What is so compelling about being commissioned to illustrate for the New Arcadian Journal – apart from the captivating subject matter, the freedom of interpretation, and the sense that one is playing one’s part in creating such a unique and highly regarded publication – is actually the limitations of the brief: monochrome drawings no larger than A4. It concentrates the mind; the quality of the marks that are made become very important.
In this digital age, where anything is possible, I think illustrators still possess a curiosity about excellent draughtsmanship, and indeed at the moment I think drawing is experiencing a renewed appreciation. For me, the expressive nature of the line is so important, and the illustrators I admire the most are those for whom their quality of line has come to define their ‘style.’ Quentin Blake said “Everything depends on the quality of the marks that are made, if these are not good the drawing will not work”. When one cannot rely on colour, tone, texture or digital technology, the bare bones of the drawing are exposed, and the challenge is to ensure they connect together to make a whole.
To see all her NAJ drawings and examples of other work, follow this link to Catherine’s website.