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Perna Studios’ ‘Spellcasters 2’ Sketchcard Set


Perna Studios’ ‘Spellcasters 2’ Sketchcard Set


As Perna Studios have started shipping out orders of Spellcasters 2, the artists are now allowed to reveal their contributions to the set. I always absolutely love working with Perna Studios. The subjects they deal with are always very fun and speak a lot to my own favourite subject matter, from Hallowe’en to Classic Fairy Tales and now enchanted creatures (which, as you know, I have a colouring book full of!). For this particular set, artists were asked to draw specifically examples of unicorns, faeries, mermaids, dragons and elves. I had so much fun working on different styles of unicorn and mermaid and may even consider a sketch book of mermaid designs in the future.

The mermaids I drew were lion fish, koi, octopus and flame angel inspired and I had so many more ideas that I would have liked to have played with. I also love my tropical zebra unicorn as I thought that would be a bit different and of course, the Hell/Demon-hybrid unicorn. I hope you like the cards. I contributed 20 to the set altogether, which you can see in the gallery below or on my portfolio page.




Patreon Launch and Giveaway!


If you follow my Twitter or Facebook you may have seen the exciting rumblings lately regarding my upcoming Patreon Campaign. Well… IT’S FINALLY HERE!

This is a brand new venture for me and a very exciting one. I have been following and supporting a number of my friends over on Patreon for quite a while now* and have always wanted to start one of my very own, now I have!

One of the serious benefits from Patreon, for me, is that it will help me create a more structured schedule for my work. Working as a freelance illustrator is an extremely time consuming job and I spend so much time hunting down new work, sending out speculation emails**, marketing and advertising my work and, of course, working on commercial art; that I very rarely have time to myself to work on my own projects.

With the financial help that Patreon can hopefully provide, I will be able to spend more time drawing things that I am passionate about and less time hunting down commercial work to pay the bills.

This does not mean that I will not still be working for awesome companies like DC, Dynamite and IDW, as well as publishing books. In fact, it means that I will be able to afford more time to work on my portfolio pieces so that I can improve my standing with these companies as well as work on my own self-published books.


So… How Can You Help Launch My Patreon?

Well, firstly, being here and reading this is a huge help, so thank you! But there are lots of other ways you can help too. My Patreon launches on Tuesday 10th May (Today… unless you are reading this in the future in which case it WAS Tuesday 10th May, but you can still help out! Just keep reading…) and here are a few ways you can help make the first day a huge success:

  • Share the link to my Patreon on your Facebook wall, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Patreon or to your Kickstarter/IndieGoGo friends (here is the link for you www.patreon.com/AnastasiaCatris )
  • Visit the Patreon Page and watch the video.
  • Like the video on YouTube, comment on it and/or share it around. (here is the link for the video www.youtube.com/watch?v=3xWQnQBQSPQ )
  • Share this blog post, or re-blog it on your own blog.
  • Like this blog post, comment and generally help raise it’s search engine optimization by being awesome.
  • Pledge to the Patreon. I mean, this would be amazing, it really would be going above and beyond. I’m sure you will see something you like on the pledge list.
  • And finally – enter the Raffle Copter Giveaway below! I mean, if you’re doing all of these awesome things anyway, you may as well get the chance to win some awesome goodies out of it right?

If you are reading in the future, you can still do all of the above things, you may just not be eligible to win anything in return. But if you back the Patreon, you get a whole host of awesome pledge rewards anyway!


Giveaway Time!

Well, I’m pretty sure this is what you’ve been waiting for, am I right? As part of the awesome, exciting, super launch day, I am also giving away some goodie bags full of fun amazing things, including:

  • Copies of Colour Me Mindful, Draw Your Way to a Younger Brain or Cirque Du Mort.
  • Sketch Cards.
  • Prints.
  • Original Artwork.
  • Pin Badges, Bookmarks, Post Cards and much, much more!

Each goodie bag contains a selection of the above and is a surprise. The more people who enter, the more goodie bags I will be giving out, so be sure to spread the word to all of your friends to be in with a chance of winning more.

