Help our followers get to know you. What does your typical day in the life of Anastasia Catris involve?
Well, I work from home, so the commute is nice and easy(!) The start of my day tends to depend on how late I stayed up drawing the night before. I have gone for days without sleep when a deadline is looming. After answering e-mails and working on social media first thing, I make a list of upcoming deadlines and prioritise my drawing. I tend to start with a 'warm-up' before I get to work on actual jobs to limber up my hand, this can be anything from a small sketch card to a bunch of doodles in a sketch book. A lot of the time what I choose to work on for the day will depend on how I am feeling. I find that inking and colouring are things which have already been created but need embellishment and time, so they're great for when I want to lose myself in a job. Ideas and thumb-nailing (working out small stick figure designs of pages, order, narrative etc), take a lot more research and brain power so are great for when I am more energetic.
When did you first become interested in illustrating?
I have always been a complete bookworm, so the idea of combining my love of art and my love of books always seemed like a match made in heaven. If I wasn't reading Tamora Pierce or Point Horror when I was a teenager my head was stuck in an X-Men comic, but I didn't actually consider the idea of being an illustrator until I did my English degree and read the works of Scott McCloud. I actually failed my art A-Level because my teacher didn't consider comic books and book illustration to be a 'serious art form', so reading McCloud's work re-ignited my passion for the medium and made me realise how well respected it actually was.
What are your favourite things to draw?
One of my current favourite subjects is definitely Dia de los Muertos style candy skulls. I absolutely love drawing extreme detail and really enjoy the symbols and imagery in the Mexican Day of The Dead celebrations, so that is definitely one of my current favourite things to draw.
Where do you find inspiration?
I find a lot of style inspiration in the art nouveau movement, tarot card art and mythology; but most of my drive comes from the work of my peers. I visit a lot of conventions in the UK and Europe and am lucky to know so many independent artists who constantly inspire me with their work.
If you weren't an illustrator what would you be?
I would probably still try to be involved in another aspect of the creative industry like writing or acting, but if all creative industries were closed to me I would definitely be a vet.
Why do you think adult colouring books have become so huge?
I think one of the reasons adult colouring books, specifically those for Mindfulness, have become so fashionable is due to us becoming more open about mental health - which can only be a positive thing. But I also think it is due to us being nostalgic for a more fun and carefree time when colouring within the lines was probably one of the only stresses of our day. Colouring is a great way to release our inner child while also anchoring ourselves in the here and now.
What does your working environment look like?
Surprisingly clean for an artist(!) I'm a bit of a clean freak so try to keep things organised. It's the brightest room in the house with a lovely big window allowing for natural light. I'm in a rented home so sadly no art on the walls, but I have shelves full of art books, comics and reference (and Totoro statues, video games and owls). I have a gaming PC which also has all of my digital software on it like Photoshop and my convention laptop next to it so I can watch Netflix while I am drawing. I also have an upright drawing desk for when I am painting and working on oversized art.
Do you listen to music when you work? If so, who/what?
It depends an awful lot on what I am working on. When I am doing something which doesn't require as much reference like inking or flatting, I tend to have Netflix on in the background. Work which requires a bit more concentration or referencing photos and textures I'll listen to Spotify. As for the style of music, that all depends on the style of the art. The 'Colour Me Mindful' series was mostly fuelled by Sigur Ros and Nina Simone, while 'Cirque Du Mort' was Nightwish, Amanda Palmer and Iain Ballamy.
What are your favourite things in life?
Gosh... lots of things. Animals - definitely. There is nothing that cheers me up more than my pets, no matter how hard a day I've had. Reading - especially a good dystopian novel or some YA fantasy. Video games - so much of my early fan art was based on my love of Nintendo and I even did my Art GCSE on Lionhead Studios' character designs. Halloween! My favourite time of year... And any film from Studio Ghibli.
Finally, please give 3 words that describe your work.
Keeps. Me. Happy.