El Puzzle Natural, a New Friend from Spain: 2011

Chief Inspector Llum

Last year at this time we met a wonderful new friend—from Spain! A cat rescuer in Barcelona ordered my Tortie Girls tees to benefit animals affected in the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, and I’ve been following her blog and the news on feline rescue on the streets of Barcelona since then. Here are her two cats, who happily received the t-shirts and inspected the boxes! Click the link at the end to visit her blog today.

Thanks to “The Goddess” through sales of the Tortie Girls tees to benefit Japanese animals after the earthquake and tsunami, we met a new friend and a wonderful connection with a group of people who love and assist animals in Barcelona, Spain.

Before the internet allowed greater communication, many of us who rescued animals and worked with animal welfare felt isolated and even overwhelmed in our concerns for animals, not realizing how much work was being done by hundreds, thousands, millions of caring people even in our own towns and cities. Now, even though we can’t always speak the same language, we can form a bond with people all over the world who love animals and do the same work as we do in rescuing stray animals, running spay and neuter clinics to prevent overpopulation, educating owners about veterinary care and lobbying for legislation to see that all animals are protected from abuse and neglect and receive a minimum of care that assures their health.

It’s so exciting to see this animal welfare revolution happening all over the world! Who knew that all the work everyone had done in cities all over in decades past sowed the seeds for today’s animal welfare organizations in nearly every country across the globe?

Kiara and Llum checking work

And Rosa, from Barcelona, Spain, bought tee shirts from me in Carnegie, PA, USA to benefit animals in northern Japan. How cool is that?!

She was so excited about them that she composed a blog post, Camisetas fantásticas con las que ayudas al Animal Refuge Kansai, including photos of her own cats, Llum and Kiara, helping to open the package and inspect the contents. The two photos used in this post are her two cats, used with permission.

She also covers many animal-oriented events and stories of interest in her city—most recently she has an article from her visit to the 29th Annual Barcelona International Comic Fair which this year featured felines in comics and Jardinet dels Gats, an organization that has been assisting feral cats in Barcelona since 2005.

Visit her blog: El Puzzle Natural:Flores de Bach,Animales y Cia

And I apologize to Rosa for taking so long to post this—I had intended to translate a few things but in the interests of time decided to just let Google do a basic translation.

Here’s a link to the entire blog in Google translation

And we think Tortitude is understood in any language!

————————————

All images and text used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used in any way without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in purchasing one as a print, or to use in a print or internet publication.


Creating With Cats: Author and Artist Christine Davis

When you read an illustrated book, do you ever study the illustrations and wonder about decisions the artist makes about medium, technique, style and even subject? And what about the book’s physical size and shape, the whole little visual package in addition to the story that’s in it?

Often some or all of these decisions are assigned by an editor or art director working for a publisher who may have chosen an illustrator for their particular style or familiarity with the book’s subject matter. But when you are the writer, illustrator, editor, art director, publisher—and marketing department, shipping department, receptionist and all else that goes into making a book—all those decisions are made, or at least begun, with one person.

And so it is with Chris Davis, who began with a story and a vision, and ended up with a small publishing company to create, print and distribute her stories just the way she wanted them. While many people self-publish today, Chris began her venture in 1997. And while Chris said she’d written and managed many and various things while in “corporate America”, she’d never attempted artwork of any sort, but now she has to her credit five illustrated books featuring cats, dogs and other animals.

christine davis

Author and illustrator Christine Davis

A little background

Chris describes herself as a “stubborn New Yorker” who is used to “doing things her way”. As a fellow artist I understand this to mean that she has a clear vision of what she wants and of the best way to accomplish that, in this case to tell her story, and she will achieve that vision by whatever method it takes.

She actually began her working career while still in New York and “bounced back and forth” between gigs as a singer, either solo with her piano or with a band, and working temp jobs that required a very organized and detail-oriented problem-solver.

artist's studio with cat

Chris's studio with Molly.

While Christine grew up in New York, she has lived in Portland, OR for the past 35 years after following her muse across the country to such varied places as Tucson, AZ and Denver, CO to see where to best to live out her dream of living in and working with nature and all the creatures there; since 1991 in a house built on a quarter-acre wooded hillside. Her studio is in her dining room, and her cats enjoy a unique and attractive outdoor enclosure built just for them.

