Wednesday, July 12, 2023

Le Cafe des Chats, Little Book of Thumbnail Class


This must be a breakfast shot at Le Café des Chats with so many alert, perky cats (awaiting for their petit déjeuner peut-etre?)

Yesterday by 6:30 pm 

This was one sleepy bunch of cats 🐈 

Except for one lone black 🐈‍⬛ cat roaming around 

I thought I’d be doing a lot of cat drawing ✏️…Hmmm

Finally I got a shot of Salem 

Gingerly avoiding my cat tea party letter.

To keep you amused, while waiting for a cat to pay you some attention, there are detailed cat ‘menus’ (with English on the other side).

Meanwhile other guests were sufficiently laid-back and relaxed, with few expectations. The guy in the orange shirt must be a regular. He brought his own piece of string to tempt a cat 🐈 Not a bad idea if the cafe provided string or cat toys don’t you think?

The staff are also on the sleepy side. After 30 minutes of waiting for my guacamole (coming in from Mexique I guess..) I high-tailed it out of there. For those not suffering from Immediate Gratification or ADHD, you’ll find the cafe in the 11eme at 6, rue Sudaine.

Big News: I’m taking another Summer online course after Liz’ teacup ☕️ class.

I’ve always loved ❤️ doing thumbnail ✏️ sketches. It’s a great preparatory way to solve composition problems before diving 🏊into painting.

Vincent van Gogh did them usually post-painting & embedded in letters to his brother Theo.

Edward Hopper too kept illustrated records of all his finished paintings in account notebooks.

My favorite thumbnail king 👑 is Wayne Thiebaud

He said
Georgio Morandi made 1,000s of little thumbnail drawings. He could make 100 little 3” x 2” or 4”x5” thumbnail drawings of placements for a particular piece. 
Where the lines would intersect. 
How much space in one area as opposed to another. 
The old art directors always had you make lots of tiny little compositions before you made a large one.

But Tansy Hargen’s
Little Book of Thumbnail class is something different. Not about making preparatory drawings as developing repeated patterns over a series of small squares. I found her on Instagram at @Palimpsestparade and was intrigued.

Our 1st assignment on Monday was start our little book 📕 
Do 2 pages of geometric colored squares emphasizing contrast with colored pencils & markers. As usual I went my own way using watercolor but 🙏Tansy didn’t mind. We have a Facebook group to show our efforts. I sign up for way too many online classes & never show up (including 2 Tansy classes from last Summer). Sharing the classes here helps me stay on track dear PBers ☺️  Fortunately we have lifetime access to her class👍 

Today I was suppose to do thumbnails of something outdoors. I’m late😟 Class starts in 10 minutes! Yes, those are Bastille Days planes ✈️ doing test runs. More thumbnails to come 🤸‍♂️ !
It hit 90 degrees yesterday in Paris. Today is much milder merci dieu 🙏
       *Buy 3 PARIS letters 💌 & they will be mailed out FLAT & unfolded.
                      💋If you liked this post, please share & comment 💋
                       🐈‍⬛ ❤️💋 Bonne Mercredi PBers ❤️💋🐈‍⬛


  1. Anonymous6:11 AM

    Love your post about sleepy cats. I have 2 of my own, Tiger and Lily. They’re usually likely to rouse from their preferred napping places, which vary depending on the location of available sunny windows, when food is available. Lily often likes to sleep inside cozy places (see whale bed) and Tiger prefers lofty places with a good view. Carol

    1. Anonymous6:13 AM

      Thanks for the photos of Lily and Tiger. I hadn’t thought about where cats like to land before…and then I saw them up on the walls at the Cafe des Chats!

  2. Anonymous6:14 AM

    Thanks for keeping me in touch with one of my favorite places and always with your upbeat sense of humor.

  3. Interesting concept…cat cafe. They say petting cats or dogs lowers blood pressure.
    Wonder if the cats are up for adoption? I like your thumb nail sketch of the robin. Hope you have one now. Paris must be jam packed with tourists judging from your last photo. Happy Bastille Day 🗼❤️

    1. Anonymous8:08 AM

      Their cats seem to resist petting - too much of a good thing? ☺️

    2. Anonymous9:35 AM

      Le Cafe du Chat is my favorite spot in Paris (and maybe in the world). The cats are actually permanent residents and not up for adoption. Some are friendlier than others, I find, but all are incredibly beautiful and photogenic. I rarely seem to see cats in other shops these days, and miss my own so much when I the Cafe provides my desperately needed 'fix' of petting and picture-taking. Plus the food is tasty and high quality, and usually arrives fairly quickly. And there's always plenty of interesting cat lovers from all over the world to talk with. Vive les chats!

  4. Bonnie L7:37 AM

    You are such an inspiration, Carol. Always learning. Love your thumbnails. A ball of yarn, or a tennis ball, to play with the cats would surely pass the time next time you go to the Cat Café. Perhaps service is purposely slow so you can play with the cats? Bonne journée.

