Tell us a bit about your work and what made you become an illustrator?
I had always loved drawing when I was little, my Grandad who my son Jackson is named after was so creative and inspiring, making furniture, growing the sweetest tomatoes, drawing. I think his creativity is in mine and my sister’s genes. I loved Art at school and went on to study Illustration at Brighton University. Once I graduated, I moved to London and worked with my sister on our own label as a print designer, then focused on my freelance illustration work which led me to set up my online shop selling drawings and designs as pieces of art for people’s homes. At that time, I was working more in the realms of fashion illustration. When Bailey joined the family I was inspired to attempt to draw his portrait, which wasn't the greatest success so I tried again with a friends Border Terrier, then a Pug, both turned out much better and gave me the confidence to try to illustrate some more breeds and so began my collection of Dog Portraits. My shop sells art prints, stationery and Bespoke Dog Portraits.
What inspires your work?
Alongside the dog collection I love to draw anything and everything really, whether its ice creams, helium balloons, classic food packaging, hopefully there will be something for everyone to enjoy. I find drawing really therapeutic, the feeling of presence in what I am doing and concentration is really calming. I am fascinated in trying to capture the dogs personalities in my portraits, dogs have such soulful eyes and expressive faces, I find it really fun bringing them to life in a drawing, especially when working on commissioned Dog Portraits.
Tell us about your Bailey and how he came into your life?
Mike and I decided to get a dog the year after we got married, I’d wanted one for a long time, working as a freelance illustrator from home alone I’d always thought it would be lovely to have a little companion to look after, share our home and keep me company and I had grown up with dogs and always felt they brought such joy and fun into our home when I was little. We went to see a breeder, and Bay came home with us sat on my lap in the car that day. We were probably not as organised as we should have been but we fell for him, we drove via my sisters workplace, called her and said we were outside and to pop out as we had a surprise, he was so small and sweet... it was such an exciting day. Mike grew up on a farm with animals and dogs. Him and Bailey are very close, Bailey came into his life at just the right moment, he adores Mike and I often feel like the third wheel :) Bailey is 9 years old now and still feels like a crazy puppy most of the time. He is incredibly playful, is obsessed with food, has developed a penchant for ice cream during the warmer months of lockdown, loves sleeping on top of Mike or in-between his legs, loves to chase a squirrel or two, is not the biggest fan of cats and loves to sunbathe. Bailey was our rock when we were going through a really difficult few years, trying for a baby and then going through IVF, coming home to him and his cuddles after hospital appointments and operations was so comforting, it is amazing the love that dogs give us humans and how they seem to have this sense when you are going through something traumatic.
How does having a dog fit into your general working day?
Bailey is pretty good, he has a lot of energy to burn so as long as he gets a big walk/run around each day then he is happy to spend his day taking naps, getting lots of cuddles and bargaining for treats. Usually Mike does most of the walking in the week and takes Bailey and our son Jackson to Walthamstow Marshes or Epping Forest, then at the weekend there is a bit more time for adventures.
When you’re not working where do you like to head out to with the dog?
This summer because of Covid and no holidays we went on lots of day trips to the beach, our favourite doggie friendly spot was Kingsgate Bay in Kent, Bailey loved it. It felt like we were going on a mini holiday for the day. In London we love going to Hampstead Heath, Primrose Hill holds some lovely memories from when Bailey was a puppy. Richmond Park is also special as it reminds us of dog walks with my lovely friend Suz and her amazing Vizsla.
What essentials do you always have on you when heading out for a dog walk, and what do you carry them in?
I’d like to say we have something stylish to hold Bay’s things in but usually, treats, bottle of water, compostable poo bags, tennis ball etc just get popped in our pockets as we race out the door. Once Bailey knows a walk is imminent there is no stopping his excitement.
What adventures do you have planned with Bailey for later this year?
I’m looking forward to winter walks when it’s really cold but the sun is shining, I love wrapping up in winter and putting on wellies, it’s my favourite time of the year for walks, we will hopefully do more day trips to the seaside.