• Emily Powell

Emily, your mission, if you choose to accept it…

Oh I do! My mission is clear and I cannot wait to get started!


a black and white photo of a blank sketch book on a table surrounded by illustrations coming from the page, including trees, tiny people, a paper boat, a sailing ship and something tentacled and scary
Bringing words and ideas to life

Last year was life changing for me. It was incredibly exciting and undeniably terrifying and changed everything I ever thought about how I’d spend my days, now and in the future.


Thomkat Illustrations started out as just a bit of drawing in the evenings and at weekends. I knew it sparked something inside me, and that, aside from time with my children and the pups, the hours spent sketching were my happiest.




But as much as I may have dreamt that I could make a career out of my passion, I never believed it. After all, I’ve been dreaming of teaching Fantastical Arts and living at Hogwarts for years now and that’s never happened.

Friends and family had commissioned me here and there, which I loved. But that’s what friends and family do for each other. Isn’t it?


NHS colleagues commissioned me to create illustrations for work projects. But that was just luck; right place, right time. Right?!


No one else would want to pay me to draw, right?!!


Even if they did, I have a 20 year career with big grown up qualifications. I can’t just give that up, right?!!!


Drawing would never pay me enough to replace that corporate salary, right?!!!!


And you can’t earn a living doing something that makes you so happy, right?!!!!!


RIGHT?!!!!!


Wrong. People did start to commission me. Strangers, who knew nothing about me other than they loved my art. And whilst all those limiting beliefs still played over and over in my head, I dared to ask myself ‘what if?’ and I dared to believe.


What if I am good enough? What if I can do this? I’d always thought I’d end my career as a Finance Director, but what if I’m allowed to change my mind? So I did.

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On 1st May 2021, I set up Thomkat Illustrations as a limited company. 3 months later I left my corporate career behind. There’s no point lying, it scared the bejesus out of me. I was overwhelmed by the enormity of it all, buried by the pressure. But deep breathing and the motto of the wisest philosopher of our time kept me moving forward. Just keep swimming. Dory may well be an animated fish, but she speaks to my sole…(not a fan of the fish jokes? Ok, I’ve FINished).


As with any business, I needed to understand my mission. My purpose. This was a completely familiar concept to me. Twenty years in corporate organisations, re-setting missions, visions and strategy has become second nature to me.


But the feeling, well that was something entirely new. Working through those same steps in the context of my own business, my own passion, it was exhilarating. It had new meaning. It felt so personal to me.


I soon realised I’d already started thinking about my purpose back when it was just for fun. Almost subconsciously my drawing had moved on from whatever took my fancy, to capturing ideas, thoughts and feelings. To expressing concepts and solving problems. To uplift and inspire.

I soon realised I’d already started thinking about my purpose back when it was just for fun. Almost subconsciously my drawing had moved on from whatever took my fancy, to capturing ideas, thoughts and feelings. To expressing concepts and solving problems. To uplift and inspire.


The past few months I’ve taken the time to dig deeper and really connect with what drives me. I’ve invested my energy into United ArtSpace’s 7 Keys programme and been absorbed in Steve McDermott’s book, How to be a Complete and Utter F***-up. Both have helped me to learn and grow, and to understand what really and truly inspires me to pick up my pencil and draw.


It’s words. Sort of, but not quite. It’s the pictures that form in my head when I hear or read the words on a page. From books from my childhood with beautiful poetry and prose, to business strategies and processes. I connect with that content and build images in my mind that I want to share with others, so that they can connect with it too.


Because that’s where the magic happens, when the words and pictures come together and leap from the page, taking on new life, new meaning.


And so I discovered, that’s it. My purpose, my mission, is to create vibrant and engaging illustrations that bring words and ideas to life.

Seeing that on the page excites me. It ignites a spark in me, a jolt of electricity through my veins. I’m doing what I love and I’m doing it with purpose. I can’t believe I get to do this, yet I finally believe I am doing this. I began the journey a while ago, but the adventure starts here.

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