'Totally unexpected' - The Norfolk artist who went national in lockdown
- Credit: Archant
When last year’s lockdown gripped the nation, Rebecca Osborne found herself with a studio full of art equipment and a packed diary of cancelled events.
But inspired by the efforts of those around her, the 45-year-old from Gorleston decided to embark on her own project to help spread some feel-good factor.
Mrs Osborne, who lives near the beach with her husband Paul, three children, and two dogs, returned to Norfolk after spending 12 years living in Edinburgh following her degree.
She became a stay-at-home mum when her children were younger and helped out with school events and fundraisers, becoming known as “the arty one”.
It wasn’t until her youngest daughter Rosie, now aged 13, referred to her as someone who “used to be an artist” she felt inspired to pick up the supplies once again after an 11-year career break raising Dylan, now 19, and Pippa, 18, along with Rosie.
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She said: “I’ve always enjoyed art and drawing, and all of my education was in art from when I left school at Cliff Park.
“When the children were younger, I started doing some work in schools by delivering art projects but it wasn’t until I realised my children had never seen me working on them that I knew I wanted to get back to it.”
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Mrs Osborne started sharing her work, and the supplies she used, on social media platforms such as Twitter.
After two months, her work was picked up by London-based Winsor & Newton, an English manufacturing company that produces a wide variety of fine art products.
Since then, she has gone on to work for other organisations including Sony, as well as sketching live cartoons at events and conferences, and travelling the world to demonstrate products in countries including Germany and America.
But it is her work during lockdown which has seen her achieve national acclaim.
She used the time to spread positivity by creating digital pictures on her tablet to support Clap for Our Carers and other key workers such as teachers and delivery drivers.
People have been requesting cartoons from her on Twitter and instead of charging a fee she has been asking them to pay it forward by giving money to charity or doing a good deed such as donating to food banks.
Then, when war veteran, Sir Captain Tom Moore, captured the country’s heart by raising more than £32m for the NHS, Mrs Osborne shared a drawing she had completed of the 100-year-old. And was delighted to receive a response back.
The cartoon was captioned with “some superheroes don’t wear capes, some wear medals” and was shared by Mr Moore on Twitter, who wrote: “I’ve just been sent this incredible picture from Rebecca Osborne - thank you my dear.”
“It was totally unexpected when it went viral,” she said.
“Back in March, I was walking home from an NHS event I’d been working at. Then overnight, everything was cancelled. Being self-employed, this was terrifying.
“Then I started seeing people doing things to help and I wondered what I could do myself.
“I had the resources and then time, and I recently starting working on an iPad, so I began doddle-drawing a picture about not all superheroes wearing capes.
“People shared it and began asking me to change the messages with it to pay thanks to lots of different people and groups. I realised then that this was something people wanted to see.”
Over the past few months, Mrs Osborne has also enhanced her way of working to enable the creation of live content remotely.
Alongside her husband, who she married in 2000, they are working together on animation projects.
She added: “I would say to other artists to keep putting your work out there. People are looking at what you do and want to see what you’re working on.
“When this is over, I want everyone to be able to open their shops and businesses again, and have careers to go back to, especially in the creative industries – we are going to need them.”