And while I associate her with cats after having initially read about the four sibling cats she lived with, Chris actually lived most of her life with dogs and began her career as a storyteller through a story inspired by her dog, Martha.

for every dog an angel

"For Every Dog an Angel" by Christine Davis

Gifts from her animal companions, and then some

Of course, her entire career as a published author and artist was inspired by her animal companions, and Chris reached for spiritual guidance as well. Chris relates that her forever dog, Martha, who’d traveled out to Portland with her, suddenly had what appeared to be a stroke, living two weeks in confusion and decline. Chris was determined to heal her but did not succeed.

She’d been working with a Native American healer and drumming regularly and turned to her drumming for solace. She was given the title For Every Dog an Angel in this way and “told that people were looking for this book” though she was not given the story; that had to come from within her.

Once she’d published this book people asked her for a feline-oriented book in the same theme, but Chris didn’t have cats then or know them very well at all. However, the universe provided them for her to learn about—that was when Jake discovered the four abandoned neo-natal kittens under the deck who they rescued and raised, and after getting to know them Chris could write For Every Cat an Angel with confidence.

After sharing stories with Chris in e-mails and seeing her books I e-mailed her, telling her that I’d like to write about her experience and about the technicalities of how she creates her art and her books, to which she agreed. I sent her my list of typical questions including what medium(s) she used, how she determined what images would illustrate her story and how she actually painted them, and we planned to talk. In just a few days, though, Chris had written up her answers to these questions as an essay and sent it back to me—an example of her quick and organized methods.

Forever Paws, by Christine Davis

While I’ve been writing all my life, I’ve never studied art and never knew I’d be illustrating my books. The closest I’d come to creating art was doing the company picnic posters back when I worked in corporate America. It was a big day when I added a red magic marker to my usual black marker and really jazzed up the poster!

illustration from for every cat an angel

Sample of Chris's illustration style.

When I wrote the first edition of For Every Dog An Angel in 1997 I met with some local artists, wondering if I could hire someone to paint the illustrations for me. Everything I saw seemed too majestic, and felt like it would overpower the simple words. So I grabbed a makeup brush and a $.99 tray of watercolors and did some quick drawings, hoping to show others what I had in mind. This unexpectedly led to my doing the artwork for all my books.

My beloved dog, Jake, was the inspiration for my books Old Dog & the Christmas Wish and The Shelter Dog.  The Christmas book is very special to me, because it was the last book I wrote with Jake still by my side. There are several sketches of Jake that were used in the book.

Until I wrote Forever Paws my main medium was always watercolor. I’m deeply connected to water, so when I paint with watercolor I use a lot of water, which helps to get the “flowy” effect in the art.

I’d been playing around with acrylic and began to see the fun of using that medium, so

Forever Paws was painted with watercolor and acrylic – plus a liberal sprinkling of fur (just can’t seem to get that out of the artwork!).

It was the loss of my dear sibling kitties, Dickens and Pippen, that led to the writing of Forever Paws. Losing them to cancer, within a few months of each other, left me brokenhearted. I knew that Dickens, Pippen and Jake were together again, but I missed them terribly.

Then I began getting these colorful images of the fabulous time they were having up in the stars. I saw flying dogs and cats, glowing paws, a river of tears…even a dragon! The message from Pippen was clear – there was another book to be written.

illustration from forever paws

"At the River" from Forever Paws.

I wrote the story fairly quickly, then began the task of bringing to life all the visions I had seen. One page in particular was quite challenging – the page with the woman holding out her arms and her critters touching her heart.

When I first sketched that page it was a completely different picture. After I painted it I could tell it wasn’t quite right. I drew the same picture a second time, but painted it with new colors. It was still wrong.

For a third time I drew the exact same picture, but I simply couldn’t bring myself to paint it. I realized I wasn’t moved by the art, and changing the colors wouldn’t solve the problem.

I sat at my table, closed my eyes, and held out my arms, asking the universe to please show me what I was supposed to paint.

And then I heard two words. 

“Paint this.”

I knew what that meant – paint this moment, with my outstretched hands, open to all possibilities.

