Camouflage failure

I often see cats people sharing the videos or photos of their cats trying to slip into something weird. Cardboard boxes are well known as cats’ preferred places, but other than that, cats somehow love to sneak into a bag, a pile of laundry, a slot between books on the bookshelf etc., etc., And depending on where they place themselves, they succeed in camouflaging themselves very well.

I then wondered what cats would do with a ton of fruits. They will probably slip into it with their usual serious look, but can they hide in there successfully so that nobody can find them? In a colorful world, cats will stand out, even though they are tiny kittens, in a pile of fruits because there are no cats with colors like fruits. But maybe cats can blend in with the background in a black-and-white world, can’t they? Which means I could probably produce something like “Where’s Wally?” by drawing cats and fruits in black-and-white.

So I gave it a try, and I kept the same level of contrast strength throughout the image because I didn’t need to make the kittens stand out. As it turned out though, it looks like somehow kittens still pop.

I found it pretty interesting and asked my mother what the first thing was that caught her eyes in this drawing. She immediately answered that it was the kittens and added that it was probably because of the kittens’ eyes.

I guess she is right. If their eyes were closed, kittens attempt at a camouflage would be a little bit more successful.

Hope you enjoy this piece😊

【update 19 Jul 2020】

After reviewing this piece for some days I changed some parts which I did not like in the first version. The biggest change is that I made the grape on the left part much darker. The first version felt a bit heavier on the right because there were apples and biggish strawberries. Also, the difference between the muscat and the purple grape was not clear and I did not like it. So I added a lot of hatching on the purple grape. This change created a flow of darkest dark parts this way, which I think resolved both of the issues:


This is so fun to look at!

What is your process for planning the composition? I imagine you are drawing from imagination.


fun idea. Beautiful pen and ink drawing!

I agree with your mom…
I think you’re simply foiled by our people’s innate tendency to see eyes.

I really do enjoy the piece; its lovely how accurately you can render all the various fruits.

1 Like

Hi Becky, thank you so much for your comment and question.

I prepare some prototypes using some reference images before I start drawing anything like I mention in my comment to a critique episode here:

So not only the composition, but also the values of each element included in the scene and the overall values balance of the entire drawing are almost, not fully, determined beforehand. I don’t think too many corrections added to drawings, be it a pastel or a pen-and-ink work, are good because corrections make the works dirty in most cases. Based on the original drawings, I make a variety of products like I introduced in this post:

…so I definitely need to make my original drawings as clear as possible. Without the preparation of prototypes, it wouldn’t be possible. This particular piece is also a carefully planned and minutely calculated work.

1 Like

Hi Jason, thank you so much for your comment. I’m glad you enjoy this piece.

Fruits were very hard to draw. When I started working on this piece, I expected that kittens would be the hardest part. Once I actually started drawing, the kiwis were my first stumbling block, apples were a deadlock, and strawberries almost agonized me. Hopefully I can prepare and upload the step-by-step guide to drawing an apple and a strawberry with a ballpoint pen. And maybe the kitten’s face too. :cat:

1 Like

How long did this take? It’s amazing!

1 Like

Thank you for your comment! It took me 15.5 hrs in total :sweat_smile:

This is so lovely. What a great job.

1 Like

I really like the drawing. It is fun and cute and interesting. A piece of fine art.

1 Like

Thank you for your lovely comment, Denise! :cat:

Thank you for your lovely comment, Patsy.
I have actually added a lot of shading on this one after reviewing it for a couple of days. The new version has been uploaded in my original topic above. :cat:

I appreciate your artful eye! Well done!

1 Like

Maki your really one of the great inspirations on this website and what I REALLY appreciate is that you take something that’s not Quite what you intend and work passionately on fixing it.

its very inspirational and I appreciate you posting the update.

and um,
hopefully its not to over the time to point out how awesome your art is. its a great gift to be able to to that, it is. ty

1 Like

Thank you Jack, for your lovely comment! :cat: :tumbler_glass: :+1:

Hi Jason, thank you so much for your comment. You know, you cannot make your works closer to their best version only with passion. You also need the knowledge and skills to identify what is wrong with your artworks. I have developed this self-analysis skills and knowledge by watching every single episode of the member’s minute. I haven’t skipped anything in that series. Then I learned that Matt makes sure that he can provide all the applicants with fair and consistent feedback by applying the same protocol for analyzing artworks. He has written about the protocol in this post:

It may seem quick and easy to understand the protocol by simply reading this post. But I believe watching every episode works better because that way you can learn specifically how you can practice this approach in real life. He picked up so many artworks with totally different mediums, skill levels, subjects, and I was amazed by how consistently he applied this approach to all the works submitted. Tell you the truth, I was very curious to see how he would apply this methodology to my life-per-leaf series because they were so different from the artworks we see in other episodes. But he did it brilliantly in this episode:

Also, I am pretty much influenced by Matt’s answer to Barbara’s question in this episode regarding what makes you a professional artist:

Currently, I am by no means a professional artist, but at least I am trying to take a professional approach like he mentions in this episode. :cat: :tumbler_glass:

1 Like

I love all your drawings, but I particularly love the cat drawings. Thanks for sharing.


Hi Patricia, thank you so much for your kind words. Are you one of those crazy cat ladies by any chance…? :cat:

Yes, although not as crazy as I used to be. At one point, we had 9 cats (3 were long time residents, then we rescued a pregnant female who gave birth to 5 kittens). That was a long time ago. We kept 2 kittens who stayed with us through their lifetime. My husband and I have had many cats in the past 37 years. Now, we only have 2 indoor cats and one visiting outside cat. Both our indoor cats are rescued strays (from kittenhood). They are now 8 and 6 years old. Spoiled of course. :smiley_cat:


Your comment just put me into respiratory distress. Too many word “cat” in there. Tell you the truth, when Matt picks up my cat drawing in the member’s minute, I have to gird my loins because I know he will repeat the word “cat” in the critique. Every time he says “cat…cat…blabla…cat…”, I almost have a heart attack. I guess it is sort of an abstinence syndrome. I find myself screaming “I WANT A CAT, no, CATS!!!” a few times everyday. Once I get real cats in my life, I think I will be able to calm down. Anyways, I am very jealous that you have always had so many cats around you. :cat:

:smile:Do you not have cats because of circumstances (sometimes, where we live does not allow us to have pets)? I hope you will get your wish for a cat soon. They always keep us amused and, yes, they do calm us down when we need to! :smile_cat:

1 Like