Saturday, June 22, 2024
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The Artist’s Life: Influenced by Steinlen

Happy Birthday, Théophile Steinlein, painter, illustrator and Art Nouveau printmaker who helped set the standard for poster design and has been a great inspiration to me as both a graphic designer and a feline artist.

Steinlein was one of the most famous feline artists of any era, sketching and painting his cats all the time and incorporating their images into his designs. Easily recognizable among his designs are “Tournee du Chat Noir” and no doubt many people have seen “Clinique Chéron” hanging in their veterinarian’s office.

I was inspired to start my series of daily cat sketches and to share them here on The Creative Cat by my copy of Steinlein Cats, a Dover large-size paperback including just pages from Theophile-Alexandre Steinlen’s sketchbooks featuring his sketches of his own cats. The book includes pages from his everyday sketchbooks of cats in charcoal, ink, watercolor, studies of paw and ears and noses, a momcat nursing her kittens, a little cartoon of a cat who spilled the milk; what a joy for me to share the inspirations of another artist so intimately.

I’ve been studying his cats, his lettering, his palette, his drawing style practically all my life, and the influence emerges unexpectedly, especially when I pick up my brush pen. Here are a few samples of things you might recognize.

Big Nap Decorative Dishes

Big Nap, black and red with gold.
Big Nap, black and red with gold.

“Big Nap” decorative dishes, based on one of my brush pen sketches, each one handmade, hand painted and unique, reflect my influences from Japanese brush pen art, Theophile Steinlen, and Andy Warhol. The version above reflects Steinlen’s use of a gold outline on his black cats and other dark items, and red as a background color. The brush pen sketch itself is also influenced by his sketches. To make these dishes I cut the outline of the art from polymer clay and bake it to have a gentle upward curve on the edges, then typically I use the same brush pen to draw the sketch onto the clay that I used for the original sketch though for this one I used a lettering brush with gold leaf paint. Here are the three variations.

Big Nap Decorative Dishes
Big Nap Decorative Dishes

Mimi en Silhouette

ink silhouette sketch of black cat
Mimi en Silhouette, ink brush pen © B.E. Kazmarski

From 2012: Channeling Steinlen with this one, and I even gave it a title in French.

Well, the title should be self-explanatory, it is indeed Mimi, who occupied my drafting table all day, and she is en silhouette—or nearly so. As she enjoyed a bit of sun on the windowsill I enjoyed the play of angled light on her fur.

And I’m really loving this new brush pen! I did want to use it again so I waited for une scène so that I could try a few new techniques.

Darn that Giuseppe, he has me speaking French from all his correspondence with Mlle. Daisy Emerald Marguerite. Perhaps I am also channeling what I learned of studying Theophile Steinlein.

Here are a few items I’ve made with this sketch as a stencil, screen print and cut paper design.

Daily Sketches influenced by Steinlen

That brush pen outline, the use of red and black and earth tones of brown, yellow and tan showed up in several daily sketches as I studied my cats.

And a few others in charcoal and pencil…

And these won’t be the last, either!


Read more articles in The Artist’s Life series.

Gifts featuring cats you know! Visit Portraits of Animals


Fine ArtPhotographyGiftsGreeting CardsBooksCommissioned Portraits & Artwork

Big Nap Decorative Dishes
Big Nap Decorative Dishes

Find all three styles in Trinket and Decorative Dishes on Portraits of Animals.


All images and text used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission, although links to your site are more than welcome and are shared. Please ask if you are interested in using and image or story in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of an image or a product including it, check my animal and nature website Portraits of Animals 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.

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© 2022 | | 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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