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Updated: Oct 11, 2022

WE CAN'T ALL BE CATS is my first finished picture book. HUH! I did it!

✺ we can't all be cats is the literal translation that I might have to change when I have the text fully translated

I started working on this book last year during a small course I did at Ar.Co and this project was a big mess in my head. I didn't know what it was about so I played around with lots of story variations and endings and I couldn't make up my mind with what I wanted to say, where I wanted to go...

Most of all I was trying out new materials to see what fitted best, but because I didn't know how the book would flow, every test felt wrong.

The version that I had last year I had painted some patterns and textures on A3 sheets and then just did cut outs on those.

You can see on this "gallery" below, my first illustration tests:

In 2021 the cat had colour and all the rest was black, but as the meaning of this story changed I also felt the need to change almost everything. I also felt it was lacking playfulness and colour. Not a lot of them but more than black and blue.

This year, 2022, around July I managed to find time to be in an artistic residency and took the chance to pick up this project again. This time with a deadline : the end of SEPTEMBER.

I had 3 months to rewrite what I already had and to make all the illustrations. A bit ambitious, but I did it!

I gave myself a deadline because I thought I might never finish without it and I am still not over the fact that I finally finished something that is impossible to do under pressure in just few days. ADHD problems, right? Am I cured from chronically not finishing anything? I sure hope so!

At least I hope I am cured from thinking I can't finish anything.

Last year I was lost somewhere between the cat being lost, the human being lost and both getting lost trying to find each other. Many many variations later, I was soooo confused that I just stopped working on it and started just thinking about it from time to time.

From all the changes I had done to it and considering all the changes I was going through and at the time planning even bigger changes in my life I realised it had to be about changes and the need of soul searching to guide these changes, and you know, sometimes changes can break us, but everything is "fixable". Even ceramics. Even people. The magic glue is always, time.

I decided that I should write a small paragraph just to find the armature of what this book would be about and this was what I wrote:

How I wish to see the days unfold into nights like my cat does.

But when the night comes a change occurs.

Have I changed? Has he changed? We changed.

After writing this, everything got way more clear and easier to understand the next step.

This time around, the cat was black, maybe because of this baby that I was no longer seeing everyday:

or maybe because of this graffiti that I passed by every day:

The residency was mostly useful to find the style of the paintings and the colours I wanted to use, black and blue would still be the main colours, but not the only colours.

The cat became black and the girl became blue.

Because of the short time I decided to use materials I am already familiar with : guache!

A limited palete is always easier to work around and these were the colours I used for the whole book:

from left to right :

+++202 : deep yellow by Talens

D010 : coral red by Holbein

D195 : Luminous red by Holbein

A pink I made a long time ago for this painting (I don't remember the mix)

+++301 : light red by Talens

D073 : mint green by Holbein

D067 : emerald green by Holbein

A light blue I made a long time ago for this painting (I don't remember the mix)

D103 : smalt blue by Holbein

D091 : ultramarine blue by Holbein

+++506 : ultramarine deep by Talens

+++737 : neutral black by Talens

You can see this gallery below, of some of the studies and paintings I did at the residency, you can also see that I have too many guaches:

I was playing around with a lot of ideas for metaphors for the change but when I did this painting I felt it was the way to go so I just went in that direction:

A cat and a vase, how does this usually turn out? From my experience, usually it becomes a broken vase. What do I do when my cats break my vases? I glue them back together!

What do we do when we break? We pick up the pieces, we work on them and keep going.

The vase was left out white because for me the most important thing to keep going is hope and being a dork for symbolism, hope is always white. The flowers also kept growing to mark the passage of time.

and I re-wrote the armature:

"A vase breaks and I break too.

Searching for him, searching for myself.

I search until the shards are a vase again. Until I am myself again."

One of the changes that I am planing is going to study abroad, so I decided to include something that I love from my country that will fade over the book as the change happens:

I found this beautiful pattern on the street tiles and used it for the flooring:

but I ended up changing my mind over this pattern when I payed attention to this cigarette filter pack eheheheh and I was like, off with the other one, this is way more appropriate, specially considering the end of the book when the characters go star gazing and then become stars:

I realised I had a lot of circles around so I this little google search:

And to my surprise, it couldn't be more perfect, so I tried to make everything more "circular", it begins with the vase, it ends with the vase.

It begins with a frame within a frame, it ends with the subjects that were before inside the double frame now becoming the background.

And they also come out of the frame, when the breaking point arrives,

this being, literally, the breaking point, eheheh

I also tried to make everything visually more round after this and I like it much more now:

as you might also noticed from all the images I spoiled above, toys are very present. Building blocks become buildings and playing cars become real cars, wood trees become real trees as hope grows, the dreams and wishes becomes real.

but there are things that always stay the same:

the fact that I am a clown!

ehehehe but I do love clowns and speaking of clowns, look what I found at my parents house when I was almost finishing this book:

1 : this photo of me as a kid

2 : this red nose

3: these big legos with a clown a a big pawed black cat! and with the colours of the book! I was sooo thrilled and energised to finish the book!

and so I did!

The book/zine was printed by me at Quarto-Escuro where DóiDó was born and we launched both on a fair on the 1st of October. I tried to cosplay my character the best I could with what I had, what do you think?:

the other person in the picture is Vera, who runs DóiDó with me! (and also just launched a zine!)

so now, go help these girls out and get yours so we can make more zines in the future!

sorry if I overshared too much I really hyper-focused on this wee little post and probably made it too big, hope you did not get bored,



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