Thursday, March 30, 2006

Illustration Friday : Monster & Inspire Me Thursday : Monochromatic Art

Two entries this week.
The first one just happened. Was'nt sure how relevant it was to the topic, so did the second one. The second one is monochromatic as it doubles up as my submission for the Inspire Me Thurs 'Monochromatic Art' challenge.

Little Monster

Copyright 2006 Ratlion

Monochrome Monster

Copyright 2006 Ratlion

P.S : Both the illo's this time round feature Libby. You can read The Libby Story here.



Thursday, March 23, 2006



This guy's gonna get in so much trouble when he's found out!

The Libby Story

The Libby Story
(Story by Dogcrab, Illustration by Ratlion)

Bored. Bored bored bored bored bored bored bored. That’s how Libby felt.
Of course, she didn’t know that word, but she felt it all the same. And of course, being bored, she was also moody and cranky and exasperated. Actually, she didn’t know that last word either, to be perfectly honest.
In fact, Libby didn’t know rather a lot of words, but that was all right, because she was just four years old, and you can’t really expect four-year-olds to know so many big words, no matter how precocious.
Of course, she didn’t know what that word… well, you get the general idea.
But in fact, it was because she was precocious that she was this bored, and why she got this bored this easily, because precocious children need something to do, and Libby simply didn’t have anything to do.
Now, you may wonder why Libby didn’t have anything to do. It was, after all, a weekday, and she should have been at school. Or, since it was afternoon, she should have been back from school, and either sleepy after her lunch or out playing in the back-garden with her best friend, Max. He even lived next door, so it really shouldn’t have been a problem at all.
But you see, that actually was the problem. Max had caught a cold. He’d caught it from his brother Jackie, who’d caught it from Ellie, at school, who’d caught it from Gerry. And Libby parents didn’t want her to catch it as well, so she couldn’t go play with Max. Actually, they were worried she’d caught it already, which is why she hadn’t gone off to school that day. And sitting at home, with no one to play ball with her, she was, as you can imagine, looking for something to do.

And there was no one to play with at home either. Daddy was away at work, and Mommy was in her ‘special’ room, painting. Libby found that boring too, because she couldn’t paint with a brush, like Mommy did. Painting with her fingers was much more fun anyway, but if she did that, she couldn’t help Mommy. Once, when Libby had found Mommy’s painting, not fully ready, she had decided to help complete it. Mommy was away at the time, and Libby knew where to find the pots of paint. She’d selected her favourite colours, and a man whose face Mommy had been working on for two weeks ended up with one pink eye in addition to his two blue ones, and a purple splotch that looked like an octopus eating his nose.
When Mommy came back home, she’d rubbed her temples. Then, smiling, she’d told Libby that although she loved her very much, Libby would have to grow just a little older before she could help with these paintings again.

Mommy had then bought her a nice book to paint in, so she could colour bunnies green with her fingers if she so wanted (and she did, of course.) Libby would have loved to play with that book today, but she’d given it (being a big girl and all) to Max’s baby brother Paolo. Paolo, not knowing how important green bunnies were, had eaten the book.
Paolo was just a little baby, and Mommy had said Libby shouldn’t really mind, so she hadn’t, but this meant she couldn’t play with the picture book either.

And so, Libby, bored (and moody and cranky and exasperated and precocious) as she was, sat on her bed, looking at the dust floating in a sunbeam, and frowned. What could she do? Bob the Builder wasn’t on TV today, and she’d already seen Lilo and Stitch twice this week.

Copyright 2006 Ratlion

Ah! Lilo and Stitch! That gave her an idea. She hopped off the bed and - with some difficulty, since the doors weighed more than her – opened her cupboard. There! Inside, lying upside down, was Libby’s doll, Gaggelly-Ann, who looked just like the little doll Lilo had in the movie. Her name was supposed to be Raggedy-Ann, naturally, but these things happen. Especially with four-year olds.
Libby felt a bit bad because she’s forgotten Gaggelly-Ann for so long, but she was very happy too. Gurgling with delight, Libby jumped and scrabbled about the shelves till she managed to get Gaggelly-Ann by one limp arm and dragged her down.
Something else had fallen out, along with Gaggelly-Ann. Two things. One was green and one was brown, and both were very hairy and had eight long legs each. Libby jumped in surprise, mouth opening wide in horror, then realised what they were. They were fake insects, made of rubber. Libby’s mouth opened in a big, big grin, shaped exactly like a slice of watermelon. This was something she could use.

