Let’s get Catty – and a Competition!

Today, I’m going to be a little bit… catty. I’m hosting a cat book on my katswhiskers blog, so we’re running to a theme… and running a competition! (Today’s competition is a little bit different to the other competition that’s running throughout the blog tour at http://www.alisonreynolds.com.au.)

But firstly, welcome Alison Reynolds and Heath McKenzie – and congratulations on your dreamy new picture book, ‘A Year with Marmalade’.

Thanks very much!

Thank you, Kat!

To start the ball rolling… In keeping with the blog, can you each tell me one thing that you think is… the kat’s whiskers? (Or mayhaps it’s the cat’s whiskers.)

Perhaps my new baby daughter, Ava!

Oooh. Lovely! Congratulations, Heath. I’m sure Ava is the kat’s whiskers!

My family and dog. Although I’m not sure if the dog will like being referred to as the kat’s whiskers! 

Haha! Now that could be a little bit catty, Alison. 😉

Where did you find Marmalade, Alison?  Is he the type of pet you would want to keep forever?

When I was little I had a very special green-eyed cat called Charlotte. I feel as if a cat based on her was just waiting to pop into my mind. I was brainstorming book ideas with my publisher, and we wanted a sort of self-contained character, which is a very cat-like characteristic.  I definitely wouldn’t want to give Marmalade away. I spent half my childhood unsuccessfully trying to convince my parents to let me have another pet.

Alison, is Marmalade one of those cats who willfully does his own thing? Or does he have a soft and smoochy side?

Marmalade is a mixture of snuggles and snarls. He is very independent, but wants to be included and loved. Much like most of us!

Not being an artist myself, I’m always fascinated by the Illustrator’s process. Heath, there’s a lot of whitespace in this gentle, breezy book – almost a touch of whimsy. What influenced your decision in terms of colour and whitespace – and characters?

I felt a simpler approach would suit this particular story – something gentle and not too over-thought or designed. Hence the approach of letting the line do most of the talking and leaving colour to make a single statement in each image.

What I find particularly interesting, is that the children (Ella & Maddy) are line drawings – not colour. Yet Marmalade, who would seem to be of equal importance to Ella, is colour. As is background. What is the artistic reasoning behind this, Heath?

Given a big and striking part of the different seasons, from a visual point of view atleast, is the many distinct colours that emerge each year – colour was always going to be the best way to highlight the changing seasons (and then a little extra here and there where an image might not have a direct seasonal element to focus on!)

As for Marmalade’s colour – for a long while, Marmalade wasn’t in colour but ultimately it was decided Marmalade, being the key player here, might need to stand out that bit more – and fair enough too!

The seasons! When you say it, it is of course, very logical. (I feel a bit of a scatterkat for asking!)

Alison What five individual words best describe Marmalade?

  1. Watchful
  2. Awkward
  3. Fun-loving
  4. Loyal
  5. Purrfect

It’s the ‘awkward’ makes Marmalade so real and loveable, Alison.

HeathI’m hoping you have that cat-like quality of landing on your feet, because I’m going to throw you a challenge… I’m pretty good at drawing the katswhiskers (to the right -> ) but that’s my limit. I’m hoping you can extend my repertoire a bit, and skill me up on some other cat moves.

To help you out, I’ve listed some catty emotions I thought you might cat-ture!

  • ’fraidy cat
  • ecscatic cat
  • purrrrfect cat
  • catastrophic cat
  • caterwauling cat
  • cat-ching cat – on the prowl

They’re gorgeous, Heath!! So much personality on the page.

Now it’s over to you, Alison! What can YOU do with Heath’s examples? (Yes – I am asking you to draw a cat pic for us. :P)

I’m no scaredy cat, Kat. But remember, I never claimed to be a artist!

A very catatonic cat, Alison. And clever word play. Well done, you!


READERS:  This is your chance to get catty!

1.  Draw your best cat picture. You can have a bit of fun with it like we did.
2.  Email it to; contactkat @ optusnet . com . au (no spaces) by 8pm this Friday, 17th August, and
3.  YOU are in with a chance to win your own, signed, original Heath McKenzie cat picture!

Please keep cat files less than 300kb. 

Your pictures will be posted to the katswhiskers blog on Sunday, 19th August, when we will also announce the winner, as decided by Heath and Alison.

So – pick up a pencil, pen or piece of charcoal and get drawing!

Want to read more about ‘A Year with Marmalade’? Follow the blog tour;

A Year with Marmalade Blog Tour

7th Aug Dee White;  http://deescribewriting.wordpress.com
9th Aug Karen Tyrrell;  http://www.karentyrrell.com
11th Aug Tania McCartney;  http://www.kids-bookreview.com
13th Aug  Pass It On;  http://jackiehoskingpio.wordpress.com/school-magazine
14th Aug  Kathryn Apel;  https://katswhiskers.wordpress.com/blog
17th Aug  Dale Harcombe;  http://orangedale.livejournal.com
20th Aug  Peter Taylor;  http://writing-for-children.blogspot.com.au
22nd Aug  Susan Stephenson;  http://www.thebookchook.com
23rd Aug  Robyn Opie Parnell;  http://robynopie.blogspot.com.au
27th Aug Sally Odgers;  http://spinningpearls.blogspot.com.au
29th  Aug  Angela Sunde;  http://angelasunde.blogspot.com.au
31st Aug Chris Bell;  http://christinemareebell.wordpress.com

Looking forward to seeing your cats! >^,^<


  1. Great fun post, Thanks, Kat, Alison and Heath. Love the illustrations and this gorgeous new picture book. I’m a fraidy cat so won’t submit a pic. My cats have never evolved beyond the two circles and M for ears and few essentials like eyes and mouth. My paws are getting pretty good though.
    Wishing you both hearty congratulations and mega sales.


  2. WOW, Kat. Loved your Catty blog and following Alison’s progress on her blog tour.
    Just LOVED Heath’s whimsical catty cartoons and labeling.

    Wishing Alison, Heath and you Kat all the best.
    Karen xxx


  3. Thanks all for dropping in and sharing your comments. Glad you liked the post. It was such fun to get my claws into Alison & Heath. Nicely of course! 🙂

    Also thank-you to those who’ve started to send their cat pics through. I’m so glad it’s Heath and Alison who have the job of judging them – and not me!

    I hope you others aren’t really going to be ‘fraidy cats. Look what a great pic Alison shared – and she says she can’t draw. It’s all in fun – and the catatonic word play was purrfect.

    You’ve still got plenty of time!


  4. Loving this blog 🙂 and going to give drawing a cat a chance (I do the worst drawinngs ever) but will hit you with my best shot today or tomorrow, this blog is purrfect 😉


  5. having a few issues trying to get the email pic thru for my daughter and I will keep trying 🙂 we had alot of fun trying to do a cool cat O.o and her’s is better than mine lol (like that was a shock not lol )


  6. Ha ha! Loved this post and the competition. I’m very much looking forward to hosting A Year With Marmelade on my blog in a couple of weeks.


  7. Hilarious drawing Heath, loved them. And I really enjoyed reading the whole post. There’s still a picture you drew hanging on the wall at Glennie, Heath! It’s in the office next to the biol room, lol.


  8. Pingback: The Littlest Bushranger – and a Competition! | Kathryn Apel

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