identity. belonging. expat life.
Who you are. How you feel inside. Where you live.
As an artist, I illustrate and educate about marginalised experiences for positive change.
With a focus on identity, belonging and expat life, I help people to navigate ‘otherness’.
It creates division, prejudice and suffering.
We are all someone else’s ‘other’
Drawn to a Story exists to redress the imbalance
Let my clients tell you for themselves:
Continue the Connection
Theme: Plot Twist
When the internal changes become external....
and you can't ignore them any longer.
For 6 years I'd seen it.
For 6 years other people saw it there too.
6 years on, it's becoming a reality.
This partly finished tattoo on my back speaks to me of my future. It's a complete change of trajectory and a complete shift in how I see myself.
And definitely not something I ever saw coming, but you never do with a plot twist do you?
This incredibly stunning artwork is by @tattoosbyhai ...
It's hard to pick one #tradition, so today for #mayonthemove2021 I've gone with my favourite one. Camping, fires and four-wheel drive trips in the deserts at home in Australia.
I acquired a number of skills on these trips:
🚙 learning to drive our 4WD on rough terrain
🔥 how to make a fire
⛺ how to make camp and stay safe from snakes and scorpions 🐍🦂
🍳cooking over a fire with the 'Dutch oven
😶 the joys of solitude in nature
✈ how to use the Flying Doctor Radio to seek help in remote locations
🏜 how to survive in the desert and repair your vehicle in the event of a breakdown.
But this tradition is so much more than skills. It was about bonding as a family, leaving city life to connect deeply within ourselves through nature, and a time to slow down.
Desert camping is not available in England, so as often as possible I light a fire to remember and honour these memories with a beer that carries my family name.
'Brew'...that's Brew....B.R.E.W.....not dog! 🤣 or 'pony' or 'dead' even! 😆
A friend recently told me that they'd seen me out running, complemented me on how I looked and said they were jealous of my will power to lose weight.
I used to think it was about will power too, but having done a lot of internal work, will power is irrelevant.
Will power implies you have to go without something. I don't. Every week I eat chocolate, ice cream, drink beer, make cakes and enjoy what I eat. Will power also implies that you're constantly fighting against yourself - against your natural desires. That's not good either because it sets up thought patterns of 'should' and 'must' and if I don't then I'm failing.
Obviously if I eat the whole cake or drink a gallon of beer, weight will pile on, but I don't need to. I don't need to because I'm not going without. And not going without is about loving myself.
By learning to love myself now and my future self, I make choices that feed me - literally! Who wants to go without nice things like ice cream, beer and chocolate?
By loving myself, I choose happiness over guilt. I choose good health over poorer health. I choose personal pleasure over emotional pressure. I choose purpose over feeling aimless.
I choose me.
And you know what?
The weight is disappearing faster than it ever has. ...
This beautiful solitary bee landed on my book recently when I was drawing. As its parting gift it pooed on my page 💩
Ew! Right? But it got me thinking.
In her latest podcast @sundaebean interviews René Washington - Master Certified Life Coach, speaker, and author. WOWZERS! 🔥 What an amazing conversation to listen to about how we change as we grow older!!
René's lasting wisdom for listeners was "let your shit go" and as simple as that, this is what this bee did.
It left it behind and flew off, lighter. Simple.
It's the perfect metaphor for change and the growth that comes.
And.... as René also said, "if we don't change we're dead".
💥Truth bomb💥 ...
This week I'll be talking about transgender people in sport, particularly trans women.
Is there a scientific case for excluding them based on natural 'advantage'? ...
And so we come to #moving week in #mayonthemove2021.
The easy option is to talk about me moving countries, but for me, #moving is all about moving my body. It took me to move abroad to take up running.
I've always had a secret dream (not so secret now eh? hello Instagram! 🤣) to get properly fit. The bonus was that I would lose weight (society doesn't commonly celebrate bigger people and honestly?....it can be shit to live on the receiving end of that), but the main purpose was fitness and wellness. I love exercise, and I love the natural high it gives.
I RUN BECAUSE:
🏃♀️ Once I couldn't run for 30 seconds but now I run 5km and every time I do I'm reminded of what I can achieve if I want to.
🏃♀️ I feel fantastic afterwards.
🏃♀️ I'm choosing me and what my future self wants.
🏃♀️ It's good for my mental and physical health and means I eat better too.
🏃♀️ I like myself more when I run
🏃♀️ I used to criticise runners as 'fitness freaks', but was secretly jealous that they were doing it. I am now owning that.
🏃♀️ I enjoy it. Simple. Moving my body makes me happy.
@thefrustratednester @diverseinthecity ...
As an illustrator, it's all about the visual #language.
The brain processes imagery 60,000 times faster than words. There's immense power in that.
I love communicating the 'uff' factor. An illustration that touches your emotions is one you're not going to forget.
It makes people feel seen. It reduces the damage of othering people. It stops people in their tracks. It simplifies and goes straight to the point. It connects people to their own hearts. It breaks down barriers. It smacks ego in the face. It gives voice to the unseen.
