Children’s book author and illustrator Rob Scotton told the story Monday to Walnut Elementary School students behind the curious character that inspired him to write his popular “Splat the Cat” series.
While in his garden one day, Scotton said that he spotted a hairy, fur-ball of a creature with a bulging eye and a jagged tooth. The creature turned out to be his neighbor’s cat. As the cat stood on the fence overlooking Scotton’s garden, a gust of wind came and knocked him off, with the pet landing sprawled out on a patch of his grass.
“The moment he hit the ground, a little voice in my head said ‘splat,’” Scotton said. “I ran into my studio and started to draw shapes.”
Out of the rectangle body, triangle ears, and circular eyes emerged the character the British author has featured in a whole series of books.
During his visit to Walnut Elementary, Scotton read from two of his books, “Scaredy-Cat Splat,” a Halloween tale, and “Secret Agent Splat.”
He also taught the children how to draw Splat the Cat.
“He’s a big rectangle with legs and arms,” he said. “That’s all he is. If you can draw a rectangle, you can draw Splat.”
He also encouraged the children to have fun with Splat's tale, the way he does when he draws it in different ways to capture a feeling.
Yuan Legaspi, a fifth grader, was picked to come up on stage and draw Splat the Cat with Scotton. The author congratulated the 10-year-old on a job well done and autographed Yuan’s drawing.
Yuan said that the school’s librarian was looking for someone who really enjoys drawing to go up on stage with Scotton and picked him. Yuan started drawing at age 7 and loves to draw cartoon characters, popular ones as well as he own creations.
“You can imagine anything and you can do anything you want with it,” he said. “It’s a great way to express your imagination.”
Scotton also fielded questions from students and autographed copies of his books. He said that before Splat the Cat, he wrote three books featuring Russell the Sheep. Before becoming an author, he spent many years designing greeting cards, he said.
Being an artist is a good life, he said.
“I spend my entire day drawing characters,” he said. “I create worlds for them. I create their friends. It’s very special to be able to do that.”