Have you seen “The Grinch That Stole Christmas?” Well, if you haven’t, you should – it’s very funny. And if you have, you’ll know what that bad Grinch’s grin looks like. It’s big and wide and very wicked, and you know just by looking at it that he’s about to do something very naughty indeed.
And that’s just the sort of grin Libby had on her face when she took the fake insects and ran to Mommy’s special room.

But wait a minute. What were these fake insects? And why did Libby have them? They weren’t hers, you see. They belonged to Max, who was nice, but was also a naughty boy sometimes. One day, Libby and Max had been playing in his garden, Libby sitting down and looking at Gaggelly-Ann on the grass, when Max had walked up – very quietly – behind her, and put something cold and wriggly and horrible down her neck.
Libby had jumped and squeaked in fright, and pushed Max away. Max, naughty boy that he was, jumped up and pulled poor Libby’s hair and made her cry. Sobbing, Libby ran back home and told her Daddy, who’d just grinned and told her Max was a silly boy. But he also gave her a hug, which was nice, and when he did that, he found the icky little creepy-crawlies that Max had put on her, and smiling to himself, had put them away in Libby’s cupboard.

And now she’d found them again, and she knew just what to do with them now.
This was going to be fun. Libby, still grinning, walked as softly as her little legs could carry along the carpet, and went very, very quietly into her Mommy’s special room. Mommy was looking at her painting, and didn’t see naughty little Libby as she tiptoed into the room, and went to the big table where Mommy kept all her pots of paint and the horrible-smelling thing that she cleaned her hands with.
As quiet as a mouse, Libby took the big brown fake insect and put it carefully on top of a big pot. Then, just as quietly, she ran and hid behind the thick curtains, and waited. Five minutes later, she was still waiting. And she was starting to get bored again – Mommy looked like she was just using red and green in her painting, and wasn’t looking at the other colours at all.

Libby was tired now. Sighing to herself, she was about to move away, when Mommy turned. Libby, grinning again, hid deeper behind the curtain. Mommy went straight to the big table, and picked up a small pot of paint, and started to walk back to her painting.
Libby gasped. She stamped her foot angrily. Mommy hadn’t seen the insect!
But then, Mommy turned again, and went back to her pots, and this time, she did see the insect. She gasped for a minute, then said “Ewwww!” very loudly, and brushed the horrible fake insect away.

Copyright 2006 Ratlion

Libby, standing and grinning behind the curtain, was very pleased. She put one plump hand to her mouth, trying to cover it before she could giggle aloud – but it was too late! She cackled happily, and Mommy turned. She saw Libby standing there, laughing and holding the other insect in her hand, and knew right away what our naughty little Libby had done. She burst out laughing, and chased Libby, saying “Where did you get that horrible thing, you little pest?”
Libby, laughing too, ran back into her room, flinging the insect away and picking Gaggelly-Ann as she did. Mommy followed her in and stooped down, saying “Caught you!” and almost picked Libby up. But Libby was quick. She dropped to her knees and crawled between Mommy’s legs, and ran back down the corridor and downstairs.
She was very careful as she went down the stairs, as all little children should be, and held on to the banister every step of the way. Still, she was very quick, and holding Gaggelly-Ann, she hopped into the guest bedroom.

This was a small room, smaller than the room Libby shared with Mommy and Daddy, but it was nice. It was all done in a bright yellow and had lots of little blue things all over, which Libby liked very much. But some of these blue things also cost a lot of money, and some of them could break very easily, and Mommy and Daddy had told Libby not to touch those things.
One of those things was a funny kind of blue pot, which Daddy had brought back from India. India was a big country, very far away, and Libby didn’t know where it was, but the pot was nice. It was made of glass, deep blue glass, and it was very pretty.
It was kept on a little table next to the bed, which was where Libby had decided to hide. But she was hurrying so much that she knocked her head against one of the table’s legs.

Ow. That hurt. Her head hurt, and everything went yellow and purple for a minute. Libby, tears in her eyes, was about to cry, but then something worse happened.
The pretty blue pot jiggled and wobbled on top of the table, and then, before Libby could do anything, it fell on the floor with a very loud crash and broke into lots of little pieces.


Uh-oh. Uh-oh. Uh-oh. Uh-oh. Uh-oh. Uh-oh. Uh-oh. Uh-oh. Uh-oh. Uh-oh. Uh-oh. Uh-oh. Uh-oh. Uh-oh. Uh-oh. Uh-oh. Uh-oh. Uh-oh. Uh-oh. Uh-oh. Uh-oh. Uh-oh. Uh-oh.

