Illustration Inspirations

Illustration Inspirations 

RudgeArt and the illustrations are really a tribute to my Mum and Dad for always inspiring me to keep creating - No matter what the circumstances.
My Dad George Rudge was diagnosed with multiple myeloma (cancer of the blood) at the age of 50 and after constant chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments he died aged 58 in November 2014. A few years later my Mum Sue passed away after being diagnosed with lung cancer in 2019 aged 63.  We were so close and from the age of 19 I spent a great deal of time with them in various hospitals - during that time they faced constant chemotherapy treatments and hospital stays...and we tackled the ups and downs together with focus and new-found creativity!  I would scribble lots of characters and scenes as we were trying to pass the anxious times in hospitals and share the doodles with them. We found that creating together helped us. Never dwelling on what we could no longer do, but on finding things we could still enjoy together.  They are both my heroes and were really my best mates - both always so generous and unconditionally gave love, guidance, perspective and shared their incredible knowledge and imaginations with me throughout their times of illness. They keep inspiring me every day to create. It's been so lovely to know that people are enjoying it along the way. 

George's story.. 

George was a qualified Civil Engineer from Bootle in Liverpool and had spent most of his life working in education as a lecturer. His Myeloma diagnosis came completely 'out of the blue' after he sought advice from his GP for what he thought was just a virus, before that he'd literally never had a days illness. His treatments meant that he couldn't continue his lecturing and role as Head of Quality and Equality at Liverpool Community College which he had loved - life would never be the same again. 

I was in my second year of undergraduate opera studies at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester when he was diagnosed. Thankfully I wasn't too far away from home in Liverpool and as my training progressed professional performance opportunities arose - I can honestly say in the eight years of his battle with the disease he and my mum Sue hardly missed being in the audience at concerts and operas. They were an amazing team and he was always determined to travel around the country during various stages of his Myeloma to be there to see me perform.

Alongside that positivity and determination there were many moments when it felt like we had run into brick walls and things looked bleak; tough days with lots of anxious time in hospital. It was like being on a rollercoaster, we really found the true meaning of 'one day at a time' and sometimes it became 'one hour at a time.' I guess we each have our own ways of coping ..I've always been a scribbler and I just kept on sketching throughout it all - pen and paper doodles that helped to take my mind off things and make people smile a bit.. sometimes the quirkier the better!:)  

One day 'Dame Doo Dah' appeared in my sketchbook and George took one look at her and described what he thought her personality would be like. Later that day he handed me a piece of paper - he had totally brought her to life himself through his writing!:) From then onwards he began to create loads of funny biographies for all kinds of different characters with tonnes of stories for me to illustrate. You would often find him with his notebook sitting in the treatment rooms of the hospital writing away - even when he had limited mobility and could no longer walk he still found so much pleasure in writing. 


Dame DoodahThe handwriting above with 'The Dame's story' belongs to George. It was a great focus to spend time together creating the stories and illustrations together. 

George had never written anything fictional since his school days but out of adversity he explored his creative side. We could be facing long and worrying waiting times in the hospitals but time would fly when we used our imaginations. In fact, his enthusiasm for writing was such that I couldn't keep up with drawing illustrations at the same rate as he was imagining the characters! Every day we talked about new ideas, shared our observations of people, animals, places, nature and scenes that inspired us along the way.  

Our lives did change but in many ways for the better - more than ever we appreciated finer details and saw with real clarity how precious time, love and life together is. He kept showing me the funny side of life through everything and that's so important and something I'll always be so grateful for. 

There's a Schubert song I love singing called 'Frulingsglaube' translated it means 'Spring Faith.' It's a song about finding courage through the changing seasons in life. It says 'Do not be afraid.. even in the darkest, distant valleys flowers will still grow'. The stories and illustrations were like those little flowers to us that kept on growing even in the dark times.

Katie Rudge

Dame Doodah and friends..

Maybe you're reading this in a similar situation; in a waiting room somewhere, or going through tough times. Whoever you are, wherever you're at, this is up here for you.

George and The Dame we created always remind me there's always another perspective and so much to be gained from taking in the big picture and enjoying the beautiful details in life.  
'It doesn't matter if we win or lose, we never gave up' George Rudge (1956-2014) 

Kathryn Rudge George Rudge

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Katie is an artist and singer ( based in her home city of Liverpool.