Some cat scratches today made with just a pencil and paper. Crazy that those tools still work in our digital age.
As a character designer for animation (which I do from time-to-time), it is important to be able to really explore the needs of the story with your designs for just a single character. Often you will have to play with head shapes, attitudes, expressions, fur, teeth, eye shapes, etc. There is an endless amount of combinations out there. (I once did over 60 designs for one character to try to satisfy a client!) These cats were not specifically for any project, but just a personal exercise in my sketchbook to try different things within the same species.
Also, when designing a character, it isn’t just about what the character looks like, but what the character looks like doing something. In animation, the character obviously has to move, hold things, talk, emote, interact with others, and even just walk. If you design something that looks good in a held staged pose, but really can’t move or bend in a simple walk, then you have a character that is non-functional.
Believe me, I’ve had this problem when working on projects for clients who don’t understand the design properties necessary for movement. I won’t get specific, but one project I worked on had characters that the client had first developed to a certain extent for print, not animation. In their drawings, appendages never were drawn bent, and their characters were always drawn from a front view. When I introduced elbows and knees to the designs, they panicked. When I made the thumbs slightly bigger than their initial nubs so they could hold things, that inspired a slew of discussions. When I drew an accurate side view, the sky caved in.
So, when designing, don’t just draw something static. Draw it doing things. And if you are drawing for other people, don’t fall in love with what you came up with, because they will always want to change it for good or bad.
This kind of turned into a lesson! Sorry about that. Just enjoy the rough sketches of cats!