Thursday, February 14, 2013

...Will You?

Since today is February 14th, 
I want to ask you an important question...

Will you be my Valentiger?

I hope you're excited as I am! Do you need a hint as to why you should be soooo excited about this magazine cover? No problem, let me show you!

I love how he's watching me apply the XOXO
It's like he knows it's not going to look right

That's right! That gorgeous groom on the cover was done by me!
I used my good friend and fellow groomers cat, Tiger. 
The contest was to create a seasonally appropriate FELINE groom for the February/March edition of Creative Groomer Quarterly, a magazine for the members of the National Association of Professional Creative Groomers. Yes! Finally, another contest just for cats! 

smudging: the biggest downside of chalk

I was so excited when I first saw the contest announcement. I immediately started brainstorming ideas. While I really wanted to do "seasonally appropriate", the only thing that came to mind was hearts...for Valentine's Day. Kinda predictable and boring. But we axed (haha!) a President's Day theme. Too late for snow themes...too early for spring ideas...I don't like cupids. Yup. Let's do hearts. Luckily, my dad came up with the ValenTiger. A good name makes everything better. Names are important.

I invited (ok, asked)(ok, fine, begged) my dad to come take pictures for me. I always have a blast doing creative grooms with an audience, and my dad loves helping me. We're a weird family, I know! I'm really pleased with both versions of this groom. The yellow and blue background pictures were my first attempt. Also, the first time using this pet chalk. I had purchased it awhile back and when I got it, I looked at it and went 'I spent how much on this?!", tossed it in my grooming bag and ignored it. I broke it out for this groom and was so happy I did, turns out, I love it! 

Action Tiger!

A pretty easy creative groom, the tail took the longest to do! Tiger got a Lion Clip. I left the hair longer for the hearts. About 3/8" long. I wanted them to really pop, so I did that narrow boarder around them slightly shorter than the Lion Clipped area. The spiral tail...was a pain. I love them. I love how they look, but I haven't quite figured out how to do it. Were it not for the tail, clipping in this groom would only take about 10 minutes longer than a regular Lion Clip groom. We won't talk about how long that tail took!

good sports!

I really liked how my kissy lips turned out! Unfortunately, they didn't work out for the second groom. Towards the end of the color application, I looked over at my dad and said
"did you ever think you'd be helping color a cat
like this, and then take pictures of it?"

He responded with

"Of course! I've done this before."

I think I offended him. Sorry, Dad!

While my groom turned out well and I was happy with it, the pictures we took didn't quite work. My thought was 'there's a blank yellow wall. I'll set him on a solid blanket in front of the solid wall 
and everything will be fine."

It didn't work. I had a friend and professional graphic artist photoshop the background for me, hoped for the best and submitted the pictures. I got an email back suggesting I re-shoot the pictures. 


Apparently I still haven't learned that lesson! (Although I'm having flashbacks to marching band. Sigh.)

Since I used temporary color, I would have to rebathe, reclip and recolor Tiger. The thing about Tigers, though, is they LOVE attention. And creative grooming requires extra time, extra effort, and extra attention. Which means Tiger loves his creative grooms! He just soaks up that extra effort it takes. Actually, it's only when the picture taking starts that he gets bored! 

No one is petting me. This sucks.

So I gathered up some light beige sheets (yes, purchased  just for this occasion!), my colors, my dad and just in case, my husband, and redid the groom. Intense grooming two weeks in a row??? Tiger was in kitty heaven! We hung the sheets, got all the lighting we could and basically rearranged my friend's salon. She's a good sport. Thanks, Andie!

We got some great pictures and had a great time doing it. I resubmitted my photos and waited. After what seemed like forever, but was only a week,  I got some great news - The Valentiger won! 

We all had lots of fun with this contest. I continued to learn more about creative grooming, clipping and color application. Tiger got leaps of attention. And cat grooming got a well deserved spotlight. I think I can say we all won. 

And just because it's so good looking, the cover one more time:

Photograph by Charles Cornell
Layout by Liz Boles

I cannot wait until I get my copy!

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