So I picked up my pencil and drew the picture that appears in the book. It came effortlessly. I looked at the woman’s face and saw so much love and beauty there. I am particularly drawn to the spiral shape, and drew spirals all around the woman. Suddenly both the picture and I were at peace.

It was several days before I painted the illustration, but when I did I knew I had found what had been missing from the first piece of art.

This page is really what Forever Paws is all about!

illustration from forever paws

"Open Arms" from "Forever Paws"

I really love the story of the illustration “Open Arms”. While I’m sure all illustrators have their own way of visualizing what they’ll do and then creating their visualization in their medium, it isn’t always a straightforward creation, even when you are working for yourself. “Open Arms” helps to explain how even what you had thought was a good illustration can turn out to be the wrong one, and how visualization sometimes needs to be creative in itself in order to get to the right place.

And like most illustrators I know, she gives each of them a title as she is working so she has a convenient way to refer to them to herself or to others.

Color Palette

In addition to what Chris answered above, I had always noted her strong palette of colors: blues, greens, purples, natural choices for as much as Chris loves water and its imagery and said her entire house is done in these colors (and I will note that even in her essay each of the book titles was in a different shade of blue, purple or green). Another artist had mentioned to Chris the idea of using complementary colors like blue and orange and purple and yellow which are sort of “opposites” and which enhance the qualities of each other when used together. I had noticed a good bit of various shades of orange in Forever Paws and Chris said the use of orange was “a new thing” for her.

illustration from forever paws

"Woman with Cat and Dog" from "Forever Paws", an orange background with the blues and purples.

The book itself

Often the size, shape and binding of the book are determined by the publisher or by a convenient template or materials available at various printers, but in this case Chris decided that as well. She had the idea of a gift book and visited bookstores, looking at, holding and reading gift books until she found one that was “just right” and patterned her book after that.

In addition, where certain pages or parts of a book are often left blank, she decided to add at least minimal color or artwork to pages that don’t often have anything, such as the end papers with the starry violet pattern, and a few violet stars here and there on front matter pages that are usually only text.

selection of cat themed gifts

Cat Lover Comfort Gift Box from Lighthearted Press.

Promotional and complementary products

Chris also carries the same themes, styles, colors and even artwork through all of her promotional materials as well, and while she sells her books from her website much of her sales are wholesale to veterinarians.

She has also developed a line of complementary products such as her Rainbow Bridge Wristband, and a line of pawprint and dog- and cat-themed tissue packages, seed packages, scented candles available together or packaged in a pawprint gift box.

Molly and Star

Today Chris’s animal companions are Molly and Star, but she is certain that the universe will bring her another animal companion or companions, feline or canine or other, whenever the time is appropriate. And likely there will also be more books as Chris’s life with her animal companions continues to unfold. Visit her Lighthearted Press website to look at all of Chris’s books, read about her cats, stories of all her animal companions and remember her work when you or a friend unfortunately lose an animal companion.

Also read my review of Forever Paws.

Read other articles in my Creating With Cats series.

————————————

All images in this article were provided by Christine Davis and Lighthearted Press.

All images and text used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used in any way without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in purchasing one as a print, or to use in a print or internet publication.


Book Review: Forever Paws by Christine Davis

Cover of book forever paws

"Forever Paws" by Christine Davis, from the author's website.

For anyone who’s felt the empty, aching void left in their heart by the loss of a beloved animal companion that no tears or words can seem to fill, Christine Davis’s beautifully-illustrated gift book, Forever Paws, will tenderly help to fill and heal it with loving and beautiful thoughts and images.

The comforting rich turquoise book cover and the calming violet end papers lead into a colorful world of starry backgrounds and pastoral pictures where polka-dot dogs and stripedy cats along with whimsical horses, bunnies, mice and birds all proudly display their glowing, magical paws, hooves, feet and claws as they wait in the hereafter for their human companions to join them.

And those human companions, with the impressions of those paws prominently impressed on their hearts, watch and wait and wander until their time comes to leave their tired old bodies and, led by the light of those Forever Paws, find their way to the bridge in the stars to meet again and spend eternity with all the animal companions whose paws have touched their hearts.

