6, 2009

Ocean Ave

Ocean Ave, originally uploaded by Gato81.

A lunch break sketch, view of Ocean Ave. Done in my mini Moleskin with a brush pen and Faber-Castell PITT Artist Pens, which I'm completely addicted to lately.

Have a great weekend!

November 4, 2009

Tuesday Coolsday

If you like artists like Norman Rockwell and Bernie Fuchs, or any other illustrator working in the middle of the 20th century, Today's Inspiration is the blog for you.  Authored and maintained by cartoonist Leif Peng, the site pays tribute to American illustrators of the era, ranging from the Greats to the lesser known.  He goes into great detail about the artists' careers and usually scans original ads and magazines from his own collection or the collections of an artists' family members.

Having never had proper Illustration History lessons, this site has been a great resource for me.  Every day, I'm exposed to new paintings and artists, and am often treated with analysis of their work.  It's like having a daily art history class delivered right in my Google Reader.  Occasionally Mr. Peng brings in guest bloggers to discuss their areas of expertise. For example, I really enjoyed the week dedicated to Norman Rockwell (who wouldn't?), during which we get this close-up detail of one of his illustrations for Huck Finn.  I recommend you check out the archives and check it regularly!

October 29, 2009

Dangers of Cycling: Louisville Magazine

The November issue of Louisville Magazine is out, and inside you'll find one of my illustrations (so go out and buy one now, people of Kentuckiana!). 

The article, written by avid Louisville cyclist Joe Ward, draws attention to the dangers facing cyclists and the unfortunate deaths that have occurred because of drivers' negligence.
"Bicyclists on the roads are not the problem. The problem is motorists who don’t recognize their responsibility for the lives and limbs of their fellow citizens. It’s time for serious attention to the motor vehicle as a deadly missile."
Sadly, unless alcohol or excessive speed were cause for the deadly accident, the driver walks free and clear (well, except the excessive guilt they will probably live with, hopefully a la Crime and Punishment)

Mr. Ward questions this lack of penalty and offers this solution:
"When a person kills somebody with his car and there are no mitigating circumstances, he or she should at very least lose his driver’s license for life.
Put them on bicycles. "

postscript:  These murderous drivers are the reason I have not touched my road bike since I moved to Los Angeles, where drivers are the most self involved, distracted, and ruthless of all!!

October 27, 2009

Tuesday Coolsday: Milton Glaser

"Curiously, people think that the difficulty of drawing is making things look accurate, but accuracy is the least significant part of the drawing..."  - Milton Glaser
Please watch this video. Twice.

via Drawn!

October 23, 2009

Mucha & Angry Girl

A few more little drawings inspired by my Facial Expressions Book. The top one turned out to look Mucha-esque, which i totally dig. Mucha is my hero.

October 19, 2009

Illustrated Babies

Isabella, originally uploaded by Gato81.

Hello my faithful blog readers,

Today I am announcing the launch of a brand spanking new website,!

I created this site for a few reasons:

  1. I like drawing babies.*

  2. People have really enjoyed giving these as gifts.

  3. I like making a little extra money.

  4. I wanted to build a website from XHTML and CSS (Look ma, no Dreamweaver!), because I am a giant computer nerd.

Through November 6, I am offering an introductory discounted rate of 20% off regular prices. Get your orders in before the holiday rush!

And most importantly, tell your friends! Especially if they are a new mommy or aunt or grandma!!



*This particular baby was a joy to draw because it's my cousin's newborn! Congratulations, Elizabeth & Mark!

October 14, 2009

Characters - now with COLOR!

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I've been busier than usual, so lighter on the blogging. Tonight, after a lovely evening watching the finale of Hell's Kitchen with a cup of hot chocolate, I sat down with my long forgotten sketchbook. I put some color on some old sketches and did a few new sketches based on characters in the book Facial Expressions by Mark Simon. There are some odd angles and interesting expressions in that book... I'll be doing more of these for sure.

