Welcome to my Second Acts Series!
Today, we have Kath Unsworth chatting about her passions and her emerging second act as an Illustrator/Artist/Writer.
“The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease for ever to be able to do it.”
― J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan
Growing up in a mixed bunch of creative people was a great way to thrive. Nine siblings to be precise. My passion to draw started early. As a child I loved looking at nature. Most happiest when observing the birds, watching a spider spinning it’s web or following a butterfly in flight. I dreamed of being an artist and painting beautiful pictures to hang in galleries. I was a mad book-worm too and often imagined my own endings to books if I did not like the way the story ended.
For some reason I let my passions slip through my fingers when I became an adult.
My career crossed paths with creativity many times. Visual merchandiser, costume jewellery maker, graphic designer, being some of the more memorable experiences. But I never seemed to feel my feet lift off the ground. Or believe I could fly, like when I was a child creating art. My childhood dreams, lost in my attempts to live a busy city existence.
Life gets in the way of the creative journey and I would be lying if I said it didn’t. I did not realise I needed to change my career. It was by sheer accident I discovered a new world of art.
I fell in love, stopped work to have children. With children, came a need to write stories. All my passion for art came floating back to me.
Reading picture books to the children inspired ideas. Moving to a dairy farm the power of nature found me once more and I began to create art. Children can do funny things to a person and they inspire me every day to think outside the box. As does my husband.
Recently I sent my picture book manuscript off to an editor and the healthy dose of feedback, made me realise I still have much to learn. I’m okay with that, I am learning by doing. My first book Sugar and Spice has had its ups and downs because I am writing and illustrating it. It is not finished yet. Some say this is a big no, illustrating your own picture book in the publishing world. I believe in the beauty of my own dreams and I know what I want for this book.
I began dreaming about picture books and drawing new characters. Ideas pop into my head at any given hour. I have no education in this field and understand the road is not an easy one. I have decided to take on a few more courses to aid me in this craft.
My interest in the minuscule moments and living where I live, inspire a creative lifestyle. I will open an Etsy shop this year and start selling my art. I am thinking of offering pet portraits too. It has taken years for me to realize I am an Illustrator/Artist/Writer. My journey continues and I know I will never lose this passion to create. I am a student, all over again.
My advice for anyone wanting to follow their passion is start today. Listen to the voice inside you, it knows best. Get educated. I am learning new skills daily. I have found the road of creating a picture book is a long and challenging path. It will take me many years to get it right. Attaining new skills is rewarding in itself. Don’t rush it, even though it feels like you should. Don’t be afraid of feedback it is where you learn the most.
My art is my life, I go where it leads. To who knows where? All I know is I am learning to fly again, like a baby bird fresh from the nest. All I have to do is keep going, keep learning and never give up. Through all these crazy projects something will happen.
I will leave you with some wise and wonderful words from Dr. Seuss:
“If Things start happening.
Don’t worry. Don’t stew.
Just go right along and you’ll start happening too.”
Thank you Joanne for inviting me to your awesome inspiring site. It has been a pleasure to write about my emerging second act.
Kath lives down the far south coast of Australia on a dairy farm.
Kath, thanks for sharing your journey and insights. I love your artwork and look forward to the release of Sugar and Spice.