CC Storyboard Cover I am happy to share the process for creating the cover illustration of my upcoming book A CASTLE FULL OF CATS, due to be released in early 2015. Yes, it takes almost a year for a publisher to produce a book after the artwork is delivered. I'll be doing lots of sneak previews during the year. As you can see from my initial storyboard sketch, I envisioned the cover as a view looking out a window with cats watching the outdoor activities from the inside of the castle.         Castleful of Cats_6_2012_Page_01           At the next stage, I created a more detailed cover sketch to focus on the queen's "favorite" cat. I also depicted the cats and kittens in a much more active and playful role, indicating the queen and the king outside in the garden. And, I played with how the title of the book might fit on the cover illustration.       Castleful of Cats_cover sketch               In the final cover sketch, I brought the queen's cat closer to the center and looking directly at the reader while still allowing the queen and king to be seen through the window.         R_Castleful of Cats Cover_jpg maroon         In creating the finished illustration for the cover, I wanted the window to really stand out, so I created a maroon wall in the background, actually painting it in acrylic over the watercolor painting to get a really solid effect, and because a dark, even color is so hard to create in watercolor! When I submitted the illustration, the editor and art director felt that it was too dark...       R_Castleful of Cats_Pink       and suggested I make the wall pink...On the left is the revised cover, with the pink wall painted in acrylic on top of the maroon color. Yes, it was very time-consuming to paint around all those details. But we are not done yet! After giving the art to the designer, problems arose..             A note—The marketing folks asked that the title be changed. I coined the word "Castleful," to indicate there were a ton of cats in the castle, and am very proud of it, but apparently anyone searching for a book with "castle" in the title would not find my book, so we had to split my word to "Castle Full." Inside the book it is still "castleful," read as one word, like "spoonful." Castle Full Cover         The designer was having a very hard time making the type stand out against the background. The art directer even photoshopped the curtains to make it simpler, but is just looked too busy. When she and the editor approached me about making yet more changes, and major ones, to the artwork, I agreed that they were right. The cover was simply too busy, as you can see. I had to fix it!         R_CC Cover all Blue   I started with the full size digital image of the cover, because changing to a blue wall would not be  easy. I really did not want to put a third coat of acrylic paint on that wall! SO, I started in Photoshop with my pink cover image. I duplicated the image as another layer and changed the whole picture to blue, and then painstakingly worked to combine the two layers into one. I painted a new window with a single sheer curtain in watercolor, below, no king and queen, and Photoshopped it in, so the type will hopefully read nicely on top of it.       Curtain                     R_CATS Cover with Blue online                         Above is the final image with the blue wall. This final (I hope!) cover image is back with the designer. I am a bit sad that the king and queen can't be seen outside, but feel the title reading well was the most important concern. And the cats are the stars of the book.   Ruth3_Castle Full Cvr wit#124EAC6 A week is the (almost) final cover design. I love the new typeface the art director chose. Note the kitten kicking the word "of" in the title! The type color is still under discussion, but this is VERY close! Below is a color option the art director and editor prefer: Ruth_Castle Full Cvr wit#124EAC6 Golden dreams, Ruth  



I am pleased to announce that I just signed a contract with Eerdmans publishing for my proposed book project, THE GOLDEN KEY by George MacDonald. I will spend the next year (at least) working on 40-45 more scratchboard illustrations, and the book will hopefully be published in 2016. Here are a few examples of the scratchboard technique I am using to illustrate the story. This is a method I am thoroughly enjoying as this project advances. Golden-Key_Mossy-finds-key Golden Key_p.13 Below is another scratchboard illustration for the book entitled Descent, which was also featured in the latest issue of SPECTRUM, a published book featuring the latest in fantasy art juried by professionals. It also recently won a SILVER AWARD from Infected By Art online art competition. GOLDEN-KEY-p_94-791x1024    

Rockwell Exhibit Extended to March 18th


I am happy to announce that the Norman Rockwell Museum has extended my show through Tuesday, March 18tth! 40 years ago I was about to graduate from art school, and never dreamed my work would some day hang on the main floor of The Norman Rockwell Museum in a solo exhibition. Many thanks to those who attended the show and to my friends and friends and family for their support. Speaking of friends, here are some pictures of a visit the Western Massachusetts Illustrators' Guild made to the show recently. A good time was had by all! IMG_2532 IMG_2535 IMG_2536 IMG_2537

GOLDEN DREAMS available In Shops…with a bonus!


I am pleased to announce that you can now order a copy of my new 224-page art book, GOLDEN DREAMS, The Art of Ruth Sanderson in the SHOPS area of my website. We will begin shipping in early December. The book will feature hundreds of pictures from almost 40 years of illustration and fantasy art. And with every art book purchased in November, you will receive a FREE 8.5" x 11" print of The Snow Princess & The Polar Bear!  Scroll down to see the cover and a few pages from the bookSnow Princess p8_9If you like princesses, you might be interested in my 2014 FAIRY TALE PRINCESSES calendar. The link is on the right. Golden Dreams final coverArt Book_406-47Art Book_116-117CArt Book_78_79Art Book_126-127AArt Book_Golden Wood

October 2013 NEWS


My art book, GOLDEN DREAMS, is off to the printer!

After over two months of work by myself, Michael Nelson the cover designer, and production by Judy Gonyeau, my 224-page art book is finally at the printer in Texas. I am more nervous about this than about any other project, as I am solely responsible for the end product. I am so grateful for finding about about Kickstarter, which I used to fund the printing costs.

Below are some sample spreads from the book, and the cover design. I was thrilled to get blurbs for the back cover from noted illustrators Paul Zelinsky and Charles Vess, and a lovely quote from the chief curator of the Norman Rockwell Museum, where I have an upcoming solo show from Dec 7, 2013-Mar 9, 2014.

Golden Dreams final cover

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Art Book_Golden Wood


September, 2013 News



I am moving my website to WordPress next month, and the home page news will become a blog format, where folks are welcome to leave comments. I will be moving to a Mailchimp Newsletter service as well, as I understand it is not a good idea to send these things from a personal email account. Getting with the times. Just a bit. I have started a Pinterest account, and plan to make some boards. A bit of Twittering.


Working madly this month on the art book. Below is a spread, with pictures from Sleeping Beauty, out of print since 1990.

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August, 2013 News


Kickstarter Success!
My kickstarter  project GOLDEN DREAMS, THE Art of Ruth Sanderson, was a huge success. Thanks to everyone who supported the project - my dream of creating an art book will become a reality. It will be 224 pages, with over 250 illustrations. I'll post updates here when the design is complete, and when the book will be available for pre-orders.
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Here is the cover design for the book! Jane Yolen was very kind to do a foreword for me.
carouselEvery summer I have been asked to illustrate the annual Lenox Holiday plate for the following year. I just finished a Winter Carousel for 2014, above, an unusual theme to be sure, but fun to imagine and to paint. They will be releasing a carousel ornament and wanted me to use a similar holly motif in my design.
This year’s Lenox plate will be a “Bringing Home the Christmas Tree” image. When they send me a catalog link in the fall, I’ll post it here, for anyone interested. I have been doing these for over 10 years, and you can find most of the past ones on ebay.
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