‘…[crazy-]paved with good intentions’

Well, I probably wouldn’t go so far as to say that I regard myself as careening down the road to hell – the (truncated) Samuel Johnson quote has, in honesty, merely been lassoed for its Illustration Friday-topic pertinence – but it has been a most peculiar week: the last seven, or so, days have encompassed (a troupe of) be-sequinned tap-dancers, hill-running, cake-gorging, the premature arrival of (and subsequent [apparent] departure of) Spring, surprise tea-with-a-friend, curtain-fabrication and flood (yes, actual flood – courtesy one suburban drainage system that has withstood the rigours of half a century’s worth of pulsing water and finally called time, at 03.30 a.m. on Saturday morning, with an indignant spewing forth of curiously orange silt and disconcertingly brown water…).

However, while I marshal those events into some sort of intelligible sequence – and attempt to spin a, doubtless gossamer-fine, thread by which to string them all together – I would humbly assert (if that’s not too oxymornonic as to be rendered entirely invalid as a phrase…?) that I have not been idle, and proffer the following recumbent cat, tummy-bared, by way of evidence of at least a day or two’s pencil-wielding:

A friend's very beautiful and elegant cat, with a penchant for a comfortable, sun-soaked spot. The portrait was commissioned in pencil only, as Dee Dee's coat is predominantly silvery-grey, but to incorporate a suggestion of colour in specific regions (e.g. under her chin and along parts of her belly), where there's a lovely caramel-y colouration.

One very contented moggy, I’m sure you’ll agree. Although I’m not sure it’s entirely apparent from the portrait, the photograph from which I was working brilliantly captures that deliciously luxuriant feeling of basking in the full, beaming gaze of Sunday morning sunshine (a superlative brand of sunshine, I think you’ll find) – a sensation that may be very effectively intensified by positioning oneself atop a down-stuffed-duvet-clad bed, clothed in Egyptian cotton sheets and requesting a pot of fresh Early Grey Tea to be administered by a loving spouse/other obliging body (you’re not required to drink the tea, necessarily – especially if you happen to be of a more, er, feline persuasion, as pictured; it’s to function more as an ambient prop and metaphorical extension of the duvet – warm and comforting!).

In a feat of outrageous audacity, I’m also going to claim this as my submission for this week’s Illustration Friday topic: the featured creature has no intention of moving from her snoozing spot!


Assuming I am able to extrapolate something like a relevant and interesting blog post from the veritable spaghetti of goings-on strands heaped upon my metaphorical plate, I shall also be including some illustrations from a recent project that I was fortunate enough to become involved in by virtue of the freelancing ‘marketplace’, PeoplePerHour  and a wonderful (some – which most certainly includes myself – might consider perfect) client whom had advertised said project thereon. (Alas, while I have her kind permission to share the resultant illustrations with el blogosphere, they were crafted for the express purpose of gifting to her beloved partner for his birthday and, as this feted day has not yet elapsed, I am bound to keep the proverbial cat well and truly trapped in the bag – much as it may meow and claw to be unleashed [it’s a restless beast – well, wouldn’t you be…?], and that metaphor may rankle with readers equipped with an inadvertently-controversial-animal-rights-related-content sensitivity…) If you, dear reader, are yourself a creative practitioner of a freelancing persuasion, I would encourage you to explore the PeoplePerHour site as a, potentially, rich seam of diverse and interesting projects. My single experience (so far…) of ‘winning’ work through the site has been an entirely positive and smooth-running one, but I would advise exercising a degree of discernment and caution when considering which project(s) you might wish to place a bid for – I’d recommend scrutinizing, particularly, the budget offered (where an indication is given…), rights/licensing remit expected, and the level of detail provided in the job description. These may all sound like staggeringly obvious points, but having sifted through hundreds of listings (no exaggeration – though that is one of the beauties of the site: there are many new adverts, literally every day, so plenty of choice if something about a job you sort of like the sound of doesn’t quite work on some level – e.g. timescale, subject matter, intended end use), it seems clear that, inevitably and quite understandably, a significant proportion of those scouring the freelancer pool for suitable talent to fulfill their project requirements aren’t familiar with the work/processes inherent in what they are commissioning, nor what the ‘going-rate’ might be. That’s why they’re appealing to professionals, I guess. At least, for the health of my own cheerfulness-o-meter and invested faith in essential human goodness (stay with me…), I elect to believe that the clanging disjunct in understanding – that (for example) leads someone to suggest that an artist would be grateful to receive £45.00 for producing and ceding copyright to 24 original watercolour illustrations to grace the pages of their self-published children’s book – is down to honest naivety as opposed to scandalous cheek. OK: rant over.

‘Til next time (post-7 March), then, I hope you have a glorious almost-Spring(?!?) week.

AP x.

About illustratedbyamanda

Illustrator and time-fritterer extraordinaire
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6 Responses to ‘…[crazy-]paved with good intentions’

  1. Cindy D. says:

    Wow! Could I buy your small (or ginormous) little booklet wherein you explain the techniques required to achieve such perfect soft fluffiness? What, you don’t have one? Pfft, let me know when it comes out. Seriously. Aside from the perfect fluffiness, such a wonderful contented face on that lounging cat, my goodness. I would like to rub the belly but in my limited cat experience, that means a 70% chance of having my hand grabbed by two front paws and subsequently pierced by cat teeth. Perhaps if we knew each other better.

  2. TMartin says:

    I didn’t read the underlined stuff (that’s like trying to decipher someone’s bad hand-writing, something that I, as an English teacher, am getting more and more cranky about as I get older), but very much enjoyed the rest of your pose. Quite the week! And quite a task to try to connect all the disparate pieces.

    But I LOVE the cat picture. I can’t imagine a reference photo conveying more of the luxuriating that this wonderful illustration does. Marvelous pencil-work!

    • Thank you for your lovely comment – much appreciated! And for drawing my attention to the massive block of underlined text in the post: in making the Illustration Friday and People Per Hour into hyperlinks, I later discovered that I had missed a letter off the end of each in the highlighting process and tried to rectify the problem by doing a ‘quick edit’ on my *ahem* smartphone. The result was showing up fine on this device at the time of editing, but clearly something has since gone awry… Problem now fixed, and please accept my apologies for what – I completely agree – must’ve been a thoroughly off-putting reading experience!

  3. theodraws says:

    Now that’s a happy cat! Wonderful rending…I love the subtle use of color. Great work!

  4. Gorgeous portrait! He looks so content! Like the softness & subtle use of color.

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