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This is where you’ll find updates on new designs from Catillest, exclusive offers – as well as some comedy provided by all those funny animals online…

Let the Christmas Countdown Commence!

Will stop with the alliteration now. In true festive spirit, I’ve decided to give away an Advent Alphabet, free for use by all, over the the next month. Each day I will release one letter, much in the style of Jessica Hische’s beautiful creation that is the Daily Drop Cap. 26 letters in the alphabet, so the bright sparks out there will have worked out that the full alphabet will be up for Christmas day…ish. On the 25th I’ll give 2 letters, it being the big day and all.

Each letter represents something festive, the name of which beginning with that letter… you get the idea. So without further ado, let us begin at the beginning, today’s letter; A.

A is for Angel

If you’d like to use it on your blog or elsewhere, here’s the handy code to use to replace that special letter:

<img src="" title="Christmas Alphabet by Catillest" align="left" alt="Z"/>


Demon Illustrations: The Beautiful and the Grotesque

So I was having a ponder about what my 4th Zine should be, which isn’t too broad a choice given the subject must begin with the letter ‘D’. But I’m just not feeling dogs. Or dresses. Or even donuts, and all these things I love! Dance is an option I may come back to, but I just got overly excited when I considered the possibility of DEMONOLOGY. How Buffy of me. After spending far too long on the very comprehensive (scarily so) Deliriums Realm, I found my way to Beautiful Grotesque, which is one of the most inspiring sites I’ve ever seen. This is a collection of everything I think shows the highest form of visual imagination.

What led me here in the first place is Louis Breton’s illustrations of demons for Dictionnaire Infernal, a collection of 69 illustrated demons published by Collin de Plancy in around 1800.

Now I’ve collected some of my favourites (for tonight anyway) from the site and compiled them here, author followed by work.

Harry Clarke

Santiago Caruso

Daniel Maclise

Oliver Ledroit

Forest Rogers

Pieter van der Heydn

Henry Bellery Defontaines

Zdislaw Beksinski

Travis Louie

Casper David Friedrich

Sweet dreams!


Dusty bookshelf finds

You know how some bookshelves have had the same books on them in the same place for so long they effectively become wallpaper? My parents house is papered with this. I recently took some time to really look at some of these books, actually remove them from their tightly packed spot, dust off the dead skin, and peek inside. I found some pretty neat treasures in some. A picture heavy post, so bare with, I hope you see it’s worth it:

First up is a real favourite of mine: Grimm’s Houeshold Tales (I had a love/hate relationship with the Brothers Grimm as a child. I think all kids do. Their parents assume they love the stories, when in actual fact they hate them.) Illustrated by Mervyn Peake, again, a superhero of words and images for me. He really deserves his own post tbh… something to look forward to in the near future I think. This book really shows off how he could adapt his style so well – everything from dense, intricate lines showing such patience and dedication, to swift, flowing strokes and bold cartoon-like illustrations. Plus beautiful full colour plates, which is always a treat.

Next up is a collection of Irish Fairy Tales by James Stephens, with fantastic illustrations by Arthur Rackham. I love Rackham’s illustrations; when I discovered him and other illustrators from that Golden Age it was one of the key moments that convinced me that I need to be an illustrator. I usually associate his work with the dreamy, softly coloured scenes like the ones from Alice in Wonderland, but I really love how his style translates for woodcut images too.

Finally, less suitable for children (but only slightly – as if Grimm’s tales are totally child-friendly… and those Rackham wolves are downright terrifying) is a collection of Charles Addams cartoons. I had no idea this is where the Addams Family originated. I’m not the biggest fan of the Addams’s derivatives I must confess… but the originals are actually really clever and surprisingly dark.

Hooray for Heraldry

Like many overstimulated media junkies of the 21st century, I can’t travel anywhere without my iPod. Equally stimulating and vital for my commutes is a book. My eyes, ears and brain all need some kind of constant action. But sometimes a book just isn’t practical when an evening bag is involved… and lets face it, after a few glasses of wine, anything I do attempt to read will only need to be revisited in a more sober state.

This is where podcasts come in. I’m still trying to find ones that can keep my attention like the written word can, but I’m getting close. The ‘Stuff You Should Know’ podcast has recently kept me entertained on a few weekend trips into town. On the route there anyway (insert comical falling asleep on bus home adventure…). Josh Clark and Chuck Bryant host it, and they really do chose interesting topics – stuff I actually want to know. Plus they explain things in a pretty concise, simple way – so I don’t really need to concentrate too hard, or sound like a twat when I get to the pub.

That was a bit of a diversion, but I just wanted to give them props for the podcast on heraldry, which I loved and feel inspired by, even. You can do online searches for your own family crest… it is all just a bit vague and conflicting. I want to design my own, mainly because these offend me:

This isn’t something at the top of the list of to-do’s right now, but it definitely sounds like a fun project. If you’ve designed or bought or care in the slightest about your own family crest, I’d love to hear (read?) about it! Here are some more I’ve found, which look a lot more appealing than the above:

This is part of a project by Jet Black Tribal Ink I found on Behance. The whole project is really involved and well thought out… and beautifully designed, so czech it out!

A collection of posters exhibited at the French Heraldry Exhibition. There are 150 in all, and seeing them all makes me realise how diverse these crests get! Really impressive collection by some super talented designers, see the french heraldry site for more. Via designworklife.

