the owl and the pussycat

I’ve been fascinated with this poem by Edward Lear lately. When I consulted with Lucy Ruth Cummins of Simon and Schuster in April, she suggested it would be a good match for my illustrations. And the imagery and the nonsensical story did indeed strike a chord. Sailing away in a pea green boat, eating mince and slices of quince, dancing on the sand by the light of the moon… perfect!

Here are some initial drawings for a dummy book:


A bunch of other sketches didn’t quite make it to this stage. The other day I had drawn the cat leaning over the side of the boat and lazily trailing her paw in the water. At least that’s what I’d wanted to convey. This conversation made me rethink it a bit:

Me: Can you tell what’s happening in this drawing?

Chris: Not really.

Me: Her paw is in the water.

Chris: Oh. Maybe they should have a sail or some oars instead.

Me: Instead?

Chris: That’s not so nice of the owl to make her paddle the whole way with her paws.


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