Sunday, June 27, 2010


(Illustration Friday: June 25, 2010)

The steamy summer days have led to starry nights. And on these nights, The Mother Kitty is usually busy working on one of her many scientific experiments.
Satellite (June 25, 2010)

Friday, June 25, 2010


Paisley (June 18, 2010)
(Illustration Friday: June 18, 2010)

A paisley pattern of kitties...

I'm a little slow in posting this week. Blame the steamy DC weather for slowing my progress. (Naps and TV have been so much more enticing.) No matter--The Kitties haven't minded waiting in all  this paisley-ness.   

Monday, June 14, 2010


Ripple (June 13, 2010)
(Illustration Friday: June 11, 2010)

This week, The Kitties headed to The Gulf of Mexico to help with the oil spill cleanup effort. Like everyone, The Mother Kitty was devastated by the images of the pelicans smothered in oil. She got straight to work! (Comet got a hug from one that he was helping.) Gordon made a new friend he found slithering nearby, while Ashes and B.J. dealt with the shellfish. She had a feisty conversation with the crabs, and he polished off some clams. (Some happy shrimp looked on after their baths.) Simon and Norman were the only ones willing to go into the water. Simon's swam with dolphins, and Norman scouted the deep for any fishes in trouble. (Right now, he's amid some safe schools.) Lily, meanwhile, learned lots from her new friend, Turtle, who is years and years and years older than she is--and all of us! (To see these illustrations individually, visit the Kitty Moments set on my Flickr account.)

Illustration Friday's topic, "Ripple," is corresponding with The Ripple Blog, which benefits charities fighting to save the animals affected by the Deepwater Horizon Catastrophe. Conceived by Kelly LIght, The Ripple Blog began on the 45th day of the spill. All artwork on The Ripple Blog are done on 2.5-inch x 3.5-inch sketch cards. Each one is sold for a $10 donation to either The Institute for Marine Mammal Studies or The International Bird Rescue Research Center

Check out Kelly's blog for more details. We can all do our part: Contribute your own artwork to her blog, or make a donation today! Thanks, Kelly, for this wonderful idea!

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Johnny Kitties: Celebrating Johnny Depp Film #1--A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

[What is Johnny Kitties? See Johnny Kitties: Celebrating Johnny Depp for all the details!]

Johnny Depp came to Los Angeles to be a musician, but when that wasn't working out as planned, he had to find something else to do to pay the rent. The girlfriend of his friend, Nicolas Cage, set him up with his first film audition, for a movie called A Nightmare on Elm Street

Looking to fill the part of "Glen Lantz," the boyfriend of the film's heroine, Director Wes Craven whittled down the candidates to three people. Johnny was among them, but he wasn't the front-runner until Wes Craven's teenage daughter had her say: 
"Daaaad! Johnny Depp!!! Oh, he's sexy! He's so sexy! He's a dreamboat!" 
"That guy? He's kind of pale and skinny..." 
"I think he's dreamy!" 

And, the rest is history. 

New Line Cinema]
A Nightmare on Elm Street became a classic '80s horror film. Freddy Krueger, a badly scarred murderer whose weapon of choice is a glove that has knives affixed to its fingers, haunts and kills his victims in their dreams. As I mentioned, Glen is the boyfriend of the film's heroine, Nancy Thompson. 

Johnny as Glen
[©New Line Cinema]

While I have a hard time watching scary movies, The Kitties and I like this one! (Apparently, many people did since there are five sequels--none of which should be confused with the recent remake.)  

Watching this, The Mother Kitty, Ashes, Lily, and I all preferred to draw the scene where Glen climbs the rose-filled trellis of Nancy's house up to her bedroom window for a surprise entrance. But we were out-voted because the rest of the world remembers Glen's death scene more than anything else. Johnny put it best:  "I get sucked into a bed and spew out like tomato juice!"

Johnny Kitties: The Johnny Depp Project: Film #1: A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) [August 16, 2009]

This moment is the right choice. Who can resist that outfit?

Coming up next month: Private Resort (1985)

Johnny Kitties: Celebrating Johnny Depp

Hi everyone,

Today, we're starting an exciting series! 

"Johnny, if Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?"
-James Lipton interviewing Johnny Depp, "Inside the Actor's Studio" (2002)

What is Johnny Kitties? It's Melissa's Kitties' tribute to the one and only Johnny Depp.

