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!


June 13, 2011

The Real Celebrities - Illustration for Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine

illustration for alfred hitchcock mystery magazine, by cat scott

When Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine contacted me to do an illustration for one of their stories, I jumped at the opportunity. Fellow Illustration Academy graduates Edward Kinsella, Andrew Wright, and Jorge Mascarenhas had all done really cool work for the magazine so it made me feel like I was joining the ranks of these uber-talented illustrators.

The story was an entertaining suspense called “The Real Celebrities” about a murder amongst some costumed would-be actors in Hollywood (excerpted here). It’s always fun to draw some famous people...especially Hugh Jackman.

I’m happy to have another example of my “Sketchbook Style” illustration. This style is taking over my illustration portfolio because it is my favorite way to work. The tediousness of the cross-hatching step appeals to the nerdy analytical side of me, and the looseness and impressionism of the paint application step helps keep it fun and spontaneous.

Stay tuned for another illustration I did for them in the August/September issue, and a website update!

Thanks for reading!


Cat Scott
Louisville Illustrator and Graphic Designer

March 26, 2011

Derby Etiquette Illustration for Louisville Magazine

derby etiquette illustration for louisville magazine

Louisville Magazine, contacted me to do an illustration for their Derby issue this year, and of COURSE I jumped at the opportunity! It's always such an exciting issue to be a part of. The article is about Derby Etiquette and discusses how NOT to be "that guy" when you are out at Churchill Downs.

Below are the thumbnails I sent the art director:

thumbnail drawings for derby illustration

She chose the bottom right option. Here's the final drawing before I took it to final:

final drawing of derby illustration

And since I know you love seeing some behind-the-scenes action, here's a few of the reference photos we took. Pardon the poor white balancing, these aren't usually for the public's eye, they are just for getting a hand shape correct or a shoulder in place.

Till next time! p.s. Go Knights!

Cat Scott
Louisville Graphic Designer and Illustrator

March 23, 2011

Wedding Website

wedding website screenshot

Before the wedding invitations could go out, I had to make sure the wedding website was up and running!

With so many out-of-town guests, and with me being a giant web-nerd, it was important to me to have a website full of information on visiting Louisville. At first I was lulled by the simplicity of building a site on, but the lack of customization made my skin crawl. So I built us a nice site from scratch using good old fashioned XHTML and CSS:

It's not that fancy, but neither is the wedding, plus it ties in with the invitation design and provides visitors the information they need. And it's not a cheesy template from the Knot. I love that I can keep updating it - like maybe I should add in those flowers from the invitation in the header? Sure, why not. It's a work in progress.

Next on the wedding posts, I'll write about our Save the Date cards which don't totally match anything but were the springboard for some of the elements you see on the website and in the invitation.

Thanks for stopping by!


p.s. I'm learning more and more about web development at my day job, so please don't judge some of my inefficient coding!

p.p.s. Feel free to purchase us gifts from our Honeyfund registry!

Cat Scott
Louisville Graphic Designer and Illustrator

March 16, 2011

Wedding Invitations

Have I mentioned in this space that I'm engaged to My Biggest Fan, Jason? Wedding day is less than two months away. Yet another reason I've been quiet on the blog.

As a creative person, I have set out to tackle a boatload of Do It Yourself Projects to give my wedding that "personal charm," and a perk is that we save a lot of money!

One of my main projects was the invitation. In the wedding blog world, there are scores of elaborate, beautiful invitation suites with wonderful calligraphy, screen-printing, special sourced papers, and of course intricately designed type treatments. However, our wedding is a 50-person daytime garden wedding, so none of that felt right to us. Our ceremony and reception will be personal, simple and sweet, so that's what our invitations needed to convey.

Some details on the creation:

Our "logo" is a little sketch I did of the two of us kissing in a canoe (we got engaged in a canoe in Asheville, NC). The flowers were hand drawn in illustrator and filled with an abstract pink & purple watercolor I painted. The white parts of the invitation and RSVP were printed on my inkjet and trimmed by hand with an x-acto knife (not so bad when you only have 40 invitations). Katy and I then spray-mounted them onto trimmed pieces of a beautiful navy Classic Columns paper. Finishing touch is a pretty pink ribbon. Envelopes are standard cheapo envelopes from Staples with "calligraphy" done by me with a pretty pink/purple marker pen and a standard blue rollerball pen.

