Dan’s Papers Cover Artist Cat Bachman on the Whimsical Sea

Cat Bachman's art on the cover of the March 5, 2021 Dan's Papers issue.
Cat Bachman's art on the cover of the March 12, 2021 Dan's Papers issue.

This week’s cover artist, Cat Bachman, talks about her whimsical sea-themed work, her artistic process and more.

What was the inspiration for this piece?
The cover painting, “The Voyage,” is a love story. A pair of starry eyed fish navigate the changing sea. Their lifetime journey is almost always blissfully peaceful. But life’s perils sometimes appear, as represented by the seagulls in the hot air balloon. They are ready and armed with their hooks and lures. Oh dear! It just might be my first self portrait.

Cat Bachman’s “Nightfall on Agawam”

Talk about your love of the East End.
The magnificence of the ocean, the soft sea breezes, the windswept dunes, seagulls in flight. The East End is heaven on earth to me. Living here provides the perfect backdrop for my characters. The beauty I see with my eyes is matched with what I see in my mind. The real and imagined combine to form a fantastical story. A story of fun and imagination. All art is a novel.

Tell us about your art style and how it’s evolved or changed over the years.
My art style has always been fantasy peppered with humor. I love to sit and imagine, “what if?” What if the captain of that ship is a red fish? What if he is building a model ship in a bottle when he should be mooring the boat at Montauk Point?

Dan's Papers cover artist Cat Bachman
Dan’s Papers cover artist Cat Bachman

Talk about your process.
My process begins by visiting a scene over and over again. I want to feel the magic. I do a few rough sketches and take several photos. Back in my studio, I research extensively. My bookshelves are lined with the books of contemporary fantasy and science fiction illustrators, as well as beautifully illustrated fairy tales from the last century. I daydream a bit. I see the colors in my mind. Then I get to work. The characters that live in my imagination begin to exit my head onto the canvas. And the story begins.

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