This story and its detailed illustrations as well as Christine’s other illustrated books are not simply the fanciful imaginings of an animal lover but the real stories of her own experiences with animals she has loved and lost turned into art. Years ago Christine’s forever dog, Martha, inspired her first illustrated book For Every Dog an Angel and launched an unexpected career in creating illustrated story books, and from there the cats and dogs who have shared her life inspired a series of similarly lovely and deeply touching gift books: For Every Cat an Angel, Old Dog & the Christmas Wish and The Shelter Dog.

page from forever paws

"Many Paw Prints" from "Forever Paws", provided by the author.

“Remember what you are feeling, there’s another book to be written.”

Years ago Christine’s forever dog Jake found a litter of abandoned kittens under the deck, and Christine took them in, bottle-fed them and raised and kept all four. At the end of 2010 one of those cats, Dickens, was unexpectedly diagnosed with cancer so advanced Christine had to let him go just hours after the diagnosis, then she discovered Dickens’ sister, her forever cat Pippin, also had cancer and lost her just a few months after Dickens.

Losing two cats that close together can leave an animal lover of any depth reeling and complicate grieving—how can you do justice to two loving souls who’ve shared your life, at the same time? And then consider the relationship of the four siblings, now parted, the depth of saving their lives, bottle-feeding and raising them to happy healthy cats, and even the long-ago bond with Jake, who had found them. A tender heart might never mend.

In a note from the author in the beginning of the book, Christine remarks that although she thought she’d “said everything I was meant to say about loss in my books…”, someone mentioned she’d never written a book about coping with the loss of an animal companion. After the loss of Dickens and Pippen, her “world fell apart”, and she heard the words, “Remember what you are feeling—there’s another book to be written.”

black cat reading forever paws

Mewsette studies all the animals drinking from the "River of Tears".

Forever Paws is that book, “a loving gift from my precious feline friends…”, Christine’s own exploration of her grief turned into the universal story of our relationship with our animal companions: we meet, our lives lovingly intertwine, and though they must leave they take a little piece of our hearts with them and leave their pawprints in its place, then enjoy a peaceful and happy existence with other beloved animal companions, drinking from the river of tears and dancing among the stars until we go to join them. And even though they are not physically with us, they are always available to us, watching over us. Oh, that Purgatory could be so sweet.

I like books, and despite the fact that more often than not I enjoy audiobooks to save my eyesight for my art and illustration, I still like to hold a book, illustrated or straight text, read from its pages and let it carry me off through my imagination to another world. I can take a book off into the woods and not worry about devices or batteries or jostling the thing while I’m climbing down a steep path to my favorite reading spot along the trail. A book is always ready for me.

two black cats reading forever paws

Mewsette comforts Jelly Bean as they remember Peaches.

When I lost Peaches in October 2010, Christine sent me a gift copy of For Every Cat an Angel, and while I’d been corresponding with her and studying her style on her website and blog, I finally had a chance to study one of her books. What a pleasure to see not only her illustrations combined with her story and to experience the story as she intended us to see it, but also to admire the details of the book itself, the quality dust jacket and its sturdy bound cover, the book’s size and shape, just right for carrying along for comfort and holding to study each page and enjoy its message without being overwhelmed with details of content and images.

Christine published Forever Paws in late 2011 and sent me a review copy and a note that told me she’d taken the liberty of hiding the names of some special animal companions in the artwork, and had placed a bookmark in the page where I’d find Peaches’ name. I’m so proud that Peaches is forever remembered in this book that will touch the hearts of so many.

Christine also didn’t know that this book had reached me at an auspicious time for another reason. I wanted to immediately share this book with everyone, but I also knew the extent of Cookie’s illness and every time I sat down to begin my review I could not focus and knew I’d have to wait. Cookie’s paws have been burnished in my heart for years, and now she waits for me and I can think of her among the stars and the green grass with the other loving animal companions in Forever Paws.

illustration from forever paws

"At the River" from "Forever Paws", provided by the author.

About Christine’s career as an artist and writer

Because I love to study the work of other artists and discuss style and technique I’ve been planning a profile of Christine for my feature Creating With Cats. As a follow-up to this book review I’ve published that article, another story of someone who had didn’t start out as an artist but ended up that way, inspired by her cats and other animals in her life.

Please read more about Forever Paws on Christine’s website, Lighthearted Press and also take some time to read about her other books and the special gifts she offers for those grieving the loss of an animal companion.

