Spotlight On: Silly Sketcher Illustrator Catherine Cates

Black Rabbit Bolt Books

Interested in learning more about the artist behind our beloved Silly Sketcher series? Then you've come to the right place. Catherine Cates sat down to tell us a little bit about herself and the creation of her silly sketches.

Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself!

CB: My name's Catherine Berthiaume (Cates), I'm a graphic designer at Amicus Publishing and a freelance illustrator. At Amicus, I get to work with other illustrators every day and be a part of building great non-fiction books as well as beautiful picture and board books for kids. As a freelance illustrator, I do commissioned artwork, logo design, and plenty of other projects that you can check out at

I live in a little green house in southern Minnesota with my husband and overly attached cat. She likes to ride on my shoulders and make sure I don't get anything done. My husband and I love art, exploring the woods, bonfires with friends, playing videogames, and competing at who can get grocery shopping done the fastest. He's in the lead, but not for long.

Q: The illustrations in the Silly Sketcher series are simple, cute, and tons of fun—perfect for budding artists to recreate! What can you tell us about making art for the series?

CB: What I found the most enjoyable was coming up with the characters. The style of the art was outside of my usual work. And in making these, it forced me to get back in touch with a sillier side that I really enjoy. I've always loved making people laugh, but I hadn't often used drawing as a means to do so. When creating these books, I had to think about how best to break the drawings into steps, think like a beginner, and think silly!

Q: Here comes a tough question … do you have a favorite title from the Silly Sketcher series?

CB: If I had to pick, I would have to say Draw Funny Robots and Monsters. But my other favorites are Draw Funny Holiday Pictures, Draw Walking Food, Draw Animals Dressed Like People, and Draw Funny Bugs.

Q: Do you have any advice for students interested in art?

CB: It can be frustrating when art doesn't come out the way you want it to, but NEVER give up on a form of art you love. Like playing a musical instrument or playing a sport, it takes time and practice to get better. Even if it's frustrating, every drawing you don't like is one step closer to a drawing you will like!