Posted by: Kathy Temean | August 21, 2010

Illustrator Saturday – Cathleen Daniels

I’d like to introduce Cathy Daniels to you.  First, I think you can tell just from looking at her picture that she is as sweet as she is talented and boy is she talented.  I’m so impressed by the amount of talented illustrators in the children’s publishing industry.  I know you will agree that Cathy is one of them.  Here’s a little about Cathy:

Cathleen Thole-Daniels started out as an illustrator in the fantasy field in 1991. She has worked for Simon & Schuster, Barnes & Noble, Play Station, Sega Genesis, Legend Entertainment, Marvel & DC Comics and others. She has been featured in the NJ Star Ledger as well as Cards Illustrated Magazine.

Cathleen is now focusing her goals on writing and illustrating children’s books. She was a winner of the NJ-SCBWI Best Logo Design for 2008 and was also interviewed by Kathy for the Sprouts that year. Cathleen is active as a co-facilitator in the Hunterdon County Children’s Writers & Illustrators Group, currently working on several dummies for picture books and a middle grade novel.

As a high school art teacher Cathleen has also won many educational awards in the arts. Most notably three Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation grants & awards between  2007-09.  Cathleen has used these funds to educate students about the publishing field, the children’s book market and writing and illustrating their own picture books. She has also been presented with the VSA Arts of NJ, Education in the Arts Award (an affiliate of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts) and the New Jersey Governor’s Award in Art Education for working with disabled children in the arts.

As usual, I asked Cathy to send me some picture that would show the steps she took to get to the final piece of art.  We’ll start with that:

1. Thumbnail A, gatefold closed

2. Thumbnail B, gatefold open

3. I used my favorite model, my daughter Amelia!

4. I then mapped out the composition of Thumbnail B as a line drawing on tracing paper. I then transferred it to watercolor board. I like to use hot press paper or board.

5. I do color roughs by hand or digitally. This is a digital one.

6. Then I got to work in my studio…

7. I did a few more color studies by hand, testing out watercolor with gouache and color pencil. I also love to create texture with salt, ammonia, bleach, rubbing alcohol, saran wrap and  different fabrics pressed onto the wet surface.

8. And here is the finished piece.

Another piece with daughter as model.

Created this double spread for an Illustrator Day assignment.

Now here are a few black and white drawings.

Cathleen grew up in Maplewood N.J., Painting in various studios from Montclair to Cranford, she now lives in a creaky victorian in Somerville with her husband, daughter and two unruly cats.

If you want to see more, visit Cathy website at:

Hope you enjoy Cathy’s artwork as much as I do. 

Talk tomorrow,



  1. Kathy, I’ve enjoyed Cathy’s work since the first time I saw it. Her talent is amazing—truly beautiful work.

    Cathy, you are such a sweetheart, and I REALLY enjoyed seeing a touch of your process and especially learning all these great things about you. I especially love your work area, which is beautiful too, with all the framed artwork. How wonderful! Thanks for sharing with us 🙂


    • Thanks Donna, it was fun to meet you too! I was thrilled when Kathy asked me to post on Illustration Saturday-Thanks Kathy! 🙂


      • P.S. And I forgot to mention what a great job your daughter did posing for you! Great expression! 😀


  2. Wow, Cathy is an amazing artist! I always enjoy illustrator Saturday. Thank you so much for sharing!


  3. It was so great seeing Cathy featured — she is one of my favorite friends I’ve made since joining NJSCBWI and what a tremendous talent! It’s always fascinating seeing the process — Awesome work!!!


    • Connie,

      I really know a ton of talented people and you’re one of them.



  4. Hey, Cathy –

    Great to see your work in another venue! it’s fabulous, as always and thanks for sharing your space and favorite model.



  5. Love this! Cathy is hugely gifted. I love the variety represented here. Thanks for sharing.


  6. Spectacular work, Cathy!!! Stunning. Glad I met you at the conference, and hope to see you again.


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