{The cartooning process} 3. Outlining

{The cartooning process} 3. Outlining

Woofings! Welcome back to my mini-series on how mum draws my cartoons.

Here’s what we’ve covered previously:

Now we’ll look at the step 3: outlining the cartoons.

This is all about adding a black outline to the cartoons – after all, so far they’re pencil sketches, and they need to have that black line to stand out.

Mum says she has mixed feelings about outlining the cartoons…

…On one hand mum always has a chuckle as she wields her black outlining pens. You see, mum’s art teacher at secondary school told her off for always drawing black outlines around things. Apparently, according to this teacher (we’ll call her Miss Hards, ‘cos (a) that’s her name, and (b) she was quite hard on her students!), things in real life don’t have a black outline around them. I dispute that! *rolls eyes*

However, drawing this black line is quite tricky; one needs to be very steady-of-hand. Which mum is not. Her unsteady hands are great for belly rubs; but not so great for cartooning!

Here’s how mum approaches cartoon outlining with her not-so-steady hands

To get around her shaky hands, mum does the outlining on tracing paper, rather than directly on the cartoon. This means that if she makes a mistake, she hasn’t ruined her sketching work.

Here’s a list of materials mum uses for cartoon outlining:

  • Sketch book with pencil sketches.
  • Tracing paper cut to size. She uses quite thick tracing paper; the thin stuff wrinkles and moves. And the wrinkles show on the scanner (we’ll cover the cartoon digitising stage next time).
  • Fold-back clips to hold the tracing paper in place. She uses two very small ones.
  • Black outlining pens with nib widths ranging from 0.1mm to 1.0mm. These have quick-drying Indian Ink and she bought them from a local art shop. The brand she’s currently using is Staedtler.
The materials used for outlining Minnie The Westie cartoons include tracing paper, fold-back clips and Indian Ink pens.

The materials used for outlining Minnie The Westie cartoons include tracing paper, fold-back clips and Indian Ink pens.

 

When mum outlines, she draws the rectangular frames first of all; then adds the words and speech bubbles; and then she draws the rest of the cartoon.

This usually happens in a few stages; even though the pens are quite quick-drying, they still take a while to dry completely on the thick tracing paper. So mum has to be careful not to smudge the ink.

Has mum always done the outlining this way?

No, mum hasn’t always done the outlining this way. For my first book, she did the outlining directly onto the sketch, and then erased the pencil markings as best she could.

However, despite lots of rubbing out, she could never get rid of all the pencil marks, and that created a lot of PhotoShop work for her further down the track. (You’ll learn about PhotoShop and digitising cartoons in the next blog post in this series.)

Worst of all, sometimes she’d end up crumpling the paper when she got too carried away with the rubber! Horrors! So the tracing paper technique is saving a lot of time and frustration.

Anything else about outlining cartoons?

The only other thing I have to say about  outlining cartoons is that mum is doing a lot of it at the moment! I am happy to report that she is making good progress on the cartoons for my second book… watch this space!

Anyway, next time we’ll look at the digitising stage, i.e. getting these hand-drawn cartoons onto the compawter.

Till next time!

Love ‘n’ licks,

Minnie x

 

To link to this post, use: http://www.minniethewestie.com/the-cartooning-process-3-outlining

 

{The cartooning process} 4. Digitising the hand-drawn cartoons

{The cartooning process} 4. Digitising the hand-drawn cartoons

Woofings! Welcome to the final instalment of my mini-series on how mum draws my cartoons.

Here’s what we’ve covered previously:

Now we’ll look at the step 4: turning the hand-drawn cartoons into a high quality digital file.

This is an impawtant step, because the cartoons have to be in a digital (computer) format in order to put the cartoons on this website, and to print them in my books.

Equipment for digitising cartoons

So far the equipment that’s been used has been simple and inexpensive: paper, pencil, eraser, pencil sharpener, tracing paper, outlining pens, and so on.

Things get a little more complex here! For my cartoons, mum uses:

  • Scanner
  • Compawter with PhotoShop software
  • Wacom Intuos 2 drawing tablet.
A drawing tablet and scanner are Minnie The Westie cartooning essentials.

A drawing tablet and scanner are Minnie The Westie cartooning essentials.

 

Here are the steps mum works through to digitise my cartoons:

1. Scanning the cartoon outline

Mum scans my cartoons by putting the tracing paper (with the inked outline) on the scanner. The glass of the scanner must be super clean, so it’s a good idea to keep a cleaning cloth handy to wipe away dust and fingerprints.

