I’ve been thinking for a long time about the best way to share what I’ve been working on, as blogging no longer feels like the right fit for me. I’ve decided to give video a go, and I enjoyed making this so I hope you enjoy it too :)
I recently had the great privilege of contributing a chapter of illustrations to The Courage To Be Me by Dr. Nina Burrowes. Now available in full to read online, as an ebook or in print, this book tells a story of courage, self-compassion and hope after sexual abuse, following five women as they take the first steps to rebuild their lives. Doing this work felt very close to my heart as I have much in common with each of the (fictional) women portrayed. I hope the book’s reach will be far and wide, helping anyone who’s known abuse to realise they are not alone.
But as well as being a survivor of abuse, the character whose story I told, Maddie, was also a knitter. This balanced the very emotive subject matter with one of my favourite things to draw, and thus made the project very enjoyable as well as something I’m really proud to have been a part of.
I’ve been publishing The Green Bean for four years now, and I still get just as excited about bringing out a new issue as I did the first time around. It’s become such an integral part of my life, my work, everything! And I love it.
If you’d like to give The Green Bean a try, or you’re a long-time collector with some gaps in your collection now is the perfect time. I’ve made all the back issues available individually at a special price of just £4, for this weekend only. Complete volumes and year-long subscriptions are also available, all here in my shop.
I’m just putting the final touches to a new issue, about my recent birthday and challenging the ’30 before 30′ lists you see. It will be out and on its way to subscribers next week.
Lately most of my working time has been filled with a fabulous collaborative project, The Courage To Be Me, by Nina Burrowes. It’s an illustrated story of self-compassion and hope after rape and sexual abuse, inspired by a research project following five women in group therapy. Each chapter follows one of the (fictional) women through part of her journey towards rebuilding her life, and these stories build upon each other throughout the book. Each chapter is illustrated by a different artist: Jade Sarson, Nina herself, Alex Bertram-Powell and me. The first three chapters are available to read online already, beginning here. Mine is the last and will be available soon (when I’ve finished drawing all the trees…).
Naturally this project is very close to my heart because I see something of my own experience in each of the characters in the story. But it’s been especially fascinating to see the book evolve through the eyes and skilful pens of a team of artists with different interpretations, guided by Nina’s vision. I don’t want to spoil the ending, but for the women in the story something transformative happens through the work they do as a group. The work Nina, Jade, Alex and I have done as a group has also been transformative for me, and through these fictional women I’ve found so much more compassion for my own experience. This, of course, is what Nina is hoping to achieve, and I feel confident that this story will be helpful to many. I’m excited to see the whole thing complete!