A Dog's Life

A Dog's Life

Way back in my first year of drawing, I made a sequence of initials for my children... I don't have copies of the final coloured versions, but I did eventually scan the cartoons that I'd inked onto the final copy. 

The original NThis N for Nicholas was drawn to fit an 8x10" frame, and the cartoon's dated 11 March 96.

Life happened, and for several years I did very little drawing, but in 2013 Bill discovered the old scan files and converted them to more useful formats, and I started tracing over them in iDraw so that I could upcycle my earlier work. 

Traced and re-worked

This gave me the the option to not only tidy up the linework of those early pieces, but to make them better. I de-tangled the tail and tongue and tidied up all the lines, like so...


Did you spot the biggest change I made? Take a closer look at the zoomorph in the top right.

  Reworked beast

In my original rendition this beast had one foreleg, but two hind legs, and I was really unsure of what type of beast he was. Later this annoyed me, so as well as putting in a missing line I removed a leg, reworked the crest and tail to fill the gap with a simple spiral, and refined the line of the thigh to bring him more into the form I've standardised on for my dog motifs.

About that time I needed an H so I cloned the digitised N and morphed it into an H, retaining the "doggy curve". This was our first digital bespoke collaboration, for Mark and Angela Hook, in August 2013.

Fast forward to January 2019. I had an odd wee gap to fill in the current project, so I thought it was about time I refreshed the doggy curve. Over the last few months I've been working on making key smaller motifs more re-shapable by making versions that don't have the interlacing cut through, so I incorporated that as well as giving it a more face. So here's Doggy Corner 2019...


He reshaped nicely into the little space I wanted him to fill, but while I was doing that Bill pointed out another challenge...

In areas where the outline thickness is less than half a point, at print size the colours and lines all seem to merge, and the detail in the interlacing is lost. And here I had the crest and tail outlines down to .25pt, with less than a point to be coloured in between. 

I'm not sure if I've come up with the best solution, but here's how Doggy Curve's been implemented in the corner of the Happy Birthday card...

1 comment

  • Bill

    pt = point or 1/72 of an inch or 0.35mm, so that’s about a third of a millimetre for 1 point. .25 or a quarter of a point is 0.0875 mm. The problem is that to show these lines on our screens, like now as you look at the examples, the lines are rounded up to pixel size as the screen can’t show them a the correct size, but when they are printed they are the correct size and it is just too fine. Or are my eyes just getting old.

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