Crouch End Tiger on the Loose!

This month I’ve had the pleasure of getting a painting included in a local exhibition, Women of Crouch End, which is currently being held in the Haberdashery cafe. I couldn’t be more excited to be a part of this – seeing my work alongside so many talented local ladies, and in my favourite cafe! (Try the hot chocolate there and tell me it isn’t the best you’ve ever had. I dare you.) My piece is the painting I made prior to the illustration, Crouch End Tiger, which I featured a little while back. I love the colder tones and using silver paint – may be one for the winter but it’s not like the summer has been much different…

All the works are for sale and the show will be running until 14th July 2013. Get yourself up north and have a gander at some art!

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Animal Kingdom

This is an ongoing personal project in which I’ve chosen some of my favourites from the animal kingdom and illustrated them, in hope to turn them into a series of prints, greeting cards, tote bags and t-shirts. Keep posted, they should be available on the shop soon.

Drawing the Story

Last weekend I went to the Southbank Centre, to an event part of the London Literature Festival, (21st May–8th Sep 2013). It was a talk with three prominent British graphic novelists, one of which I’d seen recently at my visit to Laydeez Do Comics.

First to talk was Mary Talbot, who last year won the Costa Biography Award. It was for her (and husband, Bryan Talbot’s) collaborative graphic novel, Dotter of Her Father’s Eyes, a tale of two daughters: Lucia, the daughter of James Joyce, and Mary herself. I won’t claim to have read Ulysses, but I love the idea of basing a graphic novel around such an obscure non-fictional character. I suppose it was less obscure for Mary, as her father was himself a Joycean scholar. Plus, I love the title. ‘Dotter’, which is pretty much an identical aural reproduction of how my (Irish) mum says ‘daughter’, and that it links to a line in another of Joyce’s masterpieces, Finnegans Wake

The images are fantastic too of course – the contrast between the two tales, coming from the sepia and bluer colour palettes.

A final thing that Talbot caught my attention with, is her work in progress: a graphic novel about a Suffragette. It is historically accurate so could potentially be used as a teaching aid – this is such a fantastic idea. As much as I enjoyed history (mostly) I know it always helped to bring the topic to life, visually in particular. My favourite history teacher would draw cartoons for us all the time, and encourage us to illustrate our work, and it’s been proven enough times that visual aids greatly help memory. Can’t wait to see this one on the shelves.

Next up was Glyn Dillon, which I have already raved about here, but this talk only served to strengthen my love for The Nao of Brown even more. Just when I thought a copy of the book couldn’t be improved, my friend who bought one got a full painting of Nao in her copy, then and there by the author extraordinairre himself. #jealous

Finally, Stephen Collins presented his GIANT BEARD THAT WAS EVIL!! Not as scary as that sounds, but absolutely stunning as a book. The most mind-blowing thing is his drawing skills – the whole thing was done in pencil. I can only cry at the thought of attempting that, especially when you see pages like this:

All authors ended with some of their own ‘must read’ suggestions, and now my list is a mile long. I’ve only quite recently been discovering my love for graphic novels, but I think this is the start of a happy (though expensive) relationship.

Pink Pzazz – New Customised Footwear

Seeing as it’s ‘summer’ (ahem… a term I use loosely in the British Isles), I figured it is high time I get some new customised footwear designs out. I’m pretty happy with my latest – fluorescent pink, toned down with my sharpie-work. I’ll be taking orders over at the shop, any special requests I’d be happy to meet, if it pleases your feet 😉

Click here to order at the Catillest Shop (£30 + p&p)

Cheshire Chat

Spurred by a suggestion from a friend, I decided to create my own illustration of the Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland. This is also part of a body of work themed around cats, for an upcoming exhibition.

The Dandy Lion Market, NW5

Inspired by the original Dandelion market of 1970’s Dublin, Leslie Wilson Rutherford began hosting the Dandy Lion Market in North London, bringing a diverse outlet for all types of creative traders. This Saturday was my first ever time selling my work at a market stall – and yes I was bricking it. By the time I’d met the other traders, who were clearly far more experienced in selling their wares, I felt seriously underprepared! But, once everything was set up the excitement hit. It’s nice to get your work out into the wide world, scary yes, but nothing beats seeing sincerity in someones face when telling you they like it. Beats a little online kudos any day. My stock for the day (click to see them in my online shop):

‘Bear Style’ t-shirts

‘Left Side Deaf’ t-shirts

Zines (all)

‘Why Otters are Orsome’ A3 prints

‘Tree Dwellers’ A3 prints

‘Owl & Pussycat’ tote bags

It was a great experience, and I loved seeing the brilliant work that had gone into setting everything up, and all the inspiring creations from the other traders. The market is held on the 1st Saturday of every month, at the Oxford (Kentish Town – click for gmap). I implore you to go! In the meantime, check out the Facebook page for photos of the day.