The scanner is set at its highest resolution (600dpi), and the cartoons are scanned as black and white documents and saved as JPEG files.

2. Tidying up the scanned cartoon

This is how a cartoon looks after scanning… as you can see, it is faint and doesn’t look very tidy. It also needs cropping, and many of the cartoons need to be straightened (rotated) too.

The scanned cartoon isn't as crisp as it could be... plus it needs to be cropped and tidied.

The scanned cartoon isn’t as crisp as it could be… plus it needs to be cropped and tidied.

 

This is where the PhotoShop software and Wacom drawing tablet come in handy to tidy up the cartoons!

When mum first started cartooning, she didn’t have the drawing tablet. It took her many hours to tidy up just one cartoon in PhotoShop, and her hand got very saw! She bought the drawing tablet secondhand and absolutely loves it.

Figuring out how to use PhotoShop has taken mum quite a while though. For my first book, it took mum about 3 hours to work on each cartoon… multiply that by the 85 cartoons in the book, and you get an idea of how long it all took to put together!

Obviously mum needed to get more efficient. Here’s what she did…

(a) Using a PhotoShop ‘Action’ to automate the most time-consuming work

The way mum used to tidy up my cartoons in PhotoShop was time-consuming and also very boring. Just think, she could have been spending that time giving me belly rubs instead! Something had to be done!

Thankfully mum’s web designer friend Trisha in Australia came to the rescue. She wrote a customised PhotoShop Action for mum… this does in 3 seconds what used to take mum an hour or two! No exaggeration!

The screenshot below gives you an idea of what the script does. All mum has to do is click the “play” button, and PhotoShop does all of this in seconds:

These PhotoShop actions do in 3 seconds what used to take mum  1 to 2 hours!

These PhotoShop actions do in 3 seconds what used to take mum 1 to 2 hours!

 

Mum does make some manual edits to the cartoon as well, for example to tidy up wonky lines or insert something she forgot to draw initially. She is a pawfectionist!

(b) Using a custom font for the lettering

In my first book, mum did all the handwriting in pen and then tidied it up in PhotoShop. She’s insistent that the lettering must be easy to read, but alas she is not gifted with naturally neat handwriting. (She says she was the only kid at Primary School who had to do handwriting homework!)

So for my first book, mum spent about an hour tidying up the writing on each cartoon… that’s an hour on top of the two hours she’s already spent PhotoShopping!

Again, this work was time-consuming and boring, so a better way had to be found! So for my second book, she had a font made from her very neatest handwriting from YourFonts… this was just US$10-15, so very well worth it!

NB: Mum has retained some of her handwriting in some instances. For example, the cartoon you’ve seen evolving on this page maintains mum’s handwriting for my zzzzzs and also the SPLASH!

So now all she has to do is white-out the handwriting that’s been scanned, and type it in the “Minnie Cartoon” font. Not only is this much quicker, but it is much easier to read, too. (And it means mum can spend more time giving me belly rubs, yeahhh!)

(c) Inserting the blurbs

Now the cartoon is nearly finished! Mum now adds the following to make the cartoons look all professional ‘n’ stuff:

  • Numbering: each cartoon has a unique number to identify it by. This is usually in the bottom left hand corner of the bottom frame.
  • Signature: mum’s surname, Luethi, usually appears in the bottom right hand corner of the bottom frame.
  • Website address: so people know where to find my cartoons!
  • Copyright details: to identify mum’s company as the legal owner of my cartoons.

And that’s it!

Here’s the finished cartoon:

The finished Minnie The Westie cartoon.

The finished Minnie The Westie cartoon.

 

Or if the cartoon is going to be used on my website, Minnie Mail or elsewhere, mum adds my masthead to it. Again, she does this in PhotoShop, and is very quick.

Here’s the cartoon with the masthead added:

When you see my cartoons on my website or in Minnie Mail, they will usually have my masthead at the top, for that extra "Minnie The Westie" touch!

When you see my cartoons on my website or in Minnie Mail, they will usually have my masthead at the top, for that extra “Minnie The Westie” touch!

 

So now you’ve seen the creation process of my dog cartoons from start to finish!

Wags ‘n’ licks,

Minnie x

 

To link to this post, use: http://www.minniethewestie.com/the-cartooning-process-4-digitising-the-hand-drawn-cartoons

 

I love visiting the care home!

