I live and work in Kent by the sea, and this is how I got there.

 Drawing as been a constant friend all my life, like a sketchy, linear dog by my side, the sort that has endless patience in its chocolate eyes. I’ve not always been a good companion to it, life pulled me away from it, as if I’d got on the wrong train and left it on the platform, looking after me with resignation, but we’re back together now, and we’ve forgiven each other. Or I’ve forgiven myself.
In the spirit of forgiveness, I’m also not making excuses for what I do with my art any more. My father once used the term ‘illustrative’ about my work - your work had a very illustrative quality - which he didn’t mean as a compliment. He meant my work was pretty, feminine, not serious enough, not masculine enough to be correctly labelled as fine art. I was 15 at the time. I went on to completely condemn myself in his eyes by going to a Polytechnic, the year before it became a University, but even so - in his mind, that was where one went to learn plumbing.
I sometimes think I would have made a good plumber, or better yet, a carpenter - but my desire to make things with my hands, to feel the transition of material from one state to another, drew me to metalwork, then silversmithing then, by way of corsetry with its capacity to sculpt the human form, to pattern cutting and creating wedding dresses, the dog of my drawing relegated to a tool, a process of communication to a prospective client - or the illustration of an idea, a story that the dress told about the woman, the life, the marriage it was for. 

The dog of my drawing was lost for some years after that, for reasons I understand and forgive myself and my life for, but then there was a day when I looked out of an office window and swear I saw it, long travelled and ever hopeful, staring up at my from below. I used to go out on the fire escape at break time; I was working in a school as a career’s officer, and it gave me a small, rebellious pleasure to go out onto the staircase which would have been forbidden me had I been a pupil, and feed the crows and magpies, who’s haunting of the school was occasionally raised as a health and safety issue. This small act of defiance emboldened me to commit another - I applied for an MA in illustration with Falmouth University.
The fear and panic the following assignments induced in me saw me hiding at the bottom of the garden, until my husband retrieved me and told me that it would be ok, that I could do it, and he was right - I did do it - the dog and I did it. I got a distinction, then shortlisted for the Refresh Art Prize, and the Kelvyn Gardener award for brand design. I got signed by the Larkeshead agency - and I’m making illustrative art which tells my kind of story, and the story of anyone who looks at it and recognises the dreams we share in it. I have learned to let the dog run wild and trust it will always come back to me, and I have learned the power of illustrating is actually, what it’s all about. 

The focus of my work is the line, the way it moves across a surface, what it does to transform and subvert expectations. I draw, both physically and metaphorically, on narrative - folktale and the tales found in stories and songs, on the memories and collective dreams of alternative culture and line which links them all. I see the connections between my intense, detailed drawings of characters from storybooks and real life, my bright, colourful and witty pen and ink drawings inspired by tattoo art and tea drinking, my bold and bright children’s book characters and my explosive, explorative abstracts and semi-relief carved drawings - all of which tumble together elements of representation and abstraction to tell a story. I also really like whales. And crows. And foxes. 

I create illustrations for stories, for children, for adults, for brands and for everyone who’s lost and found a dog of their own.
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