I had so much fun making the Travel Sized Paper City Paris, and couldn’t wait to make more mini toys for on the go. I was getting ready to miniaturize the Dressy Cats, but decided that I was in the mood to create something a little different. So here are the Modern Mini Cats! (I’ll still make travel sized Dressy Cats too.)

For the Mini Cats, I used images from a few of my paintings, and created some colorful cats with little rooms for each one. Just print out the template below, then cut, fold, and start playing! They all fit into a mint tin too, so you can stash them into a pocket or bag.

Also, see if your kids would like to draw their own background designs for the cats, to cut out and fold. The Mini Cats need more environments to play in! They might need a kitchen, bedroom, or park! Upload photos on the Made by Joel Facebook Page and share what you create!

Template: Click on the image below, then print.

19 Responses
  1. I love your blog!It’s so nice o f you to share with us all those little artistic things you create for kids….Thank you
    Kiss from France

  2. Hey joel. Love the mini cities. they look like a lot of fun. Also, you take rad photos. Do you use a backdrop? Or… Have any tips? Is that a bit cheeky?
    Would love to hear about your process.

    1. Thanks Pete! And yes, I’d be happy to share my photo techniques. I’m definitely no expert on the subject, but most of the time, I like to use plain white backgrounds so the subject in the photo can be seen without other competing distractions. I do like more rich backgrounds too though, like a full scene with other objects that compliment the subject, but I don’t have good enough arranging skills to pull that off. So yeah, simple white background makes it easier for me.

      I just use two pieces of white foam core board for my background. One for the floor, and one for the wall. I have the two boards leaning up along the wall of my studio, and just grab them, and lay one down on the coffee table, and prop the other one up with a chair or something. Very high-tech. ha.

      Another important thing is light. I always shoot in natural light, as opposed to light bulbs. I’m lucky enough that here in Portland, the light is usually perfectly diffused with cloud cover, which is great for photography. On sunny days, I just try to dodge the sunbeams going through my studio, or shoot in the morning, so I don’t have light beams going through the photos.

      I use a DSLR camera with a fixed 50mm lens. It’s not a fancy lens, (it doesn’t zoom or anything) but it’s zero distortion, which makes photos look awesome, because they aren’t warped or bulgy.

      Finally, I use photoshop on the images, but usually only to brighten them up a bit more. Any photo editing app would do just fine for that. (Like iPhoto etc.) I usually brighten the photos until they look fake, then back the brightness down a bit from there. (So they don’t look fake. – not sure if that makes sense.)

      Anyway, hope that gives you some idea of what I do. I should make a post sometime. I’ve had others ask the same question.

    2. B

      Hi Joel,
      Is this how you take pictures of your paintings? If they are big paintings, how to do make sure they are not warped?

    3. Yeah, I use the fixed 50mm lens for paintings too. That’s the original reason that I bought the lens. The only different thing I do for my paintings is I usually use a tripod, and also, I always photograph the paintings outside when it’s diffused light. Like overcast, or morning, etc.

  3. WOW! Thanks Joel, That’s AWESOME!
    The foam core is a rad idea. So easy! Thanks so much for all the tips, really appreciated. Now, to find some good light at home.
    And I totally get the make it fake, then dial it back thing.

  4. jo

    pure awesomeness! i’m loving these modern kitties along with your amazing doll houses & furniture :)
    great job & best wishes,

  5. Nele Vervoort

    I just went to Paris with my 2 nephews (age 7 and 10). I also had taken a print of your ‘Mini-Paris’ and the other beautiful printouts. We had so much fun with them! Thank you for sharing this.