I saw this for myself a good few years back and although it’s a little overshadowed by the rest of the mind blowing ossuary of Kutna Hora,  it is definitely the most impressive crest I’ve ever seen. Via flickr.

The Doodlebug

It’s a sickness, really. I couldn’t really sit through many lessons at school, or lectures at uni, or meetings now, without heavily illuminating my page with various squiggly creatures and satisfying geometric patterns and shapes. It’s addictive and therapeutic. My Choodles have slowed now that my commute is quicker, but I plan on making a bit more time for just drawing without a specific aim or intention.

I saw this a little while back and I think it sums up the value of the doodle perfectly:

This website, Doodlers Anonymous is also dedicated to showcasing doodles from all over. They also set up great projects to get involved in, like this 2012 calendar – each month received loads of fantastic submissions. Here are some of my favourite finds:

C M Carter has a really great style, so fun and unique – check out his website for lots of funny comics and pro illustrations.

Cheryl Smith is a super creative lady – looking at her websites is like going through a treasure chest of crafty goodness! Check out her Journals and Crafts here.

I really aspire to have the patience and imagination of Alex Chiu – his works are just the kind of thing I want in my life – all over my walls and on every blank tee I own. Have a drool over his website here.

So, hopefully that’s inspired you to get doodling!

Soho Alphabet

I’ve been meaning to start documenting signage I see everyday for a while now. Everything from  billboards, ads on buses, signs for cafes… the more mundane the better. Inspired by this alphabet by Bela Borsodi, I thought I could make my own, all formed from snaps of  street signage. I chose Soho because I’m a little obsessed with all its amzing eateries, drinkeries and frivolities in general, plus it can’t really be beat when it comes to streets rammed with lurid typography.

Tiger Tee


Recently I’ve been experimenting with some gold fabric paint… and gold spray paint… and gold nail polish… Along with my questionable tiger design, the results came to this:


Print Club Workshop

I’ve popped my screenprinting cherry! Apologies, I hate that expression too. Now I’ve been toying with the idea of learning to screenprint for a while now – but I thought this would entail getting pretty damn messy and frustrated and poor(er) in the process. I mean, there are plenty of tutorials out their showing you what you need to start printing your own tees at home, but it all sounded like a bit too much hard work, for a reward that doesn’t pay off quickly enough.

Then I heard about Print Club London. Not only do these kindly folks let out their studio facilities to anyone who can pull a squeegee and pay a joining fee (which I reckon is a bit of a bargain) they also run workshops to teach printing noobs like myself the ways of the craft. I was game. Now having had a fantastic day which involved everything from artworking through to coating screens, exposing my image (then lunch) and finally pulling that delightful squeegee over a gloriously inky screen to reveal my first ever screen print… I can truly recommend you give this a go. Result:

Not bad for a days work eh? Watch this space: more prints to come in the near future!

Look at this Book

I have a little love/hate relationship with Magma books on Earlham street. I love the fact that I can browse around it on my lunch break, I love the ridiculous selection of design, art, gift books and magazines, and I love the staff. Oh but I hate how it give me creative envy (at all the amazing artists and designers who have managed to create these unimaginably great books AND get them published). It also makes me blue that I can’t afford to spend my pittance on hoarding all these books and forming some kind of Magma replica in my bedroom.

Anyway these are my recent drool-inducing finds, which I probably spent too long looking at, before hanging my head and dragging my ass back to work.

This Book Will Change Your Life, Benrick Ltd (2009)

It’s not like I need any suggestions of how to spend my days, but it’s nice to have a new take on what I could add to my ever growing to-do list. Plus, gorgeous design, makes for a damn good present I reckon. (Hint hint…)

The 10 Best Games in the World, Ángels Navarro (2011)

This isn’t just a compilation of games you’ve probably heard of, possibly played and will never play again, this IS the games. It’s all you need, the games are fun, well designed and all inside the book. Who knew how entertaining cardboard could be?

Almost an Animal Alphabet, Katie Viggers (2011)

I don’t know why this is ‘almost’ an animal alphabet – it is the ultimate alphabet! Such lovely illustration and a fantastic gift book for kids (and grown ups with childish likes). It’s also currently a limited edition run of 1000 so I’d get hold of one quick, and support this fantastic illustrator. I also found these animal alphabet blocks which I may have to get for my niece. If I can part with them…

I Want My Hat Back, Jon Klassen (2011)

How can you not want to see if this bear gets his hat back! I could look at that face every day. This is a GRIPPING tale. Ok, so I read the book while in the store and I now know how it ends and I am so VERY tempted to give the ending away… but I won’t. That would be cruel.

The Book of Skulls, Faye Dowling (2011)

Finally a darker choice. This is exactly what you’d expect, 160 pages of skulls, all in different incarnations. I’m happy I found this after I submitted my own skull design to Deadfuzz’s Big Skull collab – I know I’d have ended up ripping one of these off if I’d seen it before! There’s still time to submit your own skull btw! Then buy this book after, and see what you wish you’d submitted.

Flyer Frenzy

I want to know if I’m the only person who goes nuts over the hench packets of flyers you get handed outside various clubs and venues in London. Take XOYO for instance. This was my goodies from my last visit:

I was more than a little bit disappointed when, outside the Roundhouse later that week (good gig week) I was handed another bundle of joy, which I eagerly ripped open… to find all the same flyers. Boo. Don’t worry mum, I recycle.

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