I came across a video on Instagram as I follow cats and kittens because they’re so cute! One that got me curious was a really sweet one in which a dog carries a tiny kitten by the mouth. I thought, “why?” So I looked it up and discovered that it is not unusual for dogs to adopt an abandoned or orphaned kitten and hence carry her by the mouth like mama cats would. This is more common in female dogs because of their maternal instincts to ensure that the kitten will survive. Even the kitten is welcomed into her litter and fed as if one of hers! The dog continues to protect her and treats as her own until the kitten can survive independently. How wonderful is that! And of course I wanted to paint about it. How can I not? I then grabbed my iPad…
Draw and Paint
I went through the usual motions like firstly sketching with my Procreate pencil before filling in the colors with Medium Airbrush. Biggest challenge was being able to draw a proper side view of a kitten which is not easy at all! Nevertheless, I managed. Seperate layers applied for the dog and the kitten to enable adjusting size and proportion between the two. Another tip is to temporarily hide the dog layer and draw the whole cat rather than struggle with imagining what she looks like in parts. Then once you’re happy with what the cat looks like, unhide the dog and play around with the positioning till you have it right.
Once I was satisfied with the painted picture, I went about adding the shading and highlighting to give the subjects some dimension. Clipping Mask comes quite handy when you want to incorporate some shadows on the edges with Soft Airbrush in a darker shade. Here I also began introducing some texture such as lights on the doggy’s lashes and some speckled dots on the collar.
I could have done made the background a landscape, ie. grass underneath the blue skies. This time, though, I decided to go for an abstract background for a change. It was also a great chance for me to play around with the various brushes I had recently purchased as add on. These include lights, fur and glitter. First I changed the background color to a light olive green, followed by a layer of pink fur and white stamps. Another layer was then added to which orange bits of sparkly dust and bokeh lights were applied. Finally, I doodled two gold glitter hearts. And here we are now!
Another kawaii illustration of animals again, this time a dog and a kitten together. Very happy how it all turned out here and seeing how well it worked with the background. One day, though, I might like to switch the background to a landscape or draw a litter of puppies on the side or both! The main advantage of digital painting is that this is possible using the same painting: create a duplicate and work on it. Even the size and positioning of the subjects can be tweaked. I would be curious as to how it would turn out, seeing how adorable the idea of a dog taking care of a kitten is!