Another From the Lost Sketchbook, Cookie Awakens

pencil sketch of cat on bed

Cookie Awakened, pencil © B.E. Kazmarski

Cookie is never unhappy about being awakened, she’s just wondering what the heck I want, and if I’m just going to sit there staring at her and not even pet her, if she shouldn’t just go back to sleep. She did just that.

Cookie is a tortoiseshell calico, and her body mostly black but is speckled all over with orange. I didn’t want to work that much detail into this, but I did include the most distinguishing characteristic about Cookie—her half-and-half face. One side is black with orange freckles, and the other side is orange with tabby markings and black freckles. The split begins on her upper lip and runs all the way back to her shoulder blades in an almost completely straight line!


Life Lessons My Cat Taught Me

Sure, we start out with a kitten or puppy or bird or other animal companion juvenile or adult, and we think we need to teach them how to live with humans. In some important ways, we do teach them a few household manners, but in the end we who love animals know that our animal companions teach us more than we could ever hope to teach them. That is, if we are willing to listen…and admit that we needed to learn the lesson.

photo of allia zobel nolan

Allia Zobel Nolan with Angela and just a few of her recent titles.

Author Allia Zobel Nolan, friend and fellow member of the Cat Writer’s Association, was published on Beliefnet.com, completely unashamed to admit that living with her three angel cats had taught her seven important lessons that she was compelled to share with others. Silly human that she is, Allia had a little “prodding” from Angela , Sinead and McDuff (can you tell there’s a nationality thing going on here?) who apparently “kneaded” her until she was convinced to share the story.

Not that Allia needs a whole lot of prodding to write something. She’s the author of over 170 books for children and adults, was a Senior Editor for Reader’s Digest Children’s Books for almost ten years and just three years ago went freelance as an author and writer. Her illustrated books about cats (actually, I think her cats used her as a medium) include Purr More, Hiss Less, Heavenly Lessons I Learned from My Cat, Why Cats Make Great Kids, and the series expounding the virtues of living with cats beginning with 101 Reasons Why a Cat is Better Than a Man, and that’s the short list. To see all of Allia’s feline-inspired volumes, visit the Cat Books page on her website.

Energetic and overflowing with a non-stop sense of humor, she’s been busy working on what sounds like five books at once and she managed to work a few of my kids into one that will be published this year, Cat Confessions. We’ll write more when that book is released. Seeing all this experience, I’m glad to have her generously coaching me as I write up my first book proposals and look for publishers.

So here’s a link for you—see for yourself what kind of teachers her three wonderful puddies are: http://www.beliefnet.com/Love-Family/Pets/2010/01/Cat-Life-Lessons.aspx

To see more about Allia, her cats and her books, visit her website at www.alliawrites.com, and her blog at kittyliterate.blogspot.com.


Found Artwork, a Sketch of Stanley

pencil sketch of striped cat sleeping curled

Stanley Sleeping Curled, pencil © B.E. Kazmarski

I’ve been working my way through my desk and studio, cleaning up and organizing, and in my studio I found a sketchbook I’d used years ago.

These are examples of the quick sketches I do to awaken my creative senses during the day. This was the sketchbook I kept at my desk in order to have it handy for quick sketches. All the sketches are of my cats except for the bird’s nest at the end, and all are pencil, my favorite medium.

I have no idea when I did this first sketch—it’s of my Stanley curled  and sleeping. He must have moved his paw while I was sketching or he had his paws together; he would do that sometimes with those white mittens of his. I lost Stanley in January 2007, so this was prior to that. How good to see him again and remember a morning when he was still with me, as were several others, and he was relaxed and sleeping comfortably. I could never resist his stripes and sketched him repeatedly to capture those!

This is the same sketchbook where I drew Stanley in “Stripes” and Sophie in  “In the Box“. Other sketches I’ll be featuring include Cookie, Nikka and Namir.

Pencil is very difficult to scan or photograph. I photographed the sketch for this, and you can see the dark area to the top and right where the light is uneven. When I scanned it I lost all the small details. I may have more luck photographing on a day that’s got more light.

When all is done here, I will offer these sketches for sale; on rare occasions I offer them, framed, for art auctions to benefit animal shelters. I have plain black frames for them, and either use plain mat board or a color.