We have so much talent in the Supernatural fandom! Fans draw, edit photos and videos, write fan fics, create costumes or props, make jewelry and much more. It’s time to showcase the #SPNFamily’s talent and ask the people behind the creations some questions!
You may know her as CatCurl. She makes awesome paintings for the Supernatural fandom.
I had the chance to interview the amazing Catherine, aka CatCurl.
We talked about her art, the SPNFamily, the secret behind her name CatCurl and so much more.
Let´s start with the interview!
How and when did you got trapped in the Supernatural fandom?
I went to a local annual pop culture con where I met a young trans guy dressed as Castiel with black foam wings. He told me about an interstate con “All Hell Breaks Loos” (AHBL) run by Hub Productions and offered me space in his car to help share the expenses.
The road trip cemented our friendship! Now he coplays as Dean!
I was also exploring social media and I came across a Supernatural group for women over 30. I made friends and connected with a young woman who wrote fanfic and had artistic talents herself and we bonded. I don’t normally like to read fan fic because I’m usually disappointed. It’s usually someones delusional fantasy that doesn’t read like the show but her treatment of story spoke to me. Well, we exchanged pleasantries and I became very addicted to her writing efforts and shared other similar passions with her that calcified our friendship.
It’s refreshing to find a group of like-minded fans who are supportive and can share opinion in a mature way without the drama of the younger crowd, i.e. we share opinions that may differ without having the fear of being torn down because you might have a different perspective. As I shared my art, I had more pleasant interactions which boosted my low self esteem. The support I found there helped me survive the deep depression I was fighting, triggered from divorce of a failed long term marriage.
What does the Supernatural fandom mean to you?
Supernatural gave me distraction from my problems. It became my muse, and fandom became a place to share my artistic voice.
Fandom gave me like-minded people with whom I had a passion I could share with and connect. Fans who were willing to embrace you. It was where you could find support and encouragement and in some cases be better than family.
Fans would cry with you, laugh with you, share with you. It’s great to have somewhere where you know you’re not alone.
How and when did you started drawing?
In Australia, when I was going to school, community was very sport oriented and I wasn’t very good at it. The one thing I was good at, though, was drawing. I remember drawing Star Wars. I painted patches to sew on jeans or jackets and sold them at recess for extra pocket money. In high school, I painted t-shirts for a friend who at the time was into Adam Ant and Boy George.
I had no idea what I wanted to do. I struggled through school and just wanted a job with dreams of marriage and a nice house. Computers weren’t very advanced and neither were computer games. Cosplay was just costuming, and being a geek or nerd wasn’t very mainstream acceptable. When I got married, my husband, who was also artistic, managed a video store . We created promotional displays for upcoming releases and I’d do the occasional portrait for friends’ birthdays. Every year he’d design a Christmas card and I’d hand make about 100 of them gluing, stamping & embossing them.
When my marriage ended, I threw myself into my art and it became my therapy.
Please tell us with what kind of supplies you use for your drawings.
My dad got sick with Emphysema and took up painting with Hobbytex as a hobby. It’s an oil paint in a tube with a ball point tip you can paint onto fabric. It’s a family company that’s been around since the 60’s. You got supplies from a hostess and you could attend gatherings like Tupperware parties. You could paint pictures that came with a numbered colour chart or you could paint table cloths or on t-shirts or velvet hangings. When he died, I inherited it all. Over the years, I often picked up 2nd hand kits at 2nd hand markets and I have built up quite a stash. You can buy it on line but they don’t have the range they once did. Some of the paint dried out and get thick so they don’t want to work. This makes it risky for 2nd hand purchases but sometime just replacing the tip is ok. A lot of it has become discontinued. I stick with it because I don’t have to outlay funds for art supplies and having gotten very good at it, I can paint quicker than with traditional methods. In the US in the 70’s, they had an identical product called Artex. The only difference was the tip had 3 sides instead of 2.
I will find an image on line that I like. The better the photo resolution, the better the final outcome. It’s hard finding good, clear references without them being pixelated. Having created a simple lined image to size, and using a light box (in the old days it was a glass patio door), I transfer the linework to the fabric which is kind of like a thicker version of the stiffener they use for clothing. The non-woven fabric Hobbytex makes is on a large roll that I cut off as I need. I usually paint a picture 40 x 60 cm with a boarder acting as a mat to fit standard frames 50 x 70 cm. Ideally, you’re supposed to paint in little circles. You paint in sections and blend the colours together with the tip. There is a foam pen-like tool that you can saturate with paint thinner for more vigourous blending. If you make a mistake, you can’t just paint over it in this medium so I usually start with the eyes and face features. I’ll usually try to paint it all in one go because the paint drys and if you leave it and come back it leaves a ridge or noticeable line. Often, I’ll do the hair in one block of colour and let it dry before coming back to add highlights. I find it’s more realistic if you use at least 3 colours. By the time I get to the background it can be a little boring but shading gives depth. I used to wait until it was finished before sharing artwork, thinking it would otherwise spoil the surprise and impact of a piece but I’ve learnt that some people actually enjoy seeing the magic of it coming alive off the canvas.
