An Art Lesson That's Catnip for Students

Art Teacher Alex Lombardo’s project for Matthew Paterson Elementary School fourth graders was catnip to the students.   

The assignment called for students to create portraits of cats posing as humans and dressed up in fancy clothes. It was in the style of digital artist Galina Bugaevskaya, who reimagines traditional portraits, but with cats dressed up as royalty.  

“I guide the students in how to draw the cats in human pose,” Lombardo said. “They are welcome to change their clothes and accessorize the cat.”   

The students in Katherine Allen’s fourth grade class could not have been more excited to add to the artist’s Cat Universe. 

“I was inspired by Willy Wonka, so I used gold, like the ticket and brown like the chocolate,” said Hayden, 10, whose cat wore a nice top hat and tail.  

Kyra’s cat wore a gold crown and a robe filled with hearts.  

“At home my cat acts like the queen of the house, so I named my drawing Queen Kita,” Kyra said. “I wanted to make a picture of her so I can remember her forever, even when she passes away.” 

Matthias, 9, said drawing the cat made him feel like he had a pet.  

“I wish I could have a cat, but I am allergic,” he said.  

Lombardo said he picked the project not only because he knew the students would like cats, but also because it was fun and whimsical. In addition, it was a chance to introduce them to a young female digital artist like Bugaevskaya, and celebrate woman’s history month, which was in March.