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Where I Draw: Illustrator Catherine Rayner’s beautiful studio

Catherine Rayner's artist studio

Clare and her Captain written by Michael Morpurgo and illustrated by Catherine Rayner is out now! Catherine dropped by the blog to take us on a photo-tour of her artist’s studio”

So here’s a little peek in to my slightly higgledy piggledy studio! I’m sure it looks more untidy in the photos than it actually is! It’s a small room at the front of our flat, people are often amazed by how much stuff I’ve fitted into a tiny space.

I’m currently working on a commission of three hedgehogs. I have four flat surfaces in my studio, I use them all for painting as I can be working on several projects at the same time so I need a lot of space. This surface is actually the top of a plan chest. It’s rather a nice height to paint at so I use it a lot.

Two hedgehogs from Catherine Rayner

This is my ‘main desk’ where I do most of my book work. On it is my computer and scanner. It’s always covered in paper, sketchbooks and drawing stuff. Secretly, I prefer it when it’s a mess, it’s easier to find things that way! Here I’m working on the next Solomon book…

Catherine Rayner's working space

Here is a half-finished piece of work from Clare and her Captain. I loved painting this spread, imagining all the postcards Thatcher Jones has been sent over the years. Painting pictures of his prize pigs and favourite chickens. I even got to make up family members and I painted old photos of him with his parents when he was small. I wanted to make it a happy wall full of lovely memories.

Illustration by Catherine Rayner from Clare and her Captain

Here’s me at my desk talking about Smelly Louie. This is the tidiest it’s ever been (I had a film crew that all had to fit in – this is a still from the video).

Smelly Louie from Catherine Rayner film

Desk essentials” – obviously.

Mug and cake in Catherine Rayner's artist's studio

Butterfly in progress…

Butterfly illustration from wildlife artist Catherine Rayner

The desk behind my ‘main desk’ has my light box on. I use this to trace sketches onto thicker paper for painting.

Catherine Rayner's lightbox

And here is desk four, and my very helpful studio assistant, Finlay, illustrating a marvellous book he’s written about a dinosaur. My other assistant – the lovely Caroline – also sits here once a week and helps me organise events and paperwork (which there is a surprising amount of). Caroline also handles all card orders (I make a range of greetings cards) and keeps on top of my emails.

Catherine Rayner's studio assistant

Giraffe in progress.

Giraffe drawn by Catherine Rayner

This is what my studio looks like from the outside. I love flowers and gardening so always have busy window boxes. I find all types of plants inspiring, especially leaf shapes, you’ll often find things from our garden popping up in my work. I’m not a particularly good gardener, we do have a fair amount of casualties, but I think I’d get good marks for trying!

Illustrator Catherine Rayner's garden window

This is my other studio assistant, she’s not very pro-active.

Catherine Rayner's grey cat

My favourite part of my studio – my shelves. My husband made these for me and I often worry they might fall off the wall. The weight on them must be huge! When I moved into this studio I unpacked 20 boxes of books and ‘things’ onto these shelves.

Shelving in Catherine Rayner's studio

There’s also a huge fireplace in my room – I keep meaning to put a stove in as I like being warm (I can’t draw when my hands are cold!) but the space in front of the fire is kind of useful – as you can probably tell!!

Catherine Rayner's fireplace

Sometimes my studio assistant spreads out into the kitchen. He likes a lot of space to express himself properly. If I need yet another desk you can find me in here too…

Catherine Rayner's son drawing

Last but not least, my studio fish. We mustn’t forget Richard (he couldn’t keep still for the photo) we are all very fond of Richard and he provides endless inspiration”- when I’m drawing fish…

Catherine Rayner's goldfish

Thanks Catherine! Find out more about Clare and her Captain and buy the hardback here and the brand new paperback here.

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