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Meet Catherine Donaldson

June 06, 2019 3 min read

Meet Catherine Donaldson | Blog Meet the Artist | Yislamoo

We love connecting with artists from all parts of the world, especially when they tell a story about beautiful Arabia, and Catherine is no exception. Her depiction of the old parts of the city of Abu Dhabi is both spontaneous and endearing. Check out her artwork here  and let us know which one is your favorite!

Give us a brief introduction about yourself

I am an Illustrator from the UK, living in Abu Dhabi.  I’ve also spent many years teaching Graphic Design and Illustration to university and college students and am passionate about art and design education. I love reportage drawing and have recently spent almost a year drawing the neighborhoods of Abu Dhabi. It is a fantastic way to meet people and become part of the community.

When did you realize you want to become an artist/illustrator/designer?

I have always loved to draw and to make things. My parents encouraged me and I remember my Dad, who was a designer then, bringing home huge sheets of paper for me to draw on. My mum was a brilliant embroiderer and could sew anything, and now I’m starting to include embroidery in some of my images, I think directly inspired by her. When I was young, I used to collect old boxes and paper to make little towns and maps.  I think I liked to create imaginary places and worlds. That hasn’t really changed.

The Spice Shop | Art Print,Wall Art,Abu Dhabi | Yislamoo

If you weren’t an illustrator, what would you be?

I also wanted to be an archaeologist when I was young. I love history, and still, a lot of my work is about memory and place. If I could start again, I would like to try concept art for games.

In terms of your craft, which taught you more, school or life? Please elaborate

With drawing, you learn all the time, so definitely ‘life’. I keep a sketchbook on me at all times and draw every day. However, I do think that your experience of art at school is absolutely formative in your relationship with the subject. I’ve seen so many young people turned off art because they haven’t been encouraged in the right way.

How do you start working on a project?

Lots of cups of tea!

I write myself a brief, to begin with. I have to know why I’m making the work and what I want to communicate.  I research and draw from life as much as possible and if it’s for a commission, work out composition and color in a layout pad.  I quite often scan in all my drawings and compose that way too.

Cinema Eldorado, Wall Art, Arabic Art,City Posters,Yislamoo

Who is the most inspiring person to you?.

My three children are inspirational. They are all old enough to be making their own way now and it’s brilliant to see them following their own passions.

What’s your favorite pastime?

Drawing is my number one pastime, but I do love my PS4. I like to read too

Favorite food?

Probably a Thai green curry, or a really good roast dinner, with Yorkshire puddings and gravy.

Favorite musician?

It depends on my mood but Mahalia Jackson for her voice. Looking at my most played playlist today, it includes, the Beatles, Etta James, The Foo Fighters, White Fever, and the Black Keys

Biggest fear?

Ill health I suppose, in anyone close to me

Biggest joy?

Waking up to the sunshine every day

The Bedouin, Home Decor,Arabian Decor, Throw Pillows

Favorite Yislamoo Home Decor Piece?

‘The Bedouin man’. The colors are fabulous


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