The Castle Exterior

Below is the image that was the runner-up for the cover (it came in second place in my online poll). The water is Saran Wrap laid on top of dark blue paper. I made the grass and trees out of real moss. The mouse oar is a popsicle stick from a Fudgecicle that I ate -- yum! The sky was hand-painted with gouache on canvas. Once again, both of the candles and flames are real. The door knockers are drawer pulls. Thanks to my father, the drawbridge really works!
Click on the images to enlarge them.

Here's the final version of the image. I preferred this lilac-colored version of the castle. I put sheets of colored gels over the lights while photographing to tint the overall images. We used this page inside the book instead of on the cover.Test Shot 2. This shot wasn't used in the book. We felt that it was to busy.Detail.
The enormous gouache sky painting that was used for my last book was also used as the sky for this book.Rough collage sketch:Sketch.
Here I am painting the plaster.This is what the wood frame looked like after I covered it in Plaster of Paris.
I added plaster by hand. I wore a mask because the plaster dust isn't healthy to breathe. Like my Pac Man shirt?
This is what my father gave me to work with. The drawbridge works.This is the wood frame before my father cut the windows out.
Bodiam Castle, The Castle That Inspired Me

Stunning, isn't it?

I adore castles. I own a castle-esque house on Staten Island, in New York City. It also inspired me, but there are no mice that live there. All of the mice live with me at my house in Connecticut where my studio is. Fort Hill Castle on Staten Island:Inspiration. This is cell phone picture of one of the many mice that my cats caught. I rescued it, gave it a hunk of cheese, and placed him outside.

The Castle Courtyard

This is the final version of the full title and dedication page. I made the stone floor with Plaster of Paris. I troweled it on, and as it dried I carved the stone shapes. Afterwards, I painted it with gouache. I enclosed the stone floor with real, little pebbles. The water in the fountain is saran wrap. It looks real, doesn't it? The flowers are silk, but the grass and trees are real moss from my garden. The candles in the chandeliers are real. The peacocks are made from real peacock feathers. Inside, you can see the ballroom floor. The gold-leaf chairs were given to me by my neighbors, Charlotte and Ulrik Poulsen. Ulrich brought the chairs from China, and generously gave them to me for my sets. They were dark wood and I painted them gold. I bought the chandeliers on eBay. Can you find the bird's nest and eggs? How about the red cardinal? Remember to click on the images to enlarge them.
Click on the images to enlarge them.
Test Shot 2.


Test Shot 1.

This is what the wood frame my father built for the castle garden looked like when he gave it to me.
Sketch. This was the rough computer sketch I gave my father so he could make the wood frame.Details:

View the rooms by clicking the links below:

The Castle Exterior
The Basement
The Powder Room
The Library
The Ballroom
The Dining Room
The Bedroom
The Kitchen
The Aesop Room
The Characters