Cultivate your inner garden.

cultivate your inner garden

Cultivate your inner garden is the latest print in the shop. Let me explain where the idea comes from.

This past year and a half has been extremely hard on everyone. Now more than ever, we need to take care of ourselves and erase all the negativity and the grief through self-love.

‘Cultivate your inner garden’ is a metaphor often use among people who practice meditation. It means taking care of that place deep within you, the soul, while sitting in silence and emptying the mind.

Ok, put this way it looks like self-care is for Tibetan monks only. I swear it’s not! While meditation is a great tool for our general wellbeing, a self-care practice can be whatever makes you feel good.

Is it a bubble bath? Take 30 minutes every day to have the most luxurious bath of human history. Add candles, scents, music, wine. Is it a walk in nature? Buy yourself great walking shoes and go walk every day. Smell the flowers, the wet grass, look at the sky, listen to the birds.

Whatever you do, do it being fully present to yourself and to the moment. Shut everything out for 30 mins, this is your time.

My favorite thing to do when I go through rough times is double my meditation time. If I feel like meditating for 20 minutes I’ll sit on my mat for 40 instead. And of course, I am ALWAYS in the disturbing company of at least two of my cats. They purr, they stretch, they play with my toes, and it’s a great, great exercise.

First of all, they make me smile. Which never hurts, especially in not so happy moments. Second, they force me to be even more present to myself. Third, no matter how disturbing they can be, they are soft and relaxing.

I can guarantee cats and meditation are a PERFECT combo.

This is the major inspiration behind the latest print. Self-care, cats and meditation.

I sketched it on paper and painted it with watercolors first, then I repainted it from scratch with photoshop. The result is what you see here.

This below is a video I made while painting.

The print is already available on t-shirts, mugs and the usual items. I dedicated an entire section of the store to it, you can find it on the front page: it’s called…

LOVE YOURSELF.

p.s.

In case you’d like to learn how to meditate for real but do not know where to begin, DoYouYoga has great courses. No, it’s not an affiliate link, I just truly love and recommend them.

Continue ReadingCultivate your inner garden.

T-shirts with cat quotes. Music and cats make everything better.

cats and music cat quotes t-shirts
no, this isn’t me.

One of my favorite things is t-shirts with funny quotes, especially cat quotes.

There has been a time in my life when people used to make a lot of fun of my love for cats. It used to irritate me A LOT, and it also made me feel insecure. Was my love for cats really ridiculous?

I was a teen, and I used to spend entire afternoons at the public library. That is how I discovered there are prominent names among cat lovers. They have proven their love for cats by dedicating essays, poems, and quotes to them. There are literally hundreds of cat quotes written by scientists, philosophers, and writers. I thought if they could love cats so much, so could I! And I began writing their cat quotes EVERYWHERE to prove I was in good company.

One of my favorite quote about cats has always been this one by Albert Schweitzer :

There are only two means of refuges from the miseries of life: music and cats.”

I’m a big, BIG, music lover. I wake up and fall asleep to music. I listen to it as I draw, and I’m listening to music as I’m writing this. It has a tremendous impact on my mood and my energy. And so have cats! Whenever I’m having a tough moment, I put up some cheerful tunes and cuddle or play with my cats. I instantly feel better. I know for sure this quote says the truth.

There were already a few t-shirts and other items with cat quotes, but my favorite quote was still missing. Not anymore!

A few years ago I made a watercolor painting, but I lost it. All I have is a digital version saved on my HD, and it’s in poor resolution. So I painted over it with Photoshop, and I can really say not all bad come to harm, as I like this version much more!

The primary inspiration for this illustration comes, of course, from my cats at Cat Cottage. When it’s about food time they gather in front of the door and start ‘singing’. They actually meow angrily, but they make me laugh as they look and sound like a choir of terrible singers!

This illustration was perfect for the quote about music and cats. I just had to add it to the design and make new t-shirts and new items.

I think I’m developing a new passion: totes with cat quotes. Because I might be biased, but I think this one looks particularly cute.

