Cat news!

Ooops, has it really been that long since I blogged? Oh dear… Well here’s a little update of what’s been going on in the wonderful world of stupidcats!

I’ll start with something festive seeing as it’s nearly Catmas – sorry, Christmas!

Bob and Dave have their own range of Christmas cards, hurrah:

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Dave took *ages* trying to decide how to wear his hat! Each card features a two-colour Gocco-print on lovely textured Brampton Felt card, and comes with a Kraft envelope. There’s still time to order them in time for Christmas from my Etsy store if you’re in the UK (last orders 16th December), they’re £3.50 each or mixed 4-packs are £12.50.

Most recently I finally managed to release my line of t-shirts featuring the gang! Dave is also available on pink, orange, green and grey shirts, and I have a few childrens’ sizes available too!

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The designs are screen printed by hand by me, using the facilities at Nottingham’s very own School of Print in Cobden Place – I’m really enjoying this screen-printing lark. As with my tote bags, I sew a little label on to each shirt, so you know you have a real stupidcats shirt and not some kind of fake! The labels are on the outside of the bottom hem on the left hand side:

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Also new are hand-pressed pocket mirrors featuring the gang, to match the little button badges I showed you in a previous post:

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And my handmade notebooks now feature all four cats, and I now Gocco-print my own lined paper so you can choose blank or lined versions:

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A really exciting side project recently was being asked to be guest illustrator for the Crafty Creatives Paperhaul stationery subscription box, eeep! I choose a doodle of Dave and a birthday cake he made – I originally drew it to wish my pal Lesley from The Royal Bakery happy birthday (check out her AMAZING cakes!), and re-drew it especially for Paperhaul. The box features wrapping paper (my first attempt at a repeating pattern design), a birthday card, small cards (or they can be used as gift tags), postcards, a notepad and sheet of stickers:

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I was so pleased with how everything turned out! There *might* be a chance to win a box soon, keep your eyes peeled if you want to get your paws on one!

A new range will be appearing in my store soon in the form of hard enamel badges featuring Dave and Bob! I’m hugely excited about these – the backing cards are already printed and waiting for the badges to arrive. Here’s a sneak-preak – the Dave badge is a prototype
shrink-plastic one I made a while back:

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Watch this space for the real things!

Phew, I’m sure I’ve forgotten something… Oh yes! In my last post I talked about getting ready for Kirstie Allsopp’s Handmade Fair! I had an AWESOME time – here’s the space I had to fill (I couldn’t resist going for an orange carpet!):

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And here it is full of stupidcats!

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Squeeeeeeee!

Last but not least, there’s been addition to the gang – Maggie (modelled on a real-life cat called Maggie who lives at Newcastle’s Mog on the Tyne cat cafe) just needs a bit of fine-tuning, then she’ll be available on notebooks, cards, badges, pocket mirrors, tote bags and t-shirts next year:

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Well, that’s enough for now! If I don’t post again this month, have a very merry Christmas and a fab New Year!

x

Like a rolling stupidcat…

Way back in 1965, Bob Dylan went electric, which upset some of his fans so much that they booed him at the Newport Folk Festival.

Fifty years later, stupidcats went digital – please don’t boo me!

I’ve wanted to re-create some of my cats digitally for ages, so I can put them on button badges and other things. Recently I was able to invest in a professional badge making machine after a run of sales of my drawings (thank you!) so I sat down at the computer, opened Adobe Illustrator, and started playing.

I started with a design based on a stupidcat original that was bought by a chap in America – he’s been nicknamed Sir Reginald (the cat, not the chap) and here’s the very first badge I made on my shiny new press:

  
The next cat to get the Illustrator treatment was my sad black one – here’s an early badge test of the two of them:

  
I began to think about packaging – most badges tend to be put in plastic bags with a folded card stapled on the top. I wanted to do something a little different. Here are a few things I tried:

  
   
 

I loved the idea of the matchbook-style packaging…

  
…but it was a bit too slow and fiddly to make, and the visible staple irritated me a bit. Around this time I started referring to them as “badgebooks” and then had a thought – I was already planning on making stupidcats notebooks, so why not just make a simple, folded book-cover type thing with the badges inside?

Here are some prototypes, with mock-ups of the notebooks:

 
The added bonus of giving the badge packaging a bookish theme meant I could give each set of designs a “volume” number. I’d now added two more designs based on old drawings – the alien, and the other stupidcat, inspired by Neil Gaiman‘s book “Coraline“.

I still had a problem though – I didn’t want to use a plastic bag in the packaging, and cutting little flaps or punching holes was fiddly, time-consuming, and looked messy on the back. So how could I attach the badges to the card?

Then I received a new bank card in the post.

So I looked up “glue that sticks bank cards onto paper” (or words to that effect) on the internet, and my little problem was soon solved! I posted a set of badges to myself, and was relieved to find that despite travelling through the postal system, the badges were still attached to the card when I received them. Success! 

After much research I’d settled on a range of card from GF Smith called Colorplan to use for my notebook covers and badgebooks, and I matched the colours used on the artwork as closely as I could to the card, then went to visit my friendly local printer (the same one that does my Giclée prints) and he printed out the badge artwork on his posh laser printer. You can really see the difference between my fuzzy inkjet prints and the vibrant, crisp laser prints (the top row):

  

Here are the badges against some of the cardstock – not a bad match at all!

  

Once I’d finalised the design for the badgebook covers, I had a rubber stamp specially made, and also one for the back with my logo and website address that I’ll be using on my notebooks too:

  

And here’s the finished badgebook! I asked Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for help choosing the colour for volume one and blue won, so I promptly chose orange which came in second place!
   
   
The final touch was making teeny brown paper bags that just fit a badgebook and a business card:

  

So there they are! I already have four new designs in progress for volume two – but before I release that, I’ll be launching my notebooks – here’s a preview of the first one, which explains why I didn’t go with blue for volume one of the badgebook. As you can see, I’ve dropped the text on the cover that I had on earlier mock-ups to draw more attention to the cutout and the thinner, contrasting card of the inner cover. They’ll be handstiched, using thread that is colour-matched to the inner cover.

  
Volume one of my badgebook is available now from my Etsy store, and if all goes well my notebooks should be ready to go on sale in a couple of weeks time.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you haven’t booed me! 😸

ps – I still love the matchbook idea, so will probably use it for one-offs or something later!