Illustration Friday - Black Cats and Hepcat
This is an oldie, done several years ago when I was first learning Illustrator. Admittedly, I haven't gotten a whole lot farther than these basic shapes and patterns, but that's probably because I don't use Illustrator that much. I'm posting it because I haven't any time this week to work on something new... I'll be spending all weekend working on the Journeys book project. Even so, I've always liked this because it honors two very special black cats I've had the pleasure of knowing.
Swamp and I came together in a karmic moment on the east bank of the Hudson River one spring morning in 1978 when I rescued him and his sister from being hurled into the river by a couple of boys. Both kittens were tiny black puffballs, the boy having the distinguishing trait of six claws on one front foot and seven on the other. I found the idea of a black cat with thirteen toes very appealing, so I kept him and named him Swamp, because with those feet he would never sink, even on the soggiest terrain. I gave his sister to a waitress I knew from the Empire Diner, where I used to have Sunday brunch. She named her Butch for her own particular reasons. I had Swamp for many many years, and took him with me on my adventures. He and my other cats, Wanda and Willie, even moved with me to the U.S. Virgin Islands, living first in a house in the mountains and then later on a tiny, uninhabited island a quick row away from the boat I called home. He spent his old age residing peacefully with my parents, and in his true mystical fashion, went off one day to die in the woods.
The other black cat was Oscar, who belonged to Jol. He was named after Oscar Wilde because of his flamboyant personality and his graceful movements. Oscar was an outdoor cat and an accomplished hunter with a taste for the unusual... Jol once witnessed him devour a bat! Oscar died a few years ago, and now shares closet space with the ashes of Willie II and Romeo.
I've had many cats that I've loved over the years, but below is a picture (manipulated photograph) of my favorite and the one I love best... the Hepcat.