Cat 127: Edgar Allen Poe mysterious cat quote, block print

So this is the second block print in a planned set of three. The first was HP Lovecraft’s quote and I can not believe it is already eight months since I finished it. Time flies, baby!

I decided I had to like the authors of the quotes I chose, and feel inspired – see some interesting “cat picture” in my head when I read it. And who can dislike Poe? Okay, maybe lots of people, but not me. The quote I picked was shorter with a lot less text: “I wish I could write as mysterious as a cat” by Edgar Allen Poe. So I searched “mysterious cat” images online until I developed an idea of what I wanted, took pictures of my own little kitties with some “uplighting” (i.e. incandescent bulb in a construction hood laying on the ground):

Cat Illustration for Edgar Allen Poe quote3 Cat Illustration for Edgar Allen Poe quote2I liked how there is a shadow in the orange cat’s eye (that’s Chaos =^.^=), so I converted his photo to black and white…

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and traced it…

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and started trying to figure out what it would look like in solid black and white…

Cat Illustration for Edgar Allen Poe quote9but I wasn’t sure I liked how it came out. I wasn’t sure if someone else looked at this, they’d be thinking “mysterious cat.” I thought the cat maybe shouldn’t be making eye contact with the viewer. So I converted the gray cat’s picture (that’s Napoleon <3) with iPhone app “autographo” to a line drawing and cleaned it up…

Cat Illustration for Edgar Allen Poe quote5

and added some text, playing around with fonts…

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but I wasn’t sure I liked the lines on this. I wanted a more simple glowing outline of him. So I converted his photo to a black and white and traced outlines.

Cat Illustration for Edgar Allen Poe quote1Cat Illustration for Edgar Allen Poe quote11 Cat Illustration for Edgar Allen Poe quote12

Then I tried to figure out which one I really liked better. I chose the Napoleon’s side profile with the solid shapes in the end. (Chaos looks kinda evil in his drawing, doesn’t he? Eek!)

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So I laid Napoleon’s picture out…

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And added text and picked what I thought was a classic, somewhat elegant, easily readable font (notice the layout of the text gets changed after this photo)…

Cat Illustration for Edgar Allen Poe quote14

Next I photocopied my design and transferred it to the block with laquer thinner by following directions from this very helpful post from ArtLikeArt.

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Then I started carving my block. I used “Blick Readycut” from DickBlick.com. They have some great products, but in my opinion, this isn’t one of them. It was way too soft for the fine detail in the text for this project.

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I did a test print and found I had a lot of clean up to do on the block’s text (I used a highlighter to mark what I wanted to clean up). Ugh, very messy. At this point I actually thought of starting over, then took a deep breath, regained my sanity and pushed forward.

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After cleaning up the text as much as I could, I printed some copies on the rough and smooth sides of some Japanese rice paper. The rough side came out with a speckled appearance that reminds me of denim (see below). I liked the grainy look to it, almost like a TV station that’s not coming in totally clear. I debated if this made it look more “mysterious”…

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but ended up choosing to frame the smoother version (after they dried for a few days).

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Here’s the final copy. I think I would change the white pattern on the chest. It’s true to my cat Napoleon’s photo, but I think it’s a little confusing as a “universal cat” in this print. But you can’t put back lino on a block once you cut it, so “it is what it is” at this point. I’m still happy with it.

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And here it is framed outside…

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And it gets to temporarily greet guests in the entrance to our old farmhouse.

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While the prints were drying, I spent three to four (or maybe five) hours online looking at cat quotes all over again. And have picked out the next one. I’m actually quite excited. And it better arrive here on the blog in final form in less than 8 months!

And for those who want to stick around for one more paragraph on a more personal note… the eight months were spent (in addition to the full time job) 1) doing more work around our farmhouse, being a more supportive wife to my hubby which is a good thing, visiting friends and family, eating healthy and exercising – all of which take a ridiculous amount of time, 2) taking some acting classes – which were absolutely fabulous!!, very time consuming and I had to take a break from them for financial reasons, and 3) studying lots about beekeeping with the hope of starting two or three hives next spring. Long live honey bees and all the veggies that they like to pollinate and we like to eat! Here’s hoping they will make my garden more awesome next year. Woo hoo!

Go hug a kitty!!

 

PS If anyone knows how to make a WordPress.com blog, with the “Blogum” theme, on the Gallery format setting, show a particular picture on the first page instead of just the first photo in the post, let me know. Thanks :)

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4 comments
  1. You never cease to amaze me…the block print is gorgeous. Napoleon looks great and I love how you made the word “mysterious” larger. Well done :)

  2. Joyart said:

    You always blow my mind with the amount of effort and time and love you devote to these works of art! Wonderful as always. Can’t wait to see the next one…

    • Thanks. I’m always curious to see the next one, too. :)

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