This was not good.

Mommy would be very angry. Libby knew that. She’d get scolded again, just like when she’d drawn a clown on her bedroom wall. And sure enough, just as the pot broke, she heard Mommy yell from upstairs, “Libby! What happened?”
Libby was scared now. She looked around, and didn’t know what to do. She couldn’t fix that pot, that was for sure. Even Gaggelly-Ann looked scared.
She could hear Mommy coming down the stairs.
Very scared now, Libby looked for a place to hide. The bed! She could hide under the bed! Quickly, she crawled under it, dragging Gaggelly-Ann with her. It was dark and dusty under the bed but Mommy wouldn’t be able to find her. She heard Mommy running into the room.
“Libby! Are you all right? Where are you?” she said, as she came into the little bedroom. Libby said nothing, and just hugged Gaggelly-Ann very tight.
She could only see Mommy’s feet as she walked towards the bed, and held her breath as the feet came closer and closer, and then, she grew even more frightened when Mommy stopped beside the broken pot.

Copyright 2006 Ratlion

“Oh no Libby, how did you do this? Where are you? Come out now, you silly girl. Libby!” That last ‘Libby’ was very loud, and scared the poor little girl even more. She held on even more tightly to her doll, and hoped Mommy wouldn’t look under the bed.
Mommy stood there for a minute, then sighed and started to pick up the pieces of the broken pot. Libby shrank back into the darkness under the bed, and then something else happened.
Her nose started to tickle. It felt funny, but it was very annoying. Libby rubbed her nose but the tickling didn’t stop. She even buried her face in Gaggelly-Ann, but that just made it worse. She could feel a sneeze building up now. Oh no, here it came…

The feet stopped. And turned.
Terrified now, Libby watched as the feet came quickly back to the bed. Then she saw knees, and then Mommy’s face down by the floor.
“Libby! There you are, you little monster,” said Mommy. She reached out. Libby had no choice. She crawled out from under the bed, shaking dust bunnies from her hair. She felt herself being picked up, and then, she was looking straight into Mommy’s face.

Mommy was looking stern.

Really, really scared now, Libby trembled, and said “Sorry, Mommy, I didn’t mean to break that pot.” Mommy said nothing, and just brushed some of the dust off Libby’s hair.
Libby burst into tears. “Don’t yell at me, Mommy, I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” she wailed, and sneezed again.
“Hey, no one’s yelling at you, sweetie,” said Mommy, gently. “It’s all right, it’s all right. I’m not angry at you.”
Libby hiccupped, and looked cautiously at Mommy. She really didn’t look angry. “Sorry,” she whispered, again, and Mommy gave her a hug, patting her on the back. “Don’t worry darling, it’s all right.” Then she pulled Libby upright again. Libby gave her a watery smile, and rubbed her nose, which was already going red.
“Oh. Do you have a cold?” asked Mommy. “Or is it just dust?”
Libby sneezed again, and there was no doubt. She had a cold.
“Poor baby,” said Mommy.

You know what a cold feels like. You get all sniffly and sneezy and your nose gets drippy. And sometimes, you get a fever, which doesn’t feel good at all. Even grown-ups feel very sad when they have a cold, but when you’re as little as Libby, it’s even worse. You feel terrible. But Mommy knew just what Libby needed.
She took Libby to the bathroom, and picked up a handful of paper towels – just in time! Having a drippy nose is awful, isn’t it? Then, it was off to the kitchen with a fluffy jumper on her tall chair while Mommy whipped up some chicken soup. That was nice - Libby hadn’t realised that having a cold and being bored could make you very hungry indeed. Then, just as Libby was starting to feel nice and full, Mommy went up, and in a minute, Libby heard the gurgle and splash of water as her bath was made ready.

Oh no. This didn’t sound good. Libby didn’t like baths. She was feeling more cranky than ever, especially because her nose tickled and her head hurt. She was starting to feel strange and warm too, and a bath didn’t feel like what she wanted to do at all. She struggled as Mommy took her up the stairs, but it was no use. She was going to have to take a bath whether she liked it or not.
And in fact, she quite liked it. It was warm and wet and comforting, and she loved the strawberry smell of her bubble bath. And then, to be dried off with a fluffy towel and put into her favourite night suit – blue with stars on it! – felt wonderful. And she was sleepy, so so sleepy.
Libby wanted to hug Gaggelly-Ann, but Mommy said Gaggelly-Ann was dusty after having stayed in the cupboard for so long, and would make her sneeze. She brought Libby her teddy bear instead, which did just as well. Actually, Ralph the teddy bear (he was called Ralph because he looked just like Ralph, at school) was even softer and cuddlier, and felt just right, just when her head started to nod.

