I spent my childhood drawing and dreaming of becoming a professional artist. As a kid, I had no doubt whatsoever that I was going to do it. I don’t remember ever doubting my capabilities, I only remember the passion and the joy drawing gave me.
My plan was perfectly detailed: I wanted a little farmhouse full of rescued animals and I wanted to make money with my drawings. Until a certain age when I told adults what my plan was, I got smiles and a pat on my shoulder. Once past childhood, my plan was labeled as ‘crazy’ and only for ‘special people, not people like you’.
So things began to be a little different. Coming from a dysfunctional family which misinterpreted the word ‘support’, doubts about my talent began to be bigger and bigger until drawing wasn’t even that much fun anymore. I still wanted to become a professional artist and went to art school, but it was hard. The comparison with my classmates killed me. Because of the criticism of my parents, especially my father’s, nothing I did was ever good enough for me, and once school was over, I stopped drawing altogether.
Later on, while I did other things for a living that were creative but didn’t comprehend drawing, I began to sketch little things here and there. Nothing serious, only doodles, but it was something I did constantly.
Waiting on hold on the phone? I doodled. Talking to a friend? I doodled. Talking to a customer over the phone? I doodled.
Basically, every time I sat and had one hand free, I instinctively grabbed a piece of paper and a pencil and drew a little something. It was so spontaneous that I didn’t even notice it.
Long story short, I changed my job and city, had a shop, and I closed it down without knowing what to do next. I spent three years doing this and that to make ends meet, while still doodling furiously.
One day – I think it happened while I meditated – I realized nothing felt right for me because I was actually not doing the right thing. I was doing what other people thought I could do, what other people thought was right. But my idea of ‘right’ was different, and who cares if most thought it was crazy?
I realized I traded my dreams for other people’s expectations of me. And I remembered my dream – which I had buried somewhere inside of me for all those years – farmhouse, animals, and everything.
I also realized the only thing that made me feel really good and had always felt right, was this house. Which is curiously similar to the one I had always dreamt of. Why it felt like home from the first second was finally clear to me.
I needed something to unblock my fear of drawing, though; I wanted to get that feeling of pure pleasure back! I began to do exercises to remove creative blocks and fears that I found on YouTube, until one day I read something about how drawing what you doodle while on the phone is the one thing you should develop.
So I did my usual sketch of cats, then I put them in line and drew them better and… BAAAANG!!
As stupid or naïve as it may sound, I felt like all the pieces were falling into the right place.
This was five years ago. I didn’t have a website and my IG handle wasn’t about Cat Cottage yet, I changed it later. I started to sell this drawing as a digital download on Etsy with the title ‘Fifty Shades of Cats’. Funny thing, after a while they removed my drawing for ‘copyright infringements’! Apparently, E. L. James has bought or claims the rights of every ‘fifty shades of… anything’! I really don’t see how my cats could have damaged or robbed her brand, but… whatever. I was planning to leave Etsy and build my own website and was brainstorming some cute phrases or a motto that could go after the title.
When my mom came to live with me, she often complained about having too many cats, to which I always replied with ‘there is no such thing as too many cats’! And one day, after saying it for like the millionth time, I had the enlightenment.
I built this website a year or so later, and this drawing – which is still my favorite because it represents so many things – is still going strong. And even if Cat Cottage Design is far from being my main source of income and I still have to work other jobs, this website is my home, and drawing makes my heart flutter again as it did when I was a kid.
And everything feels right even when everything goes wrong!
the No such thing as too many cats section items!