Welcome to the latest Wonderful Women.
This week I’m speaking to Anna Lewis, a mum of one and published Children’s illustrator from Cornwall. Whilst being a new mum she beginning making illustrations inspired by the funny and sometimes moving moments she was experiencing in the new motherhood world she had entered.
As the drawings grew, she uploaded them to a Facebook page, aptly named ‘Sketchy Muma’ and soon other new parents were following along with the daily highs and lows of parenthood.
Describe a typical day for you?
My daughter has just started a few mornings a week at a nursery but for the past three years I have been a full-time mum, so most of my days revolve around toddler type things.
I am usually woken up at 6.30am and pretend I am not being used as a human slide until about 7am – it takes several cups of coffee to wake up.
Most days are then normally taken up with playgroups, swimming, beach, woods, or something outdoorsy in the mornings, followed by more of the same after lunch with some Peppa Pig sprinkled in for good measure. In the summer, it’s much easier to find things to do as we have beaches all around us, so we could spend most of the day down one of them, mooching about. Rainy days inside can be very long and messy!
By teatime my partner is home. He is a great hands on dad, so takes over as the human slide for a bit while I do some of the boring jobs like sorting the washing and tidying the house – they are actually really relaxing nowadays!
I used to do my drawings during nap times but this phase has almost ended now so I usually do my drawings in the evening after bath time.
Rinse and repeat!
What do you feel are your biggest achievements?
My daughter is my biggest achievement; she is a funny, feisty ball of energy.
In the beginning babies require every last bit of you but when you see them growing and developing into little characters, all the hard work pays off and it’s amazing!
Professionally, I have illustrated some published children’s books, which on paper was a big achievement. However, I actually find my personal work like Sketchy Muma more fulfilling. I qualified as a teacher as I thought I ought to get a ‘proper job’ but it really did not feel like me, so for me personally having the confidence to follow my own path has been my greatest achievement.
What’s in your handbag?
Juice, rice cakes, notepad, two biros, pop up potty, wet wipes, loo roll, a small knitted teddy called Tina (not mine!), Tina’s scarf, spare pair of knickers (again not mine!) phone, wallet, keys, pack of mini cheddars, strawberry lip balm, shells, driftwood, two squashed raisins.
What are your ambitions in life?
Professionally I would like to publish my Sketchy Muma illustrations into a book for first time mums. I have also written several children’s books, which I would like to illustrate and get published.
Personally, my partner and I would like to get a quirky van to do up so we could take our daughter out on adventures around the coastline.
It would also be pretty cool to do up a cottage and I would love to have a kitchen made of all the driftwood I have collected.
What advice do you wish you had known pre-kids?
That I had much more strength in me than I realised.
Where do you see yourself in five years time?
My partner was very seriously ill for a year when our daughter was a baby and it bought things into very sharp focus. To be with him and our daughter, happy and healthy is all that really matters to me.
What advice would you give a budding illustrator?
Be inspired by other artists and illustrators, experiment loads and keep an open mind, but ultimately be true to yourself. My natural style is quite free and loose but sometimes I have changed it to a more ‘neat and tidy’ style to fit a client’s brief – it always felt a bit awkward and I never was happy with the end result. When I draw naturally it just flows and I think it shows if your work is authentic.
A happy, healthy family, swimming in the sea, beach combing, a junk shop full of old furniture to do up, good food, good coffee, stationary shops, hot showers and new bath products, fluffy socks, thinking about colours – turquoise, hot pink and bright yellow in particular!