Where it all started.
Drawing has always been an important part of my life. From a very early age, I spent time sketching and drawing cartoons. It was a way of communicating when I found writing so difficult. I soon realised how much joy a cartoon can bring by drawing them for friends at school.
After completing my art degree, I spent lots of time in various teaching roles. Rapidly drawing cartoons was a real advantage when trying to get a message across. Sometimes a quick drawing can visually engage a class more than a written description. Anyone I’ve taught in the past will tell you how important cartoons were in my teaching and their learning. Throughout the time I’ve spent working with disabled children and adults, drawing cartoons has always been something I’ve used.
My ability to quickly draw a cartoon on a piece of paper has been a great way of communicating with people who find it very hard to communicate in a conventional way. Sharing a smile over a funny cartoon I’ve drawn has help me to bond, calm down, comfort and just have a good laugh with lots of the children we take to Lourdes.
Although the cartoons are an incredibly valuable way of communicating, I’ve always treated the ability to draw them as a bit of a laugh, and always separated it from my studio work.
Over the last year, all that changed.
Last Christmas, I designed an advent calendar for HCPT, a charity that’s really close to my heart. It was a great buzz working through the night to hit the printing deadline and I really enjoyed drawing all the cartoons. It was a great way of me giving a little bit of my time and spreading a little bit of joy. I wasn’t prepared for the response I had when the advent calendar got delivered to all the children who couldn’t travel to Lourdes in 2020. I was totally overwhelmed by the amount of joy the advent calendar gave. It made me realise that the cartoons were more than just a bit of a laugh.
This brings me onto the latest project I’ve been working on. It’s an animation telling the story of Bernadette, the little girl who saw the Virgin Mary in Lourdes. It tells the story of why millions of people travel to Lourdes each year. It’s a very big story to tell, a story that means so much to me.
Above are images taken from the animation.
The cartoons have definitely become as serious as the rest of my studio work.
I really enjoyed working on the story of Bernadette, it’s something I’m incredibly proud of. I found it a deeply moving and rewarding experience, and I’m sure illustration has become a major part of my studio work. After all, there’s no difference between the emotional response you get from looking at an oil painting and looking at a cartoon, they’re just different ways of visual communication. To view the animation please visit the HCPT youtube channel.
So, I’m glad that I’m still able to do what I did at school, and draw cartoons to spread a little bit of joy.