The tubes’ tips draw a line about a millimeter thick so it’s not ideal for small detailed work. If you want to do detailed realistic portraits, and I believe if you’re going to the effort of making a portrait, you want to make a statement when you hang it on the wall. I tend to paint on my dinning room table with blotting paper underneath to absorb the excess paint that bleeds through.
What was the first picture you drew? The first Supernatural related one?
The first real portrait I did was of Sean Connery in his peacock cloak from Highlander that I painted back in 1993. I must do it again for myself. It was the first one I ever sold at a con when they actually did art shows.
The first Supernatural piece I painted was of Dean Winchester back in 2015. I fell hard for Jensen Ackles.
I always love to see the progress people make with their art. Would you like to share a “then” & “now” picture with us?
It always motivates me and maybe others too.
Then and now Luke Skywalker
My 1st Sam and my recent Sam
My first Castiel vs my 5th Cas
Also, my 1st Rowena vs my recent Rowena
Can you explain how/why you choose the pictures you draw? What inspires you?
Like Castiel, my people skills are rusty.
Going to school, I never really fit in, often misunderstood and bullied. I’m fascinated by people and want to know what makes them tick.
They say eyes are the window to the soul. I want to capture that glint in the eye, their inner light.
Because I want to capture peoples’ characteristics, I tend to pick head & shoulder shots.
I have a girlfriend who loves Jared and she suggested a picture of him in his office.
It wasn’t my usual thing. Then she suggested I paint Baby.
It had never occurred to me. Her suggestions took me further out of my comfort zone.
The reflections and colour in my current painting of Sammy, the metallicar, caught my artistic eye.
I loved the way the light reflects.
The first time I found an image of Baby, I liked it because it had an arty look to it which was more appealing than the realistic version of the photo.
Sometimes I find a photographer who is happily okay with me using their photo as a reference to create art.
Mandilea Photography or SweetonDean have been very gracious when I asked permission.
How long does it take you to finish a portrait/drawing?
When I’m really focused and not procrastinating (which can often take all day and I end up painting at night when the light isn’t as good), I can do a piece in a day. Usually, I paint the face then take a break and do the background on day 2.
I finish off with a boarder using a metallic paint colour which acts as a substitute mat to frame the piece.
Not sure if you can decide, but which are your favorite pictures that you drew, and of course why?
I painted Obi Wan Kenobi for Steve Sansweet and it was my favorite piece ever because it was the most photo realistic I have ever gotten.
It just came together perfectly.
My other favorites that came together perfectly are my Slave Leia, and Inara from Firefly.
The weather was warm so my paints flowed, the light was good and I was in a great mood. I put my heart and soul into my work.
With Supernatural, my favorite is still the FBI one with perfect profiles, and the one of Dean praying for Sam.
I also like Dean with the bunny, and the 300th one of the boys with John having the family hug.
It certainly captures feelings. When Jensen first shared his photo with JJ, I fell in love and had to paint it.
I gave it to him at a con along with giving one to Jared with Tom (that’s when I got a high-five).
I gave one to Jim Beaver, one to Jason Manns and a print to Rachel Miner.
They don’t always have space in their luggage to accept offerings but they might take a photo.
How many awesome drawings have you created until now?
I’ve painted about 20 t-shirts, 19 Star Wars, 5 Game Of Thrones, 2 Farscape, 3 Firefly, 7 Doctor Who, 23 cosplay/fantasy, 27 friends, 3 of Buffy, 24 iconic movie characters, 2 self portraits, 3 commissions, plus 102 Supernatural.
I’m trying to at least do one a week. Often, I’ll take a photo with my camera when I’m done, go to office works, and turn them into greeting cards to send to fellow Supernatural family. I’ve also experimented with printing cushions and throw rugs when they have specials.
Have any of the stars seen your drawings? If yes, what was their reaction?
A couple of years ago I decided while attending a pop culture con that instead of getting photo ops I would get the celebrities to sign my artwork.
We used to have 2 pop culture cons a year – one at the beginning of the year, a gaming one mid-year, with another pop culture one near the end. Then Comic Con decided to no longer come to my capital city. Everyone has been positive about my work but I get starstruck and can’t remember their comments.
Jared gave me a hi-five the first time I went to get autographs!
