Illustration We Love: Caitlin McCarthy

Caitlin McCarthy is an animator and illustrator based in London. We first spotted her fun characters last year on the animated video for Merk’s “I’m Easy”. Here’s a little Q&A plus some nice doodley sketchbook pages that Caitlin sent us.

Caitlin McCarthy - Workout

1. On the About page on your website, you say you like having fun on your computer. What kind of fun things do you do?

Drawing and animating! How boring! I also really love looking into niche internet subcultures like the teen girls who fancy serial killers, middle aged women with life-like silicone baby dolls who treat them as real, any odd fetish, and of course the classic fave: furries. 

I also really like playing online drawing games- the best one is skribbl.io. It’s like online pictionary. I mainly like playing it for the glory of winning because I’m usually the only one playing with a tablet instead of a mouse or touchpad. How sad is that?

Caitlin McCarthy

2. What do you listen to or watch while you work?

Anything really horrible! I think having spent so much time on the internet throughout my formative years, my attention span is completely shot so things have to be pretty outrageous for me to be able to pay attention. I go through a LOT of conspiracy theory videos and murder docs. It’s either that or scream-singing along with k-pop music. I was really into Korean stuff when I was a teen and I’m rediscovering a lot of excellent tunes I’d forgotten about at the moment.

3. What is a typical day in the life of Caitlin McCarthy like?

If I’m working from home, I tend to stumble out of bed at about noon or 1pm and go round the corner to get a very weak and milky (read: delicious) coffee, then return home and sit at my desk chain-smoking and trying to work whilst getting distracted by fun internet stuff every few minutes until I go to sleep. In all my years I have never managed to get myself on a reasonable grown up sleep schedule!

4. The first time we saw your work was on the mega fun music video for Merk. How did that collaboration with Parallel Teeth come about?

I got very lucky and managed to meet with a long line of different people that ended up with me meeting Rob (Parallel Teeth). I hadn’t really animated much before but he let me work on the vid with him and basically taught me everything I know about animation in the process! I owe a huge amount to Rob and everyone at Strange Beast (who represent him as a director). They are honestly the kindest, weirdest, funniest bunch of people I’ve ever met. 

Caitlin McCarthy - Dancer

Caitlin McCarthy - Dancer

5. What’s your process for producing an animation?

I wish I could do hand-painted stuff all the time because it looks 10000x better but it’s too time consuming for longer things, So I mostly work in photoshop to hold onto a little bit of that hand-drawn feel. I usually do extremely rough thumbnail sketches of storyboard/character design then go straight to photoshop and jump right into the whole thing, doing my decision making as I go. I recently have made my first video that is longer than a gif (ha ha ha) and for that I spent a couple days doing a very rough animatic to sort out the timing and basic storyline before starting to animate. Hopefully you can see the video soon!

6. Do you have any tips/advice for aspiring animators?

Honestly I still consider myself aspiring! My main top tip is to put a boil on everything to hide wonky animation. 

A short film on the topic of soothing, commissioned by The School of Life

7. Whose work are you currently digging?

Too many people! I saw hot dog hands by Matt Reynolds (https://vimeo.com/224011571) a year ago and it had such a profound effect on me! I loved it so much that I sent him a weird e-mail saying he’d ruined my life by making the best film ever and nothing else. I didn’t think he’d reply, I just wanted to put it out into the ether, but in the end I didn’t reply to his very kind response because I was so embarrassed that I’d sent such a weird message. Wong Ping (https://vimeo.com/155669566) is another really incredible storyteller and animator. I really love the Hellavision Television (https://hellavisiontelevision.com/ ) animation anthologies. And of course, my best pal and illustrator supreme, Aysha Tengiz! ( instagram.com/ayshatengiz)

8. Describe for us your dream day off… where would you go and what would you do? With who?

I think I’d like to do a big combo of all my favourite tacky activities. Crazy golf/ Bowling/ Arcade triple whammy! And ideally all of those places would serve beers and allow indoor smoking. Also I want to be wearing one of those propeller hats.

Check out Caitlin’s awesome website for lots more of her stuff and give her a follow on instagram here: @c8l.in.

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