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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This week I wanted to do a little something different! Periodically, I want to share extra tidbits from the book, thoughts on the project, and some bonus sketches of girls you’ve already had the pleasure of meeting. :)
I’ve mentioned before that the Big Book of Cats is laid out in spreads. The drawing of each cat girl is on the left page and on the right is a little survey of weird information about each girl. The only time I really showed what the spreads look like is when I posted my very first re-draw, which was Suzzie!
Let’s look at some of the other girls’ little surveys, shall we?
First of all, sorry about the less-than-stellar scans. You can see the next page through the paper. Oops!
To add another layer of completely unnecessary, exhaustive detail, I tried to fill out each survey in the girl’s personal handwriting. Jenny’s is cute and spunky and suits her personality I think. You’ll notice that sometimes I stray from the specific details on fur colors and such. I usually give the original a try, but if the colors don’t end up looking interesting or don’t convey the girl’s personality, I switch it up. Jenny needed to have more vibrant colors, so I made her orange rather than gray.
I kind of hope I intended for her name to be “Cecilia Mocha”, which would be less cringe-worthy to read and a cuter French reference, but c’est la vie. I don’t think 11 year old Michelle was that clever. I had lovely cursive handwriting but didn’t seem to know quite how to spell “diamonds” yet either. Her lips are described as “thicker” but they really don’t look it, do they? Yes, those are supposed to be lip prints. The Big Book of Cats survey is more intense than a police report!
Okay, the name “Kitty Matter” just grosses me out. What is that about? Clearly I wanted Kitty to have more loopy, sexy handwriting, but it just gets increasingly illegible. I have no idea what state she’s supposed to be from, but I’ll take a wild guess and say I meant Kansas. Blade hair? Blode? Hopefully blonde. Kitty, you’re drunk! At least it’s consistent and I still can’t spell diamond.
I think Alison’s last name is supposed to be pronounced like “McKey”? Hopefully? Whatever. I can spell blonde now, but still not diamond! Obviously practice doesn’t necessarily equal perfect. Alison is from my home state, Missouri, another reference to the fact that she was inspired by a classmate of mine at the time.
I got sick of trying to come up with unique paw prints every time, so about half way through, I drew a big faux stamp across the bottom that says CANCELED and just stopped doing it. Haha.
The survey parts are definitely more embarrassing than the drawings at this point. I only consistently share the original drawing because sometimes the information adds a whole other layer of young, middle-class white girl ignorance that I just don’t need to remind the world of. You’ll see more stereotypical interpretations in coming weeks–Shawna defintely wasn’t my only attempt at representing a culture that was foreign to me at the time, but honestly may have been the most sensitive.