Celebrities who’ve autographed and seen my art:
William Shatner; Benedict Cumberbatch; Matt Smith; Peter Davidson; Billie Piper; Karen Gillan; Steve Sansweet; Jack Gleeson; Summer Glu; Jewel Staite; Cassandra Peterson; Bruce Boxleitner; Tricia Helfer; Lucy Lawless; Marina Sirtis; Michael Shanks; Karl Urban; Mathew Lewis; Peter Mathew; James Marsters
Jensen Ackles; Jared Padalecki; Misha Collins; Richard Speight, Jr; Matt Cohen; Emily Swallow; Amy Gumenick; Samantha Smith; Briana Buckmaster; Julian Richings; Jim Beaver; David Hayden-Jones; Adam Fergus; Jason Manns; Louden Swain; Mark Sheppard; Elizabeth Blackmore; Ruth Connell; Felicia Day; Rachel Miner
Are you creating other art besides your drawings?
When I worked at the video store making displays for movies, I did a lot of paper mache to create characters like Dobby from Harry Potter, or Master Yoda or characters from Pirates of the Caribbean.
I’d often dress up for movie premiers or make accessories for Steam Punk cosplay from recyclables to go to the annual picnic. Its an art making something on a minuscule budget. Sometimes I’ll grab my camera and photograph the toys in a realistic setting at a local park.
Some artists are open for commissions. What about you?
I had a friend who ran an art gallery who helped me put a value on my work.
Yes, I’m open to commissions but posting (mailing) from Australia isn’t cheap. One day I’ll figure it out and make an Etsy store or join something like Redbubble.
I can be contacted through my social media account (you can find all information at the end of the interview).
What are your next projects?
I’m a huge movie geek and I love props but they are usually beyond my budget. Ever since I started watching Supernatural, I’ve wanted a replica of John’s diary.
Thanks to SWFL Men of Letters Archive, I finally have one. It’s given me an idea to create my own version as if I’d been a hunter drawing on the last 15 yrs for information.
Of course I’ll still be painting portraits of Dean till the day I die.
I’m also contemplating making a codex.
I also plan to make Christmas babbles and I have fun making greeting cards and collector card sets of my Supernatural art.
How did you come up with the your name? CatCurl sounds interesting! Do you own a cat?
Catcurl is a combination of my family names.
I tried thinking of creative names (like eclepticgears on deviantart which got very little response and way too overwhelming) but often simplicity works best.
I had a cat when I lived at home.
My house is too full of nick knacks but I do have a fake realistic looking cat called
Able Seaman Simon Hero of H M S Amethyst (by Nauticalia). It has a story about him underneath.
Is there anything else you would like to share with the fans? What more would you like to tell us about your art or yourself?
Like most artists, I’m my own worst critic. I’m still trying to find my own, original, authentic, artistic self.
I love my fantasy & sci-fi but I’m not clever enough to create my own images/visions so I tend to rely on photo references.
Some photographers that I’ve befriended have been kind enough to let me create some art from their photographic talents, for which I am grateful.
One day I’d like to be more skilled with the camera to create my own stories visually. I’d like to photograph more toys or paint more cosplayers.
I also have a secret desire to create model dioramas (the only time I did one was the bunker entrance from Return of the Jedi for my 3″ figures which ended up in an article for Toy Store magazine) and I have this thing for boxes. I’ve dabbled a bit with doll making but its an expensive hobby. My greatest joy is making something from nothing.
Recyclables are fun to invent Steam Punk style accessories because you don’t have to be historically correct. I’ve moved a few times in the last couple of years so I’m not currently set up with a place to be super creative.
My portraits are done on my dinning room table. Supernatural has been my therapy but id like to get back to my list of favourite movie characters and finish a few threads like Doctor Who, Harry Potter or Firefly.
Some future projects I’m keen to do are Dr. Strange, Thor, Luke & Leia, or David Tennant’s Crowley.
Now it’s time for the question I ask everyone. If you could change only one thing in the world right now, what would it be?
Other than selling my soul for another 10 years of brilliantly written Supernatural, it’s a tough question to answer. Last week I wanted to have better public transport, to have it cheap and more frequent, and environmentally friendly.
Or replace the government with people who actually care for their country’s well-being/future & peoples’ needs, not their own self interests and money wasting practices
Or free healthcare
Or a pollution free planet with better recycling solutions
Or everyone to be able to do their dream job
Or have more money injected into the arts with a better status for its importance.
But if I could wave a magic wand, I’d want everyone to have the best friendship, like Jensen and Jared share.
Thanks for taking the time to do this interview with me!
Continue your journey through CatCurl’s creativity with Part 2, Inspired by Supernatural: Dioramas by Catherine Curl!
Please share your comments, questions, and reactions below! If you want to follow Catherine, the links are below:
Thanks for reading.
-Using Words, Telling Stories, The Writer Business-
You can read more of my articles by going to my Writer´s Page!
Read More Stories of Fans who have been “Inspired by Supernatural“! They can all be found in WFB’s “Lighter Side” articles!