Friday, 9 December 2016

challenge success story - Belladonna Raudvee

Prior to 2014, I realised that I only had a few years left until my youngest child started school and it was time to think about what I wanted to be when I grow up. I had this childhood dream of illustrating and as I am still a child at heart, I knew what I had to do! As it so happened, a crafty friend of mine asked if I would be interested in joining a local Pop Up Shop she was thinking of starting, and display my originals. So I started there.

I came across the 52 Week Challenge at the beginning of 2015 and it had the perfect mixture of support, structure, inspiration and kindness. Without the weekly prompts, I would still be chewing on my pencil and wondering what to draw and how to draw it. By mid year, I felt a change (most likely sleep deprivation and caffeine addiction) and I knew I could do this. I could actually make a career from doing what I love. I began using my challenge illustrations on greeting cards.

My big break came about when my illustrations caught the eye of Dr Howard Gray, a local author and the Chairman of The Batavia Coast Maritime Heritage Association. The Batavia Coast, where I live, is named after this very famous ship, The Batavia. The absolutely terrifying true tale of the shipwreck and survivors is well worth reading about. I put together 26 maritime illustrations which are now featured on The Mariner's Astrolabe, in the centre of Geraldton, WA. I am hoping to start work on the next historical monument (a massive steel globe) in 2017.

With thanks to Heidi Cooper Smith, fellow challenge member with jaw dropping illustrations, I seen that she had successfully entered an illo to Avant Card, Artist Postcards. Avant is the media company that produces all those glorious free collectable postcards in museums, cafes, universities and galleries. I nervously gave it a go and within 6 months I had my Cockatoo printed onto 10,000 postcards, all over Australia. A week after that, on the same day that I wrapped up a workshop designing advertising for The Mid West RoadWise Program with 50 children, a reporter in QLD noticed my Estonian surname and suddenly I was doing a radio interview for SBS Estonia!

One week after that, I seen another challenge member that I admire greatly, Jolanda Jarman, share a competition that she had entered. Redheads 'Through The Ages' Art Comp. I decided to give up sleeping that week and got my entry in a few days before the deadline. I was in shock when I finally found out the I placed 2nd. The new collector's editions of Redheads Matches, featuring my design, are to be released late this year or early 2017.

So much has happened the past 2 years that I never thought was possible in a whole lifetime. These are just the highlights of those years and I still have my whole life ahead of me. I cannot emphasize enough how important this group has been to me. I have made close friends and I have made a career.

You can find out more about Belladonna's work:

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