Daily Sketch: Fangs

sketch of cat sleeping

Sleeping With Fangs, ink © B.E. Kazmarski

There’s been a lot of this lately, lolling about on my desk. When Giuseppe turns his head upside down, his mouth falls open and I can see two little fangs. Vicious kitty. He fell deeply asleep so I had the chance to sketch him.

Not a difficult or detailed sketch, but just a note on drawing a subject in an orientation different from the way you are accustomed to seeing them. Even looking directly at him, my inner eye kept turning him right side up, and it was almost like yesterday when I was trying to draw around Mimi’s initial outline and it was confusing me.

This was done with a .35 felt-tip technical marker.

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Click here to see other daily sketches, and for a gallery of the ones available for sale, visit my Etsy shop in the “Daily Sketches” section.

All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in purchasing one as a print, or to use in a print or internet publication.


Daily Sketch: Relaxing

charcoal sketch of two cats

Relaxing, charcoal pencil © B.E. Kazmarski

I’m glad someone got some work done around here today because my cats were all totally useless. So the temperature was a humid 82 degrees in mid-afternoon. I wasn’t lying around like a dishrag! But I did have two or more cats on my desk all day, and still do at this very moment. I guess they wanted me to see how miserable they were.

Mimi sits up for a brief interlude of awakeness in an entire day of sleeping on top of the same pile of mail in nearly the same position all day. For most of the time, Giuseppe used her as a pillow, at which point you couldn’t see too much of her. Giuseppe takes up enough room for two cats and tries to spread himself as far as he can go.

Even in their resting state, unless they are in a deep sleep, they move constantly. Most sketches take me less than five minutes as my goal is to challenge my observation skills and hand-eye coordination and to keep from getting mired down in details. When I sketch them as outlined figures, I rough in their approximate outline, then go from one section to another with harder lines to define the outline. When I have more figures I rough in all of them then define their heads and other features as quickly as possible.

Paws and tails and heads may move in the meantime but the light rough outline keeps me in line and unless they get up and move completely before I have enough detail I’m fine with filling in quickly from that extremely short-term memory that holds an image in my mind clearly, but only for a few minutes before it begins to fade. In this case Mimi had been initially washing her face and her head was curved down much farther and at a different angle. She sat up, so I worked on other areas of the sketch waiting to see if she would go back to washing her face. In this case the short-term memory was holding too much, and there are times when I will put the sketch aside but keep an eye on the cat in question, and even hours later catch them in the same activity and finish the section I need. She never did go back to that position, so I drew her upright position instead.

If I’ve drawn in guidelines or even begun to firm up an area and they move, I leave the lines there, and I’ll try to work them into the finished sketch. I don’t erase anything unless, when I’m done, something in the finished sketch looks too confusing to let it go, and then I’ll try my best to lighten the lines or remove them. In this case something was confusing to me while I was drawing and I had to remove prior lines. Where Mimi had been leaning forward washing her face as I described above, my prior lines kept me thinking she was crouching and I was tending to draw what I was thinking instead of what was there, that three-quarter back posture, the two alert ears, her attention turned away. I had to erase that original outline as best as I could in order to go on.

All that for this simple little sketch!

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Click here to see other daily sketches, and for a gallery of the ones available for sale, visit my Etsy shop in the “Daily Sketches” section.

All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in purchasing one as a print, or to use in a print or internet publication.


Daily Sketch: Minding Their Own Business

sketch of two cats

Minding Their Own Business, charcoal © B.E. Kazmarski

Sometimes, this is all we see.

I like the times when they are going about their business without me involved. Jelly Bean is curled, sleeping, at the top of the steps where the sun had been shining, briefly awakened by Mewsette as she climbs the steps and rounds the corner into my bedroom. No faces, no interaction with me, they are just being house cats finding their afternoon nap spots.

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Click here to see other daily sketches, and for a gallery of the ones available for sale, visit my Etsy shop in the “Daily Sketches” section.

All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in purchasing one as a print, or to use in a print or internet publication.


Daily Sketch: Mimi’s Sunbath

ink and watercolor sketch of a cat

Mimi's Sunbath, ink and watercolor pencil © B.E. Kazmarski

Mimi enjoys the warmth of the sun on her one side, and the reflection of it from the cabinet on her other.

I really liked this as an ink sketch and almost left it with just Mimi, but when I had looked at Mimi in this very spot I envisioned an ink drawing with watercolor washes. I began the sketch on watercolor paper, and so I finished it. I like it just as much.

This has both deep shadows and bright highlights, and both direct and reflected light, a challenge for me in ink, for sure! But while Mimi did move her head to face front, look up at me and look behind herself, she sat for long enough for me to get the light and shadow on her torso sketched in with pen, then a bit of watercolor pencil scribbled on top.

When I begin with a new medium I often visualize in it for days as I grow accustomed to it, so I’m not surprised to have two sketches in a row in the same medium and style, after yesterday’s Kelly on the Windowsill. I am growing accustomed to these watercolor pencils, though I think I’m going to allow myself a wider brush than the No. 4 round to see how it dissolves and spreads the paint from my sketchy pencil lines.

