Monday, January 17, 2011

Chasing Cats

I'm working on the final artwork for my picture book with Viking. It's super exciting (and a little scary, I mean--this is IT).

But, before I could begin painting, I had to do some "cat homework".  There's a cat in my book who follows one of my main characters (Izzy) throughout the story.  The kitty's name is Jinx and she's a pretty important character.  Unfortunately, my art director noticed that in my sketches, my cat was kind of looking like a chihuahua.  Ooops.  Maybe I was channeling this guy:

Or maybe I was channelling my agent's brilliant canine PeeWee who is happy to answer your publishing questions here.

Or maybe it's because the simple truth is that  I am NOT a cat person (sorry to offend any cat lovers out there).  Dogs?  Love them.

But cats?

First of all, I'm horribly allergic to them, so it makes any sort of endearing snuggle impossible.  But the main reason that I'll never be one of those elderly cat ladies holing up in her NY apartment is that you can't trust a cat.  They've got their own agenda.  They could take you or leave you, depending upon their mood.  They slink around with a hint of evil in their gait. They're killers (have you ever watched a cat hunt down, kill and torture a bird?  shudder).

Even though, a cat would never be the perfect pal for me, all of those things I listed make Jinx a perfect best friend for my mysterious little character Izzy.  Her personality practically screams CAT.

The other major character in my book is Izzy's little sister Rose who has a different personality altogether.  Basically, Rose is a golden retriever puppy.  She is the type of kid who comes bounding into a room and licks everyone's face.  NOT a cat person.

But, there is no puppy in my story.  Maybe, the sequel ... Anyway, I had to do some serious cat research over the holidays.  I bought a book on drawing cats.  I found cat reference books at the library.  I found zillions of cat pictures on the internet (okay folks--I've gotta say it--some of these cat sites are positively CULTISH).  And, I chased my friend's feral cats all over a vacant lot with a catnip stuffed mouse and got some major cat footage.

This shot is moments before Miss Kitty climbed up a tree to get away from me--go figure!

I'm happy to report that I received "cat approval" from my art director when I sent in a couple of new sketches last week.  Yay!

Lastly, as we were idiotically chasing cats around Oxford one of my daughters commented, "You know, Mom, this really doesn't seem like work.  I mean, we're crawling around meowing at cats.  It's kind of fun."

Yep.  It is fun.



  1. Awesome...and I love the last comment - "this doesn't seem like work". SOunds like heaven to me!

  2. You are can never trust a cat.

    But I still kind of love a non trustworthy kind of way.


  3. You really must do research even if it is fun. Our cat acts like a dog and I love her but I'm a dog person too.

  4. Love the drawing. But I too prefer dogs over cats. I don't think that cat people understand that they're actually the cats pet. Not the other way around. The whole superiority thing, I'm just not having around my house, especially, when one of us goes to the bathroom under the bathroom sink. Circle of life and all that. Just saying.

  5. That black cat looks exactly like ours! I love the catitude, visible even in that photo! But for me it's not either or -- we have a cat AND a dog :)

    Can't wait to see the result of all your research!

  6. Oh, can't wait to get a peek at Jinx!

  7. I love cats and dogs, but you know what they say....dogs have masters, cats have staff!!!


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