Sunday, 27 November 2016

The adventures of a pirate illustrator

Living and working as a pirate illustrator is a fine thing indeed. There's the life on the Spanish Main, the bags of cutlasses, the doubloons, drawing, painting. Some might timidly suggest that not everything about my career is entirely true. I do draw and paint so there is an end to it!

My cutlasses and pencils are sharp and my pistols and brushes loaded ready for whatever project I wish to pursue, cannonade and board. A recent project was a series of books that came under the collective title of Igor's Lab of Fear.


Igor's Lab of Fear is a series of books of which I was given the job of illustrating the final four. The previous illustrator was unavailable but had managed to illustrate the covers so my brief was to produce the internal illustrations. My contact at the Publisher was a lovely enthusiastic lady shipmate who was very encouraging and offered just the right amount of brief with plenty of freedom. It made a change to have a project where I was not warned against scaring the children but instead encouraged to do so. A fine thing for a pirate! The illustrations were all to be black and white and the creepier the better. I thoroughly enjoyed myself with evil creatures and disconcerting compositions but three books along and communication with the lady shipmate at the publisher went rather quiet. She had promised to send the manuscript for the fourth book but time passed and nothing came. It's at times like this that a pirate illustrator has to think about tides and sailing times. Another project was looming and my porthole of opportunity getting smaller. Eventually I was contacted by someone from the publisher who was sending through the brief and asking when I would be able to complete. Well, time had run out and I was now sailing a different sea. I had to explain the situation and hopefully they understood that despite being a pirate it was none of my piratey escapades that was at fault here. But what happened to my lovely shipmate at the publishing house? Did she move on to new horizons or was she a victim of the stories? I figure that most stories in books are based on truth and those involved in the production of scary stories are going to be facing the dangers that those stories tell of. Being a fearsome pirate illustrator, I face these dangers and emerge with barely a scratch but some poor souls are lost. Perhaps people should stick to writing pleasant costume dramas with afternoon tea and doyleys. It's much safer.

Friday, 11 March 2016

Geeky freaky

It really is about time I actually posted stuff about what I am doing currently. I don't usually post about the work that I am doing since I am usually too busy doing it. So now I have stopped being too busy working so that I might post about what I'm doing instead of doing it. Feel free to ask questions.


So, what am I doing.Well. among other projects I am working for a US publisher on a series of creepy freaky books. That's not what they are called but I have no idea how much I am allowed to say pre-publication so I'll remain enigmatic.


Shown here are the pencil roughs and the final ink versions. 




This project is proving a particular favourite of mine. The freedom of the briefs allow my inner geek (some might say that it's not very `inner') to run wild. There are of course more illustrations in the books than I am showing here, otherwise they would be stupidly short books but trust me, my inner geek has stripped naked, screamed pathetically and run head-on into the full potential of this project.

Happy days.




Wednesday, 24 February 2016

A grand gathering of Catling's brain dumps (artwork).


Art Prints

Over the years I have produced many, many pieces of artwork for various papery publications and I thought it time to make it all available for peepers everywhere. You can click the above slideshow or follow this link. Take a look and I'm sure that something in there will make the effort of clicking worthwhile. Clicky clicky.

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Steady on there!!!

Wooa, hold dem horses! Two posts in one day. Well, when those samples are in and the next project hasn't begun, it's time to breath. In......hold....and out. (Cough)  Thought I had better show another set of character designs.


Chuffing Nora!

Here are some recent character designs for a chapter book project. I have no idea if I will get to illustrate this one. They look good to me but everyone has their own idea as to what is right for a project. The writing is very good which always helps when it comes to illustrating.
I'm sure that once upon a time people used to meet in person to talk about such projects but now it is mostly email. It is so hard to read into what it is that the commissioner might see in your work and to get a full understanding of what is expected. So decision making becomes a daunting prospect when approaching the design of story characters. Which is the right avenue for this project? I think that what it comes down to in the end is, do what you do and hope for the best.

Thursday, 30 April 2015

Knight knight

I have been very busy and the work is still pouring in but I managed to sneak this one into a few in-between moments. When on auto I tend to default to my best favourite thing.



Guess what my best favourite thing is. Go on..... here's a clue... knight!

Oops, bit over-excited. So... errrr, did you guess?