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Cathy Brett has been a theatre scenic artist, a packaging designer, a fashion illustrator, a school art technician, and a couple of dozen other jobs in between! In 2003, while taking a much-needed tropical beach break from teaching illustration to 18-year-olds, she decided to write a novel. Unlike many thousands of people who say they will write one, Cathy actually did. And finished it. It was rubbish but her second attempt wasn't so bad. She showed it to an agent who also thought it wasn't so bad and who managed to get her a two book deal with Headline!

Ember Fury, her first illustrated teen novel, was published in 2009. It was Borders' Children's Book of the Month in September that year and was shortlisted for The Young Minds Book Award. Scarlett Dedd, a darkly comic horror story about a teen ghost, was published in September 2010 and was selected for the first Richard and Judy Children's Book Club.  Scarlett Dedd was published in the US in 2012 by Delacorte. Verity Fibbs, a fast-paced thriller, hit the bookshelves in October 2011.
From Everything Is Fine (and other lies I tell myself)
The following year she published two books - Everything Is Fine (And Other Lies I Tell Myself), a story of sadness, summertime and surfing (a real tear-jerker) and GRAPHIC (Barrington Stoke), about teen artist Joe whose sketchbook drawings come to life.

She has subsequently illustrated a long list of titles by other authors, including Karen McCombie and Melvin Burgess, and in 2016 began an exciting collaboration with writer Jo Cotterill, creating the award-winning Electrigirl Series for Oxford University Press.

From ELECTRIGIRL written by Jo Cotterill (OUP)

In 2015 she moved house, built a studio and started a part-time MA, turning her life upside-down (in a good way) and launching some brand new projects. These have included comics for Scoop Magazine, an innovative museum exhibit, an artist's residency and a graphic novel (in progress) which was shortlisted for the Laydeez Do Comics Prize. 

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Rubber Stamping

We were only 4, because of the snow, but Saturday's rubber stamping workshop was a huge success. I invited friends to be my guinea pigs so I could test timings and smooth out technical details. The results were great.
Peter made his own logo stamps and printed them on a book bag, while Lisa and Dorothy created wonderful designs which we printed on kraft paper greetings cards.

I'll be running the smoothed-out version of the same workshop during Surrey Artist's Open Studios in June, so check back here for details in a month or two. More workshops are planned for the summer, too, including Cyanotype Printing on Fabric and Making Your Own Folding Hardcover Sketchbook.
Thank you Lisa Boyce for the photographs.

Laydeez Day

This weekend I'm heading up to London for the Laydeez Do Comics Award event. I'm really excited that 'Who Killed Jo-jo?', my first long-form comic, is on the shortlist. I'm awfully chuffed to have been selected alongside such talented artists and it feels like an enormous stamp of approval for my 30-year plan to become a bona fide graphic novelist! Better late then never, eh?

If you are anywhere near London, do come over to the Free Word Centre tomorrow (24th March) where you will be able to read ALL the submitted comics as zines, and meet loads of amazing comics creators, male and female! It's free but you need to book.

Jumping at my desk about Ember

It seems my first ever book is still being discovered and enjoyed by new readers. This makes me very happy indeed, as you can probably imagine.
This week I was sent a 'Book Report' by a chap called Dexter (aged 9 and 3/4) and was delighted to see that he had chosen to write about Ember Fury. Turns out Dexter is a pretty good author himself. The report was really well written and I was pleased to hear that all my favourite bits of Ember Fury are Dexter's too. Instead of focussing on Ember's attention-seeking fire-starting or the crazy desert car chase with Finn, Dexter chose the scene where Em gave the chauffeur the slip and ended up in the comic book store as his fave (which was, incidentally, the best scene to write).
His favourite character was Ned, whom I ADORE too, almost more than Ember (shhh, don't tell her!). Dexter also liked my drawings and said they were 'amazing' which made me jump up and down at my desk (Dangerous as I'd just made a hot mug…