Way back in the early dawn of time, I had an internship in New York City. I worked for illustrator Steven Guarnaccia and went on many studio visits to illustrators and designers all over the city. It was an amazing summer.
By the end of the internship, I took away two important characteristics of the successful illustrator. One: have a collection of folk/primitive art masks hung in your studio. Two: own a cat.
The first item, I've had no problem with. I've got some lovely ceramic masks from Mexico, as well as lots of collections of folk art and toys and things. Collections are very important for an illustrator to have and in the words of Steven Guarnaccia: "One or two of something are just knick knacks. But once you have three it's a collection!"
The second item, the cat, was a little more of a problem. It wasn't even an option until last March when I took the plunge and finally bought my first home. Then it took me another year to be certain I really truly wanted a cat.
After a lot of dithering, last February I went to the local shelter and got Miss Mitzi. She is a fantastic cat. She's a little older, very mellow and very sweet. She's got some sort of crazy auto-immune disease (best guess by the vet) that makes her allergic to her own teeth! So far she's had three pulled. They thought they were going to take the rest, but after a few weeks of antibiotics, she seems to be okay. I just get to brush her teeth and give her kitty mouthwash forever-more. Yes. She is spoiled.
But Mitzi has embraced her role as Studio Cat. One of her favorite spots is to sit up on the shelf in my studio by my paints and brushes. Now maybe I will finally be a real illustrator. Work your Studio Cat Magic, Mitzi!