Why? It's for Johnny Depp, of course, who deserves a tribute just for being who he is. He's one of a kind and makes us all happy! (Thanks, Johnny!) Besides, it will be fun! It's all about joy and celebration. And, it's a perfect excuse for a fantastic film festival!

The Confession Origin: Everyone finds out pretty quickly that Johnny Depp is one of my most favorite people on the planet. I think it started in 1987, a year during which something must have been in the water because it seemed that I woke up some days obsessed with various people and things, all of which remain to this day.

Maybe "obsessed," with its negative connotation, is the wrong word since I mean no harm and am, in fact, very protective. But I'm sure my family and friends would not dispute it: After all, I did wallpaper my room at the time with his photos from every teen magazine available in Alliance, Ohio. (Is "hopelessly devoted" any better?)

Johnny Depp
Johnny and I are on a first name basis. (You have no idea how weird it was for me to type his full name!) It's not because I have permission but because, once I saw him on TV, everything became defined. 

Every Sunday night, nothing was more important to me than the latest episode of Johnny's show, FOX's 21 Jump Street at 7 p.m.--until it moved to Mondays at 8 p.m. The show continued after Johnny left it in 1990, but I have no memory of it. I must have stopped watching it when I followed him back to Hollywood. And, since I'm a very loyal person, here I am 23 years later, through thick and thin!

Tattoo (March, 10, 2006)
Johnny gives The Mother Kitty a pet.
 As with most other aspect of my life, Johnny's influence has spilled over to The Kitties. Maybe it was all those times they sat on my lap during repeated Johnny Movie marathons, but The Kitties are just as devoted. Over the years, various Illustration Friday challenges have already sent them on a few Johnny-related adventures. As my dad said when I told him my latest project idea, "But you already do that." Perhaps Johnny Kitties was inevitable....

Here's what The Kitties and I are doing:

The Objective: We're working our way through Johnny's filmography from the beginning, including the TV show. All drawings will star The Kitties, and we're aiming for one illustration per film/TV project – but who knows if Johnny's performance will spark more inspiration? It's been known to happen.

The Rules:
Gordon borrows one
of Johnny's hats.
  • We plan to watch each film/TV project before starting an illustration.
  • Watching movies ahead of time before completing a respective drawing is not allowed.
  • Skipping films is prohibited. (Note: Drawings for cameo appearances are yet to be determined.)
  • We aim to feature one film project drawing here on the 9th of each month (until we're current). Also, visit my Flickr account to view the Johnny Kitties Set, which will house all illustrations from this project. 
  • Gordon has volunteered to portray Johnny in all illustrations. (You know what a fan he is, staying on my lap the longest during all those movies.) The other Kitties agreed that he was the best choice, as we've all seen his previous impeccable impressions. The rest of The Kitties and "kitty extras" will play supporting roles, as needed.
Note: Since Tigerlily arrived last November, after preparation for this project already began, she couldn't participate in the tributes to Johnny's first few films. I told her that this was okay, since they all had "R" ratings, and she was underage at the time. She's a quick study, up to speed, excited (always), and ready to go! She will join us from 21 Jump Street onward.

Start Date: June 9, 2010. (It's Johnny's birthday, of course! Is that on your mental calendars too?) Be sure to follow the Johnny Kitties series, with a new post/film tribute published on Melissa's Kitties on the 9th of every month going forward until we're up to date! 

Happy Birthday, Johnny!!! Enjoy!

First up is Film #1, A Nightmare on Elm Street. Let's get started! [See the first Johnny Kitties post here.]


Sunday, June 06, 2010


I just started a 5-week online creative business course called Flying Lessons, taught by artist Kelly Rae Roberts. Thanks to my friend, Mandy, for letting me know about it! (See the Flying Lessons button on my blog for more course details.) 

Week 1 has been chock-full of helpful information. One of our first lessons was about building connections through blogging and being more open and consistent when writing one. Apparently, my long disappearances between posts isn't the best approach to keeping in touch. Similarly, I know that making each post a simple description of my drawing has kept me at a long distance to whoever is out there reading. So, I'm staring on a new trail today, aiming to post once or twice a week and making new friends along the way! Welcome and Enjoy!

Trail (June 4, 2010)
(Illustration Friday: June 4, 2010)

This week's Illustration Friday topic put the song "Happy Trails" in my head, but I didn't know how to fit Roy Rogers into a Kitty drawing. Luckily, I soon realized that many trails in my life lead to happy kitties. They know the song: "Happy trails to you, until we meet again. Happy trails to you, keep smilin' until then..."