Growing up as a kid, I was surrounded by bigger people. I have five older brothers, so I was a convenient target at times for a bit of picking on. I learned to escape into books and drawing. I’d seen a TV show called Mr Squiggle in which a marionette would make coherent drawings from chaotic line work that kids sent in. I didn’t know he was a puppet at the time – I felt I was witnessing magic and began to draw in earnest.

It’s fun to recapture that wonderful feeling you had as a kid when you’d proudly hold something up and say, ‘Look what I did!’ I had no discernible skills at first – they all came through practice. Being lost in the middle of my family (two girls came after me), it was a way to have my voice heard. To loudly pronounce that I’m not invisible: I have something to say, something to share.

Being able to breathe life into something is right up there as one of the best things about being a creator: to take something that exists in the intangible essence of your mind, and translate it into something others can experience or enjoy. To share something unique to yourself, and have others relate or understand, is to know that we’re not all alone in our minds but are living a shared experience.

Then there’s the simple act of working my own hours at home. If I’m inspired at 3am I don’t have to worry about getting up to catch the bus to work – I’m there all the time. I just get to goof off around the office a lot (more than I should).

Challenges are numerous; the constant war against procrastination is probably the biggest. Having to take care of the business side of things also holds you back from the actual creating. Being freelance, your income can fluctuate dramatically, so it’s good to have a plan in place to cover the lean weeks. But the challenges never outweigh the feeling of creating overall. The sacrifices are worth it.

Copyright is very important to me. It goes right back to that little kid saying, ‘Look what I did!’ Only, as an adult creator, that translates into, ‘This is how I get paid.’ Having copyright infringed is an unfortunate occurrence in my industry. Fortunately, it hasn’t happened to me a lot. People use caricatures I’ve drawn of them for their profile pics and that’s harmless enough – most don’t even realise that’s infringement. I ask them to credit the artist and most folk will do that. But I have friends who have had their artwork lifted for overseas T-shirt places without seeing a cent for their work and it’s an outrage. It’s stealing, pure and simple – and, unfortunately, not always easy to police. Which is why the Copyright Agency is so important – it allows creators to focus on creating!

This Book Changed My Life

One book that changed my life at a tender young age was Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. Growing up in that large family surrounded by giants, I could relate completely to Max and his desire to not only sail away but to control the Wild Things. It taught me that I didn’t have to be small inside and I didn’t have to be silent. And it taught me the most valuable ideal of all, one I try to live by daily – let the wild rumpus start!