December 10, 2019 0

Neon Gel Pens

By in ballpoint pen, color, paintings, pencil, sketches, watercolor, watercolour


Over the past couple of summers, a depanneur (convenience store, for you non-Montrealers) had a jar of gel pens for sale. When I was buying beer or cat food, if I was feeling flush, I’d pick one up. They are fun to play with, and I had a set of kid’s fluorescent paints to play with as well, but the scanner and putting it up on the internet takes away some of the vividness.

Ah well, I guess it’s like William Blake’s handcoloured poem prints. I’ve seen them for real, 200 years old, and reproductions don’t do them justice. Not that I’m comparing myself to Blake, but he’s one of my heroes.

Sadly, the neon pens aren’t very lightfast, and will probably fade to white in a few years. We will see.

Ha, I just noticed the oddness that this ancient scanner introduced up top. But this is the first time I’ve got the scanner working with the new computer (thanks to some old software), so I’m still thrilled.

December 8, 2019 0

Sober Cat

By in cats, digital, pencil, sketches

December 7, 2019 0

The Wind in the Willows Update

By in sketches

I’ve finished the Project Gutenburg edition of The Wind in the Willows on my Kindle. I can relate to it, because I used animals dressed as people to tell stories, in my Books in Canada cartoons. Still, the characters here are perfect English gentlemen, even if they take breaks to snap up flies once in a while. How does Mr. Toad have hair, if he’s a toad, and not wearing a toupée?

It scarcely matters, because reading about the book on the web after finishing it, I find the novel was based on stories the author made up to entertain his son at bedtime. That son committed suicide at school aged 20, which makes these stories more moving to me. Stories, at least of that era, had to have a happy ending.

They’re in the mold of Robert Louis Stevenson or Walter Scott high adventure, also with a love of nature. So, the actual events are hard to believe, but the general effect is charming. Very happy to catch up with this, another piece of my early childhood.

December 5, 2019 0

Blatant Sketchbookery

By in cats, color, Coloured Pencils, Gouache, Jack's House of Cats, paintings, sketches, watercolor, watercolour

For some reason I’m back into the blog. I don’t think anyone goes here, and the “Blogoshphere” has become a little like one of those abandoned theme parks adventurers like to seek out. Anyhow, I’m baaaaaakk. Not posting as much as I used to, just cool stuff out of the sketchbooks, which are taking too much space around here.

Above…. Looks like Same Face Syndrome! I’ll just pretend that it’s the same imaginary actor playing all the parts.

Still the usual inability to draw those Barbie-like women who are so popular among internet artists. Oh well. Better watch a dozen more Youtubes about the topic.

December 3, 2019 0

Birdies and Mr. Boggedy

By in cats, color, paintings, sketches, watercolor, watercolour

December 1, 2019 0

The Wind in the Willows

By in ballpoint pen, Book Reviews, color

I’m finishing off The Wind in the Willows. Very curious book. I remember it being read to me in class when I was tiny, and at that age I didn’t always get all of what was being read or shown to me. Such as when I was watching the movie Mary Poppins, which I loved. But what was a Suffragette, or a run on the bank? I just thought they were excuses for dressing up, or going crazy.

Anyhow, the lesson I learned from The Wind and the Willows long ago was that stoats and weasels were evil, and Mr. Toad was a wild adventurer and hero. Maybe in his own mind. Re-reading it now, Mr. Toad is a horrible aristocrat, stuffed with upper class privilege, who steals a poor person’s horse, not to mention someone else’s car, and escapes from prison. Truly a first-class felon, and egotist. The book explores this a bit. I suppose I identify most with the Mole, who is everyman, or every-animal. My favourite character is Badger, who in the movie I think would be played by the deep-voiced Christopher Lee, in his non-villainous aspect.

I’m not really sure how animals fit into this world. In the illustrations that came with my e-book, they are naturalistic, naked and almost natural size. Maybe a little larger so that they show up. But I think of them more as English gentlemen (no ladies in this story), wearing animal heads. At least person-size Beatrix-Potter type creatures who move in the world of Edwardian England just as most human being did. As I child I took this for granted. As an adult I seem to need more explanations. Which are boring.

So I’m moving forward through the book, into the last part where I’m sure the nasty stoats and weasels will be defeated. One thing I’m not fond of is how certain creatures can get an evil reputation simply because they don’t look as pretty as others. Opossums and hyenas, for instance. I want to see virtuous examples of those, just like there could be mean-spirited elves or honest orcs in a Tolkien-type story. I think I’ll look at Charlotte’s Web next. I’m enjoying these old kids’ stories, which are not really just for kids.

April 13, 2019 0

Puddle Brush Cat

By in digital

I’m a little embarrassed that I’ve not been posting here in a long while, and I almost lost the blog to some sort of server issue, so I got the blog back, and I thought I should post something. Here it is.

October 2, 2018 0

Scattered Brush

By in color, digital

Digital painting still isn’t coming easy to me, but I’m happy with the look I can get when I applied “scatter” to my usual drawing brush. I don’t even have to delete the underlying lines. Just paint over them. And this has got a pleasing chalk-like effect to me.

So different from my usual watercolour. The main challenge is mastering all the colours. Using a “swatch” palette helps there.

August 31, 2018 0

Digital Peeps

By in digital

I think the airbrushy style is a good complement to my still wiggly digital painting. Looking for something that’s slightly attractive, though maybe I should stick to watercolour and ink. Doesn’t stop me from trying, but the cat is doing her best to discourage me, by leaping up and bunting the stylus as I try to work.

July 27, 2018 0

Digital Bizness

By in color, digital

The one on the left is actually a lady. But I think I gave her too much jaw. May fix that, because it is digital, after all.

June 29, 2018 0


By in black and white, Book Reviews, pencil, Portraits, sketches

Finishing up the fifth volume so far of Mr. Karl Ove Knausgaard’s series “My Struggle.” My mind is a little blown, but his story stimulates me not to give up on my own journey.

My pal is waiting for the final volume, coming out in September, but I will have to wait until she’s finished with it. Still, that’s no problem, because she turned me onto it in the first place. And for that, I’m grateful!

June 14, 2018 0

The Savage Yard!

By in brush pen, comics, digital

A comic by me, Jack Ruttan. Computer colours, this time.

Seems like digital is much slower, and much more reliant on know-how than watercolours are, which are sort of in my bones. Still working on the work flow!

Of course, what a person thinks about this who grew up with digital and has trouble with watercolours, I have no idea.

June 7, 2018 0

A Comic. By Me.

By in color, comics, digital, watercolor

Life has been tough, lately, and I’ve not been doing some things I should have been doing. I don’t know if comics is one of them, but lots of illustrators are doing them. And if I call myself a writer/slash illustrator, then that’s a natural. But it’s not very renumerative.

I started drawing digitally, got frustrated with that, and then drew the whole thing out on a piece of paper in about an hour. Then I tried colouring it digitally, got frustrated with that, and then printed it out, traced around, and then made a watercolour overlay that went underneath the lines. It’s a little digital, since in the old days people like Richard Corben would draw lines on a sheet of acetate which laid over the colours which were hand done on a piece of art board.

I did something similar, tracing and then colouring in watercolour on paper. The paper shrinks, so it doesn’t always line up, but one can stretch the colour image, if one is canny and digital.

This turned out to be a lot of work, and I don’t know if it is totally successful, or as effective as drawing the whole thing out on paper, with ink overtop, but it was an interesting experiment I may never do again.

Still, I want to do more comics. Better written, and about whichever subjects, and coloured in whatever way.

June 6, 2018 0

Joni Mitchell

By in black and white, digital, heads, Portraits