Saturday, July 20, 2024
animal artworkblack catscharcoaldaily sketchgiuseppeink

Daily Sketch Reprise: A Vigilant Nap, 2013

charcoal sketch of cat sleeping
“A Vigilant Nap”, black and white charcoal pencils on gray toned paper, 4.5″ x 7″ © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

This has become one of my most popular daily sketches, and it’s the one where I really feel I hit my stride with sketching in charcoal on the toned paper. Hard to believe it was only a year ago…

Yes, Giuseppe is napping, but it’s not a serious nap, it’s a vigilant nap. He’s on my worktable under the lights while I am at my drafting table and computer in my studio, and apparently he’s been assigned to keep an eye on me. They take turns at this, and it’s clearly a different nap from a curled-in-a-ball, or a cuddle with siblings because the attention must be on what is happening, and one must be able to awaken immediately. He lifts his head at every noise, or sometimes only opens to big golden eyes, assesses what, if anything, needs to be done, then puts his head back down on his paws. I see his ears swivel constantly, and when he open his eyes, even though he is facing away from me, I can see his whiskers shift upward and the shape of his forehead changes. I am so accustomed to this position of his—see also “Tonal Nap”, where he is just outside the door of the studio—that I sometimes look past him, but I also spend time studying him.

I just finished this sketch at 10:00 at night, which is not typical. I usually do my sketches late morning or mid-day when the household is more active and the light is good wherever I go, also when my physical tools, eyes and hands and even arms and back, are not so tired by the day and I am more mentally alert. I am also more likely to experiment and feel more confident than later in the day, and I work more quickly, unlike now when I am best at detail work.

However, I began a sketch of Mimi earlier today as she sat on the floor next to my tall work chair up here. I visualized and visualized, then suddenly realized I should be sketching, got this gray toned sketchpad and just one charcoal pencil to start with and began an outline, intending to do as much as I could in a minute or two then work the rest of the details later in the day. Mimi waited until she knew I was engaged with the sketch, then got up and left, and avoided any position that was in any way similar to the one I’d begun in the sketch. But that’s okay. I’ll get her again some day. She’s a little peeved at me because we are not going out to the yard until I find a harness instead of a collar, and a leash because she decided to go off exploring earlier this week. This is my punishment for keeping her inside. I can live with a little feline scorn.

And now Mimi is contentedly purring on my lap and Giuseppe is wrestling with Mr. Sunshine out in the hall. Apparently there’s been a change of shift and it’s now Mimi’s turn to keep an eye on me.

Hmmm, Giuseppe is the subject of today’s sketch, yesterday’s sketch, and last year’s sketch on this date, and in each one he’s napping. I may need to see if someone is represented more frequently than some others.

And I still need to consider a new scanner. Most of the bad areas are gone, but if you look about 1/3 up from the bottom you’ll see a few faint pinkish stripes—this is where the scanner bulb is misbehaving, either because it’s just tired or because a bit of my glass cleaner dripped in under the platen. It’s “okay” on my daily sketches, but not on finished work.

Still considering a new scanner…repaired the issue with the current one, but now the scanner bulb is actually wearing out. Darn!

. . . . . . .

framed sketch of cat
“Vigilant Nap”, charcoal.

Purchase this original or a print

I’ve sold the original of this sketch, matted and framed, but can frame a print just like it. Canvas, gicleé and digital prints are available on Portraits of Animals.


. . . . . . .

What else was I sketching on this date?

Fangs, 2013
ink sketch of cat sleeping
Sleeping With Fangs, ink © B.E. Kazmarski

There’s been a lot of this lately, lolling about on my desk. When Giuseppe turns his head upside down, his mouth falls open and I can see two little fangs. Vicious kitty. He fell deeply asleep so I had the chance to sketch him.

Not a difficult or detailed sketch, but just a note on drawing a subject in an orientation different from the way you are accustomed to seeing them. Even looking directly at him, my inner eye kept turning him right side up, and it was almost like yesterday when I was trying to draw around Mimi’s initial outline and it was confusing me.

This was done with a .35 felt-tip technical marker.

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 Three Years of Daily Sketches, Awards and Collections.

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

"Kelly on the Windowsill" desktop calendar 2560 x 1440 for HD and wide screens.
“Kelly on the Windowsill” desktop calendar 2560 x 1440 for HD and wide screens.

"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 and on

Gifts featuring cats you know! Portraits of Animals on Etsy.


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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 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.

© 2015 | | 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!




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

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