————————————

All images and text used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used in any way without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in purchasing one as a print, or to use in a print or internet publication.


A Visiting Artist

man with black cat

Chaz visits, looking for hidden cats

Giuseppe makes sure he gets ALL the attention from our visitor. Perhaps he wants to be sketched by Chaz and have other black kitties hidden in him?

I featured Chaz a few months ago in Creating With Cats. He has had hidden animal drawings featuring cats for years (guy knows what’s good for him, featuring cats first, and in more than one drawing), but he also showed me a few hidden dog drawings in different breeds he’ll be featuring at the upcoming dog show and they are very clever, I really liked them, especially the Boxer.

Chaz is working on a new idea for his hidden-animal ink sketches and stopped over for me to help him set up the art for the project. While I had my hands and attention on the keyboard, Mimi, Jelly Bean and Mr. Sunshine all twirled around acting as cute as could be and got their share of attention, but Giuseppe decided to get on Chaz’s lap, thereby being closest to both hands.

Being on the road with shows most of the year, Chaz doesn’t have any pets of his own, but the big ginger neighborhood cat, Sammie, stops by for a visit every so often, hangs out for a while, then asks to go back outside. It looked to me as if he was used to petting cats all day long.

So will we see hidden black kitties in Chaz’s next drawings? Guess we’ll have to see! If so, perhaps I’ll feature those nice dog drawings and a few other new animals…

________________________

All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in purchasing one as a print, or to use in a print or internet publication.


Valentine Tabbies Note Cards: Sneak Preview

block printed note cards

Block-printed Valentine note cards!

I had such fun today printing little note cards for Valentine’s Day I couldn’t wait to show them off! These two are from my series “Tabbies”, “Sunshine and Flowers” and “Let Me Clean You Up” and have always had a sweet and cuddly feel to me. I’d always printed these in natural earth tones but have been planning to print them in bright colors on brightly-colored paper as well.

These are printed in magenta on flourescent pink and blue card stock, are blank inside, and I have a rubber stamp to print the necessary information on the back. They are 4.25″ x 5.5″, blank inside and come with a coordinating envelope—I couldn’t get the ones I wanted that matched the paper stock, so I have to settle for ones that are more pastel, but they actually look nice.

I’ll finish up these sets, and I’ll also have a few other cards to offer as well. I’ll be posting this week.

________________________

All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in purchasing one as a print, or to use in a print or internet publication.


Donate to WPHS in Honor of Penny the Angel

sample feline art card

Sample Feline Greeting Card.

I’m so excited Penny was adopted from WPHS, and the whole story of her rescue and the people who adopted her just warms my heart.

calico cat in carrier

Here's Penny.

I used to be angry with people who “dumped” pets at shelters, but you can’t generalize reasons why pets end up there nor the people who surrender them, and you do much more good helping the shelter that has taken them in. Instead of getting angry I put my energy into helping people keep their pets, helping people adopt pets and creating things that help people love animals all the more, helping shelters find good and loving permanent homes for the animals in their care.

box of cards

Feline Art Cards set of 12

Please make a donation to the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society to help support what they do for other cats and dogs all year round. I’ll give you a gift if you do: Visit my Friendraiser page for WPHS and order a dozen Feline Greetings cards in honor of Penny, and $10 of every purchase will be donated to WPHS. Use the link on the Friendraiser page to go to my Etsy shop, and make sure you enter the code WPHSPENNY in the notes section when you order!

You can read about the inspiration for the cards here.

western pennsylvania humane society logo

WPHS logo

About the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society

While Penny was at WPHS, they spayed her and treated her for an upper respiratory infection, and of course they fed her and supplied litter for her personal use. This is not free, and the medical care can get expensive. WPHS is an open-door shelter, charged with accepting any animal brought to their door—a little over 14,000 cats and dogs last year.

The WPHS is an “open-door” shelter helping animals in need in Pittsburgh and Allegheny county since 1874.

I prefer the term “open door” for a shelter which will take in any animal in need at any time because I know the alternative to a shelter is a drop off in a park or isolated woods or some lonely back road for a cat or dog or rabbit—I’ve rescued plenty of them. I have also seen WPHS through the years find every new and ingenious way of getting their animals out in front of the public and into a permanent home, and I know the costs of running a shelter that serves over 13,000 animals per year is huge, only accomplished with the help of donations large and small. And they are apparently wise with their money; Charity Navigator has designated the Western PA Humane Society as a Four-Star charity, its highest ranking for efficient use of donations, five years in a row!

