My first books were created using pencil on mylar overlays. They called it “pre-separation.” The burden fell on the artist to conceive of the color and create it using only grey and black on separate overlays. The colors loaded onto the print presses and the final color combinations were first seen as the sheets came off the press. I have this original artwork on our wall. It’s the “black plate” for the cover of Cross-Country Cat.
In the book, Little Daylight, I had to portray a princess who had a spell placed upon her at her christening. She could only be awake at night. Here is an early sketch of Princess Little Daylight out enjoying the moonlight.
Back in 1983, my first book in full-color, Porcupine Stew, won two awards.
One of Biennial of Illustration, Brataslava awards was given to Porcupine Stew. To commemorate the award, the Czech government issued actual postage stamps representing each of the winners. I’ve included the illustration from the book on which they were basing the stamp design.
I was stunned when I saw how my artwork in Cross-Country Cat looked graced with the Japanese title. Japanese art has influenced me and I’m happy to see how the combination works so well. The second edition shown was the first one and it’s worn because I showed it to all of my live audiences in my Book Talks. I learned how to pronounce it, at least.
A lovely surprise is that the Japanese like to celebrate Christmas as much as the rest of the world. The religious aspect has very little to do with the festivities, but now this Henry the Christmas Cat is one more way Japanese kids can ring in the holiday.
It’s fitting that Swedish kids get to see their national sport being done by a cat!
A Japanese edition of Henry the Sailor Cat is one of the many foreign language editions of the Henry books.
The first book about Henry the Siamese Cat, Cross-Country Cat was so popular it was turned into foreign language editions. This one is in Chinese (Cantonese). I like to joke that it’s very hard to read. I’m not sure which is my name on the front.