Princess Gabrielle. We refer to her as "the princess" in the book, but her full name is actually Princess Gabrielle. She is named after my niece who also happens to be a princess. Did you notice that her crown has cat ears?Sketch:
Here's a test shot of the princess reading in the library. I didn't use this picture in the book, but I like it so I included it here.
Claire is modeled after my other niece and godchild, Claire Beaulieu. The real life Claire is a little girl and not a cat. She is an artist with blue-green eyes. Her favorite color is blue. This book is dedicated to Claire.The real life Claire:
This is Veronique. One of my three sisters is named Veronica. Veronique is the French version of Veronica. My sister Veronica doesn't look anything like this cat version, but isn't it a pretty name? Take a look at the birthday cake, fish dinner, cheese, and bread; my talented sister made them out of clay for this book. She is lawyer by profession, however I refer to her as The Royal Chef.
Test Shot. The tub spout is made form a dried seahorse. I cut it in half, mounted it on the tub, and painted it gold. The water is made from saran wrap. The bubbles are made from cotton batting and glitter. See "The Powder Room" for more pictures.
Zozo. Zozo is my editor Kate O'Sullivan's beautiful tuxedo cat. She asked me to include him in the book and how could I resist such a handsome little fellow? He wears a bowler hat. Zozo is British, not French like all of the other cats.
The real Zozo:
Julien is named after my nephew. Julien reminds me a of a Dr. Suess character.Test Shot.
Here's Catherine reading in the library. Catherine is named after my sister and also my designer's wife.
Hughes (pronounced in French as "oog") is named after my brother-in-law, Claire's father. He was born and raised in France. He is a sommelier, which means: "a trained and knowledgeable wine professional, commonly working in fine restaurants, who specializes in all aspects of wine service." This is a scene from the library where he is reading a book about card tricks.
Here, Jacqueline reading an instruction book on playing Cats Cradle (with Claire). Jacqueline is named after Hughes's mother. She lives in France.
Here's a picture of Louis. The French pronounce this name "Loo-E". My father, my brother, my brother's son, and my husband's grandfather are all named Louis. The youngest Louis has red hair.
Rough collage sketch. I revised the cats so they would look more like children. Some of the names were changed. I wanted them all to be French.Details:
The cats have many different outfits: Claire wears blue, Veronique wears pink, Jacqueline wears purple, Catherine wears red, Hughes wears red, Zozo wears black and white, Julien wears blue, and Louis wears green. I made about 60 of these paper cutouts to test sizes for the room and to see which outfits looked best for various scenes. They are computer collages mixed with paintings and sketches.
Here are two Mouse and Bat wall portraits. I wanted them to look like old, tattered photographs to contrast with the fine oil paintings of the cats. Mouse scratched secret notes into the plaster wall. Can you find them?Test Shot.Test Shot.
Mouse preliminary sketches:
Test Shot.Test Shot.
Bat preliminary sketches:An adorable bat:
The Castle Exterior
The Powder Room
The Dining Room
The Aesop Room