Illustrating Children’s Books: The White Cat by the Comtesse d’Aulnoy

The illustration above is a two page spread for an 8×8″ children’s book. I love the process of illustrating children’s books. The best part of it for me is that I can let my imagination go wild, and that I don’t feel bound by the rules of perspective and size.

In this scene, I was in a large castle hall.  The set consists of a patterned floor, stone walls, a wrought iron candle chandelier, and a view of the land through tall windows. The table is set for a feast, a cat feast, complete with fish and a mouse. I chose to place the chairs in the back to allow the focus to be on the white cat and the prince. The table will also be in the fold of the book, further allowing the prince to be the focus on the left page, and the white cat to be the focus on the right page. The perspective on the table is of course not “correct”, and the plates are placed on the front of the table, but no matter. I want the eye to go to what is on top of the table and to detect that we have an elegant setting with plush chairs and a fancy table covering.table

In the previous page, the Prince had been dressed in velvet and I imagined him in a beautiful red coat, pants tucked into boots, a yellow sash, and with his crown.  The tilt of his head, the look in his eyes, his pose, the pink on his cheeks all speak of his naive, incredulous, and curious state.


The white cat appears sweet, yet confident and all knowing. She wears a beautiful black veil decorated with flowers, and the bracelet which we will learn about later. Yes, it is odd that the cat is as big as the prince, but that also represents her importance in the story.


I really enjoyed deciding how to dress the orange cats with the swords on the top right of the spread.  Though they are dressed all in black, I added some white and yellow accents to tie the color scheme together. I also had fun when I decided to curl their tails in different directions which is a playful departure from their stoic stances.


The other part of the page spread detail is the stage with the musician cats on the top left. These little guys are having a bit of  fun! I decided each of these cats would be a different color to further set them apart from the orange cats holding the swords. Again, the stage is intended to be raised, but here once more I took the liberty of not making the perspective incorrect. It was only important to convey an elevated stage with cats playing musical instruments and to have it work with the rest of the scene.


I hope you enjoyed reading a bit about my process, what I think about as I am drawing and painting the scenes, and that if you know of someone who is looking for an illustrator with my style, that you will introduce us!


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