These days I spend a lot of time looking at one or other of our two very beautiful kittens, Wolfgang and Daphne.
I have always loved the shape of cats, and the way they move. The way they stretch, sit, curl up, leap, trot, chase. The way they bat at things, the way they pounce, or get caught up in wool. Actually, our kittens have managed not to wrap themselves up in wool but they have succeeded in tying up a great many objects in our house (see picture below as just one example).
With all this kitten gazing going on I keep thinking, I really want to draw these kittens. And I have, a little bit. But I would love to do so more, and as time is limited right now I am just taking it all in and storing it up. People keep telling me that with all this kitten activity I should be writing a story about them. But as yet, no ideas have blooped into my brain and I am not convinced that just because something is amazing and fun that it automatically leads to a plot in a story. If a story comes I will embrace it and get stuck in, but til then, I leave you with a fine and shining example of someone who can REALLY draw cats. The lady in question is Catherine Rayner, one of my all-time favourite illustrators. She is pretty cool because she also writes most of the stories she has illustrated and her drawings are absurdly true to life.
Her images are so full of character and every pose she captures is brimming with life and believability. She loves animals and spends a lot of time watching them and sketching them. She knows how they move and how their bodies work. She knows where each limb will be in every situation, from any angle. And yet she manages all of this whilst still avoiding too much reality. Her drawings are stylish and unique, bold and expressive. Whether it's Kittens, Tigers, Crocodiles, Polar Bears, Rabbits, Dragons or Little Birds, this lady knows how to put them on the page and make you gaze as delightedly at them as you would at the real animals.
The particular book I want to show you is called Posy, and is written by Linda Newberry but illustrated by Catherine Rayner. It is a complete feast for anyone who remotely admires cats or kittens. The story is, I suppose, as basic as can be; a list of the things a kitten called Posy spends her time doing. But the language is fun and playful. The sentences are short. The phrases are made up and joined-up to describe the things Posy does, such as scratching sofas (!) or getting tangled in wool.
And the pictures are just delectable. Completely kittenish. Enjoy this beautiful book, and explore her others too. I can't wait til she brings out her next one.
Have a browse through her lovely website:
And just in case you are curious about the adventures of Wolfgang and Daphne, here is a list of scampish and cute things we have seen them do so far:
Chewing computer cables
Sitting on laptop keypads and Changing settings by walking all over the keys
Clawing at sofas
Climbing our legs and clawing us
Climbing our legs and then our chests to snuggle us
Escaping upstairs when we are trying to go out
Climbing behind books on the bookcase
Chasing each other all over the sofas and playing hide and seek
Jumping for keys
Fighting with each other
Fighting with our feet
Eating our buttons
Getting in the bin
Getting in shoes
Pulling shoelaces out of shoes
Getting onto the worktop
Sleeping on a pile of clean tea-towels
Sitting on the toilet seat. Together.
Pulling metres and metres of toilet roll off the tube, and chewing it to shreds
Climbing on me when I am trying to leave for work
Looking cute when I am trying to leave for work
Generally, being cuddly and purring,
Licking us and looking deep into our eyes, and
Curling up asleep with us.