Whether you love cats or love cats or are just curious about them, everyone is welcome to Lulu Mayo’s magical world inside “101 Super Cute Cat Things to Draw”.
In the book’s introduction, Mayo opens a window to her cuddly, well-rounded feline images that will appeal to artists, illustrators, and even people who love to doodle.
As a result, she wants audiences of all ages and abilities to enjoy the drawing. With easy-to-follow step-by-step instructions, the book encourages you to be creative and have fun with “one hundred delightful cat-themed drawing projects, doodling prompts, and whimsical exercises.”
Mayo gives the public a lot of help right from the preparatory phase.
First, there are the tools she suggests using – professional grade colored pencils, graphite drawing pencils (even a traditional #2 pencil if you want), pigment ink pens for adding detail, art markers for creating strong color bands or for shading or making patterns, good old reliable pencils for outlining or coloring large areas, plastic or vinyl erasers and notebooks of sketches. If you don’t have a sketchbook nearby, loose-leaf or flattened paper bags might be fine.
With some (or all) of these tools in hand, you can start by drawing a line. Mayo gives examples – maybe a straight line, a line of flourishes, or a line of hashes. The page facing the lines is left blank so that you can practice making the lines of your choice in this open space.
Next are coloring techniques, such as cross-hatching, stippling (small dots of color close together), stumbling (scribbling randomly to create a mass of color), gradation (lightening, darkening a color, or blending colors) .
Mayo then explains how colors can express feelings and emotions, and how they can influence the tone of a design.
She shows how a simple curve in a cat’s facial expression or eye movement that she draws can define a feeling – sneaky, confident, scared, confused, etc.
The book is filled with assortments of unique cat mashups, including dragon cats, unicorn cats, sushi cats, cactus cats, and even pasta cats.
On the pasta cat mashup page, there are a couple of cats wearing bow tie-shaped pasta, also known as farfalle. Another on the same page shows a “shy” cat peering through an opening in a large shell paste (conchiglioni.)
Mayo, a seasoned illustrator, was asked how she’s been able to keep discovering new subjects for her drawing books. Her response, in an email, sparked a brief explanation of her own creative process.
“I think you can’t come up with ideas, you just let them come to you,” Mayo said. “My light bulb moment always happens when I’m drawing by hand and with no real purpose other than to see what happens. My latest book (“101 Super Cute Cat Things to Draw”) is no exception.
The idea for the book came to her while she was drawing a lot of sushi cats.
“Then everything snowballed from there,” she added.
Another factor – daydreaming – may come into play in his creative process. A biographical sketch of Mayo at the end of the book states that she is “enthusiastic about daydreaming in the fantasy art world where cats and mysterious creatures live”.
How does she exploit daydreaming to be creative?
She replied in the email: “I like to daydream and then escape to wonderland where mysterious creatures live. This usually happens when I draw with pencils. I just leave my thoughts, ideas, my magical creatures and lots of plump animals coming to me.It’s my favorite part of the creative process.
Mayo encourages people to dream while pushing their pencils. “You never know what will come out in the end,” she added.
When asked if she had any other cat drawing books up her sleeve, Mayo said no, not yet, but “let’s see if the cat muse comes back to me!”
Mayo is a London-based illustrator with 18 books to her credit, including the best-selling ‘A Million Creatures to Color’ series.
She enjoys creating whimsical, quirky and cute illustrations and she believes in inviting people into her fantasy art world where imaginations run wild.
Her home is where her creative juices flow.
“It’s a very relaxing environment and I can be very focused on drawing my books,” she said.