Saturday, 2 April 2016

Print Studio

I've begun making work for my exhibition in June - part of the month-long Surrey Artists' Open Studios event. I want to show a variety of work (paintings, drawings, 3D work and, of course, prints) and although I still have a long list of gardening jobs and interior building work to complete (not to mention ELECTRIGIRL artwork!), I managed to clear enough space and time to set up my work bench for a week of lino printing.



Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Electrigirling Again

If you are reading this because you have read and enjoyed  ELECTRIGIRL (by Jo Cotterill and me!)  - yay! - then you might know that there will be another. ELECTRIGIRL and the DEADLY SWARM is published in August. Hurrah!
You may also imagine that it is sitting there, printed in large quantities, wrapped in another eye-popping cover, in boxes, in some gigantic book warehouse, waiting to be delivered to all you lovely booksellers and readers as soon as the peeps at Oxford University Press hit the 'publish' button. Well, erm, actually, it's still on my drawing board. Eek! I am just about to ink up and finish the final artwork, which I'm rather looking forward to as Jo Cotterill has written a brilliant, fast-paced story that gets my heart racing every time I think about it! Here's a sneaky peak of a key scene...


I can't show you WHAT are awesome. That would give the story away! But I can tell you that not only are they awesome but they are extra blooming' scary too. Yikes!
You've probably noticed that there is a new character, the chap with the striped T. He's great, very funny and gets up to all sorts of mischief. All your favourite familiar characters are there as well, of course - Holly, her brother Joe and her best friend Imogen. I've loved drawing them again. In fact, I'd better stop doing this and get back to my drawing board if I'm going to get this book to you by August!

Monday, 15 February 2016

Lots to Celebrate!

Hello, I'm back!
This post is part apology, part catch-up, part celebration and (later) an exclusive reveal! First the apology: sorry that Cathy Brett the Writer/Illustrator has been away so long while I was Cathy Brett the Self-builder. It's been all plumbers and roof tiles when you probably came here looking for cool books and funny illustrations. Well, fear not. My studio is finished, I've moved in, unpacked my pencil case and you'll find nothing but words and pics here from now on! Hurrah!
The catch-up bit: I've had two really big projects on my desk during the last 12 months. One was the studio and 'the other one' has just been published! Woohoo!

Two years ago, Jo Cotterill approached me with a project she'd been thinking about - a middle-grade-girl-superhero-comic-novel-hybrid. It's not quite a novel and it's not quite a comic but it's sort of both, she said. Would I be interested, she asked, in developing the idea with her? I said yes and last week the result, ELECTRIGIRL, hit the bookshops.
Jo and I have been blogging and Tweeting and getting interviewed about the process all over the place. Click below for a selection:
Jo on Oxford TV
MiddleGradeStrikesBack
Library Mice
Alphabet Soup
The Book Bag
Sue & Pakka
Serendipity Reviews
Hive
I can't tell tell you how thrilled I am that ELECTRIGIRL is off to such a storming start. Those two years of hard work were entirely worth it.
I'd also like to share something a bit exciting and totally exclusive with you. There is a sequel! It's called ELECTRIGIRL and the DEADLY SWARM and it's out in August. Jo has finished writing it and I am in the middle of creating the comic sections, so I thought I'd invite you in to my new studio to take a look at my desk...
Very rough 'thumb nail' sketches of the page layouts   
New adventure, new location...



... ooooh, so exciting!! Can't wait 'til August!!

ELECTRIGIRL - Not Just For Boys!!

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Studio Update - Crawling to the Finish Line

It's been painfully slow but we are nearly there. Nearly.
Today is Snagging Day and anyone who has ever commissioned building work will know that this is when you print out an endless list of unfinished items and wait on the doorstep for a suitably large team to come and tackle them. I did this. They sent 2 guys. Who don't speak very good English. And no electrician. He's coming later. Later? Sigh.
Meanwhile, the shower room looks gorgeous and I appear to have decorated the snug to match my Cornish holiday paintings.


Saturday, 31 October 2015

Studio Update

So, a couple (or three) deadlines have passed, I'm no nearer to moving in and the garden is still in chaos. The main problem has been not having a foreman on site so important details have been missed and mistakes made. Yesterday, while I was at Uni, having fun...
MA Illustration eating Day of the Dead sugar skulls.
... Mum and Dad were dealing with yet another no show from the builders. Really frustrating! They had to call Green Studios HQ again to complain about the lack of communication and the state of the site. My poor parents are well and truly fed up with the mess and the repeated delays.
Anyway, the plastering is done, the oak floor is down and the electrician has completed most of the second fix. But, outside it's a different story, with cladding and facia boards to finish, roof tiles to be cemented and a lot of rubbish that needs to be cleared.
We have two lovely guys here today (after Dad's phone call to the boss, I expect) dealing with the utilities trench and generally giving the garden a well-needed tidy-up. One of them is digging the hole for the enormous 2m tank. BY HAND! The earth is a nightmare, mostly clay at that depth and full of enormous flints. His mate keeps checking on him to make sure he'd OK. He's still smiling. Just about.
I'm not sure what the revised completion date is but I doubt it will be 4th Nov. Anyone anticipating that studio-warming party invitation appearing on their doormat, might be waiting a while longer.

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

How to Build a Kit House

After that horribly slow first week, the studio is now taking shape at lightning speed. I've been compiling a folder of before during and after photos and the transformation is incredibly exciting.
Just look at these!
The garden has gone from this...
...to this (levelling the site and moving the summer house)...
...to this (36 holes dug and filled again)...
...to this (the 'kit' arrives on site, all at once!)...
...to this (the 'kit' is assembled')...
...to this. All since this time last year!
Those last two shots were just days apart. Amazing, isn't it?
I'm actually due to get the keys by the end of next week so pop back for the final reveal.

Saturday, 26 September 2015

Stress and Sunshine

Thank goodness for the sunshine! I'm so stressed this weekend that I think more bad weather might have pushed me over the edge. The sunshine has cast a nice warm glow over everything which is making it easier to deal with studio build scheduling nightmares, project deadlines and a scary MA workload.
Here's some more good news that's (just about) keeping me sane. The cover proof for ELECTRIGIRL 2,' Electrigirl and the Deadly Swarm', arrived in the post this morning. I was almost knocked off my feet by the powerful fluorescent orange background (which you can't really see in this photo so you'll just have to imagine it).

These two books (and more, we hope) are sure to be the brightest things on the bookshelves next year. I can't wait!
Published by Oxford University Press in February and August 2016