Wednesday, May 29, 2024
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Featured Artwork: Toddler and Tabby Cat, Two Sketches

pencil sketch of little girl and cat
“She’s My Little Girl”, pencil, 9″ x 12″, 2005 © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

How about that—a little human along with a kitty! I actually know these two, in fact, they are related: the little girl is my great-niece Cassidy and the kitty is her family kitty, Elsa, one of my great-cats. They’re having a really good nap.

I have two sketches in this post, “She’s My Little Girl”, above, and “How To Have a Really Good Nap”, below. I sketched these in June 2005 from photos my niece e-mailed to me right around that time; in fact, my scans of these sketches are dated June 24, so it’s nearly exactly eight years ago. Cassidy was four here, now she’s 12, hard to believe, but you’ll see a recent photo of her a kitty for today’s daily photo, which is what prompted pulling these sketches out of…the lost sketchbook.

. . . . . . .

She’s My Little Girl

My niece and her family moved from Pittsburgh to Savannah, GA just after Cassidy was born in 2001, so I treasure every photo, and of course I love to see the animals as much as the humans, and my niece knows that.  When I received these it was something in Elsa’s stripes and Cassidy’s curly hair (a family trait) that made me decide to sketch these, and my choice was pencil. I love the retro-flowered bedspread, and for heaven’s sake there were even a few baby dolls in a few and someday they’d make a really cute painting, but I just wanted my first impression, the little girl and her cat.

detail of sketch
Closeup of Cassidy.

I not only love how her face is so soft and rounded and her mouth is slightly open, such a toddler thing, but she’s “counting” in her sleep, some of her fingers are curled and others are not. I’ve always thought babies’ and toddlers’ hand positions were cute.

Now as for Elsa, it looks to me like she’s letting her human know that this child belongs to her right this moment. Go away, human, we have a nap to accomplish. I love Elsa’s stripes and eyeliner, and without the flower pattern she reclines in all her glory.

pencil sketch of tabby cat
Closeup of Elsa.

Below is the reference photo for the sketch above. Take note of the bedspread, you’ll see it again later…

little girl sleeping with cat
The beginning of the nap.

. . . . . . .

How To Have a Really Good Nap

pencil sketch of toddler and cat
“How To Have a Really Good Nap”, pencil, 9″ x 12″, 2005 © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

A little later, the covers are kicked off, positions change and Elsa is upside down. Now that’s a really good nap. To draw these, I worked from only the photos, and actually did most of the work while sitting at the small second-floor shop I had rented that year so I didn’t have my studio and all its stuff, but I had decided on pencil and knew I could work in less-than-optimal lap in a sketchbook on my lap, so I could take the whole thing with me.

Below, a closeup of Cassidy’s face.

pencil sketch of toddler
Closeup of Cassidy.

Because they were are digital photos I could print them out at about the size I wanted them to be so I could carry those with me too. I chose the sketchbook and printed out the prints, packed up my little pencil kit, and off I went. All the sketching is freehand, looking from the printout of the photo to my paper. You may see some of the same pencil techniques here as you see in my daily sketches, but these are much more finished than most of my dailies. Still, this is one of the outcomes of the daily sketches because I was working them fairly frequently at this time, mostly in pencil and ink. When my pencil hit the paper, I was ready.

And, of course, upside down Elsa.

pencil sketch of cat
Closeup of Elsa.

And the reference photo. Couldn’t be cuter.

little girl sleeping with cat
Cassidy and Elsa have a really good nap.

. . . . . . . .

I’ve had these sketches on my website for some years, but haven’t used them for anything in part because I wanted to wait for Cassidy to get a little older before I used them.

I chose to publish them today because just Monday my niece send me an updated photo of Cassidy at age 12 napping with her very own tabby kitty. Elsa is still the family cat, but a few years ago Cassidy decided she wanted her own kitty, so she and her mother went to the Humane Society and carefully chose a kitty for Cassidy. You can see them here.

. . . . . . .

My daily sketches from this era were less “daily” than now, but were still quite frequent. I carried a sketchbook with me outdoors and kept a sketchbook and pencil at the desk, and it is this second sketchbook that became my series,  “From the Lost Sketchbook” , where I’d found a sketchbook that I’d kept at my desk beginning in 2002 and used periodically until about 2005. This was a general purpose sketchbook and I used it for many things in addition to extemporaneous sketches such as illustrations and ideas, and it included sketches of my cats and a few other subjects. I was so happy to see it again when I found it in 2010 that I scanned all the sketches that were pertinent to The Creative Cat and posted them.


Take a look at other portraits and read other stories

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Commissioned Cat Portraits

portrait of black cat on wicker chair
Samantha, pastel, 1994 © B.E. Kazmarski
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Sophie and Ellie, pastel, 2009 © B.E. Kazmarski
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pastel painting of cat on table
After Dinner Nap, pastel, 1996 © B.E. Kazmarski

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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.

© 2013 | | Published by Bernadette E. Kazmarski



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.

3 thoughts on “Featured Artwork: Toddler and Tabby Cat, Two Sketches

  • lemniscate47

    Lovely photos.. from which you’ve made gorgeous sketches, Bernadette. I love how Elsa ‘claims’ her little human with her paw in the first set. Then, them both sleeping on a hot afternoon. That marvellously curly hair really is a family feature, isn’t it, B?!! 🙂
    The quilt has done Well, hasn’t it?

    • Thanks, Annie, they are very dear to me, and Elsa was very possessive of her little girl. Curly hair rules!

  • Pingback: The Creative Cat - Daily Photo: Teen and Tabby

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