The competition will end on Friday 13th May, when winners will be contacted via e-mail. So you will have 3 whole days to complete as many RaffleCopter tasks as you can to gain your entry tickets. Good luck everyone! And thank you so much for taking part!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


* Seriously guys, check out Al Davison, Reaperfox, Wolfskulljack, Kat Nicholson and Emma Vieceli who are all creating amazing work and tell them I said Hi!

** Speculation work or ‘Spec’ work is when you draw something as an ‘audition’ for a company and send it to them in the hopes of getting work with them.


Tangled Up In Blue…


In early 2015 I was asked by Orion Publishing if I would be interested in illustrating not one, but THREE 51 page colouring books for adults, entitled ‘Colour Me Mindful: Birds’, ‘Tropical’ and ‘Underwater’. I had literally just moved out of my parents’ house and finished up two huge sketchcard projects for DC and IDW within the same week. The first thing I had moved into my new home was my drawing desk and computer and I spent the first few days surrounded by boxes begging to be unpacked while I furiously scribbled away. I had mistakenly thought that moving house ‘only down the road’ would be simple and of course I could take on two sketchcard projects in the middle of it – I mean, who turns down jobs from DC and IDW when they come knocking? My Kickstarter backers were more than understanding and so many of them wished me luck with the projects. I was just so proud to be working for two of my favourite comic publishers that I didn’t mind the sleepless nights.

I had been living at home with my parents for the last few years while I worked on getting my art career off the ground. It had been amazingly beneficial of course and I cannot thank my parents enough for giving me that chance to work on my portfolio, travel around the country easily and of course being there for me. But nothing prepared me for the incentive and drive having ‘the fear’ of living in a rented house again (especially when you are a self-employed freelance artist) would give me. So of course when Orion contacted me with their brief for three colouring books I jumped at the chance. This was not only an opportunity to work on a project which meant a lot to me (having studied mindfulness and art therapy in the past) but also get my name into bookstores (and of course pay my rent!).

At first things developed at a nice easy pace. The books were due in June and I was communicating back and forth as I drew up sample pages and covers, taking time to make sure they were what the publishers wanted and working up roughs and pencils before moving onto inks. As I was going to have to wait until the pages were all complete and sent in to get paid, I obviously had to take on other work at the same time, including several new sketchcard sets, private commissions and of course travelling around to conventions. On top of all of this I was determined to get ‘Cirque Du Mort’ ready for London MCM in May. I had already made my backers wait for so long due to being offered the DC and IDW work (as well as working on everything alone) and I was obviously getting worried about them becoming discouraged. So essentially, I was working on four books – the ‘Cirque Du Mort‘ and the colouring books.

It was only 10 days to go until London MCM and the final launch of the ‘Cirque Du Mort’ that I had the phone-call that boosted everything into overdrive. There had been an issue with the printers and Orion now needed the final pages for all three books by the 29th May instead of late June – giving me 16 days (not including the 4 that I would have to take out for London MCM) to completely finish the books – that’s 140 pages in 12 days. 11 pages a day. In those 16 days I think I slept for about 4 of them. My rubbish bin was full to the brim with energy drinks’ cans and when I did go to bed it was usually when my partner’s alarm went off for him to get up for work.

I suppose I can appreciate the irony that creating books to alleviate stress would be the most stressful experience of my life.

I did not have much time to celebrate getting the pages for the books in as I had to start sending out ‘Cirque Du Mort’ backer packages (now that the books had been printed and most merchandise ordered). Of the 268 amazing backers, I managed to pack up and send off 207 rewards before I got another message from Orion. They had liked the books so much that they wanted me to do another three. As I had not taken on any new work during the creation of the last books, I had nothing lined up for the coming months and of course I wanted to keep my working relationship with Orion going. They were a wonderful team to work with and they were giving me my own book series with my name on the cover – this is what artists dream of. So before I even had chance to breathe after the first Colour Me Mindful books were done and dusted, I was working on ‘Colour Me Mindful: Butterflies’, ‘Enchanted Creatures’ and ‘Seasons’.

I felt like I was ready for this series. That I knew what to expect. That I wouldn’t let any unforeseen circumstances creep up on me and force me to panic again. That was when someone very close to me, who had been in and out of hospital most of the year, became very ill. I was in and out of hospital visiting them and driving back and forth from Newport to Penarth, on top of which the emotional stress began to take its toll. I started turning down sketchcard work or having to finish projects early. I started coming home prematurely from conventions and getting my partner to post on social media for me when I was actually just zoning out and struggling to hold a pencil.