If not WPHS, please support your local shelter in any way you can. And if you are looking for an angel kitty, there are many more kitties who have stories as well. Adopt if you can, foster if not, or donate to your local shelter in time, goods or money this coming year.

________________________

All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in purchasing one as a print, or to use in a print or internet publication.


Donate to WPHS With Every Purchase

cat-themed holiday cards

"Star of Wonder" and "Can We Get That Thing?"

For every purchase of one dozen “Star of Wonder” or “Can We Get That Thing?” holiday cards for $20, I will donate $10 to the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society so that the dogs, cats, bunnies, ferrets, birds and any other animal can have a brighter holiday season with your help!

For details, visit my Friendraising page for WPHS.

And read about the inspiration for the cards here.

I used to be hard on people who “dumped” pets at shelters, but you can’t generalize reasons why pets end up there nor the people who surrender them, so now instead of getting angry I put my energy into creating things that help people love animals all the more, helping shelters find good and loving permanent homes for the animals in their care.

western pennsylvania humane society logo

WPHS logo

About the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society

The WPHS is an “open-door” shelter helping animals in need in Pittsburgh and Allegheny county since 1874.

I prefer the term “open door” for a shelter which will take in any animal in need at any time because I know the alternative to a shelter is a drop off in a park or isolated woods or some lonely back road for a cat or dog or rabbit—I’ve rescued plenty of them. I have also seen WPHS through the years find every new and ingenious way of getting their animals out in front of the public and into a permanent home, and I know the costs of running a shelter that serves over 13,000 animals per year is huge, only accomplished with the help of donations large and small. And they are apparently wise with their money; Charity Navigator has designated the Western PA Humane Society as a Four-Star charity, its highest ranking for efficient use of donations, five years in a row!

________________________

All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in purchasing one as a print, or to use in a print or internet publication.


In Good Company: Cat Writers’ Association Communication Contest Awards

I couldn’t be in White Plains, NY, with all my fellow members of the Cat Writers’ Association (CWA) this Friday and Saturday, but I was there as much as possible in spirit, obsessively checking e-mail and Facebook to read news of what was happening in the workshops and social gatherings, and at the awards banquet on Saturday night. Most of all I truly missed the opportunity to socialize face to face with all these e-friends!

I am also very proud to have won four Muse Medallions, the highest honor awarded by the Cat Writers’ Association, these chosen from the awarded Certificates of Excellence announced last month. When the awards list is published, I’ll post a link so you can explore all the winners.

the creative cat

You'll recognize this one.

Read the rest of this entry »


Holiday Cards: Greetings From Our Backyard Birds

pastel painting of cardinal in branches

Accent, pastel © B.E. Kazmarski

These designs don’t involve cats, but they do show our backyard birds which many readers here at The Creative Cat enjoy.  I’ve posted an article about them on Portraits of Animals Marketplace.


The Artist’s Life: Holiday Cards

illustrated holiday card

Can We Get That Thing?

The feline silhouette once again! In addition to two new silhouette designs, I’ve also designed a few art cards and revived holiday cards from the past decade, including a couple of block prints. I’m featuring the feline-themed cards here, but I also have new nature-, winter- and back yard bird-themed designs using my photographs, illustrations and artwork; I’ll post a link to the articles when I post them on my Marketplace blog. This year, all my cards are 5″ x 7″ to save myself the trouble of running all over creation to find envelopes in eight different sizes.

cat looking at star

Star of Wonder

I’ve been planning illustrations with silhouettes such as these ever since I realized the Fantastic Four were meant to stay with me. If you’ve read other articles about their history with me, you may remember that I kept them for their first year, but being a family of black cats they were difficult to adopt out—shelters already had enough black cats! But I’d been watching them since they were tiny fuzzballs, and as I watched them grow into curious, lithe and active cats I also thoroughly enjoyed observing their changing silhouettes, taking many reference photos along the way.

I did decide they needed to stay with me for art reasons, and anyone who doesn’t believe me in that only needs to look at my designs such as these cards!

Read the rest of this entry »