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Silly self-portraits and finding magic in the everyday

Updated: Apr 3

It's been quiet on this blog, which is putely my fault, but I do have quite a good excuse I promise - I had a baby last month! The last few months of pregnancy, birth and newborn sleep deprivation have made for some amazing life lessons and experiences but less time for writing and illustration.

During my pregnancy, I did find time to make some cartoon type drawings about pregnancy symptoms. I found these quite helpful and therapeutic, as well as providing a means of marking that unique time in my life. I felt almost comically huge, as I think everyone in the third trimester of pregnancy tends to, and drawing this felt like an outlet.

an illustration of a pregnanct woman
Part of a series 'bump vs shoes'

I've talked before about how I use sketchbooks as observational drawing reference for my illustration work and the benefits of observational drawing, but lately I have also been using them to record more personal moments.

A lot of illustrators I admire do this, and while I'm not drawing direct comparisons with my work I find it interesting that there seems to be a desire to reflect the personal - or to digest or process it perhaps. I'm thinking here of Phoebe Wahl's zines, Carson Ellis' work as part of the 24 hour comic day and Chris Riddell's self portraits. In fact, dating back further we could even include sketches of 'the artist' by Tove Jansson, Carl Larsson and others.

drawing of a woman and a cat
My contribution to 24 hour comic day 2024

Drawing the mundane, and in doing so elevating it to something less than ordinary, is really interesting to me at the moment. Perhaps I'm getting old and boring, or perhaps it's that my life now runs at a slower pace. But really I think it's that I've always been interested in how everyday life can actually be where magic is found.

The 24 hour comic day, that invites artists and illustrators to draw each hour of their day, is a celebration of this. Seeing a drawing of someone eating their cereal is somehow fascinating. What cereal did they choose, and how did they choose to draw it? What was included, and what was left out? What are they sharing with us about the feeling of eating the cereal?

Anyway, suffice to say I'll be trying to pay attention to the little things for a while. I'm drawing my son as much as I can in his first year because I know it's the ordinary details that I'll treasure one day. And also, it will stop me going too loopy. Both are helpful!

I'll leave you with a drawing about heartburn and my discovery that the old wives tale about heartburn meaning your baby will have lots of hair is in fact true.

illustration of a woman with heartburn
Pregnancy heartburn - part of a series

So there you have it. Next time I'll share some of my drawings of the first few months of motherhood. If I've done any and haven't spent the whole time napping and forgetting things.

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