Welcome to Drawn to a Story.
This is everything I'm about - using 'visual language' to educate and illustrate about marginalised experiences for positive change.
Creating illustrations to sell in my online shop brings me great joy because it takes these messages beyond the expatriate world and to people who need to see it the most.
In 1 hour: Why are your ancestral roots important and what might you be missing? ...
Rhoda Bangerter recently published her new book 'Holding the Fort Abroad'.
Not only was I privileged to design and illustrate her book, but I was also asked to host the 'icebreaker' for Summertime Publishing's online launch of her book.
Together, we crafted our own story. As each person verbalised their line, I drew the story. We worried about clean underwear, dreaming in 3 languages, falling in love with our therapist and hiding the chocolates from our returning partner! ...
Another illustration for @figtglobal.
This time, the joys and challenges of living and working interculturally.
We think it comes down to language, cultural beliefs, differing social behaviours, fitting/not fitting, setting up new homes and lives, and so much more, but I'd suggest that the majority of you think of these things from an able-bodied perspective.
Now think about your personal 'challenges' from a differently-abled perspective, and then add a WHOLE lot more to cover all the things you take for granted.
Do you see a different picture now? ...
Love where you live right?
There are days I forget how amazing my local area is.
Today was not one of those days.
We had a beautiful walk this evening and the coastline showed off all its glory.
This Friday: Why are your ancestral roots important and what might you be missing? ...
When you follow someone's work for a while and then you meet them and they become a dear friend.....
That's this women @sundaebean
#Mentors&Mates is more like 'Mentor to Mate' but it's not a one way deal. Why do I still see her as a mentor?
Because I'm consistently impressed with her enthusiasm to help people, her drive to create new projects that change people's lives, her compassion, her business sense, her passion for social justice, not to mention her desire to do things 'right' because on every level it's the only way to do it.
As a business woman, she's helped me transform and expand my own business in its opportunity and my mindset.
And as a good friend, well, let's just say, go away Covid, I wanna give my friend a hug!
We're overdue!! 💕
THIS is everything I'm about.
How it manifests changes over the years with my own personal growth, but the core values remain the same.
I invite you to take this on as your own personal manifesto. ...
How to run your business and life for LGBTQIA+ inclusivity: 10 game changer tips! ...
So for my #roots, you'd think it would be easy to represent, but it's complex.
Do I go with my heart, my head, my soul or my ancestors?
For me it's about ancestors and their spirit that lives in my heart and soul.
My heart and soul lie in the Australian deserts. It's like I can breathe again when I'm there and I feel part of the earth. It's a place where I'm at one with life, the universe and I know who I am down to my bones.
#roots is also the Swann Sisters, my 9 great great aunts. Strong women, Quakers, peace activists, suffragettes, education activists for children with special needs, in NSW the youngest student teacher ever, one of the first women dentists, the first woman to be a sanitary inspector, all business women whose father encouraged them to have careers and not husbands. Only one married. They lived in and were responsible for saving Australia's oldest non-Indigenous building which is now a museum house.
They knew who they were and made choices when society told them they didn't have any.
I too don't have a husband, rather a wife.
I too have made choices society told me I shouldn't.
These women are my #roots.
And they are present in everything I do.
I loved taking part in #mayonthemove last year @diverseinthecity @thefrustratednester
So here I am again for #mayonthemove2021
I'm Cath, an Australian heritage consultant, turned illustrator, living in the UK.
I've been in the UK for 14.5 years, living on a little island in SW England.
It took me until 42 to realise my dream of working as an illustrator. This simply wouldn't have happened if I'd stayed in Australia.
It's amazing what an international move, being made redundant and a subsequent reinvention of self can do for a woman's future.
It's hard, but it's also amazing if you dare.
I love it all! ...
There is deep joy in this box.
Alfalfa sprouts. 🌱
They're available everywhere at home in Australia, but I've never found them in a supermarket here in the UK.
Such was my lament. 15 years of no alfalfa sprouts. 🙃
And then I realised I could GROW MY OWN!
I know, I was a little slow. It only took 15 years for that thought to sprout. 🔥 Pun intended!! 😊
How often do we go without, thinking that's it, there is no other choice?
There's always choice.
That's probably the one thing we always have.
Alfalfa sprouts are just the example. Some scenarios are tougher to solve than GROW YOUR OWN.
BUT we always have choice. Get creative. Use that amazing brain of yours. Delve into the parts of it you haven't used in a while.
Make CHOICE shine like a halo 😇 upon your head. Let it out of its cage. 💥
What are you going to do differently?
Today is the day.
When your support of the people you love becomes gaslighting.
Watch BAREFOOT FRIDAY to find out what you're doing wrong. ...
Small delights to keep me going.
I bought these a few days ago and it made me feel refreshed. I love ceramics and when I can't travel to find them in covid times, buying them locally hits the spot.
There are always little ways to feed your soul.