Although she was a trained artist, Angie Stevens couldn’t find a job when she left college and came to believe that working as a professional artist would have to remain a pipe dream. She took a job instead working in customer services in a manufacturing firm in Swansea, South Wales, got married and decided to concentrate on having children.
After she had her first daughter, Millie, now 9, Angie decided to give up work to bring up children. Now she has also has Evie, 4, and Gruff aged 2.
“We knew it would be a struggle financially, and it’s been really hard, but I decided the most important thing for me was to be at home to bring up the kids,” Angie says.
She did manage to do bits and pieces of art, selling her hand-drawn greetings cards locally and exhibiting at the odd craft fair. But when her son Gruff was born, Angie stopped drawing altogether, probably, she says, because of post-natal depression that made her feel as if she was living in a fog.
“I just didn’t feel like doing anything creative. That’s what post-natal depression does to you, you can’t seem to do anything that puts you in a position of responsibility, I couldn’t even go to the bank.”
Her husband, Myles, kept leaving sketch books around the place, she says, hoping to help and inspire her and, eventually, one day, she drew a couple of simple sketches of the kids with their names and ages on the top.
More like this
“I looked at them and they didn’t look bad. So I decided to keep a diary and do one drawing a day. Then came the brainwave to do it as a blog and scan in the drawings every day. However crap they were, I promised myself I’d upload one every day,” Angie says.
And she did, religiously, even when she was so tired after the children had gone to bed or even “after I’ve been let out for the night and come home drunk occasionally”. Now when the family goes on holiday she uploads onto her blog straight from her phone.
Angie, who's now 39, says that it’s only looking back that has made her realise how much drawing helped her get over her PND.
“Every woman needs to be given some confidence and realise they’re good at something,” she says. “You can’t look forward otherwise.”
Angie now has 700 drawings that create a series of such warm-hearted snapshots of a gentle family life they simultaneously warm the cockles of your heart and make you want to cry. Everything from 2-year-old Gruff’s life is there – bed and bath time with his sisters, potty training, tantrums, learning to clean his teeth, (“he gets through a toothbrush a week because he eats them”) and, more recently, sports day at the girls’ school.
And the fairytale happy ending to Angie’s story is that after the pictures were printed in the Daily Mail last week, she's been inundated with interest in her work. She doesn’t want to risk her good luck by celebrating yet but, fingers crossed, there may well be a book deal in the very near future.
Find Angie and her family on Doodlemum.com
Six big family moments that matter – and the products that make them easier to navigate
These products from John Lewis & Partners help support the memorable moments of family life.