    1. Anonymous7:54 AM

      The cafe doesn’t open until midi/noon
      By then the cats are having a low-blood sugar drop I guess…
      Cats could care less
      Unless you brought in some CATNIP!!

  5. Anonymous7:47 AM

    I love miniature paintings and thumbnails fit the bill. Have you checked out @remingtonrobinson on Instagram, who paints inside little mint tins?

  6. Anonymous7:51 AM

    You’ve Always got Fresh material…I love the recent posts!
    You really dissed the cat cafe!!!! Long waits for the cats to wake up and do something! Lois

  7. Anonymous8:07 AM

    Taking online classes is so stimulating…I didn’t know about
    Thiebaud or Morandi thumbnails. Flowers

    1. Anonymous10:19 AM

      Thumbnails are look inside the artist’s, the trial & error process to get to the end result - sometimes more interesting than the finished product. Like sketches..

  8. Carol, I love this post. I enjoy reading every one of your blog posts, but this one jumped out at me. I got pulled in seeing cats in a cafe, then the icing for me were the photos of artists sketch books and exercises. Being a painter, I am just starting to sketch out landscape compositions. Loved seeing the exercises of the artists, I can see it takes a lot of consistency and discipline to keep doing that. Anyway just wanted to thank you for this post. Wonderful as always, and inspirational as an artist.

    1. Anonymous1:08 PM

      Thanks for letting me know Riki ❤️
      Its always nice to hear when I strike a chord 🎵

  9. Anonymous10:36 AM

    You on Patron yet???

  10. This sounds like a fun class -- one I should have taken, I need to spruce up my cat art -- I'm only good at transferring photos not my own 'original' cats. I'd love a cat cafe (that isn't my kitchen) especially when traveling. And there are some wonderful models there! I need to do some thumbnails.Haven't done them in awhile and it's good practice, like storyboarding.

    1. Anonymous1:07 PM

      Do you Storyboard Jeanie?
      A woman of soooo many talents 👏
      I’m sure there is an online course for that too…

  11. Anonymous11:39 AM

    Love the cats and thumbnail sketches. I recall doing them in an elementary art ed class I took years ago. Love the Hopper records...And also your notebook sketches of cups!!

    1. Anonymous3:24 PM

      Looking at old sketches are like reading an old diary 📔

    2. Anonymous11:07 AM

      So True!!

  12. Anonymous2:26 PM

    Thank you for this special post. I lost my 21-year-old cat on Monday and have been feeling depressed. Today’s post was just perfect. I always look forward to your email. I bought your Eiffel Towers in the seasons. They brighten up my office. Thanks for taking me around my favorite city!
    Always a delight! SB

    1. Anonymous11:20 PM

      SB: My heart goes out to you - so sorry for your loss.

  13. sukicart3:29 PM

    Thumbnails look like they would be fun to do, but you make everything look fun.

  14. Anonymous5:57 PM

    I would have left also. Waiting 30 mins in a shop that isn’t busy I have no patience. It would be fun to be there if the cats weren’t so sleepy. Lynne

  15. Anonymous6:00 PM

    The cafe was pretty busy, just not very efficient
    Clearly the cats are influencers
    No sense of urgency around a bunch of sluggish, sleeping cats 😸

  16. Anonymous2:55 AM

    I love receiving Paris Breakfast emails from you and all of the exhibits you share with us. Thanks again for sharing your art with us. Lynn

  17. Anonymous5:37 AM

    The correct address of Le Café des Chats is 9, rue Sedaine, 75011 Paris. Regards.

  18. Anonymous1:15 PM

    I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who signs up for online classes and doesn't complete them!!! I recently signed up for Liz Steel's Teacups class and before even starting it, I signed up for her Foundations class. I am determined to complete the Foundations course, and then I will do the Teacups class. And, yes, thank goodness for Lifetime Access!

    1. Anonymous12:26 AM

      I signed up for her architecture class years ago & never showed up. And sooo many Skillshare classes 😟
      I think it’s ADHD. Going back to school is a lot like being a kid again with structure & homework, competing with others etc.
      But in the end you get out of it what you put into it.
      Bonne chance 👍

  19. I’ve heard that’s what it’s like having a cat, they snob you off sometimes, so I guess authentic!?! All the best with the class, it can be hard to finish online classes.

  20. Anonymous8:02 AM

    You are one of the best bloggers on this platform and very thankful to you to share this information with all blog readers. Ginn

  21. Anonymous9:30 AM

    Do you give online classes? I’d love to take one of yours.

  22. Anonymous10:33 PM

    Great art post. I always liked your art posts. Is the thumbnail class by Liz Steel? All best, Rita

    1. Anonymous4:14 AM

      Hi Rita, no that was Liz’s teacup class
      This is THE LITTLE BOOK OF THUMBNAILS from Tansy Harger
      More here:


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