Without further ado, a plethora of sketches. Stay tuned this weekend for something very special, just in time for the holidays!


October 13, 2009

Tuesday Coolsday

calvin & hobbes!, originally uploaded by Elliot_M.

Easing my way back into blogging with an homage to the artist behind Calvin & Hobbes.

Cool Comic Book Artist: Bill Watterson

I dug out an old collection of Calvin & Hobbes from storage recently, and have really enjoyed re-reading some of the gems in there. It's easily the best comic strip that I have ever encountered (I also enjoy Dilbert from time to time). Not only are the writing and stories delightful and engaging, but his paintings are wonderful! There's no point in writing much more when you can read Charley Parker's wonderful review at Lines & Colors.

Before I sign off, I want to share one of my favorite strips. Enjoy!

October 2, 2009

Mail Service while RVing

Mail Service while RVing, originally uploaded by Gato81.

The senior designer for LazyDays RV's contacted me to do an illustration for their lifestyle magazine, Better RVing. She wanted something very straightforward: a mailman delivering mail to a couple at their RV. I played with color and patterns and tried to make it very pleasant and refreshing, like a glass of iced tea while you are in Key West enjoying your retirement.

Busy weekend ahead of me; I have 2 assignments due next week. I'll probably skip Tuesday Coolsday this week; but I think you'll manage.

Have a great weekend!

September 30, 2009

Welcome Back Steve Jobs

Welcome Back Steve Jobs, originally uploaded by Gato81.

A self-initiated assignment to welcome Steve back to the Apple world. It had been a while since I had done a celebrity portrait, and this was a really fun one to do. Thanks to Katy, Rachel, Alli, and Jason for posing as audience members, and to the Keynote speech on for providing reference footage!

The only thing that bugs me is my scan. Not matter how long I fiddle with the controls, I can't get the vibrancy and subtlety of values from the actual illustration board. I have an Epson Workforce 600 - does anyone else have issues scanning with that?

It makes me want to attempt some photoshop illustrations. James O'Brien and Yuko Shimizu (to name a few) do a wonderful job of incorporating hand drawn art with beautiful textures to create pieces that appear hand-made.

I'll give it a shot in my next self-initiated piece, but in the meantime I have a few projects that need my attention.



September 29, 2009

Tuesday Coolsday

Cool Watercolorist: Manoli Lopez

This young illustrator does beautiful loose pen & ink sketches and then pains in loose, vibrant layers of watercolor and gouache (I think). As one who can't get enough of bright colors, I am absolutely in love with it. I can learn something from the looseness in her drawings; it's something I struggle with as a naturally meticulous person.

Also check out her blog - not in English, but lots of great sketchbook stuff that does not need translation.

September 23, 2009


I got a tiny moleskine sketchbook, and I've found it's a perfect spot for my new collection of character sketches. Above are some people I saw on the bus.

Here are a few people I drew from memory. There are so many characters out there, especially roaming around Santa Monica.

The bottom sketches were done with my trusy hi-tec C... better for the minutia. But the thicker marker is nice for just "getting it down."

These are great fun. I need to do some anatomy drawing from my books to brush up on proportions; it will improve my ability to draw from memory. Oh, how I love learning about drawing. I'll be a student as long as I live.

September 22, 2009

Tuesday Coolsday

Cool finds from working the google reader on the internet machine.

Cool Sewing Illustrator: Miki Sato

This young illustrator demonstrates how successful an image can be with a limited color pallete, interesting textures, and simple design. I can't believe she sews her illustrations! It's such a unique and interesting technique.

Most of the time, I love how there are no answers in illustration. There are thousands of solutions to one problem. I am constantly learning from how others tackle problems and it encourages me to push myself in my image making.

Sometimes, however, I hate that there are no right answers. When my brain is spinning out of control searching for an absolute, I like to do some algebraic equations. I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP. It helps rope in my brain, and reminds me why I want to do art for a living.