I love visiting the care home!

If you’ve read my book, you’ll have noticed that some of the cartoons relate to me visiting a care home.

In real life, I do visit a care home every fortnight: I visit the lovely residents at Anne Maree Court in Northcote. They always give me such lovely pats and chin rubs (as do the staff!). I love it!

I visit the care home with my mum: we’ve been volunteering for Outreach Therapy Pets for about 2 years now. I had to pass a behaviour test, and mum had to attend some training. We both wear matching uniforms which is very cool. 🙂

Mum keeps our uniforms in a special bag at home: I know that we’re going to Anne Maree Court as soon as mum gets the bag out! I do a big happy dance when mum opens the bag. I can’t wait to get brushed and wear my bowdanna. Then I leap into the car, and am raring to go!

Here are some photos of mum and I visiting Anne Maree Court visit last week. Thank you very much to Cherry for letting me use the photos – and for the lovely pats you gave me!

This lady always gives me a nice pat. She does seem to think that I’m a “pussy cat”, but I don’t mind so long as she keeps patting me!

 

This gentleman usually gives me a pat. He always likes to have a chat with mum. 🙂

 

Now this lady is very special! One time she switched seats in the common room, just so that she’d get two turns at patting me!

 

This lady always tells me I’m beautiful. I believe her. 😉

 

This lady doesn’t always pat me… but when she does, they are very good pats indeed. This time, she got just the right spot for a chin rub. Bliss!

 

Ann Maree Court is a pet-friendly care home. That means that there are some cats around… and that is why mum holds me. If I see the cats, I do just want to chase them. And mum is worried that I might scratch the care home residents so she keeps hold of me. Spoil sport!

I don’t mind too much though, as mum usually has some treats in her pocket. 😉

I am already looking forward to my next Outreach Therapy Pets visit at Anne Maree Court!

Love ‘n’ licks,

Minnie x

 

To link to this post, use: http://www.minniethewestie.com/i-love-visiting-the-care-home


Minnie The Westie - book cover
About Minnie The Westie:

Minnie The Westie is the star of the dog cartoon book, Minnie The Westie: The Adventures Of A Cartoon West Highland Terrier Cartoon Dog. It’s available as a Paperback book from online bookstores, and Kindle eBook from Amazon. It contains 85 black-and-white Minnie The Westie cartoons.

Shop for Minnie The Westie’s book at Amazon.comAmazon.co.uk and The Book Depository (with free shipping worldwide).

 

Minnie The Westie cartoon book now available from The Book Depository

Minnie The Westie’s cartoon book is now available from The Book Depository

Minnie The Westie - book cover

Minnie The Westie's paperback book is now available from The Book Depository with free shipping worldwide.

Have you discovered The Book Depository yet?

It is an online bookstore that offers free shipping worldwide… how cool is that!

So if you love books but hate the fact that shipping is nearly as expensive (or more expensive) than what you’re buying, you should definitely check out The Book Depository.

Especially as they’re now selling my paperback book, ‘Minnie The Westie: The Adventures Of A West Highland Terrier Cartoon Dog‘… check it out!

Love ‘n’ licks,

Minnie x

 

To link to this post, use: http://www.minniethewestie.com/the-book-depository

 

Westies in the snow

Westies in the snow

Here in New Zealand it is hot and sunny – far too hot for this little Westie! It is too hot to lie in the sun puddles for very long, I am doing most of my napping in the shade these days.

It is a very different story in England though! I have been barking with my cousin, Lady, on the compawter. Lady is also a West Highland White Terrier, and she lives in Kent, England, where they had 15cm of snow last week!

If you’ve read my cartoon Westie book, you’ll have met my cousin Lady already. Here’s one of the cartoons where we’re talking about snow:

Westie cartoon about snow

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That cartoon was inspired by a very real event. Here’s a photo of my cousin Lady in the snow!

This is my cousin, Lady, in the snow in England!

This is my cousin, Lady, in the snow in England!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I bet Lady had lots of adventures, being almost invisible like that! What fun!

Me, I have never seen snow – it doesn’t snow here in Auckland, New Zealand. It snows in other places in New Zealand, but not here. I’m not sure if I’d like snow or not.

Does your doglike the snow?

Love ‘n’ licks,

Minnie x

 

To link to this post, use: http://www.minniethewestie.com/westies-in-the-snow

Happy 2012!

