Tomorrow (12th May) is International M.E Awareness Day so around the world there are lots of events taking place. One campaign happening across the world is Millions Missing – a day of action, demanding funding for biomedical research and education.
Many people with M.E are too ill to take part in these days of action, or aren’t able to travel. So, they can join in ‘virtually’ by donating a pair of shoes or placing their shoes outside their front door. Photographs of people’s shoes will be shared on social media using the hashtags #millionsmissing and #canyouseemenow.
Each pair of shoes represents one person with M.E who is missing from the life they would otherwise be leading.
Last year on 12th May I shared a drawing of my shoes. This year I’ve worked with M.E Action, the charity behind Millions Missing, to create a design for a gold shoe pin (keep reading to find out how to get hold of one).
What You Can Do
There are lots of ways you can support people like me, who live with M.E but here are 7 things you can do:
For April’s MATS Bootcamp assignment we were asked to design organisational trays/cups on the theme of sewing accessories, or sewing notions. I tried a few different ways of drawing and colouring my ideas and eventually decided on these designs for a tray, some trinket dishes and 3 different storage cups.
For the design of the trays and cups I was inspired by a few things I’d spotted on Pinterest and also in online shops like Anthropologie. With the drawings I decided to stick with simple line drawings in ink which I coloured digitally.
Making patterns is one of my favourite ways to play around with my drawings so I also created 2 repeat patterns using the same images – one using all the drawings I’d made and another that used just the buttons.
This was probably my favourite assignment so far in Bootcamp because the work I made felt very ‘me’. I felt like I was learning new things but at the same time using a style that is familiar and comfortable. We have one more month to go and I’m curious to see what that assignment will be, but in the meantime we have an extra week before that work starts so I’m enjoying a little break and resting as much as possible.
In February our MATS Bootcamp assignment was to design a cover for a journal on the theme of reading tea leaves.
I didn’t know anything about tea leaf reading so I did a bit of research and decided to illustrate some of the symbols that are often looked for when reading someone’s tea leaves. I also hand lettered a quotation about tea from Arthur Wing Pinero.
Since I love making patterns I also used the images I drew to create a new pattern. I couldn’t decide whether I like the dark blue or the pale background so I ended up with one of each.
I still haven’t managed to get my energy levels back on an even keel since the end of the 100 Day Project (this is life with M.E sometimes!) so I was appreciated the slower pace for the 365 project over the summer. I created one new illustration each week rather than 3 and enjoyed being able to take my time with each one.
As you can see, I made 2 new repeat patterns (one of my favourite things to create nowadays), a simple fish illustration and a self portrait.
As well as these 4 pieces I made an illustrated map of the City of London, which you can see on They Draw and Travel.
Now September’s here and I’m back to creating 3 new illustrations each week. Since my energy’s in short supply I’m experimenting with ways to keep things as simple as possible to avoid overwhelming and exhausting myself.
Right now I’m planning on sticking to my paper sketchbook and avoiding doing too much digital work. Digitising my work is fun but it can be really time-consuming for lots of reasons so cutting out that stage feels like a good plan right now. I may even use a pocket-sized sketchbook for some of my illustrations, just to keep things really simple.
Do you find it helpful to keep your work process simple and straightforward or do you prefer to spend lots of time on a piece of work?