UK Handmade member Cathy Settle is an animal portrait artist who will create stunningly accurate portraits of your pets as well as highly detailed works from nature and her surrounding countryside. We take a little peep into Cathy's life and how she got started in her creative field...
Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
I loved art when I was at school and I got accepted to attend Art College however my Mother pressured me into getting a 'proper job'. Whilst I was busy working and raising a family I never got time to draw, however I always knew that one day I would pick up my pencils again although I envisaged it would probably be during my retirement years.
How did you get started as an animal portrait artist, have you always drawn?
I went through a very difficult time at work and felt bullied and stressed to the point where it was affecting my health. I found solace whilst out on my walks with my two dogs and enjoyed seeing the beautiful nature that surrounded me. One morning I felt that I couldn't face going into work anymore and I explained to my husband that I didn't want to go back. He must have thought I was crazy when I explained to him that I would draw instead but when I drew our two dogs he was amazed at my long hidden talent and agreed that I should persue my dream.
What has been your favourite commission so far?
I think my favourite commission is of Jed a Border Collie cross. It was an unusual photograph, in that it didn't show all of his face but had an amazing close up of his eye. The eyes are my favourite part of all of my pet portraits, if I can get the eyes right the drawing seems to come alive.
Please tell us about your working space.
I have a portable easel, so I can draw almost anywhere, however my usual place to draw is in the conservatory where there is lots of natural light. I have invested in a daylight lamp so that I can still draw at night time. I've only been drawing for a year and it's only recently when I had my fiftieth birthday that I asked for a new desk and chair to help make me more comfortable whilst drawing. Before that I would sit at a child's size table and tiny wooden chair. It never used to do my back any favours.
What are your favourite tools of the trade?
I think my favourite tool of the trade would have to be my Jakar pencil sharpener. It helps to get my pencils at a really sharp point so that I can make really fine details.
Who are your favourite designer/makers?
What does the term ‘handmade’ mean to you?
The term 'handmade' to me means anything that has been skillfully crafted by an individual putting their unique individual mark onto it.
What are your goals for the next few years?
My goals for the next few years are to actually make a profit so that I can justify leaving my 'proper job'. I would love to have a full diary of commissions and yet still have time to enjoy drawing nature.
What advice can you give someone starting a creative business?
My advise to anyone starting a creative business depends on how they are fixed financially. If they have no savings, I would say be cautious and check if there is a market for your product but otherwise I would say, go for it, follow your dreams and do whatever makes you happy - yes I'm a lot poorer financially but I am happier and healthier than I've ever been.
How do you balance work and life?
Balancing work and life is so much easier now. I no longer have to ask permission to get time off and I'm free to arrange my day however I like.
Describe your perfect day.
A perfect day for me is when the sun is shining and I get all day sat in the fresh air creating my artwork.
You can find my work on my website at https://www.cathysettleart.com
You can follow me on Facebook - Cathy's Creations by CathySettle
on Instagram at www.instagram.com/cathysettle
or on Twitter www.twitter.com/cathysettle4
If you are a UK based designer maker and wish to be considered for our premium portfolio account, please apply here http://ukhandmade.co.uk/member-application.