First off, how are you and how is your 2021 going?
I am good, thank you! I think busy is the best word to describe my state of mind and year so far!
I have three young children so there has been lots of juggling through the changing restrictions this year. Work-wise I’m lucky to have been working on some really fab projects and loads of really fun promotion and products for my soon-to-be-published second book, The Positively Awesome Journal.
Can you tell us about the work you do as an illustrator?
I create bright, positive, colourful designs often with a self-care or mental well-being theme. My illustrations serve as a reminder that we are never alone in our struggles – drawing is a really cathartic process for me and illustrating my thoughts and feelings allows me space to work through my ups and downs.
What steps did you take in your education and career to get you where you are today?
Initially I wanted to be a lingerie designer so after my A Levels I went on to study for an Art Foundation at London College of Fashion… and then I didn’t get a place on the degree course I’d hoped to join and so I took some time out.
While I was working in non-creative jobs (but always finding time for drawing!) I fell in love with the idea of illustration. I enrolled on an Illustration short course at Central St Martins and used the projects to build up my portfolio and then successfully applied to study BA Illustration at Middlesex Uni. It wasn’t the most straightforward route but the journey was invaluable!
What inspired you to start your Instagram account and was it always illustrations?
When I first started using Instagram I was running a much more product-based business, selling greeting cards and prints online and wholesaling to retailers. I used my account to promote my products but also shared a lot of photos of my cats! I already knew a lot of other creative small business owners so it was a brilliant way to stay connected and inspired with the creative community – I’m glad that aspect of IG hasn’t changed for me.
A lot of your infamous IG quotes revolve around mental health, why do you think social media is such a great outlet for this content?
I think the accessibility of social media makes it a great resource for conversations around mental health and wellness. I also think feel-good and thought provoking content can be a great antidote to some of the less inspiring and comparison-inducing posts we see in our feeds.
There’s also something really reassuring about people you are familiar with online discussing topics that can be hard to navigate in real life – so it’s a great way to normalise and de-stigmatise mental health. It makes me so happy that the posts I share are able to offer people validation and comfort.
What has been your biggest ‘pinch me’ moment during your career?
I think the first time I held my books – and then seeing them in actual bookshops – was so surreal. Such dream come true moments!
Can you tell us about your book “You are Positively Awesome” and the journal that sits alongside it?
My first book You Are Positively Awesome published in July 2020, at the height of the pandemic – that was a steep learning curve!
The book is very much an extension of my Instagram posts; I wanted it to be as bright and colourful as my feed but with prompts and reminders that make it a really useful self-care resource that you can keep going back to through all of life’s ups and downs. It has chapters covering everything from self-love to saying ‘no’, imposter syndrome and the importance of kindness.
My next book, The Positively Awesome Journal, is publishing in a few weeks (July 8th 2021). It is just as bold and rainbow-filled but is super interactive and full of activities, inspiration and self-care prompts. It’s a book that will help you work through your own experiences and support your well-being – it has lots of space for writing, drawing and reflection so you can really make it your own.
What are you currently working on?
I’ve been working on some fun freelance projects, including a collaboration with Great Ormond Street Hospital Arts that I’m super excited about. And then the plan is to finalise some ideas for my next book(s)!
Who are some of your current favourite follows?
@simplepolitics have been my go-to for making sense of the news this year
@nina_tame is fun, stylish and shares so many informative posts
@munyachawawa – his reels are genius (and hilarious)
@mollyjforbes her body-positive anti-diet culture messages are always spot on
What does your perfect weekend look like?
In a dream world, it’d involve lie-ins, brunch and a market or exhibition.
In reality, I have three children (my eldest is only 6) so a weekend that includes pancakes, a trip to the park, an afternoon film and plenty of hot coffee would be fab!
What do you always carry with you?
My phone and a Diet Pepsi – I’m probably a little bit more addicted to both than I’d care to admit.
What would your last ever meal be?
I am so indecisive when it comes to choosing what to eat! It’d probably have to be Macaroni Cheese or my mum’s roast dinner, followed by lots of mini desserts – I’ve got a really sweet tooth.
What is one positive piece of advice you could give to our audience?
Make time to prioritise your mental health. Nothing is more important that your well-being.