Robbie Cathro

In celebration of the artists that help make The Island such a vibrant place to be, we’ve been getting to know our artist tenants. Today we’re throwing the spotlight on illustrator Robbie Cathro. Experience the tenants work for yourself with our online Open Studios, launching on the 19th November.

I make bright, fun, colourful illustrations for kids magazines, children’s books, and editorial pieces. It’s usually quite character-driven. One of the nicest responses that I’ve had was from someone who bought a print of mine, inspired by a Studio Ghibli film – he messaged me saying the print was hung up in his kitchen, and whenever he walks past it he thinks about this song, and this scene at the end of the film. It was so lovely and out of the blue. There’s been quite a bit of feedback from Be Your Own Man, from parents who have told stories about how they read it with their child and how their child reacts, and how it’s become a really special bonding moment for them both. My five-year old neighbour also got me to sign a big stack of magazines, which was really really sweet.

On The Island

I’ve been with The Island for a good 3 years, now. I love The Island, they’ve all been really good to me. It’s great to have fellow creatives in my studio with me, and be able to bounce ideas off them, talk to them about worries and questions if I have them. It’s good to have all those different people around you. It makes you feel like you’re part of a community, as opposed to working at home.
At the beginning of the 3 years, I was pretty new to freelancing. Everything was still pretty fresh to me. I’m a lot more confident with my process now.

On lockdown

Because I’m a freelance illustrator, nothing has really changed for me [during the pandemic]. I was lucky to have some long-term book projects anyway, so I managed to keep myself busy. One positive is that kids are reading more magazines and books, which is good.

Coming up next

Two educational books with some biographical comics. That should take me to next April.