project: big book of cats

Big Book of Cats: Ashley

August 29, 2012

The Big Book of Cats is a weekly illustration project. In 1998, I was 11 years old and decided to make a 200 page encyclopedia of anthropomorphic cat girls. I’ve made a vow to honor this horrific piece of literature and redraw every cat girl and post a new drawing along with the original for the internet’s amusement. Want to know more? Read my official introduction here and check out all the drawings so far here!

You’re welcome and I’m so so sorry.

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I feel like Ashley is a representation of what I wished I looked like at the time. Still a nerdy school girl, but cuter and bit more put-together. And cat-like. I did go through a phase where I thought braces were pretty cool.

What I find really interesting here is her clearly Japanese school girl inspired top… I was like, 10. This was right before my gigantic obsession with Pokemon, which lead to my teenage obsession with anime and any and all things Japanese, so I don’t really know how that look was already on my radar. A sign of obsessions to come? Had Japanese culture already permeated my little brain? Samurai Pizza Cats, maybe? Anyone? 

Ashley wants to seem all bookish and smart, but sometimes she’s just gotta smuggle manga into her study sessions. Let your nerd flag fly, girl!


  • I am seriously SO in love with this series. I wish I could find some of my old notebooks and do a project like this. It’s incredible! Keep it up!

    • Michelle

      Awww Chaplinnn! I was so excited to see you follow me on tumblr! You really are one of my fave bloggers and this compliment means a lot!

      I almost made a blog solely focused on just the Big Book of Cats because it’s so ridiculous and hilarious. Making fun of kids’ drawings is the best. 8) It’s also a fun way to channel my former, seemingly endless childhood creativity into some new work. I’m really enjoying the process!

  • HOLY CRAP. This is the most amazing thing I HAVE EVER SEEN!!!!!!

    • Michelle

      Hahaha, thank you, Sarah! :) I love your blog! <3

  • This is the best series EVER. I once drew what I thought to be an embarrassing doodle of my cat as Audrey Hepurn. Now I know it’s awesome.

    • Michelle

      Ha, that IS awesome! All cat drawings are good drawings, let’s be real :)

  • I found your blog through Sarah and I have to say that I LOVE this series!! I can’t wait for more drawings :)

    • Michelle

      Thank you so much! So glad you stopped by :) There’s many, many more ridiculous cat ladies to come hahaha

  • Lady, I am freakin in love with this series. I went to school for illustration and in the years since, I feel like my clients have kind of forced me into a style of illustration that I don’t even like…blargh. But dang girl, this is rad. I can so relate to the obsessive cat drawings. I have books and books of drawings from when I was around the same age but mine were focused on girls that I either wanted to be (super sexy ladies with giant boobs that I also wrote were 14 or 15…ai yi yi…pretty much looked like you cat girls but minus the cat face and plus gigantic anime eyes) or I would illustrate giant houses filled with amazing rooms for young girls like me who felt like they were outcasts, loners, or abandoned.
    Since I was about 3, I wanted to own an orphanage so I could save all of the kids in the world who were abandoned. So I’d illustrate these big books full with elaborate drawings of all of the levels of my dream orphanage plus detail shots of each area of each room.

    All that being said, you’re awesome. And I hope I can take a little inspiration from you to move towards illustrating what I really love in styles I actually love and can learn to say no to clients whose styles just do not vibe with me.
    xo Moorea Seal

    • Michelle

      Awww, Moorea, what an amazing comment to receive! I’m so flattered. :)

      I feel like artists go through those emotions all the time. You and your art are in a life-long relationship and it takes work just like any other. Trying to make any sort of monetary living off your art puts new and weird strains between you. I definitely feel pressure about my work being too cartoony or naive in a lot of professional situations, but I’m trying to push through it and just do me to the fullest. That’s what this project is all about for me.

  • I just want to say how much I admire you for going through your old comp. books and redrawing everything! I haven’t even been able t bring myself to open my old ones up! XD
    Your art’s absolutely adorable, and I love your outfits as well. :D

    • Michelle

      Haha, I definitely relate to that! Thank you! :)

  • This is awesome! What a great idea for a series, and it’s lovely to really see how your style has changed over the years.

  • I just stumbled across your blog and I love this series! How cute are your cats!!