Saturday, 15 February 2014

Salford Advertiser / Manchester Evening News Scans & Online Article

Last Thursday I had an interview with Ruhubia Akbor, a journalist who works with the Manchester Evening News, and on Monday a photographer came to my home to take some shots for the accompanying article. Both of my articles for the Salford Advertiser (Thursday, 13th February) and the Manchester Evening News (Friday, 14th February) can be seen below, detailing my journey of winning the RNIB's Illustrator of the Year for 2014 and producing illustrations for their Insight Magazine.

Blind Artist Sketches Out a Bright Future for Herself

A blind woman is a step closer to realising her dream of becoming an artist after winning a national competition. Kimberley Burrows, 25, was born partially blind and can only see a little out of one eye. But despite only being able to work on her drawings for a few minutes at a time, she has never let her sight problems hold her back. Her winning illustration saw her being named the RNIB's Insight Magazine's Illustrator of the Year.

Her drawing - which represents her next steps in life from training for her guide dog, learning braille and how to use a long cane - features in the current issue of the magazine and took almost a month to complete. Kimberley, of Irlam in Salford, said: "I've enjoyed drawing since I was a little girl. It has always been my favourite hobby. I thought I'd give it a go and spent a month working on it. I can only do a little each day as it causes eye strain. I really didn't think I'd win and I was really shocked, but pleased and honoured."

Kimberley uses a Daylight lamp to help her see her work and uses colouring pencils and a fineliner to create her colourful pictures. She is no stranger to praise for her work having been commissioned to create a special drawing of Paddington Bear for creator Michael Bond.

She said, "I chatted to his daughter through Facebook and showed her some pictures I'd done of Paddington. She really liked them and wanted me to meet her dad, so we travelled down to London and I took him a special picture I'd done and he loved it. Art is not a usual line of work for someone who is blind, but no matter what, you can't let things be a barrier. You have to overcome and achieve what you want to achieve. You do need a lot of willpower but I'm determined to do it."

Kimberley has now been given the task of creating 12 illustrations over the year and asked to create a piece of artwork for Henshaws Society the Blind at John Lewis' community art wall in the Trafford Centre. She has ambitions to study art at the Royal National College for the Blind after she has a fully trained guide dog.

Photographs © Eddie Garvey

The article can also be viewed on the Manchester Evening News official website here.

It was wonderful to go to Henshaws yesterday, at Artherton House in Manchester, and share the experience with my friends and the staff - with some of them already having seen my article in the Salford Advertiser the night before. It was also very surreal to listen to the Salford Talking News and hear the team reading out the article, describing my photographs (with some really love compliments!) and give very positive comments. They also recognised that I'm a listener of the local talking news and wished me the best of luck for the future. I'm extremely honoured that Ruhubia wanted to write an article about me and am so thankful for the opportunities it has presented - an interview with the national press and ITV news, coming very soon!