I got a packet of 36 Watercolour Derwents for Christmas when I as 10. I was convinced these would turn me into a great artist. Unfortunately it didn’t quite work out.
I really loved those pencils, but I almost couldn’t enjoy drawing with them because I was so worried about using them up.
I used them only for very special drawings and school projects. They stayed in perfect colour-number order, in the tin, until I left home.
Then I decided I was being silly trying to keep them pristine. I seized the day and put them in a pencil case, determined to use them more often. (I’m not quite sure what I needed them for – there’s not much bubble-writing on university assignments when you’re studying Science/Law.)
But anyway, I lost them all, one by one as I moved from share house to share house.
When it came to doing the illustrations for Stay Well Soon I didn’t have my 20 year old Derwents. I had to buy new pencils. I bought a different brand to save money. It will be my own fault if the book fails.
When I was in primary school I wanted to be an artist because I thought I was really good at drawing. I don’t know where I got this idea because my parents didn’t usually lie.
This is a drawing I did in Grade 3.
This not only proves that you can love a thing without being able to spell it, but also shows that I am actually really bad at drawing. I can’t remember when I worked this out, but I wasn’t too bothered because by then I was focused on competing at the Olympics (I didn’t know what sport I’d excel at, but I was confident I would make it).
My main character in Stay Well Soon, Stevie, is also convinced that she’s really good at drawing. Some of Stevie’s drawings are included as illustrations in the book. I did the drawings myself, therefore suggesting that Stevie isn’t as good at drawing as she thinks she is.
Some people might think that I deliberately drew badly to realistically create the drawings of an eleven year old. However, that is not true. They are my best drawings. I tried hard.
Here are some horses I drew for Stay Well Soon. I think I have really improved.
My publisher referred to the drawings as ‘the artwork’ as though they were proper illustrations for a proper book. I think she was being kind, but it’s still like a dream come true. I’m an artist.