Lars, A Seeing Eye Cat for Illustration Friday

Seeing Eye Cat, 8.5 x 11, Copic Markers

This portrait was found in the attic of an elderly pair of gnome sisters, Margaret and Maybelle, who passed away together at the ages of 76 and 83, asleep in front of the television. The cat, an Oriental Shorthair named Lars, once belonged to their Grandfather Golly, a gift from his daughter (their mother) when his eyes began to fail. The sisters never met Lars but they heard many fantastical tales from their mother, who insisted he was the only seeing-eye cat in seventeen counties.

Lars was not particularly great at the job, being a cat. In fact, the harness is likely the result of artistic license as Lars was apparently only convinced to wear it once and with far less aplomb than is on display here. But even without the harness he was very protective of Golly and the two were quite popular about town.

[portfolio_slideshow size=large]

This is my submission to Illustration Friday for the topic “Sight”. In an attempt to go to sleep before midnight I am going to end things here. Please feel free to ask any questions below (or leave comments or chocolates). Thanks so much for visiting!


44 thoughts on “Lars, A Seeing Eye Cat for Illustration Friday

  1. Claire Wildish

    As always, the stories that go with your illustrations are as fun as the illustration. And Lars is just gorgeous. I love the blue colour and the harness is VERY stylish!

  2. Jessica Warrick

    Great piece. I really like your style and the curlicues you incorporate into all your illustrations. And your stories behind the images make them even more interesting and fun.

  3. Molly

    This is GREAT!!! I love kitties, and this is beautiful and funny all at the same time :)) great, fun work :))

  4. The Beast Tender Post author

    Thanks so much everyone! I don’t know why I keep doing blue cats, but I do think real ones ought to come in bright blue.

    As a side note, if you don’t enter your site address I can’t visit back, but I appreciate every comment!

  5. Minnemie Murphy

    Cindy, your drawing skills are superb! Another artist I respect says a few sure lines is all you need – the fewer the better. I think you execute that very well. I tend to have a lot of lines – most of them unsure. Maybe I should take drawing lesson from you:-) BTW: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, echoing cepari’s words above: you need to write a children’s book!

    1. The Beast Tender Post author

      Oh my gosh what a great compliment! I can tell you that I have been spending a LOT more time on the sketching stage recently and I can see a difference in the end product. Also, I try to use a lot of different photo references.

      I think it’s simply a matter of putting in the time, whatever it is you want to do!

  6. Koosje

    Ha! I love the story and the cat is beautiful. And it’s great how you built in the progress pics as a slide show.

  7. mardi speth

    Lars’ opinion of the harness can be seen in his expression of abject annoyance … I can even hear him growling. Surely, Grandfather Golly had no trouble following his lead, as his striking blue color and stately hat were easy to see. Although a nudge to the calves every now and again kept him properly corralled.

    He’s a very beautiful and interesting feline!

  8. Karen Sagovac

    Fantastic – completely mesmerising! Love the shading of the cat’s blue body. Crazy story – how do you invent such wild tales? Anotehr favourite… :D

  9. nancy

    omg, I loved the blue cat as soon a I saw him but then I read the story … oh, Lars, Lars, Lars, you deserve a more prominent place in the history books! :D And your style fits the whole concept so well – gorgeous. :)

  10. Sasa

    The hat and harness make Lars look very civilized, a real gentleman cat :-) Nice work!! It would be interesting to know how long it usually takes for you to create an illustration like this?

    1. The Beast Tender Post author

      Thank you! I used to do my Illustration Friday (and other blog posts) in one evening, maybe 4-5 hours. But now usually I do sketching one night and finish the next night, so maybe 6-8 hours. That is really a guess, though. I will try to keep track next time. :)

  11. Sheri McClure-Pitler

    What a cool cat! You captured the feline look of disdain perfectly. (Notice how I didn’t insult your intelligence this time by saying “purrfectly”?)

    I particularly like the glow in his eyes, the shading on his fur, and the tension in his body.

  12. Kristin Naff

    I really like this, Cindy. The textures and patterns make this a piece that you can really look at for a while (and keep seeing things in). I am wondering about the white swirls on the cat. Were those masked out (and with what?) or are they just the result of very careful coloring to reserve the white?

    1. The Beast Tender Post author

      Thank you! I’ve been using liquid frisket for a while now, inspired by Leslie White (who uses a lot of different techniques in watercolor). After being frustrated ruining brushes for a while, Mardi Speth suggested this terrific thing called a Masquepen, which is frisket that can kind of be used like a pen. It’s much easier and a big improvement! I don’t know if frisket and markers is a common technique but it’s been working out well for me. (Both artists mentioned can be found in my links on the right side of the page!)

      1. Kristin Naff

        Thanks for the tip! I’ve always killed my brushes with frisket in the past but I’m looking at getting into watercolors again. Those two artists use some really interesting techniques, too. Cheers!

  13. trudy

    Another nice illustration. And always in your special style. Every week I wonder how your drawing looks like!

  14. Leslie White

    I really like the way you handled the values in the blues in this illustration, Cindy. The transitions are so smooth and I marvel at the skill it may have taken to accomplish them. Your cats are always something I look forward to seeing.

  15. shirley

    Such a fabulous cat, Cindy..and really cool to see the process. I am always amazed at the heights of creativity you travel and weave for us for each post!

  16. Ann

    You are a wonderful story teller I see! and a quirky take on it as well! Love this How great you posted the process! Great Job! :D

Comments are closed.