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  • Naomi Blayney

New Beginnings in Life and Art

I've never written a blog before but most of my friends tell me I always have a lot to say so I figured why not. I'll be rambling on about life with my two young daughters who are the inspiration for my writing and my illustrations. I'll be giving you an insight into how I work and what's going on in my life. I guess today I shall start with how I got started with illustration.

First and foremost I'm a mother of two young girls Nina and Zara. They are the most amazing humans who are going to grow up and conquer the world. They are confident, kind and brilliant. I've never been so tired in my life as they've never been good sleepers. But that's another story.

I've been a landscape artist for many years and have pounded pavement getting my work into galleries. My work was mainly landscapes and architecture drawing traditionally with a really fine pen. This generally meant I was quite slow and galleries wanted more originals...more than I was able to fulfil. I was never able to make enough money to give up my day job and over the years I felt less and less fulfilled by my art. By 2020 I hadn't picked up my pen in two years. I'm sure most artists go through such a period of creative despondency at one point or another, and this was mine. It permeates other areas of your life and sort of takes the shine off lots of things. I felt like I'd lost something and wasn't sure how to fill the void.

Then the global pandemic hit and we all found ourselves in lockdown. I picked up a pen, but not my drawing pen. Well actually, I picked up my phone and loaded up the notes app. I started writing. I wrote stories about my two girls, Nina and Zara. They started off as short rhyming poems and gradually got longer. I ended up with about twenty stories and then saw an advert for an illustration course. I hadn't considered illustration as I've never been able to draw people. But the idea of illustrating my own stories really appealed to me.

I realised that this could take my art in a new direction. A new beginning I thought. This could be a whole new career. I could use my love of art and change it, twist it into something new, something different. I quickly signed up to Lilla Rogers' Making Art That Sells Children's Book Illustration course. I thoroughly enjoyed it and it gave me a wealth of new information and a whole new circle of illustrator friends - although we've never been able to meet up in these strange times. I've been plugging away drawing characters for my stories and I feel like I have my artistic mojo back.

I now feel excited at the end of the day to write more words on a page or start drawing more characters and scenes. I feel happier in my life. I probably shout at my children a little less as I'm in a better mood most of the time. I feel like the piece of my life that was missing has found its way back.

Have you every lost your way with something you used to love? How did you get your mojo back?

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