You quit your full-time job to draw full time. Describe your thought process and committing to that decision.
Yes, I quit my full-time job in December 2016. It was not easy. It took me a year to discover that it was best for me and to be brave enough to do it! My worries were about money and the future. I also wondered if I'd be good enough. I have a supportive partner and we talked. He just wanted me to be happy. I haven't looked back. I'm looking forward to following the path that I know is right for me. Some people thought I was not thinking, that I was having an early midlife crisis, but I had enough of working in telesales roles. I want to use my actual talents. I enjoy being creative every moment of the day and enjoy having people looking at my work.
You've had an interesting journey!
Yes, I was always drawing and being creative when I was younger. I was very imaginative and made fun stories to tell my friends at school. I studied art and graphics at school with A-levels in my teenage years. At this point in time, I fell ill, suffering from anemia and panic attacks. I'm not too sure how they started, but at the time my parents split up and it was tough. It got to the point, I was scared to leave the house in the event of having a panic attack. So instead of going out, I stayed in, picked up a pencil and started drawing. It helped me to release my frustrations. I had help from friends and family. Then, at 19 years old, I met my partner. He has been my rock. He pushed me beyond what I thought I could never achieve in life. I owe a lot to him. I began to go out more and do things that scared me, such as going into town, walking down a street and other activities people would see as everyday/normal. When I met people who did not know about my condition, (I was worried they would think I was weird) I tried to act as normal as possible, all the while panicking on the inside. I learned to control myself even though my heart was racing. I began to have fun again. I became stronger and panicked less often. At 27 years old, I promised myself I would never go to that dark place again. A year later, I started writing a children's book about seahorses. I began illustrating it, but didn't think they were good enough. So, I enrolled in a creative arts program as a part-time student. I will complete my degree in two years’ time.
What inspires you?
I get ideas from my imagination and animals. I like capturing their personalities. I also really like messing about with paper, discovering different ways to use it (3D owl), sometimes scrunching it up (fish illustration) to give my my illustrations a cool textured effect.
I also like to create book covers. Here is my latest one I designed for Alice in Wonderland.
What are some of your favorite children’s book illustrators?
My favorites are Axel Scheffler who illustrated The Highway Rat and The Gruffalo. I love how he talks to the viewer and gets the message of the story across in his illustrations. Plus, they are bright and really pleasing to the eye. Bruce Whatley illustrated Diary of a Wombat. It’s a lovely story and the illustrations are beautiful.
Illustrator, Jayme McGowan is one of my latest finds. Jayme creates children’s book illustrations with paper. Please check out her work she is amazing and has a great individual style.
Do you have book recommendations for aspiring young illustrators?
I would recommend these two books.
Children's Book of Art by Rosie Dickins
Step-by-step Drawing Book by Fiona Watt (Author), Candice Whatmore (Illustrator)
They are great for learning how to draw and provide some great tips for children to begin their early career as an artist :)