As far as artists go, Gary Patterson is probably a household name in America. You may not know him by name, but I’m pretty sure that at some point, you’ve come across his distinctive artwork in some shape or form. Since some of Gary’s whimsical paintings feature cats, I wanted to learn more about the man behind the smiles.

Gary Patterson is one of America’s best loved artists, and his work is enjoyed and collected throughout the world. Born and raised in California, Gary submerged himself in the world of art as a child. He was influenced by his father’s artistic ability and was encouraged by his family to formally pursue his artistic ability. During his career, Gary has achieved numerous prestigious awards.

I had a chance to ask Gary a few questions, and I’m delighted to introduce this wonderful artist to you today.


When did you first begin painting pets in general, and cats in particular?

I was about 5 or 6 years old when I first tried to draw a serious portrait of my fat cat, named Muffin. I remember it took a long time to finish. The result looked like a giant gofer with a long furry tail… but it was a start.


Where does your inspiration for your pet art come from?

My inspiration to draw pets began at an early age.  My sister and I were fortunate to be raised in a family of animal lovers. We had all kinds of pets runnin’ everywhere. I practiced sketching different animals and enjoyed their personalities.

What does a typical day of painting look like for you?

My typical day as an artist usually starts off with a “huge Jolt”. My big cat named Bandit gets hungry for breakfast before I wake up. He informs me to get up by making a high dive off the top of my headboard and performing a perfect 10 point cannonball in the middle of my chest. The rest of the day is spent at my drawing board with him close by.

Tell us about your cats.

I have two cats. One is the above mentioned rough and tough cat named Bandit (alias Catzilla). He was a stray that nobody liked. He was all beat up trying to protect his territory. He had a nick in his ear and a front fang missing. Neighbors had him picked up and he was scheduled to be put down. We saved him just in time. He likes to ride in the car with his head out the window like a dog. He also enjoys walking on a leash in a light rain. My other cat is an indoor cat named Cricket (aka Beanbag). I got her to keep Bandit company. She didn’t like him at first, but it turned out she likes bad boys. 


What is the creative process like for you? Is it different for a pet painting than for other subjects?

The creative process begins with an idea. Sometimes it takes longer to come up with a humorous concept than finishing a drawing. Doing a pet painting is different than other subjects.  With pets I concentrate on their special features, especially their eyes. In many cases I draw the pets more realistic than other subjects such as sports characters.

What is more challenging – capturing pets, or capturing other images?

To me, creating pets or capturing other images are both challenging. It’s important to keep compassion when drawing pets.

The online store on your website features your art on everything from calendars to limited edition prints to coffee mugs. There’s even a Visa card that features your images! Do you have a favorite product?

I don’t have a favorite product. Different people like different things. The cat calendars are popular because there is a different drawing on each page to keep it interesting.


What advice would you give to aspiring cat artists?

First, I advise aspiring cat artists to gather photos, magazines, online research and also a couple of books on how to draw cats. After that, just keep practicing. Don’t get too discouraged.  Once you create a drawing, put a copyright sign in front of your name:  © your signature.

For more information about Gary Patterson and his art, please visit

And stay tuned for a super fun giveaway from Gary here on The Conscious Cat next week!

All images ©Gary Patterson, used with permission.

16 Comments on Gary Patterson captures cats’ unique essence

  1. Guess whose art can be found in my big box of feline art samples? I’ve long studied his style and though mine is not like his overall he’s still been a huge influence in his palette and in details perhaps only another artist would notice.

      • Sometimes we don’t realize our own influences, but from the time we can see or hear or sense words, little bits and pieces are stored and show up in everything we do. We stand on the shoulder of giants, even if we don’t always know their names.

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