Thursday 21 October 2021

Isolation breeds Illustration

They say necessity breeds innovation, but my recent experience of Covid19 has altered this well known saying to, ‘Isolation breeds Illustration.’


After eighteen months of manging to avoid the dreaded Corona Virus, my teen son caught it at school and brought home and very generously shared it with me, whilst my daughter was off school suffering from flu. My husband sensibly slept on the floor in the Livingroom and worked from the shed, and therefore managed to avoid succumbing to it.

Covid aside (it is horrible even if you are double vaccinated), the isolation was long, not helped my Track and Trace making an error and making me isolate for 12 days rather than 10. Usually this would have been fine, but with the children both isolating and schooling virtually we didn’t have enough devices in order for me to continue editing my WIP.


I can tell you from experience, there are only so many times you can sort out the wardrobe, or dust the house plants before you start going crazy. Of course I took the time to read, but I needed to be creative, and that’s when I picked up a pencil and returned to my roots.


For anyone who doesn’t know, I come from an art back ground. My degree is in fine art, and I have been a successful professional artist some of my work is part of the Magg Collection housed in the Ferne Gallery in Hull. I originally got into the children literary world by endeavouring to pursue a career in illustration.

The illustration I loved and I got to the point of having meetings with agents, and not quite getting taken on but having the door open to go back when I’d improved my portfolio. Many of the agents having seen a rhyming part-illustrated PB text I’d penned about catching a kangaroo, advised me to write too.


However having two small children, and living in a touring caravan while the ramshackle house was being knocked down and re-built (before it fell down on its own accord) I had no room to set up and draw/paint. Remember this was when digital art was in its infancy and before I-pads were a thing. So I took the multiple agents advice and picked up a keyboard and began to write.


The space issue and the call to the dark side – sorry writing – got me distracted and illustration took a back seat that was until I was prisoner in my own room for twelve days.


So isolation boredom got me doodling. Sketching. Developing characters, and eventually constructing compositions. This along with lots of encouragement from the lovely folks of the writing/illustration community – thank you are all my personal cheerleaders and it’s much appreciated - made me think maybe I should take the illustration thing more seriously.

So I am back writing AND illustrating and I love it. Of course I have LOTS to learn about illustration but that is a challenge I’m very happy to embark on. Be it a bit SCARY.

So that is my story, it took a global pandemic to get me doodling again, and so I can report isolation really does bred illustration.



to very one who encouraged me to illustrate - you know who you are!