Who would have thought I would be living out the dream of a five-year-old? Most children when asked what they want to be when they grow up say things such as a policeman, a doctor, an astronaut, a ballerina, a dragon (why not?) and so on. No doubt I had wild ideas about becoming a pirate or flying off to Neverland, but that is not what I gave as my answer. No, what I said was, “I want to be an illustrator because I want to draw pictures for new books.”
I do not suppose anyone ever thinks their childhood dreams would come true; I do not even remember answering the question. To be honest, I’m surprised the five-year-old me even knew the word “illustration”. It was not until I was already at university studying Graphic Design that I came across a booklet from my infant school days containing a short interview about myself. The questions revealed that I liked a good story, listed my hobbies, as well as my dream job.
On reflection, it is not surprising that I had goals of pursuing art in my future; I was always a creative child and it was not a rare occurrence to find myself at my grandparents’ dining table working on my next “masterpiece”. I am grateful that my family have always been so supportive of my artwork, particularly my Nan and Granddad who still have some of my drawings framed and on display around the house. This is a sweet reminder of how far I have come with my artistic ambitions.
More than twenty years after I decided I was going to be an artist, I have produced illustrations for children’s books and am working on producing my own illustrated stories or “new books”. With a few ideas lined up, I am determined to keep illustrating and look forward to sharing my creative successes.
If someone were to ask me now what I want to do with my life, the answer would be very similar. I still love my illustration work whether it’s a doodle in my bullet journal or a full-scale drawing of a robot. As a child, I said I wanted to “draw pictures for new books”, and now, I would like to clarify, those books are going to be written by me! I am not going to give up on this dream; I am going to make the five-year-old me proud. And who knows, in another twenty years time I may be reflecting on my life with my own set of children’s books on the shelves. Most importantly, I hope to be an inspiration to others.