The science of Purring Cats and Comics

This week, I’m excited to show a project I’ve been working on. My Dad, (small animal doctor and small animal) Chris Little, gave me a copy of “Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences: Cartoon Abstracts”.

This magazine is a collection of Cartoons that describe different scientific papers and studies in easy to digest one page comics (you can find examples here: . Dad had met one of the guys behind it and figured that I could try my hand at drawing a page.

I was given a paper my Dad had collaborated on; “Purring in cats during auscultation: how common is it, and can we stop it?” Bit of a mouthful, but in layman’s terms it’s about how cats purr when they’re in distress, which can be a pain when your trying to hear their heart rate and breathing, so how do you make them quiet down?

After drawing out a quick sketch I sat down with my new favorite gadget, the drawing tablet, and this is the result.purring cat comic jpeg

It’s not finished yet, but I’m really happy with the results so far.

In 2 weeks I’ll be showing the finished comic and maybe get back into the real world with my work. See you soon.


Skulls and Sketchbook


Over the last month and a bit I’ve been trying to teach myself to draw with a tablet. In particular I am learning to use Sketchbook Pro, which is a windows drawing program. It’s a nice one for me as it’s exactly what it says on the tin, it feels (sort of) like drawing on paper, with a few added extras.

Last week I tried to teach myself a shading technique, and I’m going to talk you though the process with some imagery. Must of been feeling a bit macabre cause I decided to draw a skull.

Skull layer 1

First stage was a very basic sketch to act as a guide. My favourite thing about working with a pad so far is I can do rough outlines without having to worry about rubbing out later. I can just make the layer invisible.

Skull layer 2

Next comes the main line drawing built on top of the sketch.

layer 3 tone

Now for tone. I’m just working with a grey-scale here to test out the colouring tool in a moment. One thing I found really useful for this stage was to create a pallet on the page which you can see on the right. Just making some blobs of colour (or grey) means I’m never going to lose them, and I don’t end up searching though all the colours of the spectrum for a slightly greyer shade of grey.

On a side note this guy reminds me a lot of skeletor as this point.


And on to the colour. By setting this layer to “color” I can apply whatever colour I like and it will pick up the black white shades below and reflect it. Keeping up the children’s tv show villain for the colour scheme.

7 Finally I added the “glow” layer, which essentially makes the light super light and the dark very dark. I had to do quite a bit to get this right, the first time I tried it the skull was too white and I lost my retinas from the blinding light. I darked up the tone layer a bunch then worked my way back.

Hope you’ve enjoyed with week. I’m feeling in the mood for some material world stuff, so next week I’ll probably have a pen and paper drawing. Thanks for reading.