Catherine Davis is a textile designer specialising in weaving that has turned her love of patterns to coloring books.
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Let’s get to know Catherine Davis
Do you remember the first thing that you drew and if so what was it?
No I don’t. I do remember when I was about 7 we were doing a class project, drawing a huge picture to go on the wall and all the children in the class had to draw a part of it and one of my friends was drawing a horse-drawn carriage and she turned to me and asked if I could draw the horses for her. I have no idea why this memory sticks with me except that I guess I realized I was good at drawing and enjoyed it. I was always crafty thought. I was always keeping Christmas and birthday cards and cutting out the bits on the cards that I liked the most (flowers, robins, Santa) and kept them all in this little tin and then I would stick them on paper later when I wanted to use them.
Do you have any formal art training or are you self taught?
Yes, I have an A’level in Art and Design and a Bachelor of Science in Textile Design. I specialized in Weaving at University but since my first design job I have mostly created artwork or designs for printing on fabrics. Sadly the weaving industry in the UK has declined dramatically and jobs requiring textile designers specialising in weaving are few and far between.
What are your favorite things/topics to draw/illustrate?
Patterns! Every day of the week. I prefer creating patterns and putting them into repeat more that illustrations. My favourite styles I like at the moment are pop art, geometrics and art deco although I never tire of creating floral designs.
Where do you create your drawings? Can you describe what your workspace looks like?
Mostly in my studio, although I get inspiration from anywhere so when I’m out and about and see something that inspires me I make a note of it in my little notebook that I carry around and then come back to when I’m in my studio. As I have a house full of boys, my studio is my space and I can decorate how I like. I love red, so my studio has white walls with some black and white pictures on the wall or images that I like and then has lots of touches of red: red flowers on my desk, red chair, red folders, you name it.
What is your drawing process like? Do you prefer to finish a drawing in one sitting, work on it over a number of sittings or do you switch between drawings that you are working on? Or do you do something else?
If I’m designing a pattern on the computer I can comfortably start and stop when I like. I think I’m naturally a pattern maker. But if I’m painting or drawing by hand I like to do in one sitting. I find if I have to break off for some reason and then come back to it, it doesn’t ‘flow’ the same.
Do you listen to music while you illustrate, if so, what are your musical tastes?
You know I don’t and I’m not really sure why. I just don’t think to put some tunes on. I’m always listening to music in the car but don’t even think about it in my studio.
Does your workspace/environment influence your art work at all?
Yes, I think so. I have a board in front of my where I pin images, colour palettes, etc that I like and so I’m always seeing it when I’m working. I do use Pinterest as well for ideas but I like to see these ideas visually all the time, around me.
You have published a coloring book/s please tell us what drew you to the coloring book market and a bit about your book and your inspiration for it
Well I kept seeing these colouring books in stores and friends and other designers were using them, colouring them in on their commute to work and I just thought one day, that these are fun and it is very relaxing to colour in – I enjoy it myself when I’m designing patterns, I play about with colour palettes for ages – so I thought maybe I could publish one about patterns. My passion. And if I described these patterns to help them understand what characteristics makes a pattern an art deco pattern compared to an art nouveau pattern for example, well I just thought it would make my colouring book a bit more interesting. My USP if you like, from other colouring books.
What do you look forward to doing in the next 6 months in the coloring world?
Well, I’m working on my second book in this collection so that’s going to keep me pretty busy! I also have a number of clients who I design for, for various products ranging from paper products to bedding, so I’m constantly creating patterns and colour palettes.
What was the feeling like when you first seen your art work published in a coloring book?
Amazing! I was so excited I sent the link of my book to just about everybody. My family and friends have been really supportive and listened to me go on and on about my idea for this book for the last 6 months so they were really pleased when it was finally published.
What did it feel like to see your art work colored in by someone else?
My friend Sophie kindly tested some of the designs for me and coloured them in before I published. She likes to use Sharpies mostly and on the pop art designs the colours really ‘pop’ and stand out which matches the design perfectly. Her feedback was important as she colours a lot of these book in. Her colour choices were so different to mine, so it was really interesting to see how different the same design looked comparing her colour palette to mine.
Do you color as well illustrate/draw/publish books?
Not as much as I’d like to. When I was younger, yes, but now its mostly about creating the patterns and colouring these up in CAD, rather than sitting down with hand-colouring these in. That and a busy mum of two kinda takes all your time up!
It can be very difficult managing day to day life as well as publishing a coloring book. Can you tell us about your daily routine and how you manage your time?
Well its all about organizing and juggling your time and getting help from family, grandparents to look after the boys so I can finish a design for the book or work on a brief for a client. I actually work as an in-house designer two days a week and a freelancer 3 days of the week. The book was my personal project, something I wanted to do for me. So it was just a question of working on client briefs first as clients always come first, then working on my book in between. I try not to work at weekends (unless I have to work on urgent client projects) as, for me, this is family time, but I’m very organized and structured in the week.
Publishing can be a creative and a chaotic experience with a lot of learning curves along the way. Tell us the best and worst experiences that you have had creating your coloring book
Well, creating the designs is always the best. The relaxing experience you get from colouring these in I get from creating them. The worst is publishing. It was a completely new experience for me. I knew absolutely nothing about publishing and had no-one to guide me or knew no-one that could give me some advise. So I spent a lot of time researching and asking publishers lots of questions, etc. This was very time consuming but important. However, once I chose my publisher, Createspace, it all went pretty smoothly and I’m sure second time around it will be even easier as I know what I’m doing now…
What is your favorite treat/reward for a job well done?
Ha ha! Usually I book a massage. Sitting at a desk for long hours doesn’t do your posture any good, so I had a celebratory massage when I published.
Connect with Catherine Davis
Catherine Davis has created a coloring book for adults called Passion for Patterns. It is available at the locations below:
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