Artist Showcase: Andy Catling ~ Illustrator and Pirate

Illustrator and self-dubbed pirate Andy Catling visits us today, bringing with him illustrations full of adventure and humor.


To enter one of Andy Catling‘s illustrations is to begin an adventure. We might, like the little boy in the drawing above, be taken to the skies one moment. Another moment, we may be lying on the ground, feet over our heads like one of Andy’s errant knights who have failed to jump a fence. Andy’s illustrations draw one in with their unexpected turns, self-effacing humor.

grumpydragonWe are delighted that Andy has brought with him a few of his wonderful characters. Whether it is a grumpy dragon or a little girl lying on a pig with her own pigtails dripping in mud, his characters are often a study of contrasts: innocence mixed with mischief. One wonders at the line-up of pirates (see the bottom of this post): the last one in the line, a little boy, is unexpected, but one does not doubt that he also could partake in every bit as much mischief as the others.

You should visit Andy Catling’s website – to see his portfolio, of course, but also to see how creative and fun an illustrator website can be. Andy sends us this missive (reminding us that some illustrators are also natural storytellers):

I grew up in East Anglia, a rather flat primeval place where any Dutchman would be at home rolling his Edam. I lived with big skies and a ruler straight horizon. Imagine my boggle-eyed awe when I first sighted a landscape with bumps. Currently, I live in Hampshire, a place of a subtly bumpish nature where I live with my wife and two pet children who sometimes sneak into my bedroom and draw on all my pants.

pigtales-cAs with every illustrator ever (except the weirdos), I grew up scribbling and chewing my pencils and it was probably such a diet that lead (uh-oh) to an artistic longing straight from my internals.

I went on to study at the Norwich School of Art and Design where I had nothing to do with illustration. I did learn a great deal about animation, biscuits and why penguins are bad.

I work in traditional mediums and digital wot-nots to make artwork using a rigorous mangle-like process. First I draw a picture. Then I rub it out and draw it again. I colour using watercolour, pencils and ink, sniff it, screw it up and start over.

I also do lots and lots of staring. Staring is fine for art but very bad for people. It makes them scared so best not do it really.

The digital work process is much the same but without the sniffing. (All digital artwork smells of screen wipe.)

When not sniffing screen wipe, I am usually dreaming up story ideas for future books.fllgnome

As I work I dream of being a knight with a whopping great castle and a seriously snorty horse. This is what I would have been if I hadn’t become an illustrator, no doubt about it. Trouble is, they are all extinct now (knights that is, not horses.) I have become a pirate instead.

I wish that Victor Ambrus was my Grandad and that Edmund Dulac had been my great great-Grandad with Arthur Rackham as my other great-great-really-fab Grandad. In my head it is all true!

I love being an illustrator since it allows me to imagine and create all the things that I am not (but I AM a pirate, I am!) Some of the work I produce I love and some of it gives me tummy bananas but it all has one thing in common, it seems sort of upside-downy when I look at it wrong.

For more information about Andy Catling’s artwork and for commissions, you may contact Andy via his:


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A glimpse at a few more of Andy Catling’s Illustrations.



      ape500   mammymammoth-500

(All illustrations in this post are Copyright by Andy Catling. All Rights Reserved.)


  3 comments for “Artist Showcase: Andy Catling ~ Illustrator and Pirate

  1. robin
    May 9, 2014 at 8:59 am

    Oh my goodness, these are wonderful. From now on, I will demand that all my gnomes be equipped with bows in their beards.

    • May 11, 2014 at 7:26 am

      Robin .. We all should. Thanks for stopping by :).

  2. May 11, 2014 at 7:31 am

    Thank you Andy for sharing the artwork. The illustrations are brilliant! and now that I have seen it in picture I don’t ever want to be at the station of doom .. where the ‘choices’ are certain doom, doomy graveyard and nasty monster doom. Of the three, which in your opinion is the better doom?

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