i paint i write

Live boldly, laugh and make art

You don’t need permission to create or make a life-size cat

For the last three years, I wanted to illustrate a story my cat, Pooh Hodges, wrote about how to become a cat. But I wasn’t sure what a drawing of a guy wearing tighty whities would look like. I hesitated for three years. Because, well, I was worried someone might not like my illustrations.

 

“Don’t think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.”
― Andy Warhol

I kept waiting. Waiting for my turn. Waiting for someone to give me permission to create. Waiting for permission to be myself.

You don’t need permission to create

Then I read a book by Seth Godin. What To Do When It’s Your Turn [and it’s always your turn]

On page 77 in What To Do When It’s Your Turn, Seth asks,  “When is the right time?”  His answer is — “Now.”

It’s never the right time. When you are starting a family, it’s not the right time. When your kids are about to go to college, it’s not the right time. When there’s an elderly parent depending on you.. . — Seth Godin, What To Do When It’s Your Turn  [and it’s always your turn]

It is your turn. Your turn to make art. Your turn to create. Your turn to give a gift. A gift of your art. We don’t need permission to create. We don’t need prior approval of our ideas.

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The proof of the book, “How to Be a Cat” came in the mail last week.

We don’t need permission to go back to school as adults with gray hair. We don’t need permission to write a story while our babies are taking naps. We don’t need permission to create a new recipe while our children are learning how to walk. 

We don’t have to wait.

If you didn’t learn what you wanted to learn at school when you were twenty— go back to school when you are thirty-two, forty, or fifty-six.

If you want to draw a guy in tighty-whites to illustrate a book your cat wrote, then get out your markers and draw.

Last fall I took a class at Montgomery County Community College in page layout and design. I wanted to learn how to made books using  Adobe InDesign.

No one gave me permission to take the class. I took the class and learned a new skill. A skill I can use now to make books.

You don’t need permission to be yourselves.

Pooh, a cat, was really a writer. He dictated and I typed. He had his own blog, thecatwhowrites.com. Harper is now the cat who writes. She came to live with us after Pooh died. If you want to understand your cat better, read Harper’s blog. She is a cat, she knows how a cat thinks. That is Pooh in the photograph leaning on my hand.

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Pooh realized there were humans who were fed up with the stress and pressure of holding down a job, mowing the lawn, and entertaining people they didn’t like,  so he clearly stated, in fifteen steps, how to become a cat. The blog post was entered in a “How To” contest on Problogger. Pooh was one of three winners. Here is the announcement on Problogger. How To Be A Cat. (Darren Rowse listed me as the writer, but it was really Pooh.)

The illustration for the cover of the book, How To Be A Cat, of a human dressed as a cat, is being made life-size. I made a copy of the drawing  on a transparency and projected it onto a 4×8 sheet of plywood. 

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Today I cut out half of the drawing with a skill saw. I also took a chunk out of the table too. This week I will paint the wood white, and paint the black on the figure the same as the illustration.

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How To Be A Cat, the book, will help you become a cat. And, maybe the book will help you see that it’s your turn. It’s always your turn.

What do you want to make? What will you do when it’s your turn? 

Please let me know  in the comments. I would love to hear from you.

xo
Pamela

p.s For those of you who don’t know, Pooh died on April 1st last year. The other cats and my family were devastated. Pooh was a dear friend. He always sat beside me when I wrote and put his paw on my hand while I typed.

p.s.s. The table. (I bought the table at a thrift store for $15.00. A table to paint and cut out cats on. Living imperfectly. Making a mess. )

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About Pamela Hodges

My name is Pamela Hodges. I am a writer and an artist. I write to encourage and to bring laughter. I paint cats, draw cartoons and write books for children and grown ups.

You are an artist. Yes, you are. Really.

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Get the FREE illustrated, sort of a comic book, “You Are An Artist.” Believe in yourself and your ability to draw. xo Pamela

  • La McCoy

    I want to draw a life sized cat. or maybe a dog.

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  • Susan W A

    What an absolutely precious picture of Pooh… heartwarming. I can hear and feel the rhythmic rumble of his purr.

    Pamela … you are a treasure. Congrats to you and Pooh for winning the contest!! Good for you for taking more classes which give you more “tools” to work with in your creative endeavors.

    Yes … we don’t have to wait and we don’t need permission … and it’s never too late! We’ll be ten years older in ten years whether we start in a new direction or not, so we might as well explore and experience.

    Be sure to post a picture of your table chunk trophy. : )

    much love,
    Susan

  • Susan W A

    What an absolutely precious picture of Pooh… heartwarming. I can hear and feel the rhythmic rumble of his purr.

    Pamela … you are a treasure. Congrats to you and Pooh for winning the contest!! Good for you for taking more classes which give you more “tools” to work with in your creative endeavors.

    Yes … we don’t have to wait and we don’t need permission … and it’s never too late! We’ll be ten years older in ten years whether we start in a new direction or not, so we might as well explore and experience.

    Be sure to post a picture of your table chunk trophy. : )

    much love,
    Susan

    • Hi Susan,
      So nice to hear from you. Thank you for your kind comments about Pooh. He was a dear friend. The night before he died, he lay down at my feet and put his paw on my foot. I didn’t know he was sick.
      In ten years we will be ten years older. I love what you said, “It’s never too late.”
      And, I promise, I will post a picture of the table chunk trophy.
      Hope you are well.
      xo
      Pamela

  • Dear Pamela. I would buy a copy of your book…How to be A cat. Please tell me where I can order it. Thank you.

    • Hello Barbara,
      The book comes out on October 4th on Amazon. I have to make a few changes in the design after I saw the first proof.
      Thank you for your interest! I am so happy to meet you!
      xo
      Pamela

      • So happy me too Pamela!! Keep me updated about the book. It seems that the subscription to your newsletter did not work for me… I tried twice but did not recieve the confirmation. I have just started to work on translating your article. I will add the original link and tag you, so you can check. Thank you for your wonderful job. Keep in touch! Barbara.

  • EmFairley

    Great post, Pamela. I look forward to reading the book. Just an FYI, when I right clicked the “leave a comment” button from my email, it opened my gmail browser in the other tab. You might therefore want to look at the link configuration. Or, it could just be me, LOL.

    Hugs,
    Em xoxo

    • Hi Em,
      The book comes out on October 4th on Amazon. Finishing up some changes in the file after I saw the first proof.
      Thank you for letting me know the link to the comments wasn’t working. I tried to a new way to post the link. It obviously doesn’t work! Sorry about that.
      xo
      Pamela

      • EmFairley

        No problem. Technology is great, but has it’s moments, like not publishing scheduled posts on time. Been there multiple times lol.
        Em xoxox

  • I remember Pooh and am so glad to see his book coming out. And the fact that Steven Pressfield applauds it! We’re proud of you, Pooh. And you too, Pamela!

    • Hi John,
      Thank you for remembering Pooh.
      Hope you are well.
      xo
      Pamela

  • Mary Anne Wassem

    Pamela, your photo of the table gave me a good little chuckle.
    Thank you for being you.

    • Hi Mary Anne,
      Nice to hear from you. Glad the table gave you a chuckle. I should make the chunk of table into a little trophy. And get a brass plague engraved. Live imperfectly. Embrace Life.
      Hope you are well.
      xo
      Pamela

      • Susan W A

        What a COOL idea … the trophy and the plaque engraving!

    • Susan W A

      Yes … the “you” that Pamela is helps each of us be a better “me”!

      • Susan,
        I love the -you- that is you. Thank you for being a friend.
        xo
        Pamela