I'm getting on well with the drawings for the new book. I'm at the stage in the story where Mum and Dad refuse to believe about the Bears on the Stairs. The text for this spread is: 'Mummy says it's my imagination. Have you cleaned your teeth? It's past your bedtime. Go on. Upstairs.'
Since the first two spreads take place in the living room, I thought for visual variety I would take Mum into the kitchen now, to make a drink for her and Dad.
That's the joy of book illustration - I'm allowed to invent things!
A pet cat makes a perfect side-kick to the little boy in the story and provides another form of interaction with the bears. I talk a lot about drawing sidekicks in one of my videos. Cats are great to draw too - they have so much personality you can use.
I've decided this one is going to be stripy ginger (with a bright white belly) based on my Mum and Dad's cat Emma. That gives me lots of lovely orange to illustrate, and will work beautifully against the blue of the hall carpet. The white is also handy though for making him stand out against other colours where necessary.
I also invented a pet cat in Mr Strongmouse and the Baby:
He was handy for sort of representing our eyes on the action, reacting to events in our stead, and so adding another dimension, as well as something for children to spot:
In the Bears on the Stairs spread, in an echo of page 1, I originally had the koala through the open door making faces at the child, but because the door is between them, the child couldn't appreciate it. Now I've drawn it with a cat instead, it works fine.