Copyright 2006 Ratlion

And that was that, for quite a long day, really. Libby didn’t know words like ‘reflection,’ but if she did, she’d have reflected upon the fact that for all her boredom, her day had been extremely eventful.

And if you don’t know that word, you should really have a long talk with your parents about the way they’re bringing you up. If you’re older than four, that is.


Copyright 2006 Ratlion & Dogcrab

(Feedback would be much appreciated! :) )

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Inspire Me Thursday : Think BIG

Most of my art work, be it on paper or the computer, is usually a standard A4 size. The maximum size of paper I've worked on so far is around size A2, which was also the only size of paper I had on hand when I sat down to work on the 'Inspire Me Thurs' challenge this evening. But working on even the A2 size seemed like cheating, as it was'nt something I'd never tried before. Thought about it some and realized that all my artwork is of standard size. So why not try to make it taller or wider? After all, it was one of the suggestions that accompanied the challenge. So I cut the A2 size (slightly bigger actually) chart sheet into a 70 inchesX30inches format.

Now we come to the idea for the painting. I've been down with a head cold for the last 2 days. Still am. Stayed home from college, but
could'nt stay away from the comp in between periods of rest. Hey, it helped distract me from the stuffy nose and sore throat :). Was fiddling around with the look of the blog in the morning and in the process, decided to make a new header. Ended up with the header above. It took 2 min to make it in Photoshop and at the time of posting, I was pretty ambivalent about it. I neither loved nor hated it. But the the longer I looked at it, the more I liked it. So in the evening, when I decided to work on the 'Inspire Me Thurs' challenge, I figured I'd try the same design by hand.

The result is here for you to see.

70 in X 30 in, Oil Paints on Chart paper

So how did I take my art to new heights with this challenge? Well, its the first time I've worked on this format. It is wider and taller than my work usually is. And more importantly, this is my very first totally abstract painting! (Hoorah! Never thought of myself as an abstract kinda person :D) . So I did try something new, for which I'm happy. And I must say, I hav'nt enjoyed painting something by hand (as in non-digitally) so much in a long while.



P.S: If you've seen any of my illustrations featuring Libby, and would like to read a story based on some of those illo's, go here - 'The Libby Story'. :) (Feedback would be much appreciated.)

New Look

What's with the new look you ask?
Well, woke up this morning with this strong need for some kind of change. Since I don't want a hair-cut and am basically stuck at home with a bad head cold, I figured I'd fiddle with the blog. So white replaces black, a new header (look below) replaces the old and links are updated.

What's with the psychadelic header you ask?
Well. Don't ask. Must be all the medicine I'm taking.


Argh! What have I done?!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

I'm Sick And So Is Libby

Copyright 2006 Ratlion

I'm down with the cold, and figured I needed to distract myself from the stuffy nose and sore throat. This is the result.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Illustration Friday : Feet Two

Another take on the topic, this time with Libby in it. Hope it makes sense! :)

Copyright 2006 Ratlion

See my first entry to 'Feet' here.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Illustration Friday : Feet

Copyright 2006 Ratlion

"And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair"

- Kahlil Gibran

See my second entry for 'Feet' here.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Rainbows End

At one end of the rainbow, you will find,
A witch of a very unique kind.
With violet hair and purple shoes,
She runs a cauldron, in which a magic potion brews.

Violet, indigo, blue and green,
She got by adding flowers, ink, bits of sky and grass with a dewdrop sheen.
To get the colours yellow, orange and red,
She mixed in sunshine, fruit and poppies straight from her flower bed.

Once all the ingredients were in,
She stirred till it bubbled upto her chin!
When magic words over it she had uttered,
Her magic wand over it she fluttered.

Finally after a hour or two,
A beautiful rainbow out of it grew!

Copyright 2006 Ratlion


Lol...This is far from being a perfect or should I say 'great' poem...I'd say it's just 'ok'. Could use some polishing.

The idea originated in my head this morning while I was in the bus (I, in fact, got the inspiration from the topic (Rainbows End) for a contest I found online) , and I completed the rest at college before classes began. Done for fun more than anything else :D.

An illustration to follow in the (very) near future.

Monday, March 13, 2006


"Once in a while, when you were alone, whether or not there were people around, did you ever feel so sad you could cry, as if you were the only one of your kind in the world?"

