HomeBooks by AgeAges 0-3Illustration Inspiration: Mike Wohnoutka, Illustrator of This is NOT a Cat!
Illustration Inspiration_ Mike Wohnoutka, This is Not a Cat-2

Illustration Inspiration: Mike Wohnoutka, Illustrator of This is NOT a Cat!

The Children’s Book Review | August 14

Mike Wohnoutka wrote and illustrated Little Puppy and the Big Green Monster (Holiday House) and Dad’s First Day (Bloomsbury). Some of his other illustration work includes The Twelve Days of Christmas in Minnesota (a Sterling top seller). Mike has previously teamed up with David LaRochelle on the book Moo! (Bloomsbury), which was awarded ALA Notable Book, a Junior Library Guild Selection, a CBC Blue Ribbon Book, and several state awards.

I make art because …

It’s fun. I’ve always loved to draw. In school I was constantly doodling on my notebook during class – I couldn’t stop drawing. I feel very fortunate that I’m able to make a living doing something I love – I get to draw everyday!

Latest published book …

I’m the illustrator of This Is NOT a Cat!

Inspired by …

David LaRochelle’s very creative idea. If a child can read the title of the book, they can read the whole story. The entire book contains only these 5 title words: this, is, not, a, cat.

Art medium used …

Holbein Acryla Gouache on hot press watercolor paper.

Artistic process …

Whether I’m writing or illustrating, my process is to draw, draw, and draw until something starts working. I start by developing the look and personalities of the characters. For example, in This Is NOT a Cat! I wanted each mouse student to have a distinct personality – bored student, easily-distracted student, and brainy student. After I create the characters, I start illustrating the story. Once I’m done with all the pencil sketches I create the final paintings.


This is not A Cat Illustration 2CATsketchAirplane

This is Not a Cat Illustration 4Favorite place to create & illustrate …

… is my studio. My studio is the upstairs of our house in Minneapolis. It’s usually messy and always full of books and art supplies. I also have plenty of photos, art, and music for inspiration. There are windows and a skylight to let in natural light.

Most used art supply or tool …

… sepia Prismacolor pencils, which I use for most of my sketching and writing.

This is Not a Cat Illustration 5

Illustrator idols …

I have always loved the books by P.D. Eastman, Richard Scarry, and Syd Hoff, but it wasn’t until college, after seeing a presentation by David Shannon, that I realized I wanted to be a children’s book illustrator. I guess that makes David my ultimate illustrator idol.

All-time favorite children’s book you didn’t illustrate …

The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith

A literary character to create art with …

Harry Potter. His wizardry skills could certainly come in handy. Also, my whole family loves the series.

Currently working on …

I’m working on a new picture book about two best friends and their adventures together. I’m also doing lots of events for This Is NOT a Cat!.

Connect with Mike Wohnoutka …



This is Not a CatThis Is NOT a Cat!

Written by David LaRochelle

Illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka

Publisher’s Synopsis: Welcome to Sunny Hills Mice School where the first lesson is recognizing DANGER! And that means CAT. So Miss Mouse shows her students pictures of things that are, and are not, a kitty. But the kids are a bit restless . . . until something enters the classroom that makes them all sCATter. But, is their unwelcome guest really a cat?

Ages 3+ | Publisher: Sterling Children’s Books | 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-1454915744

Available Here: 


Discover more picture book illustration inspiration and books like This Is NOT a Cat!, written by David LaRochelle and illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka, on The Children’s Book Review by following along with our Illustration Inspiration series and articles tagged with , and Animal Books.

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Bianca Schulze is the founder of The Children’s Book Review. She is a reader, reviewer, mother and children’s book lover. She also has a decade’s worth of experience working with children in the great outdoors. Combined with her love of books and experience as a children’s specialist bookseller, the goal is to share her passion for children’s literature to grow readers. Born and raised in Sydney, Australia, she now lives with her husband and three children near Boulder, Colorado.

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