Single Mum Illustrations - Meet the illustrator! | All By Mama
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Single Mum Illustrations - Meet the illustrator!

We love to introduce you to talented mothers and today we have interviewed Rachel from Yellow Tiger. Get to know a little bit more about Rachel, how she got started with illustrations and where she gets her ideas.

 

 

Tell us about you

I'm a bisexual freelance illustrator based in North London, and a single mum to a 5 year old. I grew up in sleepy Devon as an only child, spending childhood weekends going on long walks and beach picnics. Beautiful - but as a teenager without a car there wasn't much to do. When I moved to London I never looked back - I'm still head over heels in love with it after all this time! It's not perfect, but it feels like home.

I've always been an activist at heart, and care deeply about equality and fairness. Right now I'm focused on raising awareness of single parent challenges through my work, something I knew nothing about until I became one myself.  I'm also doing the work to be the best ally I can be to the Black Lives Matter movement, including learning about Black history and unpacking my own white privilege. 

 

What got you started with your illustrations?

As a kid I loved drawing and I realised in my teens that I wanted to make a career out of it. In 2006 I got a place on the Foundation course at Central Saint Martins in London, and went on to study design at Goldsmiths. After graduation, I was exhausted creatively and I worked as a receptionist for a while. I missed design though and managed to secure some internships with greeting card companies, which led to freelance work and then a studio assistant job.

From there I managed to get my dream job as part of the Paperchase in-house design team for 6 years. I learnt so much there, from product specs and manufacture, to creating repeat patterns and working in a very fast paced studio team.

Once my son was born, and I became a single mum, I realised I needed to work more flexibly, as well as wanting to progress with my work and have more creative freedom. So Yellow Tiger was born!

 
I want to keep creating illustrations with purpose - I would love to turn these single mum illustrations into a series featuring lots of diverse single parents and their experiences, as well as highlighting more mental health issues including PTSD.
 
And I dream of creating a children's picture book someday!
 

 

What are your dreams for the future

I want to keep creating illustrations with purpose - I would love to turn these single mum illustrations into a series featuring lots of diverse single parents and their experiences, as well as highlighting more mental health issues including PTSD.
 
And I dream of creating a children's picture book someday!
 

 

Where do you get your ideas?

Ideas come from everywhere - I have sketchbooks and folders full of them, and never enough time to see them all through! I get a lot of ideas just from regular everyday life - walking around doing errands, conversations with friends, playing with my son. I'd say a big part of my inspiration comes from art exhibitions - I often come out of a gallery with huge plans for creating new work. The last one I saw was the Royal Academy Winter Exhibition in November.

 

What makes you happy

Dancing with friends, swimming, seeing my son laugh, parenting wins. I adore coffee. Also, when off-duty, tequila (especially margaritas). Being outdoors, especially camping. And I love music - I have a huge well-loved CD collection, I play piano to relax, and live music is one of my favourite things in life. 

 

What was the last book you read

Pigeon English by Stephen Kelman. I like to re-read books - I find it interesting how my perspective changes over time, and this one felt so different in the light of Black Lives Matter. I'm constantly referring back to 'How to talk so kids will listen and listen so kids will talk' by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish which inspires my parenting a lot. And I'm currently reading 'African Voices of the Atlantic Slave Trade' by Anne C Bailey which is so important and feels like the education I've needed for a long time. 

 

Any tips for someone looking to start a creative business?

Do it! And then, try to learn a lot about business. I didn't know much and I've realised it's really helpful to know how to create a business plan, basic marketing skills, planning your time and all the admin. I've had some support to do this through my local council, as well as attending plenty of free seminars and webinars, making pages of notes, and asking for help from others.

My other tip would be around planning your days, especially if you're working from home. I find that I have to plan in breaks, because otherwise I work too hard and I'm exhausted! When you love your work, it's easy to get 'in the zone' and forget to eat or drink. When I get enough breaks, I feel so much happier and more productive too.

 

Thanks Rachel. Head here to see more of Rachel's work.

 

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