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I was what you would call a HYPERACTIVE sort of child. My parents blamed orange food colouring and washing powder???? Well, what knowledge was there back in the dark ages??? The only way my dear Mumsi and Dadsi could calm their dear angel was to give into my relentless requests for ‘felt tip pens’ (yes I’m a POM) and colouring-in books of whimsical Disney characters.
To everyone’s astonishment, the world became a calm and happy place…Kat was under control. Picture books helped calm the storm in my head too. I remember spending hours pouring over the pages of ‘The Girls’ annual from 1950 that my mother had owned. I can even tell you the exact illustration that would stop me in my tracks. There were a vibrant array of fairies and elves… hundreds of them…a bit like what you see with the ‘Where’s Wally ’ phenomenon and this fascinated my young mind.
Artistic pursuits started as a “control measure” in the eyes of my parents. Through steady encouragement this developed from a small flame to a raging fire…an intense passion inside me. It propelled me through the uni years, studying both Fine Arts and Interior Design. Then drove me to land a position in an architect’s practice and finally travelling around the world where I met my true love settling in Australia to start a family.
My beautiful babies, each one of the three treasures bought me super powers and gifts…they pushed me towards finding my inner truth and giving me the confidence to step out alone as a creative, in the form of an interior designer and now an illustrator.
In 2010 my father was diagnosed with terminal cancer. I flew to the UK to help my mother out. During that time I sat with him daily. At times it was very uncomfortable as he could barely utter a word and even I could find the right topic to fill the void. Finally, the silence was broken when he picked up a pen and paper handed to me. He managed to mumble the words ‘DRAW…DRAW for me’. I panicked and searched desperately for inspiration…I mean it had been years since I had drawn. Little did I know that dear daddy had planted an invaluable seed and this was to reignite the flame. My hand took over as I drew kites, leaves, balloons, paper planes anything that was positive and floated. I unearthed an old watercolour set of mine and started to apply colour…so much colour. My dad’s face glowed with pride…even through the pain and forthcoming end to his life, I could bring him joy…I could bring him a smile through colour and line.
My pencil has not left the paper since then… My beautiful little girl who was born nine months after my father passed added to this journey, hence finding my way into children’s book illustration. I could see the joy that my drawings were bringing to others from private gifts to greeting cards sold at local markets, patterns adorning bed linen to self publishing a children’s book “Bird boy & Wren” and finally developing the Kat & Fox brand.
Now I strive, with the support of my family, in my truth providing quirky illustrations to others…helping them to make connections through customised personalised hand drawn gifts. This is my happy place and I cannot wait to see where this creative fun filled colourtastic journey takes me next…