Below are some photos of the invitations. The really nice looking ones of the RSVP card and the envelopes are by my uber-talented bridesmaid Katy A who helped me assemble invites while she was in Louisville. The others are by me with my crappy point-and-shoot.

wedding invitation calligraphy
wedding invitation envelopes

Must stop blogging and start DIYing! Thanks for reading.


Cat Scott
Louisville Graphic Designer and Illustrator

February 13, 2011

La Scala Milan Illustration

illustration of la scala milan

Just when one book design was wrapping up, another project began. This time it's for a book about learning to love opera, penned by Louisville author, speaker, and expert on the arts, Thomson Smillie. What is especially exciting about this project is that he wants to sprinkle it with lots of fun illustrations by moi!

For the cover, we went with the striking facade of Teatro alla Scala in Milan.

I love how my new "sketchbook" illustration style (which is the only style I use now) allows me to be more impressionistic. There is no need to get caught up in the details which keeps the illustrations loose and fresh. Thomson said it best; "You don't need to draw every architectural detail of the facade for someone to recognize it as La Scala. Either you recognize it, or you don't!"

This project should be wrapping up by summer time, so hopefully I will have lots of opera-related illustrations to share with you.

Till next time,


Cat Scott
Louisville Graphic Designer and Illustrator

February 2, 2011

illustrations for

Another thing that has kept me busy for the past several months is a full time gig I started in October at a competitive intelligence firm called Sedulo Group. I'm their Creative Director and oversee everything design and marketing related, like the website(s), tradeshow materials, newsletter, and even powerpoint presentations. They keep me pretty busy.

Our managing partner, Heath, started a blog called to write about competitive intelligence for people who don't really understand what it is, like for example, ME four months ago.

When I first started building the articles, I looked at some stock images but quickly realized a few things:

  • Stock images are super cheesy.
  • The illustrations are way too expensive.
  • It was impossible to find an image that conveyed the exact concept I wanted to illustrate.

I thought of one of my favorite sites about web design, A List Apart, and how they use a simple illustration for their articles. I thought, hey, I can do that! Heath loved the idea. Then I just needed a "style."

The goal was to do two posts a week, and these illustrations were in addition to my already ginormous pile of work, so I needed to be able to do these quickly and easily.

Here's the process:

First I do a very rough drawing. I never do a bunch of thumbnails, I just go with my gut on these. For this particular article about using competitive intelligence to see the future, PhotoBooth helped me pose for my own reference shot for the hand.

I scan the sketch and tweak it in photoshop.

I print out the tweaked sketch, throw it on my light box (My favorite two guesses as to what my old crappy lightbox is: a time machine, and an 8-track player.) I then trace the drawing onto Bristol paper using my brush pen.

I scan the brush drawing into Photoshop and then proceed to layer it up with multiplied layers of black tones, and then top it off with one darkened layer of color.

All in all, the entire process from concept and sketching to posting to the blog takes about 2 hours. And in the end, we think it's well worth it to have a fun, consistent image for each of the articles posted to the blog.


Cat Scott
Louisville Graphic Designer and Illustrator

January 26, 2011

When Time Ends: Book Design

One of the things that has kept me crazy busy over the past few months has been designing a book for my dad.

"When Time Ends places the biblical passages behind popular end-times books in their historical and literary contexts and concludes that the Bible's messages are quite different. Instead of postponing the kingdom of God to the future, voices of prophecy and apocalypse in the Bible encourage Christians to realize the kingdom on earth now through forgiveness, compassion, and reconciliation, persevering in their faith despite the overwhelming injustice and violence that surrounds them."

His book is available at Createspace and Amazon. He is also now blogging over at (he's such an author!).

With all of the quotes, footnotes, multiple parts, chapters, section breaks, and bible passages, it became quite the style sheet smorgasbord. But my dad made it very easy for everything to fall into place and I'm really excited that his project is finished!

I'll update this post with mo' better images once I take some.


Cat Scott
Louisville Graphic Designer and Illustrator

January 21, 2011

Jane Radstrom

I haven't posted in a really long time, but I just had to share this. Jane Radstrom has been posting tons of her drawings lately, and this one blew my socks off. Loving the texture, the color, and of course the amazing technical rendering behind the whole thing.

Hope to post some stuff about ME soon, I know that's what you all want!



Cat Scott
Louisville Graphic Designer and Illustrator