What about you? Do you have any cat quote you love? If you have one, write it down in the comments, I might use it in the future!

And remember: if you are going through a tough moment, play some music and hug your cat. It works.

Continue ReadingT-shirts with cat quotes. Music and cats make everything better.

Blue Cats – a new illustration.

Blue cats illustration

Yes, another digital illustration. The Blue Cats Illustration has been in my drafts for something like three months. I began drawing it for fun, with no idea in mind. I just wanted to see where my intuition would have led me, following my instincts and my ‘needs’. The process has been a little bit of a roller coaster. I loved the first blue cat at the center, but then I really had no idea of how to continue. What began as an emotional and creative exercise ended up feeling like a waste of time, something I had to turn into an illustration I could sell. And so I froze.

After a few tries and many hits back on my photoshop history and many more layers deleted, I realized that trying to detour from my original idea of drawing for fun was silly and, indeed, a waste of time. Because nothing good was coming out of it anyway. So I’ve just let it go and saw what wanted to come out from my pen more as a spectator than a creator.

And, needless to say, once I’ve had let go of my expectations I finished in just a couple of hours.

What came out was something different, sweeter than most of the drawings I’ve made in the past. It is somehow more childish and feminine. Or at least that’s how I see it.

I wasn’t sure I liked it at the beginning and I almost didn’t want to post it anywhere. But I had announced on my Twitter that I was about to finish a drawing that had laid undone in my drafts for months, and so I had to show it. And I did.

And now, the more I look at it, the more I like it. Go figure.

I’m not giving up on digital as it’s so much easier to draw with on certain days. But I’m going back to watercolors, even if I’m taking it very slowly. This past year has been an emotional turmoil – I know I am not the only one – and painting has been difficult. It’s much easier to do it when deleting and retouching means just clicking back through the history panel.

But I am slowly feeling better, and I miss my watercolors.

Spoiler alert: there’s is already one watercolor illustration in the making.

Anyway, the Blue Cats illustration is already available on mugs and tees and all the other usual items. Go take a look!

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All the cats. How this illustration helped a sick cat.

You may remeber this illustration.

This is basically the evolution of this other illustration, which is the one with which I got back to drawing. It’s a long story but I haven’t drawn, if not interiors or clothing, for years. I totally forgot what it meant to draw funny things. One day I bought a set of very cheap colored pencils and began playing around with shapes. And a line of cats came out!

Now, whenever I feel uninspired, that’s what I do. I just take out my colors – now I use very expensive ones – and I begin to draw a line of cats.

In the end, something that i want to draw better always comes out, and this is totally the case with the ‘cats cats cats’ illustration. It was just a line of very roughly sketched kitties, but I saw something I liked and I redrew it.

But we have another version of that now, that I made wqith Photoshop and my Wacom tablet.

I’m very active on Twitter, being the only social I really like. I have two accounts, one in English and mainly about my shop and cats, and another one mostly in Italian where I tweet about everything else. Because despite common beliefs, my life isn’t only about cats and illustrations.

I met some lovely fellows vegans and cat lovers on Twitter. A lot of cat ladies too. One of these cat ladies is taking care of a cat colony completely by herself and needed some help with the vet bills of a very sick cat. Another mutual organized a lottery with prizes to help her, and I decided to contribute with an illustration.

Not having enough time to make a new one, I decided to modify an existing one. I have a lot of mental blockages about using photoshop to make more illustrations out on one, but this time it was for a good cause, so I dived in.

In the end, I loved the result so much that I have decided to put it on the shop as well!!

all the cats

It’s not only on this tee, but on a lot of other items as well.

The lottery is closed and the prizes were assigned. A friend won a mug and another person won a pillow with the ‘all the cats’. I hope they will appreciate it! What’s better, the sick cat seems to be getting slightly better, even if the end of the tunnel is still far. And that’s all that matters.

Continue ReadingAll the cats. How this illustration helped a sick cat.