Have you wished Benny the Cat a “good morning” yet?
Benny is a super cute and engaging ginger cat with a fluffy tail and pointy ears. You cannot help but love him as if he was your own pet. Children, as young as 1 year old, can play hide and seek with him, choose his favorite food, pet him, make his bed and much more.
Here’s a Q&A with the author and illustrator of “Benny the cat”, Tamar Hak:
How did Benny come about?
‘Benny the cat’ is the first children’s book that I have both written and illustrated, as opposed to having only dealt with the illustration side of things up to that point. It all started when I got a call from the people at Touchoo with a proposal to write and illustrate a children’s book intended for mobile devices using a touch screen interface. I was very excited with the challenge and could not wait to get started. My goal was to come up with a simple yet fun storyline that would appeal to children everywhere, while making as much use as possible of what this interactive interface has to offer.
What inspired your idea for the book?
One of my greatest loves in life is animals. I grew up in a small house crowded with pets, the memories and experience of that have had a very positive influence on me. To this day I cannot possibly imagine myself ever living without pets of my own. Coincidentally (yet not surprisingly) one of my favorite drawing subjects is animals. I therefore decided to take this opportunity to share my love for animals with kids and at the same time provide parents with a tool for introducing a certain pet to their child.
How did you come up with Benny’s character?
I chose a cat (a kitten) to be my book’s main character, first and foremost because it is simply my favorite pet. I started off by searching the web for kitten photos whilst thinking about what its character traits might be like. I knew that the book itself was going to be simple and straight forward one so I wanted to make up for that by making Benny’s character extra interesting and likeable for both children and their parents. Finally, I decided it would be a ginger cat (I have a soft spot for ginger cats as I in fact have one at home) small, chubby and fluffy with a whimsical spark in its eyes.
What technique did you use for the illustrations?
I love illustrating by hand and one of my favorite techniques is colored pencils. In this project I used a combination of graphite and colored pencils which no doubt made it harder in the transition to digital media as well as through the animation process but I felt that it was worth the effort considering the results.
Can you list all the pets you ever had?
Cats, dogs, mice, hamsters, all kinds of parrots and birds, rabbits, guinea pigs, fish, frogs, turtles, silkworms, snails and porcupines. I think there may have been more…
What are some of your favorite children’s books?
I absolutely loved all the Moomin books by Tove Jansson, Erich Kastner, and Shel Silverstein.
I grew up in the Tel aviv Area in Israel. I painted and sketched since childhood and later on studied at “Thelma Yellin” High school of arts and “Shenkar College of design”. Nowadays I work as an art director in the advertising industry and as a freelance illustrator and designer. In my spare time I like to sing, eat humus and go for long walks (not necessarily in that order).