Animator to Illustrator to Teacher
Born in Watford, my family moved to Singapore when I was 3 years old and we lived there for two years before returning to the UK and settling in Exeter.
As a child I loved being creative, my favourite programs on television were Take Hart and Blue Peter. I must have driven my mum mad as I always had to try and make, draw or paint whatever they had been doing on the telly. I once painted what I thought was a beautiful picture of a butterfly and sent it in to the Gallery on Take Hart. I still to this day remember the feeling of disappointment when they never showed it!
But this obviously inspired me and I went on to study illustration at the Kent Institute of Art & Design in Maidstone where I graduated in 1992. After some adventures abroad travelling (where I met my husband), I returned to Devon and found a job painting decorative teapots, unfortunately I was allergic to the clay dust so spent the whole time sneezing!
Next I landed a dream job, working as a background artist for King Rollo Films, an animation company based in Honiton. Productions included the BAFTA award winning Maisy series, Spot the Dog, Elmer, Phillipe, Little Penguin and Anytime Tales. I worked on a new episode of Mr.Benn and produced artwork for the Mr.Benn website which was very cool, I was also the ghost illustrator for the Maisy mouse books.
It has always been my desire to illustrate children’s books and I finally realised my ambition in 2002 when I took the plunge into the wonderful world of the freelance illustrator. Working in acrylics, I love the colours and textures which you can create and plus you can paint over any mistakes, which is always handy.
One of my first books Ten Wriggly Wiggly Caterpillars won a Practical Pre-school Gold award in 2004, which was amazing and a springboard for my freelance career. Over 14 years freelance I had a wide range of books published, including Ten Tiny Tadpoles, a Who’s Hiding series, Playful Puppies in the Park, Five Little Ducks, Farm and Jungle Babies plus more Maisy books. Watercolours are also a favourite medium, so when the opportunity came along to ghost illustrate for Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney and Anita Jerams, I jumped at it.
After this I had decided it was time for a change, I wanted to apply my creative skills in a positive way and with two young daughters in Primary School I decided that teaching would be a great next step. Completing a BA (Hons) in Illustration at Plymouth College of Art in 2017, I followed this by a year long Devon Primary School Centred Initial Teacher Training course based from Exeter. I was lucky to get my first teaching post in the village we live at Exminster Community Primary School and moved on to the New School in Exminster where I currently teach.
With a husband who has worked in engineering and technology, our daughters Jasmine and Amber have been exposed to both Science Technology Engineering Maths (STEM) and Art activities at home as they have grown up. There seemed to be a lack of STEM workshops outside school in the South West, particularly around computing and programming where we need a significant number of young people to help fill the digital skills gap. So combining my passion for creating with a newfound interest in coding, CodeCreates was born. My aim is to provide fun and creative activities for young children around coding and computing. Hopefully as I was inspired when I was a child with art, I can help encourage some more children into STEM related courses and perhaps careers….Also we're not just an arty and geeky family, we're also sport too - racketball, tennis, swimming, snowboarding, skiing and underwater hockey (yes it is a real sport, google it!).