If you look claw-sely, you might notice that Angie Rozelaar likes cats. Also puns. Now that is quite the explosive combo!
As cat-lovers ourselves, we sat down with her to find out how she felines about her work, what inspires her, and what she does for fun. Unsurprisingly, all of these topics were soon covered by a fine layer of cat hair!
But let’s stop indulging in terrible puns and just cat to the chase:
Tell us about your journey to becoming a successful artist, author, and illustrator?
I’ve always loved drawing and painting, so after I left school, I studied Art and Design at the Chelsea Art School in London. To support myself financially while studying, I took a backstage job at a West End theater and ended up staying in this line of work until my children were born. Making art was mostly a hobby for me until my kids went to school, when I began my career as an artist in earnest. In the early days before social media, I started by posting my work on my art blog, and luckily for me I was contacted by card companies and publishers with commissions, and was soon able to work full-time as a freelance illustrator. With the advent of Instagram, I was able to reach a wider audience and my cat illustrations portfolio began to expand into a mini-brand. I launched my licensing brand Planet Cat in 2019 and have since collaborated with manufacturers around the world to get my cat art on mugs, games, jigsaw puzzles, aprons, umbrellas, and more!
What’s the most important thing you have in your studio?
The most important thing I have in my studio is definitely my cat, Sushi, who likes to sit and watch me work! After that, it’s my Caran d’Ache gouache paint tin and my computer.
You’re known for your various cat illustrations. How did you come up with this idea?
I first began illustrating cats when taking part in the global 100 Day Art Project on Instagram. We have four cats at home, so I knew I’d never run out of inspiration. I really enjoyed creating the first 100 cats for the challenge, so when the project finished I just carried on drawing cats!
Ok, so how did this cat obsession start?
I’ve always loved being around animals, but I find cats in particular to be excellent company. They are beautiful, intelligent and playful creatures with a slightly sassy attitude that really makes me laugh. And I love how they will curl up in my lap at the end of a long day while I watch TV or read a book. We have four cats at the moment, but we live in a farmhouse, so they very much come and go as they please.
You’re the author behind the ‘Artsy Cats Board Book’. What is this book about and what’s the story behind it?
The idea for Artsy Cats came to me while doing the 100 Day Art Project. I studied Art History as part of my degree in college, so I know a bit about different art styles and movements. I thought I’d combine this knowledge with my feline theme for the project, and also brainstormed some puns to use. The first was Henri Catisse, then came Jackson Pawlock and Yves Feline. I thought it would be fun to create a whole collection around this theme and I worked with the publisher Mudpuppy to create the final fourteen designs we chose for the board book.
Feels like we already know the answer, but what are your biggest inspirations?
My biggest inspirations are my cats, of course! I also love going to galleries and museums when I visit a new city, and looking at art from around the world.
Which projects do you enjoy the most?
I really enjoy creating work for my Planet Cat portfolio and thinking of funny ideas that I can share with my followers on Instagram. If I can bring a smile to someone’s face with my work, I’m a very happy artist! I also love working with my publishers Nosy Crow, Bloomsbury and HarperCollins on children’s picture books, as I really enjoy the process of working with a team. I often manage to sneak a little cat into the books somewhere, too!
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not creating art?
When I’m not creating art, you will most probably find me out on a walk in the countryside with my rescue donkey Quixote, baking cakes or practicing the drums (which I only started learning last year).
What do you think is your biggest success so far?
I’m very proud to see my Artsy Cats board books in fancy museum gift shops around the world, but I feel my biggest success has been in creating such a friendly and engaging community on Instagram.