Happy 2012!

Wishing you a very happy new year, my furiends!

Yes, I know that we are more than half way through January but I am only now back from my holibobs. Here in New Zealand it is summer after all, and I have spent a couple of weeks holidaying on mum and dad’s sailboat. (With mum and dad there as well, of course – someone had to do the sailing and the cooking, y’know!)

I will add my holibob photos onto this blog next week… keep an eye out for them here!

Did you have holibobs as well? I hope you had some good adventures with lots of greats sniffs and noms.

Holibobs are all about discovering some great new sniffs!

 

 

 

 

 

 

What’s in store for 2012?

Have you made any New Year Resolutions?

I haven’t… there’s no improving on Westie perfection! 😉 I intend to spend 2012 enjoying daily walks, noms, cuddles and naps. Much like last year, and the year before that, and the year before that…!

Mum has some exciting plans for Minnie The Westie for 2012. She has already started sketching cartoons for my second book. All going well, that should be ready by the end of the year. (Not seen my first book yet? Find out more here.)

Here’s to even more waggy tails and Westie smiles in 2012!

Love ‘n’ licks,

Minnie x

 

To link to this post, use:  http://www.minniethewestie.com/happy-2012

 

Willo and Holly the reading dogs!

Willo and Holly the reading dogs!

Willo and Holly are two of my Westie furiends who regularly hijack their mum’s Twitter account… they are wuffly!

On one of the occassions when the dogs allowed their mum to Tweet, she added some pawsome photos of Willo and Holly reading my book. Too cute!

Willo checks out the 'Minnie The Westie' book

Willo checks out the 'Minnie The Westie' book

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Up on the couch… typical Westies, getting nice and comfy! (Quite right, too!)

 

Holly gets stuck in for a good read!

Holly gets stuck in for a good read!

 

Notice how the colours of Holly’s collar almost match the colours of the book cover?! A happy coincidence, methinks!

A big thank you to Willo and Holly’s mum for letting me use your photos. 🙂 Extra big nose licks for you! *mwah*

Love ‘n’ licks,

Minnie x

 

 

PS. If you’d like to give your Westies (or humans, or yourself) a copy of my cartoon book, you can find out on my Store page where it’s available.

And feel free to email, Tweet or Facebook me with photos of your dogs enjoying Minnie books and merchandise! It’s always lovely to hear from you! 🙂

 

To link to this post, use: http://www.minniethewestie.com/willo-and-holly

 

Minnie The Westie book available in UK and NZ online bookstores!

Minnie The Westie book is now available in UK and NZ online bookstores!

Minnie The Westie - book coverI was just doing a bit of web surfing and spotted that my book “Minnie The Westie: The Adventures Of A West Highland Terrier Cartoon Dog” is now available to order in online bookstores in the UK and in New Zealand (as well as the US)!

Here are the links:

I’m about to put all of these links on my Store page (where you’ll also find the US links and Kindle edition links)… gosh this is exciting!

The MinnieMania is spreading!

Woofs ‘n’ wags,

Minnie x

 

 

To link to this post, use: http://www.minniethewestie.com/westie-book-uk-nz-bookstores

MinnieMania: what a whirlwind of a week!

MinnieMania: what a whirlwind of a week!

Wow, it has been an absolute whirlwind of a week since my book launched last week… talk about MinnieMania!

First of all, a shipment of books arrived – mum says these are review copies for doggy magazines. After the paw-ress release she distributed last week, she got requests for review copies the world over!

Here I am checking the shipment of books. 🙂

westie books

Mmmm, these books sure look nommy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I also got lots of fan mail this week, as well as lovely messages on Facebook and Twitter. And one special friend even brought me presents! (Of the nommy variety… thank you!) 🙂

After all that excitement, mum and dad took me away for a much-needed weekend break.

I am happy to report that while I was relaxing, mum was busy sketching some new cartoons. She says that there might be another Minnie The Westie book next year!

Minnie The Westie and her sketchbook

I am checking that mum's new cartoons are adequately cute and funny!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So yes, this truly is the beginning of MinnieMania!

And if you’re wondering why I do it, it’s simple: it’s to make people smile. Some people (sadly) live to far away to be able to rub my belly, so this is a way for me to bring you smiles wherever you live.

