I first started to show signs of artistic ability at the age of three years old, when I drew my first piece of artwork, a cartoon donkey in a field!
When I was at primary school, I used to hold competitions for the other pupils in my class to win ‘prizes’ of badges which I had made from creating my own cartoon characters. These were named Willie Wolf, Crazy Cat and the Too-Much Bird. I made little magazines with cartoon strips and wrote stories to go with them.
I lived in a land of pure make-believe because I didn’t like the real world very much.
My father encouraged me with my artwork and ran his own artclub in Stanwell, where we lived and where I was brought up; it was just me and my parents, I had been adopted at birth.
I was lonely, and didn’t mix particularly well with the other children at school and so I escaped into my own creative, arty world as a source of comfort.
When I was twelve, I wrote a childrens’ book called The Adventures of Little Hodge about a lonely hedgehog. I illustrated it myself and it was published in weekly installments in the local paper called The Informer.
I had previously sent it off to a childrens’ publishing company called Methuen Books, who had considered the book for publication and even priced it at £2.95 to go on sale in the shops (a lot of money in those days!). My book, however, was not published for the reason being that there were too many hedgehog books already on the market at this time.
I began going to the artclub with my father and began painting wildlife animal pictures as a hobby using watercolour pencils as my preferred medium. I exhibited my work locally at first, became quite well known in the area, and sold work.
When I was nineteen, I held a solo art exhibition in the library at Staines, Middlesex which was successful enough for me to gain a number of art commissions.
Meanwhile I had also started an art course at Hounslow Borough College, Isleworth, but which I was unable to complete due to an illness.
I then moved to live in Belfast, Northern Ireland with a friend. I stayed for a few years where I fell into numerous bad relationships and eventually returned back to my parents’ house in England to live.
It was around this time that I decided to re-invent myself, and in 2003 I wrote The Adventures of the Odd Sock, born from the idea that we all lose one of a pair of socks in the washing machine!
This was published by a company called UPSO, who ceased to trade a short time afterwards. My local paper published an interview and took some pictures, but by then my mother had become unwell and it all went ‘by the by’.
I started to do less artwork, although I never gave up on it altogether.
By then I had exhibited in shows at Guildford, Southlands, Hayes, Ashford and Weybridge and was a member with Ashford artclub for a short time as well.
Mum passed away and my father regressed into his artwork. I also at that point became a friend instead of a stranger, and I joined him in the Guild of Aviation Artists, from which he had been a member for 25 years. I exhibited my work alongside his for two years running; the first year I exhibited a Glider; the year following it was a UFO! this was at the Mall Galleries, by Trafalgar Square, in central London.
My father then became ill very quickly and in 2011 he died of stomach cancer.
I reacted very badly to this and found myself with no support from family and only a couple of friends.
I joined up with the art club again at a friends’ suggestions, but the stress of losing my father and the unhappiness I felt at being alone resulted in me being diagnosed with oesophogal cancer the following year at the end of May 2013.
I then knew that what I wanted to do more than anything was to make my late mother and my father proud and to make a success of my life and not be a ‘drifter’ anymore. During my treatment I slowly started thinking and writing stories again. I was absolutely determined to write and finish my second book which was to carry on from the first all that time ago, and The Further Adventures of the Odd Sock was born!
I managed to achieve this with all my strength and willpower, and never gave up and was given the all-clear after six months of further endoscopy treatments.
I am currently writing my third book and expanding on the characters and stories. and my aim is for it to be published by the end of October 2014.
Being a child at heart, I have always watched childrens’ cartoons, and my favourite one at the moment has to be Peppa Pig!
It is my ultimate wish for my stories to be turned into five minute cartoon slots for childrens TV and knowing I have achieved this through hard work and determination …and with a lot of help…..from the Odd Sock(s)!