~ From the book, 'The Bridge Across Forever' by Richard Bach

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Inspire Me Thursday : Sense-less Art

Copyright 2006 Ratlion

Over at Inspire Me Thurs, this week's challenge is to create something without using your senses. Here's how I went about doing it...

Vision (Sight) : Worked with my eyes closed for the most part. Drew in the basic pencil drawing with my eyes closed (and was very surprised with what I ended up with). Filled in areas with water colour pencils..again with my eye's closed (Just spread the colour pencils around...picked colours at random and tried filling the surface...all with my eye's closed).

Feelings (Touch) : Certainly had no idea about the outcome or any expectations at the outset. Just went with the flow.

Hear (Listen) : This was perhaps the hardest criteria of all. Forget my inner critic, initially it was just hard to ignore my brain telling me to open my eyes and just see what I was doing. The inner critic did surface later, when I'd finished applying water on the pencil colouring...all I had was a dull muddy mix of colours. Not good, the inner critic screamed. I ignored him/her. Also ignored my conscience telling me to go finsih my chores. Which I will have to get to as soon as I'm done uploading this .

Tastes (Taste) : Used watercolour pencils and markers on this challenge - two mediums I hardly ever use.

Smell : No specific smell was involved, except the slight whiff of the markers towards the end. But they hardly lasted for 5 seconds anyway.

Once the pencil drawing and colouring was done with my eyes closed, I outlined everything with a blue marker. A few details in the hair and flower as well as the blue border were added at the end to balance things out.

Illustration Friday : Tattoo

Copyright 2006 Ratlion

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Inspire Me Thursday : Five Senses


This week's Inspire me Thursday challenge was to create a piece of art using all the five senses - sight, sound, touch, taste and smell.

Well, I went more than a little crazy with this one. I think I've used every kind of material I could lay my hands on.

To start at the beginning, while brainstorming on ideas, I decided to do something on a quote I liked. Then came the process of trying and seeing what kind of images the quote conjured in my mind's eye. After I'd pinned down what I was going to do, I drew a rough sketch on canvas and set to work. The lady was drawn on a piece of white cardpaper and cut out. Her skin was painted with tea and shading was added using colour pencils. Her hair was done using dry pastels and her dress was drawn and cut-out in tracing paper and glued on to her. Oh, and those wings are cut out of an old newspaper.

Before I painted the background entirely with oil paints, I rubbed a little glue onto it and sprinkled some salt around for texture. After painting in the sky, the clouds and the rays, I used a fork to scratch the paint a bit for even more texture. For about five seconds, this was even done with one eye closed :D. Also attempted to use lemon as a kind of stamp on the background (and in the process almost ruined the entire thing) . The biggest star was cut out of thermacol, glued on and filled in with glitter, while glitter was directly applied to the smaller stars. And finally, the quote was added in black paint.

This is how I think it fulfills the 'five senses' criteria :

SEE: Trying to see what images the qoute evoked in my mind's eye (visializing the concept), Making the scratches with an eye closed (:D Yes, I really tried that!)...

TOUCH: Plenty of texture here - oil paint, different kinds of paper, salt, scratches, colour pencils, rubbing the pastels in...

SMELL: The smell of the tea I used to paint, glue , turpentine and linseed oil (used as medium for the oil paint)...

SOUND: I hereby declare that I tore and ripped the paper for the dress, and definitely scratched the piece of art. Even listened to music the whole time.

TASTE: Used tea to paint and drunk tea while painting, used salt for texture and lemon as a kind of stamp (don't ask!).

The whole thing was completed in about 4-5 hours (with breaks in between) on Sunday, but hav'nt had the time to photograph and upload it till today.

On the whole, I'd say it could've been a lot better and it probably needs a little more colour (Hey! That rhymes!).

But what the hell, I certainly had fun with it! :)

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Illustration Friday : Insect

Copyright 2006 Ratlion

Monday, March 06, 2006

Thoughts Of A Lunatic Mind

Copyright 2006 Ratlion & Krishna

(Poem by Krishna, Illustration by Ratlion)

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Self-Portrait - Or Another Attempt At One Anyway

Copyright 2006 Ratlion

Another attempt at a self-portrait. Having fun with these. However, something's not quite right with this one. Spent the whole morning trying to put a finger on what's wrong, but only ended up getting frustrated witht the whole thing. So decided to just post it and get it off my hands and head for now...

Can you tell what's wrong with it?

Tell me when this blog is updated

what is this?