Pick Me Up

I don’t think Pick Me Up needs much introduction now, it’s grown in popularity so much since it’s humble beginnings in 2010. Yes, it does feel a bit like a shopping experience than an exhibition, but these creatives couldn’t be more deserving of some dollar for their work. Here are some of my picks (pun intended):

Rob Flowers creates such fun illustrations I would love to know what goes on in his head. Think everything from medieval bestiaries to 80s gross-out toys. Love.

rob flowers

Brothers of Stripe are a collective of talented bro’s whose work is a mixture of art, graphic design, and illustration projects. I loved the wall of type.

brothers of stripe

Ugo Gattoni is a french illustrator, who produces mind-blowing scenes of impossible cities. He gives Dali and Bosch as sources of his inspiration, but I can also see another favourite of mine in his work: Escher. I spent a long time at his section.

ugo gattoni

You Byun is a wonderful creator of imaginary worlds and creatures – I can totally relate to her love for this. I think it’s the softness of her approach; the colours, the pencil sketch textures, the curves that took me most.

you byun

you byun

Katie Scott’s work shocked and distressed me. Shocked, because I forgot people can draw like that without having spent 50 years learning to do so (born 1988), and distressed because I’m also a 1988 baby and I can’t do what she does. After I got over that, I enjoyed her work tremendously.

katie scott

Laydeez Do Comics

Laydeez Do Comics is a group set up by two very talented females: illustrator Nicola Streeten and the artist and curator Sarah Lightman. Every month they invite speakers to share there work, answer questions and eat cake. Wonderful!

Last week I finally joined in on the party. On the stage were Henny BeaumontGlyn DillonBunny Schendler and Melissa Herman.

Henny Beaumont

Henny began by showing us a series of 3 wonderful pieces, made from a mixture of collage, paint and text. They were touching, and funny, snapshots into her life as a mother to a girl with Down’s syndrome. I loved the honesty of her work, and the ability she has to let the viewer into her life. I felt I was getting as close as possible to experiencing what she her situation – as far removed as I am. Henny also showed us an incredibly powerful series in black and white, from a graphic novel she’s working on. I’m really gunning for this to be published – I think it would really resonate with people who have to care for someone with a disability. To be honest, it was so emotive I think anyone would get a lot from the book. Fingers crossed it gets out into the world one day.

Glyn Dillon

I haven’t read many graphic novels, mainly because I feel a little overwhelmed every time I go to buy one. When I go somewhere like Gosh comics, I just get the ‘I want them all’ feeling, and I always end up with none. But Glyn’s The Nao of Brown may change all that. A troubled heroine with OCD, I only needed to see a couple of pages from the book to get sucked into Nao’s story, and I was left feeling the need to know all of it. The artwork is beautiful and expressive, with lots of variations, like a section with a book within the book. If that makes sense. Plus, any book that warrants a frog toy as a mascot is bound to be a winner.

Bunny Schendler and Melissa Herman

Filmmakers Bunny and Melissa have done something I really want everyone to see. It was made as part of the In My Back Yard program, by Save the Children, giving young people the opportunity to make a positive difference to their lives and their communities. Hopefully it gets to Mr Johnson as much as it did for me.


The events are held all over – London, Leeds, Brighton, Bristol, Glasgow and even sunny San Francisco and windy Chicago. The next London event (Monday 20 May, 6-8.30pm) will be held at Foyles Books, see gmap for directions.


I’ve always really enjoyed hand making cards for friends and family members’ birthdays. I love seeing their face light up when they receive a card, knowing it wasn’t picked in a fluster at Clinton Cards (RIP), or one from Marks & Spencers they already got from auntie. Yes they take a fair amount of time to make, but it’s time I enjoy spending. So, I’ve decided to make them available to the world. Available in the shop here (messages are fully customisable).

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