September 18, 2009

Honey & Vinegar

Honey & Vinegar
, originally uploaded by Gato81.

After last night's episode of "Always Sunny in Philadelphia," I couldn't resist creating a mock company shirt for Hugh Honey and Victor Vinegar's new real estate team. Buy it on a shirt through Zazzle! You'll get a honey of a deal.

Have a great weekend!

September 16, 2009

Jason Lounging

I did a quick sketch of Jason (My Biggest Fan) while he relaxed on the couch. I believe he was watching Southpark. Acrylic was applied later.

September 15, 2009

Tuesday Coolsday

Cool finds from working the google reader on the internet machine.

I like the abbreviated Tuesday Coolsday from the previous post, so I'm going to keep it to just one Cool topic per week. Also, maybe by next week, I'll manage to get the post written before the end of the day :)

Cool NY Times Feature Contributor: Christoph Niemann & his Abstract City column

About once a month, Mr. Niemann creates an illustrated reflection on life around him. The articles are executed using everything from Legos to coffee, and are always charming, quirky, and interesting. From my past "cool" entries, you may have noticed that I don't usually dig such a naive style, but when paired with such thoughtful and clever content, I find it simply brilliant.

I recommend subscribing to the column; it's such a treat when a new one shows up in your reader! You can see more of Christoph's work at his website,

September 14, 2009

Chair on the Patio

Chair on the Patio, originally uploaded by Gato81.

Playing with a new brush pen, getting used to having a fat, flexible drawing tip instead of the hard microscopic tip I'm used to. Insert "That's what she said" joke here.

September 11, 2009

More characters

More characters, originally uploaded by Gato81.

I did a few more "character" sketches last week based on people I see around the city. I'm the ultimate people-watcher (a favorite pastime my freshman year in college involved sitting in the lobby of my dorm with my roommate just watching people come and go), so it's fun for me to try to recreate the interesting things I see when I'm with my sketchbook later.

It's challenging, too. I can picture it in my brain a certain way, but can't quite make it come out right when I try to draw it. Give me a photograph or a model and I'll render the crap out of it, but this is hard. Which is why I'm doing it - to get practice.

I have a few projects in the pipeline this week, plus some more marketing efforts. My day-job has picked up steam this week too - summer is officially over! Have a great weekend, my friends!

September 8, 2009

Tuesday Coolsday

I have been away from the studio, roaming the coastal town of Monterey, CA for a very long weekend. I have some sketches to scan and some blogs to catch up on and will return to my normal blogging soon. In the meantime, here's an abbreviated Tuesday Coolsday post:

Cool illustrator: Zina Saunders

I'm currently obsessed with Drawger. it's like the cool kids club for illustrators. I was floored when I saw the beautifully composed, vibrantly colored illustrations of Zina's. Her blog on Drawger is interesting and inspiring; I particularly enjoyed her Woodstock narrative and the illustrations that accompanied them.

Thanks, and until next time!

September 3, 2009

Harry Potter

For sale in my Etsy shop - $30

The first time I ever heard about Harry Potter, the 3rd book of the series (Prisoner of Azkaban) was about to be released. I was working my summer job at Silver Bay, and dozens of my fellow employees were talking about driving to the Walmart 20 miles away to get it when it was released at midnight.

I was skeptical. A kid's book? About magic?

Ten years later, the series has come to an end, so I decided to give it a go. I finished the 2nd book, Chamber of Secrets, two nights ago, and I can honestly say I'm hooked. So hooked, in fact, that I decided to draw our hero, Mr. Potter.

I did this caricature using a brush pen (hair, eyebrows, etc) and a brown Hi-Tec C for the details in the face:

After letting it set for 24 hours, I painted washes of acrylic with gouache to give it some color and visual interest, like I do with a lot of my sketchbook drawings.

I'll definitely be doing more portraits like this! I would love to hear your thoughts on this style, too.

Now off to read Prisoner of Azkaban...