Categotry Archives: New Happenings

The CATS Have Arrived in the Castle!


A Castle Full of Cats BOOK GIVEAWAY!

To celebrate the release of my new picture book! Simply leave a short comment about  why you love your cat at the bottom of this post or email to enter.

All comments must be posted/emailed by February 21st,

The winner will receive a signed copy of the book, inscribed with a sketch of your favorite cat (you'll need to send me a photo)

The winner will be posted here on February 22nd


The lucky winner is Hilary Welliver for her lovely description of Julian:

"Julian waits in the window to welcome me home each day. His fur is soft and thick, and his markings form a heart on his chest. Julian purrs like a buzz saw. He has the most expressive voice. His paws smell like popcorn."

Congrats, Hilary!

 You can get get your immediate cat and kitten fix HERE

Or order from your local independent bookseller.

They are also in Barnes and Noble

A Castle Full of Cats coverHere are some nice reviews from Kirkus and Booklist:

"Wouldn't anyone be happy with a castle full of cats? "Once there was a queen / who kept a castle full of cats. / She loved the pretty ones and the plain ones, / the sweet ones and the brats." She pampers them with abandon; everyone has fish for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The cats are confident in her love, but they want to win the king's, too. "They tried their best to please him / in oh-so-clever ways, / and left him charming little gifts / to brighten up his days." (These gifts include a mouse in his shoe). They warm his chair in the morning and try to satisfy his love of music and art (with serenades at the piano and claw paintings on the walls). When he becomes upset, the queen just tells him they are only being cats. When he's had enough, he storms off and returns with his idea of the perfect pet: a drooling bull mastiff! Could this be the end of kitty cat fun and games? Not quite...the cats love the present he's brought them. Sanderson's 18th-century king and queen and their adoring brood of pussycats come to life in each detailed, double-page spread watercolor. The palatial rooms and rococo decor will entrance readers, and the purring masses of cats offer plenty of humor for repeat readings Charming, expressive and surprising."  -Kirkus "From the cover crawling with cats to the endpapers showing 37 felines, this is a cat-lover’s dream. Told in rhyming text, a bewigged and beribboned queen loves, loves, loves cats. Her affection is obvious—feline portraits and objects d’art adorn every room. However, the king’s disgruntled face shows his lack of enthusiasm for his wife’s cat-infested household. To win him over, the mousers bring him gifts of fish skeletons and dead mice. Stomping off in a huff, the king retaliates by returning with a Great Dane. Does this spell an end to the fun? No indeed, the menagerie finds the canine to be the purr-fect pal! Sanderson’s artwork depicts beautiful castle interiors filled with light and gilt and glamor. The queen and king are attired sumptuously, and each cat has its own personality with antics to match. Their various colors and breeds make for a fun romp as children can follow each one as they creep and pounce, play and snuggle, and perform mischievous tricks." — Lolly Gepson   -Booklist   Meou!! Ruth



Treasure Cover_smallHORSE RESCUE: TREASURE is the first in a series of horse stories inspired by real horses and horse rescue facilities. TREASURE was written by my daughter, Whitney, who is the author of two books in the Random House HORSE DIARIES series–GOLDEN SUN and DARCY, which I illustrated. A few summers ago Whitney volunteered at Little Brook Farm in Old Chatham NY,  the oldest horse rescue facility in the US.  She was greatly impressed by their work, especially the theraputic riding, and the field-trip programs for urban schools. Whitney decided to write a book inspired by the horses there. Like the HORSE DIARIES, this story is told from the horse's point of view. I was pleased to create the cover illustration for the project, based on a photo of the horse that inspired the story. Whitney generously plans to donate half her proceeds to Little Brook Farm. I encouraged her to publish using Create Space, the Amazon self-publishing arm, so she can control the price and also print books inexpensively for the farm to sell. If you'd like a poignant read for yourself or a young horse lover, and would like to help support horses in need, here is the link to ORDER THE BOOK. NOTE:  If you purchase TREASURE on Amazon along with either of  her other books, DARCY and GOLDEN SUN, which I illustrated, people who buy those on Amazon in the future will see TREASURE listed and more people will find out about it. Since this is self-published, that and social media/word of mouth will be the best ways for people to find out the book exists. If you are interested in a digital copy --- Here is a link to a Kindle version.



the-black-stallion_src_1In 1977 I painted the very first paperback cover for the Black Stallion series by Walter Farley. These were my favorite books growing up, along with fairy tales, of course. I was thrilled to meet Mr. Farley in New York at the publisher's office at Random House, and he offered to take me to the racetrack to do research and take photos. I was right out of art school and very shy, and I regret to this day I never took him up on the offer.     For fans of the Black, I offer limited editions prints of this iconic picture in the Prints section of my Shops, and I've just added a $20 high-gloss poster on my CafePress Store.



Jingle Bells_web This is lovely little holiday story for horse lovers–a Random House Special Edition. The story, set in 1917, is about Horse Power vs the Model T. The horse and sleigh come to the rescue during a snowstorm on Christmas eve. I had fun illustrating the story, as well as some "extras," like a how-to-draw-horses section. When I was growing up, the Walter Foster book on drawing horses was my favorite. I even held a Saturday morning class in fourth grade for my friends and taught them how to draw horses, too.  



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    
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