Cats are a joy to draw. Some of my favourite illustrations are comforting images of felines in The New Yorker magazine. Cats are cosy and coiled or beautiful and streamlined. They represent both home and the wild.
The trouble with drawing them is that they move. I have three cats, Rufus the ginger and his grey sisters Frieda and Wolf, and not one of them keeps still for me. Even in their sleep they sense I am there. They shift and twist and stretch, as I found with this biro drawing of Rufus, who was lazing under our tree on a hot spring day. I posted the sketch below on Instagram and someone suggested I finish it, but I like it as it is. For me the sketchiness keeps the picture real. Rufus, being real, moved. And I like the simplicity of a few lines.
Wolf, our youngest cat, moves a little too much, going for three-day wanders every few months.
I was devastated the first time she went. But the second time I felt the kind of resignation a teenager’s parent might feel. I knew she would return, miaowing at us in the middle of the night. 4am took her fancy this time. (I’ve never known a cat ‘talk’ so much. She trots about singing in purrs!)
So I celebrated her return with a drawing in coloured biros. Imagining where she might have been, I sketched my son welcoming her home at dawn. Did she ditch our urban zone for the park, perhaps?
But you don’t need to have a cat to enjoy drawing cats. I often draw them from my imagination, as in the pictures above and below, because cats make me happy.
Below are two cats I collaged from copies of The New Yorker magazine. I uploaded the image onto the iPad Procreate app and used the digital ‘oil paint’ brush to make one of the cats more alive alongside a collage one. I like having different versions of images.
And lastly, a pen sketch of Wolf.
Welcome home, Wolf!
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