I knew the signs that my mental illness was rearing its ugly head. I had learned to spot them from a young age. So I called up my doctor for a pre-emptive strike and booked myself in for counselling. I was put on a three month waiting list. I called up MIND. Their waiting list was two months. I became even more reclusive and started cancelling social occasions with my friends (if I organised them at all). When I wasn’t traveling back and forth to the hospital, I was staring at a blank page trying to will my pencil to actually move. The publishers were amazingly understanding and I ended up getting the next books in a little late, but to a standard I was incredibly proud of considering the circumstances… You’d think it would end there, right?

Well. That was when I was asked to do three more books… Part of me of course wanted to say no, if only due to my mental health. But I didn’t want to stop working with Orion. It’s not often that an artist and a publisher work so well together. By this point I also needed the organisation of drawing every day, I felt like that was what was keeping me together. I needed a job to keep me structured. I needed to pay rent and bills of course. But mostly I had met so many people during the publication of ‘Colour Me Mindful’ who had messaged me saying that my books had helped them through tough times. I had emails upon emails from other people who had depression and felt that my work was helping them. That was probably the most inspiring thing that has ever happened to me.

Despite everything I was going through myself, there were people out there who found the fruits of my labour calming. One person even told me how they helped him stave off a massive panic attack when he was on the train. Another told me how they helped her forget her chronic pain – if only for a moment.

It was during drawing the last three books, the ‘Draw Your Way To A Younger Brain’ series, that the someone very close to me passed away. I had to take time away from working obviously, and stepped away from everything for a while. I phoned up my doctor and tried to push them to let me see a counsellor sooner and they booked me in with some local student counsellors after the books were done. I tried my best to keep on top of my mental health but everything just felt hazy. The stress, grieving, sleep deprivation, poor physical health (mostly from ‘deadline diet’ and reliance on energy drinks  *see sleep deprivation), guilt from the other projects I had allowed to fall to the wayside and those that just overwhelmed me; all hit me at once and it just seemed like everything was just too much.

I had a bit of a breakdown in front of my partner (I’m sure it was more than one of course, but one really stood out) and he just said “What can we do to fix it?” I suddenly realised that all the advice I had been giving people with mental issues, all the mindfulness I had been preaching, the #endthestigma conversations I had been encouraging – I finally needed to practice what I preached.

I started seeing the student counsellor every week. I went off my hormonal pill medication (which had been changed by my doctor earlier in the year and had been causing me a lot of distress). I started meditating every morning using mindfulness tapes. I improved my diet and stopped drinking energy drinks as much. I slept. I slept so much.

When I handed in the final three books it wasn’t to huge fanfare and congratulations, but the largest sigh of relief I have ever felt. And I couldn’t even feel it due to my anhedonia (emotional numbness) flaring up so badly. I have not taken on any new work since and have saved up enough that I can work on personal projects like ‘Cirque Du Mort’ and commissions over the Christmas, in-between looking after myself and trying to get back on a more healthy and personally productive schedule.

I look back over the things I have done this year: Self publishing my first creator owned book, ‘Cirque Du Mort’. Becoming a recognised colouring book artist. Being published in Germany, Australia, Canada, America and Korea. Publishing 10 books in one year. Working for DC, IDW, Dynamite and Marvel as a sketchcard artist. And it is still hard for me to feel proud. My depression robs me of that and that is just a sad fact. I see the loved one I lost. I see how disappointed some of my backers are that I didn’t get my books out to them in good time. I see the little things I could have done better. Those are the things my depression shows me.

But I also know that I will not let it win. I know that I got help. I know that I told those closest to me what was going on and let them help me. I know that I can get through this just like I have got through this before. I know how proud of me that lost loved one is. I know how proud of me my parents and friends are. And even though I can’t feel that pride myself yet, I know I will. It will just take time. Time, rest, help and heck – maybe even some mindful colouring in. Why not?


