My imagination has been the largest driving force throughout my life. I imagined I could pass my exams if I worked hard enough, I imagined getting over obstacles life threw my way and I imagined taking a leap of faith to start my own business. All those imaginings paved the way for me to achieve each of the above and finally drove me here, sat at my computer, writing my all “about me page” for my website as a freelance Illustrator! Wow imagination is a wonderful thing!!
So, what did I do before I started out as a freelancer you may well ask? (as a women knocking on the door of 40 has to have had a life before this!) Well, I studied art, education and sign language and had a career in childcare for over 15years, working in both schools and nurseries. When I had my own children with my fabulous husband, I worked as a nanny so I could care for our own children while still financially contributing to the family home. All the while I was imagining pictures in my head in order to make sense of life’s little ups and downs, for I have always thought in pictures – this is a real joy by the way, until someone tells you a gross story!
Once my two infuriatingly inspirational children (if you’re a parent you will understand that weird juxtaposition), had both started school, I realised it was time to get back to my first loves, that of art and my imagination. As a kid I adored the pictures in the books I was supposed to be reading, (reading was tough for me and the illustrations were my passport into the story locked within the text). I used to sit for hours copying the illustrations from my favourite books. Brambly Hedge was my absolute favourite to copy. These are written and illustrated by the amazing Jill Barklem, and if you have never seen the incredible illustrations and read the enchanting stories in those books, stop reading this right now and go google it! They are quite simply, stunning! As I copied I dreamt of being a published illustrator myself one day, and finally, that day has come.
Basically, I decided, after a rather large but gentle nudge from the aforementioned husband, to become an Illustrator. I told everyone and anyone that this was what I was now doing, because as soon as you tell others you have no choice but to follow through! and low and behold work started to come my way. Before I knew it I was working on my first children’s book for an author who was a friend of a friend and I have never looked back! Well except in amazement at my luck!
I have steadily continued to build up my portfolio, one gloriously fun project at a time and as I have worked my confidence has grown. I now proudly declare I am an Illustrator, with only the slightest hint of suspicion that someone will one day find out, that I am actually, in my heart, still a little girl who just loves to imagine and draw.