Love ‘n’ nose licks,

Minnie x

 

 

 

To link to this post, use: http://www.minniethewestie.com/minniemania

 

[Media release] Book release: cartoons for dog lovers of all ages

[Media release] Book release: cartoons for dog lovers of all ages

Minnie The Westie Media Release
5 October 2011 – for immediate release

Book release: cartoons for dog lovers of all ages

Auckland dog-lover Cornelia Luethi has launched her debut book, “Minnie The Westie: The Adventures Of A West Highland Terrier Cartoon Dog”. The book portrays humorous cartoons based on Cornelia’s real-life dog, Minnie, a West Highland White Terrier.

Designed to appeal to dog lovers of all ages, Minnie The Westie takes a light-hearted view at life, as seen through a dog’s eyes. Some of Minnie’s adventures unfold across a number of pages; whilst others stand alone as single-page gags. Also featuring in the cartoons are Minnie’s boyfriend, Morris (also a Westie); Flo the bug; and Minnie’s human mum and dad.

“I’ve always loved cartoon animals: my favourite was Garfield,” says cartoonist Cornelia Luethi. “Like many dog owners, I guess I’m a little bit obsessed with my dog, and find so many of Minnie’s daily antics hilarious. It didn’t take me long to build up enough ideas for the 85 cartoons in this book.”

Cornelia adds that some of the stories are based on real events, whereas others are based on her imagination: “Westies are such lively little dogs, it’s quite easy to imagine them getting up to all kinds of antics!”

Although Cornelia only started drawing cartoons a year ago, she quickly realised she’d created something unique with her Minnie sketches: “Seeing other people look at my Minnie The Westie cartoons is very rewarding – usually, they can’t help but smile at the cartoons. I was smiling as I drew them, so it’s nice to be able to share those warm, fuzzy feelings that dogs give us!”

“That’s also why I put a whole website together for Minnie The Westie. At www.MinnieTheWestie.com, dog lovers can enjoy free cartoons, as well as signing up for “Minnie Mail”, where they’ll receive a cartoon by email each month.”

What’s more, not-for-profit organisations are able to use Minnie The Westie cartoons on their websites and newsletters free of charge, whereas commercial users pay a small fee. Full details are at www.minniethewestie.com/cartoons/licensing

Minnie is very popular on social media already, with more than 1,200 Followers on Twitter and a growing number of loyal Facebook fans. Many of these are based in the US and UK.

Minnie The Westie is available as a paperback from Amazon.com (ISBN 978-0-473-19504-5), and also as a Kindle ebook.

ENDS

For more information please contact:

Cornelia Luethi (Author and Publisher)
Email: cornelia@fxmarketing.co.nz

Photographs: the following photographs are available as high-resolution images; please email cornelia@fxmarketing.co.nz with your image requests.

Please credit photographs as copyright © MinnieTheWestie.com.

May be used for Minnie The Westie publicity purposes only.

Photo #1: Cornelia Luethi and Minnie celebrating the publication of 'Minnie The Westie'

Photo #1: Cornelia Luethi and Minnie celebrating the publication of 'Minnie The Westie'

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo #2: Minnie and Cornelia Luethi on a beach

Photo #2: Minnie and Cornelia Luethi on a beach

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo #3: front cover of the book 'Minnie The Westie'

Photo #3: front cover of the book 'Minnie The Westie'

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cartoons: Not-for-profit organisations are able to use Minnie The Westie cartoons on their websites and newsletters free of charge, whereas commercial users pay a small fee. Full details are at www.minniethewestie.com/cartoons/licensing

Note to Editors

About Minnie, the real-life West Highland Terrier

Minnie is a pedigree West Highland White Terrier, bred in New Zealand, and is a member of the West Highland White Terrier Club of New Zealand.

As per the cartoon character she’s based on, the real Minnie also enjoys having her belly rubbed, chicken chomping, bone munching, napping, walking, sailing, and cuddling.

Website: www.MinnieTheWestie.com
Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/MinnieTheWestie
Twitter: www.twitter.com/MinnieTheWestie

About Cornelia Luethi

Although Cornelia enjoyed drawing at school, she only picked up her sketchbook again in 2010, which is when she created the Minnie The Westie cartoon character.

Cornelia is a self-employed marketing consultant and copywriter; her business is FX Marketing Limited (New Zealand). She works from home in Auckland… naturally, Minnie keeps Cornelia company in the office.

 

To link to this post, use: http://www.minniethewestie.com/media-release-oct11