A while back, I started drawing sad cats.

I was playing with a drawing & painting app on the iPad, and they turned out to be the only thing I could really convincingly draw in a way that resembled what they were meant to portray. Not cats – sad cats. Happy ones tend to look more like teapots.

No, me neither.

Anyway, I started a blog where I posted these sad cats, and I’ve put about 90 of them on the internet so far (cats on the internet — who’d have thought?). And some people seem to like them. In fact, I’ve had some people ask if they could have prints of the Saddest Cats, and my answer has always been – yes of course, just press ‘print’ on your computer.

But yesterday, as an experiment (and as a piece of really quite advanced book-writing procrastination), I went shopping for art supplies. I bought some watercolours, pencils, brushes and art paper – and had a go at making a non-digital, handmade, physical piece of (air-quotes) “art”.

Painting the prototype

That’s the first of them you see above. The first Saddest Cat to also be available in “real”.

I say ‘first’ – because I really enjoyed doing it that way. It took a lot longer, and was much fiddlier (no undo!) but I will definitely be doing more.

There’s a slightly different look to these cats, for obvious reasons. Some things I like more (pen control for a start), and others I like less (I need to focus on making my watercolours even less tidy — I like the splotchiness of the digital paints). But it’s certainly an interesting thing to be doing.

A digital one I like – note the different style

If you’d asked me a year ago, I would have told you that drawing and painting are things that I can’t, don’t and probably won’t ever do. Like singing in public or running marathons.

To be clear: I don’t think this is something I’m particularly good at. I’m just astonished that I’ve done it to a standard that I don’t find excruciatingly embarrassing, and people are even saying nice things.

There’s a lot to be said for positive reinforcement. I’m a big fan of it. It causes me to want to do more and get better.

That said, I’m still not going to sell prints. At least not for the moment – if ever (though I’ve surprised myself in the past in terms of what I will and won’t do from one year to the next).

There are no posters, mugs or t-shirts for sale.

What I am going to do for now is scan the painting as above, upload the scan to the Saddest Cats blog, but then – if anyone wants it – I’ll sell (or gift, depending on who wants it) the original painting — signed and numbered as above.

The digital image will be under a Creative Commons license – so if it’s for non-commercial use, you can just do whatever you like with it. Make your own t-shirt, print a poster for your office, email it to friends — or whatever. The original picture is for whoever ends up with it to decide what to do with it.

Perhaps they’ll put it on the fridge door. It’s been a long while since I’ve made anything worthy of the fridge door…