Hi all! My name is Judy Jones, I grew up and still live in the beautiful Derbyshire countryside here in the United Kingdom. As a child my home was always full of family, friends and pets. Between my parents my two brothers and myself we had fish, budgies, canaries, finches hamsters, gerbils, rabbits, dogs and horses over the years. So as you can imagine, I grew up with a real love of animals.
My other passion was art. I loved to draw, colour and paint. My dad would draw cartoon characters for me. Yogi Bear was one of his favorites. In those days, my art supplies consisted of pencils, felt tipped pens, Crayola crayons, and cheap watercolours. I loved colouring books and would spend hours colouring. As I got older, I ventured into creating more of my own art. Finding inspiration in everything around me from the beautiful scenery to my pets, and pop stars I admired.
I got an O level in art at school which was as far as any formal training went. After I left school, my time was taken up with my job as a florist and taking care of my horse. There was little time for art and it took a back seat in my life. I grew up, got married, tried eight years to have children. I longed for my own family and after several failed IVF attempts, I gave birth to twins, a boy and a girl. My family was complete or so I thought.
Around seven months later, I found out I was pregnant naturally, but sadly when the twins turned one, I lost the baby. Less than a year later, I discovered I was having another baby and along came my youngest, another little girl. I rediscovered my creative side with the kids, we would draw, paint, and make weird and wonderful creations like Halloween masks, Plasticine swans, hedgehogs, and even an Egyptian pyramid with sarcophagus and mummy.
Ten years ago, I split from my husband and life has been difficult. I suffered from depression after the loss of the baby and the break up of my marriage. I was in a rut and unsure where my life was heading. Around 5 years ago, I was scrolling through YouTube videos when I came across an artist by the name of Dede Willingham. I watched several of her videos and soon joined her on you-stream (now live on YouTube) for live stream and chat. Her carefree style and love to create rubbed off on me. I was soon creating again. I have met some wonderful people online in the art community on Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. Many of whom I would now consider friends.
I find if I have a bad day just the simple act of picking up a pencil and a sketchbook calms me and takes me to my happy place. I am now trying to draw or paint something every day.
My favorite mediums are Faber-Castell Polychromos coloured pencils and Winsor & Newton watercolours. I also enjoy the simplicity of just a graphite pencil. I do love to buy art supplies of all kinds. Some of which get used more frequently than others. I will sit with a sketchbook whilst watching TV or YouTube and doodle ideas that come to me. I have also rediscovered my love of drawing animals.
I love to draw a wide variety of subjects but animals will always be my favorite. I am not currently employed and would love to make a living from my art, maybe illustrating children’s books. Julia Donaldson if you ever part ways with Axel Scheffler give me a call! I have done some commission work but it doesn’t pay the bills.
My children are now 18 and almost 16 and have my creative streak. My oldest daughter is studying photography at university, my younger daughter is doing a GCSE in 3D Art, though her true passion is dance and my son has done some great digital art. I feel my artwork has improved a lot over the last few years.
I watch a lot of YouTube artists and have learned a lot from them, though I think the best way to learn is to just do it. Getting over the fear of “doing it wrong” was a hurdle for me and my confidence in my ability could be better. But you know what, it’s just a bit of pigment and paper and if it goes wrong no one has to see it.
I have had my share of disasters along the way. It’s all part of the fun. I learn something from every piece I do even if it’s just “don’t do that again!” But, if you are looking to be an artist, the best advice I can give is keep practicing. You don’t get good at something by not doing it like everything else in life. It’s a learning process. We are not all born with a whole set of skills, we learn them. You couldn’t just pick up a football and be a professional footballer as you can’t just pick up a pencil and be an artist. But, the more you do the better you get. I’m striving to get better little by little.
Some days, I will have a specific thing I want to draw and other days I have no clue. I find mind mapping and keeping any ideas that pop into my head in a notebook really useful to go back to when artist block hits. Inspiration is all around us. I sometimes draw what’s on my desk or, other times, I will look online for ideas or just going out for a walk and observing the things around me be it a flower, a leaf, a pebble, a person, a building or anything else that grabs my attention.
I take my phone out and will often take a photo of something I would like to draw later. All you need is a passion for what you are doing and determination to do it. Looking back at my artwork, I can see that the more I enjoyed doing a piece the better it came out.
Going into the new year, I would love to get better at watercolour and inking and I intend to do more along those lines. I have loved doing the daily prompts in the monthly Doodlewash art challenges, even though it’s time consuming it makes me create something every day and I, for one, need that push. Daily life often gets in the way and it’s easy to say, “oh, I’ll just do something tomorrow,” but as long as I am creating something each day I will be happy. Even if it’s just a doodle on the side of my shopping list.
Finally I want to thank Charlie for this wonderful opportunity to be a featured artist here and if you want to see more of my art or just say hi, you’ll find me on Instagram at the link below.