Ben Newman and Professor Astro Cat

Ben Newman is a freelance Illustrator based in Hastings, UK. He is a fan of animals and likes both cats and dogs as can be seen in his art. His most famous character is Professor Astro Cat.


Ben’s art features a distinct aesthetic fusing bold shapes, bright colours and playful characters being described as ‘bauhaus fuzzy felt.’ He has produced work for a large range of clients, and outside of commercial work his practice extends into worldwide exhibitions, paintings and three-dimensional collaborations. He currently spends most of his time on the ‘Professor Astro Cat’ children’s books. Ben also work as a freelance artist and lectures on illustration at various universities and conferences in the UK and Europe.


The Professor Astro Cat concept was originally created by Ben, backed up with scientific know-how provided by his friend and quantum physicist, Dr Dominic Walliman. Professor Astro Cat features in several educational books for children about science and space. He even has his own app for children to learn about the solar systems.


This character design works well for children’s books with is warm, soft and fuzzy feeling. Ben uses simple shapes, soft lines and pastel colours that matches well with the educational illustrations shown throughout the book, illustrative diagrams such as solar system, atoms and other scientific symbols. The Professor Astro cat character incorporates  sciency and space symbols into his various outfits and looks too.

Ben was inspired to create a space book after seeing the dull offerings in the bookshop where he once worked, and by “the sense of fascination and wonder” in the illustration-heavy books produced before man walked on the moon. Ben worked with his physicist friend Dominic Walliman to create Professor Astro Cat’s Frontiers of Space, and spoke about the challenges of making something both scientifically robust and simple enough for his target audience. Borrowing the four-colour print process from the space books of old, his became a huge hit and has been translated into nine languages.

quote taken from It’s Nice That



Top 5 Rascal Characters.

The Mad Hatter.MadHatterTenniel

The Mad Hatter is a fictional character from Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Although never referenced in Carroll’s books as ‘The Mad Hatter’, The Hatter is portrayed as such as and when Alice arrives at the tea party, the Hatter is characterised by switching places on the table at any given time, making short, personal remarks, asking unanswerable riddles and reciting nonsensical poetry, is fond of puns and rude jokes, all of which eventually drives Alice away!

Illustrated by Sir John Tenniel, it has often been claimed that the Hatter’s character may have been inspired by Theophilus Carter, an eccentric furniture dealer. Hatters were said to go mad because of their exposure to mercury, a which was used in the manufacture of the hats they sold – Mad Hatter Disease, hence the term “as mad as a hatter”. The Hatter has been featured in nearly every adaptation of Alice in Wonderland to date and he is usually the male lead.



Plankton is an antagonist in SpongeBob SquarePants. Plankton’s life goal is to put his former best friend Mr Krabs out of business by obtaining his secret Krabby Patty formula. A running gag throughout the series is the fact that Plankton is much smaller than the other main characters, so he is easily stepped on andis often sent flying back to his restaurant Chum Bucket with a mere flick of the finger.



Garfield is a fictional cat and the title protagonist from the Garfield comic strip created by Jim Davis. Overweight, lazy, arrogant and sarcastic with a passion for lasagna, Garfield enjoys mocking the actions of his awkward owner Jon Arbuckle, and Odie, Jon’s dimwitted dog. Although lazy, Garfield is very mischievous and enjoys teasing Odie and the other neighbourhood dogs, and playing pranks on Jon, particularly waking him up.



Although the Minions are not a singular character, I have decided to include them as they often act as a collective, being minions and all. As little yellow rascals from the Despicable Me franchise, they are impulsive creatures with little self-control, but with a wide-eyed wonder and an odd innocence that endears them to viewers and makes them relatable. With generic names such as Dave, Stuart and Phil, the Minions do the things we all would like to do – but don’t, such as; clowning around at the office, speaking back to their boss and knowingly causing mayhem. Their humour is quite childish and they find anything having to do with buttocks extremely funny, such as photocopying their derrière.

Bugs Bunny.


Bugs Bunny, or Wascally Wabbit as Elmer Fudd would say, is my classically favourite rascal. If you need an example of a Trickster, Bugs Bunny is it,” says Robert Thompson, director of a Syracuse University pop-culture studies program. “He defies authority. He goes against the rules. But he does it in a way that’s often lovable, and that often results in good things for the culture at large”.

Bugs’ creators – Tex Avery, Bob Givens, and Mel Blanc drew inspiration for character design from the witty Groucho Marx and Bugs’ nonchalant, carrot-eating manner was inspired by a scene in It Happened One Night, when the fast-talking Clark Gable snacked on carrots while leaning on a fence. Bugs Bunny is characterized as being clever and capable of outsmarting anyone who antagonizes him, including Elmer Fudd, Yosemite Sam, Tasmanian Devil, Marvin the Martian and Wile E. Coyote amongst a host of others. Bugs almost always wins these conflicts, all the while holding an air that is equal parts mischievous, nonchalant and rascally.

Loveable Rascal Cartoon Characters

Top cat

Top Cat or T.C as he is referred to by his close friends is the leader of a gang of Manhattan alley cats living in Hoagy’s Alley. This Hanna Barbera animated series revolves around the many get rich quick and other schemes devised by these streetwise felines. top Cat is a clever hustler who always trying to outsmart Office Dibble who is constantly trying to break up T.C.’s shenanigans. TC is a loveable rogue and the animation is delightful.

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