interview with artist
Artist Draws Wholesome Watercolor Comics Where A Cat Is Giving Out Mental Health Advice (20 Pics) (Interview With Artist)
Artist Hector Janse van Rensburg is making us happier and our lives more wholesome with his comics that feel like miniature hugs and feature a meowtivational cat.
Artist Draws Wholesome Watercolor Comics Where A Cat Is Giving Out Mental Health Advice (20 Pics) (Interview With Artist)
See all images (20)

Artist Hector Janse van Rensburg aka ‘S**tty Watercolour’ aka 'Swatercolour' is making us happier and our lives more wholesome with his comics that feel like miniature hugs and feature a meowtivational cat. The UK-based painter has become a global phenomenon and is now known as the world’s favorite self-deprecating artist.

“The comics that came before this series were less optimistic, and this series is a bit like a response to that. They sometimes approach difficult issues like mental health, but the aim of the comics is not to solve the issues but to show a different perspective on them. That new perspective often comes from the cat, who is based on my cat Ona who passed away a few years ago,” Hector told Bored Panda about his newest work.

We’ve collected some of Hector’s best work featuring the lovely cat, so scroll down, upvote your fave comics, and read on for our full interview with the painter about his art, as well as for his advice when drawing “happy little wobbly blobs of color.”

“Before I started painting online about 8 years ago, I had never had any interest in art and now it looks like that's where my life is going,” Hector said. “Ostensibly, that just means I'm sitting at my desk with a brush more often than a keyboard, but it is a whole different type of challenge to think of things about human nature that I want to communicate in my paintings.”

He added: “One part of that is that it's like I'm living through my art, which can be difficult.”

We wanted to find out how the painter manages to stay passionate about art. However, Hector told us that passion might be the wrong thing to focus on. Instead, the key is discipline.

“I think if you rely on some feeling of passion to motivate you then you will have a hard time. I've been doing a comic every day recently and I tend to wake up, think of an idea, and then have it painted by lunchtime,” he revealed a bit about his disciplined schedule.

“The schedule around my painting process is quite robotic by now, and I think doing it that way opens up a clear space where you can be more creatively free. If I didn't have a schedule and instead waited around for inspiration that was good enough to motivate me to paint, then I probably wouldn't be as productive.”

Hector said that the ideas for his comics come from negative thoughts that he can turn into more positive ones.

“So I think about the ways in which people can feel bad and how you might approach them as a friend would. I don't think I find it too difficult to think of ideas which is probably a testament to how nice my cat was,” he complimented his cat Ona for being a fantastic feline.

Bored Panda also wanted to hear what advice Hector would give other potential artists who are dabbling with watercolor paintings. He said that a lot depends on each individual artist’s end-goal: there are two paths that they can take.

“For me, it's that the niceness and technical ability of a painting are different things and you can aim at either,” he said.

“It's perfectly possible to make happy little wobbly blobs of color and people will enjoy them if the message is good and sincere. There's probably a boundary of neatness that you should stay within but messiness is cool too. Also, most of my pictures look very bad at first, and then it's only after a while that they come together. I think that's because a few wobbly blobs on their own look like an accident, but a finished painting of wobbly blobs looks purposeful.”

Hector, who has a Philosophy, Politics, and Economics degree from the University of York, has been experimenting with watercolors since December 2011. He revisited an old watercolor set when he felt bored and depressed. Originally, he started uploading his illustrations on Reddit in 2012, then he spread his gaze wider and moved on to Tumblr and Twitter.

The cartoonist admits that he’s inspired by Sir Quentin Blake who illustrated the children’s books written by beloved author Roald Dahl. So if you felt that you found his art style oddly familiar and felt nostalgia for your childhood when looking at Hector’s drawings, this is why!

Comments (79)
Doggo Georgia
Awww! These are so inspiring, I'm looking forward to the next post about these!
I came across the "for now" one before, and it resonated with me so I immediately shared it. But these others are just as amazing, if not more so. A perfect reminder to treat ourselves with compassion.
Darko Pešić
Thank you for these comics, sometimes it really helps to see something like that
Beautiful, it's like every single drawing talked to me
Very well done! I think we all needed this :-)
Adorable and heartfelt. Very sweet. Good reminders to be positive.
Laugh or not
Both the art and the message are sweet and warm. *Go cuddle my cat*
Daria Z
This is so sweet it made me cry a little. It feels so good now :)
Evelína Zlá
When I clicked on it I was like "Please don´t make me cry... please don´t."... Thank you :)
Remi Flynne
Beautifully drawn and with lovely messages. I'm so in love with this kitty!
Luna Lovegood
More please!!! These are just so nice and it really is like a warm fuzzy mental hug :)
Leo Domitrix
OMG. In the feels. This is what therapists should say... Oh, wait. I have two cats. Yep, I'm covered!
Amelia Sober
these comics helped me so much with stress and anxiety!
Sarah Collas
I love all of them!
Naomi Armitage
Dear Hector: Get out of my head!! Seriously, I could have written these (not paint, I have no skillz). I cried reading every one, 'cause I need someone to be my watercolor cat.
Grumble O'Pug
We all need this cat
That is by far the most supportive cat ever!
Pam Olson
These are all so wonderful. Thank you.
Where can I find this cat?!
Jess h
Beautiful! This made me tear up thank you
Mandy Phillips
Made me realise how much I miss having a cat in my life x
Alexandra Heinlein
I hope everyone takes this advice. And if you notice someone you love feeling down, let them know you love them.
Alyssa Fry
These are so beautiful.I would want to have a calendar with 12 of these and so every day I could wake up with a smile
Beautiful ?
I started crying to some of these. Thank you, I really needed to see these.
This was absolutely beautiful!
Love these. It may be pregnancy hormones but they made me cry in a good way bc they are so relatable
i'm on day 5 of rotator-cuff post surgery and my shoulder/arm is immobilized on my dominant right side. the initial pain was bad, but i didn't really realize the inconvenience of not moving your dominant arm for weeks. On top of not going anywhere, On top of a global pandemic of anxiety, division, and fear. There were some great messages in these comic that just made me feel better. Thank you.
Ice cube
Someone must be chopping onions nearby...
Just wonderful
Teresa Szur
Wonderful way to share positive perspective. Hope to see more!
the child
These are so cute and the advice is good. I guess I should remember a few of the responses for my pals with mental health issues, and myself too.
Drive Bee
I want a cat so much but my home is small and I have no space anywhere for a litter box :-(
White Wolf
These are life-changing.
I must have been chopping onions unaware when I read this. (Having a crappy anxiety day, really, really needed it.)
Mark Serbian
Some very Zen stuff in there. Love it!
Abinico Arts
What's the difference between a cat and a sage? The cat has more hair.
Amanda Kahs
These are so sweet
Nicole Tomme
As a lifetime sufferer of depression I can say that this is what people who are struggling need to hear. Not "walk it off," "just be happy," or "get over it." Sometime there isn't a clear cut solution. But what does help is support and love like this, the kind of love that says, "I am sorry things are bad for you right now, but I will be here to love you as long as it takes for you to love yourself. I will let you have the time you need to recover and will encourage you, not try to fix you. Because we are all broken at times, and it takes time to heal."
aww, I love these. thank you so much and keep making more!
Chris DiFonso
These comics are heartwarming and inspiring. Thank you for sharing them.
Great job, but they are also a bit semi to each other = Boy says what bothers him -> Cat says he believes in him (and encourages him to believe in himself too) or to enjoy the moment. Like the artstyle though ;)
Add a Comment