Cat On The Island

Written by Gary Crew, Illustrated by Gillian Warden
About Cat on the Island

Cat on the Island is the telling of an historical environmental disaster by a fictional old man to his grandson. Told on a rainy day, the grandfather shares the story of when his father got a job as a lighthouse keeper and took his family to live on the island. ‘Tibbles’, the family cat, went to the island as well however she was pregnant and her babies grew to be feral inhabitants of the island. Being flightless, the Stephens Island wrens were an easy target for the cats and became extinct within two years of the introduction of cats to the island.

This is a chilling story told with the deep regret of hindsight which reminds us of the irreparable damage man can inflict on nature by even the smallest of changes to the natural balance.

Gillian describes her technique for illustrating Cat on the Island

‘I begin by sourcing relevant imagery which I scan into Photoshop. Using Photoshop, I cut and paste bits and pieces of the pictures together (like a collage) and work out basic shapes, colours and composition. When I am satisfied, I copy an outline of that picture onto canvas or board and start loosely filling in with paint. I develop the images by daily applying layers of paint as the image suggests. The process is like an ongoing conversation between me, picture and paint and together we transform sourced material into an original idea.’