‘Help Syrian Refugees’ Charity Art Auction


Help Syrian Refugees Charity Art Auction


The wonderful Emily Owen (@TomboyPrincess), a regular face in the world of comic and art conventions here in the UK and co-creator of Pup & Grumpicorn is currently running an eBay Charity auction to help Syrian Refugees. 100% of the proceeds of these auctions will be going towards aiding refugees by providing them with warm clothes and bedding during what is one of the coldest Winters in the region in 20 years.

I am very proud that three pieces of my own artwork are included in this auction and with a starting price of only 99p(!) with only £2.50 thrown in for postage and packaging, it is a perfect time to pick up some original artwork for an incredibly affordable price whilst also giving your money to a tremendous cause. The three pieces donated can be seen in more detail below. Simply click on the image or the link below each picture to be taken directly to the eBay listing.


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Colour Me Mindful Seasons – Harvest Festival – LINK TO LISTING

250mm x 250mm

Original Page from the 2015 book Colour Me Mindful: Seasons, published by Orion Publishing, signed by the artist.

(Watermark will not be on the original page)


Colour Me Mindful Tropical – Tropical Toucan – LINK TO LISTING

258mm x 236mm

Original Page from the 2015 book Colour Me Mindful: Tropical, published by Orion Publishing, signed by the artist.

(Watermark will not be on the original page)


Ocean

Original Art Print – Ocean – LINK TO LISTING

26cm x 42cm

Original Art Print signed by the artist.


Be sure to also check out Emily’s other eBay listings for some wonderful artwork by some very talented local artists and good friends. You can also donate directly to the Red Cross’ Syria Crisis Appeal or the UNHCR, The UN Refugee Agency.


Christmas Giveaway


Christmas Giveaway


How would you like a chance to win not one, not two, not even three, but ALL SIX of the ‘Colour Me Mindful’ adult colouring books released by Orion Publishing in 2015? Not only will you get copies of the most recent releases ‘Seasons’, ‘Enchanted Creatures’ and ‘Butterflies’, but you will also get American copies (yes – that’s Color without the ‘U’) of the original ‘Color Me Mindful’ ‘Birds’, ‘Tropical’ and ‘Underwater’ by Gallery Books. These books measure 22cm squared (as opposed to the UK copies of 17cm squared) with a gorgeous gloss cover and are not available in this country.

As the UK ‘last post’ date is fast approaching before Christmas, the raffle will run until 15th December so that the winner will be able to get their books before Christmas Eve (this raffle is open to you lovely lot from countries other than the UK of course, but it won’t be guaranteed that you will get your books before Christmas depending on your location).

This would be an ideal way to bulk out your stockings, great gifts for family and friends, or just a great activity for you to have fun with and relax with some mulled wine and mince pie!

And don’t forget that ‘Colour Me Mindful’ ‘Seasons’ has some great Winter images to really get in the festive mood. Why not check out the hashtag #ColourMeMindful on Twitter or Instagram to see what gorgeous holiday pictures the other colourists out there are making.

There are plenty of ways to enter the Raffle after you have entered the first two mandatory options below, from following on Facebook to posting an Amazon review (I know a lot of you have already been kind enough to do these things so, of course, your past follows count). Just follow the instructions on the simple Rafflecopter widget below and GOOD LUCK!  

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Win The BRAND NEW Colour Me Mindful Series


Win The BRAND NEW Colour Me Mindful Series

Time really does fly! It seems like only yesterday I was adding the finishing touches to the next batch of Colour Me Mindful titles: Butterflies, Seasons and Enchanted Creatures; and now, in little over a week (on the 24th September), they are due to be released.

This series was a lot of fun to work on. While butterflies was fun and relaxing, Seasons and Enchanted Creatures were both interesting and challenging. Not only to come up with original content but to research interesting concepts.

Enchanted Creatures is definitely my favourite of this series and I would like to say a huge thank you to each and every one of you helped by telling me your favourite magickal creatures, myths and legends. In this book you will find selkies, mermaids, dragons, magical birds, nagas, sphynx and many, many more and I really hope you enjoy colouring them all in.

The books are all still available to pre-order from Amazon and will also be available from your local bookstores, WH Smiths and Waterstones (so make sure to ask if they are due to be stocked). But, if you would like the chance to win a FREE COPY of EACH BOOK then keep on reading!


