I’m struggling with my mental health again but now I find that, instead of not drawing at all, I’m drawing often. I need to keep my hands moving so when I’m not working my fingers are constantly hatching away, or crocheting or clicking on my Nintendo Switch.

I’m also finding that it helps to have several portraits on the go at any one time, so I can switch between them. With portraits built up through hatching I’m not always sure when they’re finished so it helps to step away from them, move on to another one, and then come back to them to the next day and take another look. That little break allows me to look at them afresh and I can see where they need more work – as they almost always do.

The hatching on this portrait of Emitis from Sktchy helped me through 2 evenings when I was struggling to focus on the television or anything at all. I drew it on my iPad Pro with an Apple Pencil using the Procreate app and the ballpointy brush by Georg.

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I love drawing things. These days I am rarely found without a pen, pencil or stylus in my hands. In my working life I spend a lot of time in meetings and classrooms, reading papers and strategies, so my home life provides a creative antidote to all that! I also have chronic pain, lots of it. I have scoliosis, fibromyalgia and CRPS, so my life is a balancing act, trying to balance work, which make me feel part of the real world, with pain, which is ever present, and art, which soothes my pain.

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