Saturday, February 20, 2010

Tabbies

 
I've spent time off and on today finishing up this puss.  She's a lovely cat, as most tabbies are.  Those markings are so distinctive and time consuming to create. I loved the perspective of this piece looking down on the cat and the foreshortening.

All domestic cats have the tabby patterning gene apparently, originating from the African wild cat.  The pattern is a camoflage which works well in a treed environment, but in most domestic situations is fairly irrelevant for stealth and is more decorative.

The dark lines running from the eyes toward the back are called the 'tabby mask' also known as an "M" with several folkloric tales around their origin. Besides striped tabbies (called 'mackerel', like the fish.) there are blotched tabbies, spotted tabbies, and ticked tabbies.


The name tabby is believed to have come from the word atabi a type of silk spun in the Attabiah region of Baghdad. This silk was exported in large quantities to the British Isles where it was noticed how similar the stripped pattern was to the coat of the tiger cat.  These tiger cats soon started to be called tabbi cats and later tabby cats

9 comments:

Geoff Meeker said...

Wow. Quite impressive. Amazing texture. Fur has got to be the most difficult thing to draw...

Claire Beadon Carnell said...

This really made me smile - can't tell you how many times I have seen that same expression on my won beautiful grey tabby. I also enjoyed reading your background information on these special cats.

Jeanette said...

Thanks Geoff. Fur is time consuming to draw but as I love detail, I enjoy doing it.

Claire, isn't the expression priceless? I think any cat owner has seen it at some point. Its a cross between guilt and and cat sigh of frustration I think.

Toni said...

You are right on the mark with the cat expression. I see my Lily in this drawing. Oh and thanks for the info about Tabby cats.

Jennifer Rose said...

we couldn't think of a name to call our tabby cat, so we just called him "M-head" since he had a huge M on his head lol

very interesting info on how the name came about :)

RHCarpenter said...

Love the modeling of the tabby stripes in this one, Jeanette. Your work is outstanding, always.

Billie Crain said...

Lookin' good, Jeanette.:) Speaking of folklore surrounding tabby cats, I read the characteristic 'M' stood for Madonna as some believed a tabby was present at Christ's birth.

Robin Neudorfer said...

Love it Jeanette. I have two tabby cats so this made me smile. Our male is a few pounds heavier that yours. He may need WW soon.

A Brush with Color said...

more wow's. YOu are so good!