8 artists illustrate one special cat

The best art you'll see on National Drawing Day: Award-winning artists' illustrations of Hero, a cat at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary
By Kelli Harmon

Human friendship with cats dates back thousands of years. Cats are idolized and worshipped in some cultures, considered good luck charms in others, and valued for their friendship and even for their ability to control pests. It’s no wonder that felines are featured in art created as long as 4,000 years ago.

While today’s medium of choice for the masses may be Instagram photos and cat videos, in honor of National Drawing Day on May 16 we asked artists to create a portrait of Hero, a cat at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary.

In addition to their creative work on cats, our big-hearted (many of them award-winning) artists have done work for such companies as Anthropologie, Apple, Clinique, Ikea, Nike and Random House, as well as publications such as The New Yorker, Time, Vanity Fair and Wired. All were commissioned pro bono.

Art moves us and also makes us feel and perhaps look at things in a new way. Hero is special to us at Best Friends, not only because she must wear clothes to protect her skin, but because she has a singular personality. There’s no other cat exactly like her.

Each artist saw something different in Hero and sent in stunning illustrations of her in their own individual styles. Some even animated their illustrations.

From a whimsical palette to bold color, let's celebrate National Drawing Day with these illustrations — each of them as unique as Hero herself.

Hero the cat

Photo of Hero the cat wearing a pink outfit and sitting on a counter
Photo by Best Friends staff photographer Molly Wald

Drawing of nine versions of Hero the cat, wearing nine different outfits
Artist: Andrea Cáceres, @andrecaceresg

Drawing of Hero the cat wearing a pink outfit with starts, XOXO and kisses
Artist: Lisa Perrin, @madebyperrin

Drawing of Hero the cat wearing a pink outfit with a flower crown
Artist: Mia Charro, @miacharro

Artist: Kirsten Ulve, @kirstenulve

Drawing of Hero the cat wearing pink and sitting on a chair and typing on a computer
Artist: Mia Page, @drawingintheforest

Black and white drawing of Hero the cat sitting on a person's lap who is sitting in a chair
Artist: Keith Geldof, @keithgeldofillustration

Hero the cat drawing walking and wearing a pink striped outfit with a pink stripped background
Artist: Ben Wiseman, @bmwiseman

Artist: Victoria Borges, @victoriaaborges

Adopt an artists’ model pet of your own