11th June 2016
I received a letter a few weeks ago to say I would be receiving an OBE as part of the Queen’s Birthday Honours this year. This was so unexpected that I called Buckingham Palace to check if they had made a mistake! If I’m honest, I don’t feel I deserve praise for simply being lucky enough to do work that I love, but I’m hugely grateful to have been selected for an OBE and will receive it humbly and on behalf of our amazing, worldwide colouring community.It’s an incredible honour and something that I think acknowledges more about the colouring community than it does any one individual within it – we’re part of a global movement that is making people healthier, happier and more creative.
I started my inky adventures in 2005, fresh out of art school with a whole lot of ambition, a portfolio stuffed with drawings and a £5,000 loan from the Prince’s Trust. A lot has happened in the years since; hand printing wallpaper in a shed on my parent’s fish farm, working lots of part time jobs to pay the bills, taking the overnight Megabus from Aberdeen to London on days off to hound Art Directors into commissioning me… Then one day in 2011, an email pinged into my inbox about the possibility of making a children’s colouring book. I loved the idea of a colouring book, but wanted to create one for adults. A colouring book for grown ups?! Seriously?
Fast forward a few more years and here we are. The colouring community has blossomed, book stores have entire sections dedicated to our art and the world is running out of colouring pencils!
I get letters and emails every day from people all over the world who tell me about the positive effects colouring has on their lives or those of their loved ones. From 911 call operators who use them to unwind on their breaks, to teenagers battling eating disorders, from busy mums needing a bit of time out to elderly stroke patients recuperating in hospital – the span of people who have found comfort or joy in the pages of colouring books is incredible.
I may have sold over 20 million books worldwide, but only because you lovely people wanted to buy them. Thank you for giving me this incredible opportunity to do work that I love and to share it with you.
Right, back to putting the finishing touches to Magical Jungle – fancy frock shopping for a Royal Garden Party will have to wait!