Starry Night and cats

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One of my favorite works of art  has always been Vincent Van Gogh’s The Starry Night (1889).

And I’m not alone. According to Wikipedia, the painting is one of the most recognized Western works of art.

The original is an oil-on-canvas painting, but reproductions of the piece in  all kinds of different forms are “everywhere,” according to This includes coffee mugs, t-shirts, magnets and more.

And people seem to love incorporating their favorite things into the painting. I’ve seen everything from Darth Vader-themed versions of Starry Night to Starry Night cupcakes and cake.

So, has anyone thought of combining the painting with another universal favorite? A.k.a cats? Why, yes. Many, many, many people…

According to, there are 930 “cat starry night” for sale on Etsy, and they cost $19.08 on average.

And that’s just  on Etsy of interpretations with everything from hyper-realistic cats to kitties who match Van Gogh’s colorful, flowing style.

I decided I wanted  to try my hand at seeing how I would do with my own digital art version, using Adobe Illustrator, which is shown below.

Starry Night with Kitties
Starry Night with two cats

I’m pretty happy with how it came out overall, although I would say it would have been easier if I had started out with a plan and maybe researched some of the brushes I could have used in Illustrator before I dove in and started creating. It was also really time-consuming because there are so many lines and tiny brush strokes in the original and I wanted to get as close as possible. That meant switching from one brush type to another, and from one color to another, etc. But, on a computer, so many different lines and other elements start slowing down everything because it takes a lot of the computer’s memory. Saving the ffile, (which I do repeatedly out of habit because I hate losing work) took a couple of minutes each time.

I then did another version in which I played with the background color and the “swirls in the middle a bit” and made some other changes. I like that this version looks a little closer to the original and also a little cleaner, but I still wish it had  texture throughout, like the original does. I may still play around with it a bit.

Starry Night with cats
Starry Night with Kittties, second version.

I think Van Gogh’s work looks deceptively simple, but, when you break it down, it is actually extremely complex. Van Gogh is one of my favorite painters/artists, but, to say the least, this “tribute” gave me a whole new respect for his incredible talent.

Below is his actual painting:

The Starry Night
The Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh

For lots more information about The Starry  Night, visit:


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