Tea with Angela Cater.

It seems ages since I did my last "Cuppa" interview, so here without further ado, let me introduce to you the author/illustrator Angela Cater. Angela illustrates her own children's books and publishes them at Tabby Cat Press, She draws cats beautifully and is a cat lover herself which I think shows in her work.
Won't you join us for a cuppa, there's plenty of tea left in the pot!

How do you take your tea and in what kind of cup do you like it served?
Answer - Just as it comes please with a drop of milk, and in a pretty bone-china mug.

If you could choose anyone, past , present or future, who would be joining us for tea?
Answer- I'd like to invite Norman Rockwell. The stories he told about the characters that modelled for his paintings are often hilarious. Also Lesley-Anne Ivory as I'm sure we could chat about cats until the cows come home. More than her cats themselves, I really admire her detailed backgrounds; the background is always the thing I enjoy illustrating the least.

Tell me a little about your background in art and design?
Answer- I've been painting and drawing animals ever since I was old enough to hold a paint brush and consider myself to be self-taught. I read a lot of art books but don't use them to influence my own work or the decisions I make. As a mature student, I took the Foundation Art course at Chesterfield College of Art and Technology. I quite enjoyed dabbling with all the different facilities there, but resent the tutors' attempts to draw me away from a more illustrative style into the abstract oil paintings they so favour. After that, I studied Advertising at Doncaster College (at HND level), but graduated in the early 90's recession and by the time things picked up, my skills were well and truly out of date.

Where are you based and does it influence your work?
Answer- I'm based in Manchester. When I first moved here, I lived on a really rough estate (the sort of place where everyone turns out at the weekend to watch cars burn), and my art became a form of escapism. It was then that I first developed my “Character Cats” and I would build stories around them. Most people either love or hate them, but Sailor Sam later became the star character of my first children's picture book, and “Cat Dracula” is a best-selling greeting card at the Whitby Bookshop.

What have you been doing/working on today?
Answer- Today, I have baked my coloured pencils to strengthen the lead as I am working on a portrait of a siamese cat for submission to the Society of Feline Artist's annual exhibition. I am currently off-work with sciatica and it has given me an unexpected fortnight in which to work on various exhibition pieces. I also exhibit annually with the UK Coloured Pencil Society.

I hope that you have brought along something wonderful to show us, what is it?
Answer- “Beautiful Dreamer” (see above)
This is a coloured pencil portrait of my late tabby, Samson who was one of my all time favourite models. It was the first time that I have attempted working in 'reverse' on black paper, and I was so scared of making a wrong mark that this picture took me almost 4 months to complete, but I am very pleased of the result.

Illustration for “Brogan's Good Turns” - I have recently started work on another children's book that is about a stray cat who is so grateful to his young mistress for saving his life that he tries to repay her with many misunderstood favours. My new cat, Pablo is the model here – someone dumped him on my doorstep just before Christmas and he's the best present I've ever had! I am also in the process of writing and illustrating “A Lifetime of Cats” which will be kind of a memoir of every cat I have ever had and the art that they have inspired. Yes, all this and a full-time job! Thanks for the cup of tea, I really needed that.

Well Angela, I can see that we have lots in common and share an admiration for the work of Lesley Anne Ivory. I once worked with an editor who knew her well, in fact Lesley had given her one of her cats and no doubt painted it too! I have also learnt something new about baking coloured pencils and have discovered that you have a blog so no doubt I shall be visiting you again soon. It was a pleasure to share a cuppa with you and hope that you come back soon.


  1. Angela's top drawing - amazing! I thought it was a photo at lst!

  2. Delightful tea! Norman Rockwell would be a fascinating guest, as well. I want to get the new book that includes the photos of the models he used for his famous paintings. There are two Rockwells in residence at our Columbus Museum of Art. I'm always amazed at how thickly he applied the paint. The surfaces are very chunky and ragged.

  3. Thanks, her work is so goood. I saw an exhibition of Lesley Anne Ivory in Salisbury years ago. Not sure I've seen anything better.

  4. I so enjoyed this!
    Little did Pablo realize when he was so unceremoniously "dumped" that he would become an artist's model!

  5. What a tea time treat! I have been reading along with my own cuppa in hand! Fabulous illustrations. Your blog is always such a pleasure to visit Valerie!

  6. Hi Valerie and Angela...how great to see you on here with my good friend Valerie!! I didn't know you knew one another but it makes sense now I think about it!! Your work is beautiful Angela...keep on creating!!


  7. Thank you Valerie and Angela.

    This interview was so very interesting. I had never before known anything about baking colored pencils. I am very intrigued by this.

    Please do tell...what temperature, how many minutes, and what sort of surface should the pencils rest on?

    I am not a cat fan. Never mind about that. These drawings are wonderful!


  8. That first drawing is stunning! After getting our daughter a cat for her birthday last year I am a recent cat devotee as it's years and years since I had one. And we all wonder how we survived without him now!

    What a delightful interview! Thanks for the introduction, Valerie!

  9. That was delightful - thank you for the introduction!

  10. Looking at beautiful dreamer there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that Angela loves cats!

  11. Valerie, thank you for inviting me, and a big thank you to all your readers for the great boost to my confidence! I now have a new Facebook illustration page (http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Angela-Caters-Illustration/124355687602274?ref=ts)and have just posted my newest picture finished today!
    Patricia, my eagle eyes spotted Valerie on your friend's list, and as I own a very battered old address book that she illustrated, I couldn't resist getting in touch.
    Frances, lay your pencils on greased proof paper on a baking tray. Starting with a cold oven, bake them at 250oF for 5 - 7 minutes. It does improve very crumbly pencils, but sadly doesn't stop them breaking all together.

  12. Oh, again I thank you so very much, Valerie and Angela!

    I am going to have do try this. Mind you, I have a large collection of colored pencils from various manufacturers. I used to do many drawings...maybe 30 years ago, and admit that many of my pencils have not seen much action since then.

    You all have inspired me. Cheers! xo

  13. Great interview. I enjoyed the pictures and I, too, thought the first one was a photo. The "offerings" from the cat below are so great. Thanks for this post.

  14. Like Frances, I was interested about baking the pencils!
    What a wonderful illustrator of cats.
    I think I love dogs best but our cats in Morocco entertained , delighted and abused us mightily.
    So glad you are enjoying "Jane" --sort of a period piece now, I think!

  15. Her expression is really delicate...


  16. Well, that was really fun! I think most artists love cats, they are such wonderful models, especially when they are sleeping. I think I have painted most of mine at one time or another.
    Lovely artist, thanks for introducing her.

  17. Both of these drawings are magnificent! Thank you for sharing them and the artists with us!

  18. Wow!!!!
    Difficult to express in words ..
    The picture so real.
    Great Job Angela.