Daily Sketch: My Neighbor’s Cats

ink sketch of two cats in window.
“My Neighbor’s Cats”, ink drawing pen, 6″ x 7.5″ © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

I saw my neighbor’s two cats at their favorite window, the one in the back of the apartment that overlooks the overgrown area at the corners of four yards and lots of activity, and squirrels.

My neighbor apparently has two cats now. I’ve seen the one lying on the windowsill for several years, a tabby with white collar and chest and belly that creeps up his sides as well. Lately I’ve seen a cow-spotted cat, white all over with a black hat and some black spots, different enough from the first cat so I’ve known there were two, then I saw them both in windows at the same time, then together at the back window. They seem to be good friends and I’m glad to see them together. My cats watch them, which is how I know they are probably at their windows, and they watch my cats. Lots of feline communications floating back and forth over the back yards.

I look at this window a a deep angle, and I realized once I’d finished the sketch how odd it looks. I checked it against what I saw, and a photo, and this is pretty much it. The window is deep-set so you can’t see any of the left edge, and it looks very narrow. These cats live in the light blue house kitty corner from my house and I’ve done one sketch of the one cat in the window and also a photo, and it’s also the blue house where Witness to a Rescue took place.

With the computer in my studio being non-workable, I can’t get to the better scanner, so I’m stuck working with mostly black and white—and even that’s not too good—or I photograph things, which doesn’t always work well with smaller sketches. Can’t wait to get that issue resolved.

. . . . . . .

Early, 2013
pastel sketch of cat
“Early”, pastel, 7″ x 5.5″ © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

Now that the trees and shrubs outside the windows are leafing out, the morning sun is tempered by green. Giuseppe curled on my desk, early, in all that soft green light.

I liked the simple shapes that made up his figure.

. . . . . . .

Relaxing, 2012
Relaxing, charcoal pencil © B.E. Kazmarski

I’m glad someone got some work done around here today because my cats were all totally useless. So the temperature was a humid 82 degrees in mid-afternoon. I wasn’t lying around like a dishrag! But I did have two or more cats on my desk all day, and still do at this very moment. I guess they wanted me to see how miserable they were.

Mimi sits up for a brief interlude of awakeness in an entire day of sleeping on top of the same pile of mail in nearly the same position all day. For most of the time, Giuseppe used her as a pillow, at which point you couldn’t see too much of her. Giuseppe takes up enough room for two cats and tries to spread himself as far as he can go.

Even in their resting state, unless they are in a deep sleep, they move constantly. Most sketches take me less than five minutes as my goal is to challenge my observation skills and hand-eye coordination and to keep from getting mired down in details. When I sketch them as outlined figures, I rough in their approximate outline, then go from one section to another with harder lines to define the outline. When I have more figures I rough in all of them then define their heads and other features as quickly as possible.

Paws and tails and heads may move in the meantime but the light rough outline keeps me in line and unless they get up and move completely before I have enough detail I’m fine with filling in quickly from that extremely short-term memory that holds an image in my mind clearly, but only for a few minutes before it begins to fade. In this case Mimi had been initially washing her face and her head was curved down much farther and at a different angle. She sat up, so I worked on other areas of the sketch waiting to see if she would go back to washing her face. In this case the short-term memory was holding too much, and there are times when I will put the sketch aside but keep an eye on the cat in question, and even hours later catch them in the same activity and finish the section I need. She never did go back to that position, so I drew her upright position instead.

If I’ve drawn in guidelines or even begun to firm up an area and they move, I leave the lines there, and I’ll try to work them into the finished sketch. I don’t erase anything unless, when I’m done, something in the finished sketch looks too confusing to let it go, and then I’ll try my best to lighten the lines or remove them. In this case something was confusing to me while I was drawing and I had to remove prior lines. Where Mimi had been leaning forward washing her face as I described above, my prior lines kept me thinking she was crouching and I was tending to draw what I was thinking instead of what was there, that three-quarter back posture, the two alert ears, her attention turned away. I had to erase that original outline as best as I could in order to go on.

All that for this simple little sketch!


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Click here to see other daily sketches.

For a gallery of the ones available for sale, visit my Etsy shop in the “Cat Art and Prints” section.

Read about the reason for the daily sketches in Two Years of Daily Sketches.

And download your free desktop wallpaper calendar for computer or mobile, usually based on a daily sketch.

"Mimi's Sunbath" 1280 x 1024 for square and laptop monitors
“Mimi’s Sunbath” 1280 x 1024 for square and laptop monitors


"Feline Style Sampler" book of sketches and portraits.

A collection of 34 images of feline artwork

Feline Style Sampler

Daily sketches, illustrations, commissioned portraits all in a small coil-bound gift book.

Click here or on the image to read more

or find this book in my Etsy shop.


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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 using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.


© 2014 | www.TheCreativeCat.net | Published by Bernadette E. Kazmarski

Weekly schedule of features:
Sunday: Essays, Pet Loss, Poetry, The Artist’s Life
Monday: Adoptable Cats, TNR & Shelters
Tuesday: Rescue Stories
Wednesday: Commissioned Portrait or Featured Artwork
Thursday: New Merchandise
Friday: Book Review, Health and Welfare, Advocacy
Saturday: Your Backyard Wildlife Habitat, Living Green With Pets, Creating With Cats
And sometimes, I just throw my hands in the air and have fun!

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Bernadette

From health and welfare to rescue and adoption stories, advocacy and art, The Creative Cat offers both visual and verbal education and entertainment about cats for people who love cats. From catchy and creative headlines to factual articles and fictional stories, The Creative Cat provides constant entertainment and important information to people who love cats, pets and animals of all species.

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