COLOUR ME MINDFUL BOOK GIVEAWAY!

To be in with a chance to win a FREE COPY of Colour Me Mindful: Butterflies, Colour Me Mindful: Seasons, and Colour Me Mindful: Enchanted Creatures, simply check out the Rafflecopter box below.

All you have to do is subscribe to this blog via email (link in the box at the bottom of the page) and comment on any of the blog posts on my website, then you will see a whole host of other options to grab extra ‘tickets’ in the raffle. Amazon reviews are the BIG TICKET! If you review the current Colour Me Mindful titles (Underwater, Tropical and Birds) you will get a grand total of 15 entries into the raffle! Significantly boosting your chance of winning.


PRIZE BONUSES!

Also – the more entries – the more prizes! That’s right, if I receive a significant amount of entries, I will add extra prizes into the raffle. So the more entries you encourage, the more prizes I will add into the mix! This will include extra copies of the book, copies of the current titles and even original pages! So if you would like a bigger and better chance to win, spread the word!

The giveaway will be running from 16th September to Monday 28th September.



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Colour Me Mindful Launch Day


Well, the day is finally here! Colour Me mindful Birds, Tropical and Underwater are now available to buy in stores across the United Kingdom. To celebrate this ‘Book Birthday’ I am running a Launch Event over on Facebook which includes fun things such as giveaways, behind the scenes images and auctions; but mostly it is just a place for us to gather and meet each other and, of course, share your beautiful colouring in!

One of the biggest events of the day that I am running is an eBay auction for an original page from Colour Me Mindful: Birds. This is one of my favourite pages from the book and it features a highly detailed owl. All proceeds from this auction – that’s 100% of the money – will be going to the Mind Charity, a charity and cause very close to my heart that offers support for those living with mental health problems.

So please, if you can take the time to visit the auction or simply Tweet it/Facebook it/blog about it, that would be wonderful. You can find the link here. The auction will be running for the next three days so there is plenty of time to take part.

Also, due to the HUGE popularity of my previous Rafflecopter Giveaway, I will be running a similar giveaway today. The difference is – EVERYONE who takes part will get a FREE digital download of an EXCLUSIVE colouring page! This colouring page is not featured in ANY of the Colour Me Mindful books but is based on the theme of Enchanted Creatures‘ which will be released in October. So just by entering the very simple giveaway below, you will be sent a FREE COLOURING PAGE!

Happy Book Birthday everyone! And happy colouring!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

True Colours


True Colours


This week saw the release of the Colour Me Mindful series of Adult Colouring Books by Orion Publishing, as review samples to Book Bloggers, Art Book Bloggers and generally awesome people on social media. Consequently I woke up to an awesome amount of tweets, Intsagram tags and mentions on July 6th with a lot of very excited colouring-in aficionados showing me their post and some of them even sharing what they had already done.

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I haven’t actually seen the books myself yet, but from the response they seem to be getting from Twitter and Instagram, I am really happy with how they have come out. I am actually pretty excited to colour them myself when I receive my comp copies! Everyone seems to be having so much fun it would be a shame not to join in! (Plus, I REALLY wanted to colour them as I was working on them!)

It is a little bit surreal seeing so many people colouring in my work – and they haven’t even been released yet! (FYI they are still available for pre-order on Amazon and are due for release in the UK on July 30th and in the USA on August 25th – note that America refers to the series as ‘COLOR Me Mindful’) But the whole experience so far has been amazing fun and it is always interesting to see what colours people choose – especially from my perspective as I obviously had my own colours and patterns in mind as I was drawing them.

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I have managed to collect a couple of different pages together thanks to the lovely folk on the #ColourMeMindful Hashtag on Twitter and I really can’t wait to see what everyone else comes up with! Each of these images are reproduced with the kind permission of the lovely people mentioned in the tweets below their pics. The header image of the physical books are also from @MamaMummyMum – Thank you all so much!

If you have links to your blog/Instagram/Twitter and would like to share your coloured pages from the Colour Me Mindful series, please comment below. I would love to see them and share them around. Don’t forget to leave your thoughts on the book on their Amazon Pages and Goodreads

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