Hey hey hey!

Heyyy hey hey! I'm Brittany, the creator, author and illustrator of Gerald the Shaggy Unicorn! 

One might think that authoring and illustrating a book is the hardest part and that’s not necessarily wrong. However, I’m going to say figuring out what to write in this bio is so much harder!

Figures, right?. I don’t have a clue what someone would want to know about me so I’m just going to jump right in and hope I’m on the right track.  

I'm a mom of three beautiful children. My eldest daughter is eight years old, my son is four, and my littlest daughter is almost a year old. I'm also a teacher and have been teaching reading and writing to fifth graders for over thirteen years. Drawing is something I've always loved to do and I have fond memories of my family fostering my love for drawing as a kid. I received many How To Draw books (animals mostly, because that's all I ever wanted to draw) as well as pencils, paints, sketchbooks etc. I also always loved to write. Poetry is one of my favorite writing styles along with story writing and I remember doing both quite a lot when I was younger. Both drawing and creative writing took a back seat for a while though as I got a bit older and entered into college. It wasn't until I began teaching that I rekindled my love for creative writing, and the time spent at home during Covid brought back my love for art through hand-lettering and painting and drawing. I found that focusing on painting and crafting beautiful artistic lettering styles, calmed me and gave me a space to pour my energy into so I wasn't walking around an anxious and stressed-out mess. 

I mentioned previously that I really only loved to draw animals. Sorry to my bug and reptile lovers, they just never made the I Love to Draw list. It was horses mostly that I would draw, and that eventually evolved into cats, dogs and anything else with four legs and fur. I love all animals and even have two cats and a dog of my own. 

I think it’s safe to say I’m someone who goes all in on things. If I set my mind to something or I get an idea, it’s full steam ahead until I’ve accomplished the goal or seen the idea all the way through. I've run marathons, learned the art of hand-lettering and now I have Gerald too. 

So there you have it. I'm a mom, I'm a teacher, a marathoner and now I can proudly add to my list of accomplishments, author and illustrator too ♥️.

Persistence, dedication, and yes even a little bit of crazy

Okay, here’s the deal. I'm not a critically-acclaimed author, or a long time established children's book illustrator. In fact, I've never formally taken any art classes (unless you want to count the art classes I was required to take in high school). 

You might be wondering, why am I telling you this? How is that relevant? 

I'm telling you because I'm a mom and teacher and my life is busy and constantly on the go. I'm telling you because maybe you have dreams of doing things and you wonder if you're even qualified to do it, or capable of it. 

I'm telling you, because I believe in the power of wanting something, dreaming for something, and going for it regardless of the size of the learning curve. If it means that much to you, then don't let your doubts, worries, and feelings of being under-qualified or incapable stop you.  

I've wanted to write and illustrate children's books for as long as I can remember and I struggled with my worries over whether I could actually do it. I'm not a *real* artist; can I really illustrate a book? is a thought that often held me back. However, when Gerald's character and his story came to me, I never looked back. 

At the end of the day, talent isn't what makes us successful, it's grit. 

Once upon a time, I was trying to illustrate a mouse sitting in an arm chair with a cup of coffee (it was a drawing prompt I stumbled across on social media). My daughter, who often looks over my shoulder when I draw, asks me one evening, "How'd you get so good at drawing a mouse like that?"

Little did she realize that it took me what felt like hours just to draw the mouse's head and face the way I saw it in my imagination! In my mind, I'm thinking, it's persistence, dedication, and a little bit of crazy, kid, that's how your mom learned to draw that mouse. 

My real answer to her is always the same though, "I just keep trying until it looks the way I want it to look. I practice, practice, practice and I don't give up just because it's a little hard. That's how I get better at drawing."  Now when she asks, "How'd you get so good at..." she answers her own question with "let me guess, you practice," with a sassy eye roll. 

She rolls her eyes now, but I can only hope that someday when she's in the middle of something that's testing her resolve, that she remembers me saying "I just keep trying..." until I get the outcome I'm aiming for. I hope that she finds her grit and pushes through the discomfort that comes with going after the things we want to achieve. 

The point of this story is that no one starts off as an expert at anything or simply wakes up successful.  Everything we accomplish, every goal we set and achieve is done so with a level of persistence, dedication, and yes sometimes even a little bit of crazy. It takes grit.

Whatever it is that is important to you, whatever goals you want to achieve or dreams you have, don't give up on yourself too quickly.  Tap into that grit and keep getting after it.