I absolutely love drawing in ink, though I’m constantly disappointed in the pens I can get now, the marker style. They are so easy to use, but I seem to wear the tip dry and need to give it a break every minute or so, and I don’t like to stop in the middle of a sketch to wait for the pen to resaturate. I solved it here by having several pens on hand in the same sizes. I have various fountain-style technical pens but I don’t leave ink in them and I don’t think Mimi would sit still while I run upstairs and fill one or two. I also have dip-style pen nibs and bottles of ink, but that has its challenges outside of my studio. I’m going to find one of the fountain-style drawing pens I had looked into years ago, though the drawback of those is that sometimes the ink doesn’t dry quickly enough to watercolor on top of right away, as I do here.

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Click here to see other daily sketches, and for a gallery of the ones available for sale, visit my Etsy shop in the “Daily Sketches” section.

All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in purchasing one as a print, or to use in a print or internet publication.


Daily Sketch: Kelly on the Windowsill

ink and watercolor of cat on windowsill

Kelly on the Windowsill, ink and watercolor © B.E. Kazmarski

Kelly enjoys the sun on her back on the bathroom windowsill, and also likely the reflected heat from the deck roof, just below. It’s not all that warm, but just warm enough to have the windows open in mid-afternoon. The pussy willow is right outside the window and the dappled leaves were charming, and the blue sky beyond.

Another combination of media that I enjoy, ink and watercolor. In this case I did the ink sketch first, then scribbled into it with watercolor pencil. The watercolor pencil is a two-part technique, first the drawing, then the watering. In this case I knew I’d want to leave some of my sketching lines and in other cases I wanted to obliterate them.

In other cases, such as the sky and the wall beneath her, I wanted both and I was very pleased with what happened when I just brushed a water-filled brush over my lines. I could achieve a multitude of techniques this way, with just random washes in the sky where I used the brush on its side, but patterned washes in the shadow on the wall where I used the tip of the brush (that’s a white sable no. 4 round, students, you know who you are) in straight parallel lines running through the angled watercolor pencil lines in green and blue.

This is the first time I’ve used this new set of watercolor pencils, Prismacolor 12-color set water-soluble colored pencils. The Derwent set had an excellent reputation, but I found them to be kind of weak in color, especially the darks, once I got the washes on it. I had also used them for a huge illustration for a sign I just finished and had to go over and over areas in order to get them as dark as I wanted, which took away from the feeling of freehand sketching.

In the Prismacolor set, the colors dissolved and blended easily though I’m not sure why the dark green in the leaves did not; it did where I used it in Kelly’s shadows. I had wanted to brush the two greens together to look more random and leafy.

I should have done some color test swatches with the pencils before I began to be sure what shades they would end up. The sky and the shadow on the windowsill behind Kelly are two different shades of blue, but they certainly don’t look like it and kind of blend together.

But so far, I like this set much better than the other two.

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Click here to see other daily sketches, and for a gallery of the ones available for sale, visit my Etsy shop in the “Daily Sketches” section.

All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in purchasing one as a print, or to use in a print or internet publication.


Daily Sketch: Quickly, Before They Wake

pencil sketch of two cats cuddling

Quickly, Before They Wake, pencil © B.E. Kazmarski

Giuseppe and Mewsette spent the day on my desk and I watched as they cuddled, stretched and blocked my view. I’ve already sketched those postures, they are moving too much, I’m in the middle of something…

But when they tucked their heads in together like two commas cuddling, I furtively grabbed my sketchbook and a pencil and quietly but quickly stood up to do a quick sketch of their two faces tucked together; sometimes my movements or even looking at them wakens them, especially as the afternoon draws along and they are thinking of dinner. I did manage to snap a photo as well, but they sensed my vigilance and woke up to look around, shift, and the moment was over.

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Click here to see other daily sketches, and for a gallery of the ones available for sale, visit my Etsy shop in the “Daily Sketches” section.

All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in purchasing one as a print, or to use in a print or internet publication.


Daily Sketch: Mr. Sunshine’s Blue-green Bath

sketch of cat bathing

Mr. Sunshine's Blue-green Bath, pastel and charcoal © B.E. Kazmarski

The colors don’t correspond to anything, I was just visualizing him this way while I watched him bathe. I did the simple charcoal sketch first, thinking I might just stop at that, but kept seeing the greens and blues and that yellow in this kind of rubbed-in style where the colors are blended together and you can see my swirled fingerprints. It is literally rubbed into the paper (except for what’s on my hands, my desk, Jelly Bean…) so that it loses the character of pastel and looks more like paint.

After I rubbed it in I retraced the sketch to hold the shape. For a while in my early experimentations as an artist I outlined everything, nothing looked complete until it had a black outline on it, and I still like the look of it now and then.

Then he needed to be somewhere so I added the pink and purple and tan in vague angled strokes to indicate vertical and horizontal planes. If I were to work on this yet more, which I might, I’d work orange and burnt orange into the pink, blue into the purple, and light pink into the tan, and rub them in like the blues and greens and yellows.

The drawing paper I use is fairly sturdy and though smooth has a little tooth to it, enough to hold a layer of chalk pastel though I could never add more layers and blend like Kelly in Warm Colors—that is drawn on paper with enough tooth and texture to hold lots of pastel.

I just love their baths, I love the shapes they make, the curves and the overall simplicity of their form, and I also love Mr. Sunshine’s completely relaxed tail and the details of his angled ears, his toes and whiskers.

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Click here to see other daily sketches, and for a gallery of the ones available for sale, visit my Etsy shop in the “Daily Sketches” section.

All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in purchasing one as a print, or to use in a print or internet publication.