It all began with the ‘There is no such thing as too many cats’ illustration

No such thing as too many cats Poster

My mother often tells me that I did three things before I could walk: drawing, reading, and biting my nails.

I grew up with a book in one hand, a pencil in the other, and always with a cat or two in the house. Drawing and reading were my two main occupations. As a kid, I was sure I would be an artist. I wanted to be a cartoonist or an animator. Or write books and illustrate them. My passion for art was second only to the one for animals. So, after reading ‘Born Free’, I decided to be a veterinarian in Africa, writing and illustrating my books about saving lions there. I could see myself giving antibiotics to lions during the day and drawing at candlelight in my tent at night.

Then I grew up, life got in the way, and I forgot about my dreams. I didn’t draw for a long, long time. I also became overweight, and the biting of my nails worsened. Now I can see a strong correlation between all that and the lack of art in my life.

I found a job in interior design, but it wasn’t as fulfilling as drawing from pure imagination.

After the design company closed, I had a clothing shop for four years.

Now, THAT was a bad idea. The rent was expensive, the space was super small and not in good condition. It was hot as an oven in summer and cold as a fridge in winter. I was eager and excited about having my store and did not notice all that at first. It was suicidal.

When I closed it down, I had no idea what to do with my life. I didn’t think of drawing at all. I felt lost, good to nothing.

One day, while at a discount store, I saw a pack of really cheap markers, the ones used in elementary schools. I had the urge to buy them and took them home.

That night, I sat at my desk and tried the colours on some paper. The colors were childish, lots of pink and vivid green, only one brown. But the moment I put the soft tip of the marker on the paper, I felt something inside.

Do you know the feeling when you meet with old friends you haven’t seen in a really long time, and it seems like time hasn’t passed? That’s how I felt! Totally at ease, like with really good old friends.

Instinctively, I drew a row of colourful cats. They had basic shapes, no faces, just pointy ears and tails. No matter how objectively horrible they were, I felt like a knot loosening. I stared at those cats for a while. Even though I hadn’t drawn in a long time, I knew I could do better than that.

Feeling like I was in for a challenge, I searched for my drawing supplies but I only had my old watercolours. In a state of semi-hypnosis, I began splashing shapes on paper. Then, I took a micro pen and drew details. Details of cats, of course.

No such thing as too many cats in the making
no such thing as too many cats finished

What I felt now was a wave of fun. Like being at Disneyland, that kind of fun, childish and careless. The cats looked cute and I had fun. I had to show the drawing to someone else for confirmation: was this good to me only, or was it really nice? So I sent a pic to my bestie in Holland, and she replied: ‘Add a catchy motto and SELL THIS’. The phrase to add came to my mind in a second.

Within minutes the ‘No such thing as too many cats’ illustration was born. Out of nothing, thanks to cheap markers from a discount store.

This is the drawing that reunited me with my love for drawing, the one which re-awakened my childhood dreams. This store was born because of this illustration and these cats. Having one of my biggest pleasures back helps me cope with everything. When you rescue pets, life can get tough, and drawing is my therapy and escape, as it was when I was a child.

Since that day I never stopped drawing, and I think I never will. But I still bite my nails! 🙂

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