• Emily Powell

When Thomkat Illustrations met Written by Lyds

The beginnings of a magical partnership

Do you write off positive coincidences as just luck? Make excuses for why great things happen, or think it’s just fate?

Don’t be so quick with those excuses. I don’t believe that the universe or some all-seeing power rules our fates for good or evil. But I do believe that if we know what we care about, what’s important to us, and have purposefully looked ahead to the future and set out to get there, we can find magic.

“The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.” (W.B. Yeats).

The story of how I met Lydia from Written by Lyds is exactly that.

I vividly remember visiting Lyme Regis as a child, and being enthralled by the amazing fossils and crystals on show there. I was drawn in by their beauty and mesmerised as I learned how they were created millions of years ago. I wanted to touch them and to take them home, but they were always too expensive.

Around the same time, the M42 was being built, up at the top of the hill by our house. My sister and I spent hours there, walking the dogs, climbing trees. When the diggers moved in, as they dug deeper and deeper down and the mounds of rubble grew, we found veins of fool’s gold in the slate. It was like discovering hidden treasure, so we’d collect it up and take it home. Our own little gem stash.

Fast forward 35 years to the year 2020; Thomkat was in its very early days and a business group I had joined mentioned an advent calendar they had seen on Instagram, where every day revealed a crystal. Twenty four shiny new crystals?! Yes please!

Taken back to my childhood days, I immediately went in search and found Scene and Stone. Scrolling through their website and Instagram account, I was instantly hooked. Their pieces were beautiful, their story sales and live sales were enchanting, and I became a regular visitor to their pages.

A couple of months into my Scene and Stone obsession, they were interviewed by a blogger called Written by Lyds. As both a crystal lover and a new business owner, I was keen to read about their journey and how Scene and Stone came to be.

It was fascinating to learn how they started, and I really enjoyed what I’d read. So, I wondered through the rest of this blogger’s site.

Having spent weeks drowning in all the do’s and don’ts of social media and SEO, all the rules, and numerous blogs that were a clear sales pitch, it felt like coming up for air. Here was someone writing just to make people smile. The strapline on her homepage read ‘light, bright and good for the soul’ and it was exactly what I needed.

I laughed out loud when I read her first ever blog with a photo of a snow ‘sculpture’ shall we say, that someone had built outside her house. I wanted that in my life (the fun, not the phallic shaped snow!).

As I read her other blog posts and her reasons for writing, I fell in love with her uplifting, funny and light writing style. Written by Lyds wanted to do with words, what I wanted to do with pictures.

So I began to follow her on Instagram. And she began to follow me. Soon after, I received an order for one of my personalised affirmation prints, my first order from someone I didn’t already personally know in some way. It was from Lydia. That feeling, when a stranger has seen your work and loves it so much that they want it, that will never get old.

She messaged me to say how much she loved it. And then she said something else…

“I’m writing a Christmas book for children…I don’t suppose you’d be interested in illustrating it would you?”

WHAT?!! It blew me away. That someone would want me to illustrate books for them! Of course I said yes. That book is still being worked on, alongside another one, both of which we can’t wait to be able to bring you.

But, as is the way with books, knowing they’d be a long time in the making, we wanted to see what magic we could create together now. And so, our illustrated poems were born.

Halloween, bonfire night, Remembrance Day, Mental Health Awareness, Breast Cancer Awareness (have you checked your cha-cha’s lately?) and so many more. We both felt that together we had something special, and with every poem we convince ourselves even more. It’s like a little bit of magic when Lydia’s words and my pictures come together.

We have so much in the pipeline that we can’t wait to start creating. Every Friday morning we spend an hour or so together over Zoom and it’s non-stop talking, non-stop energy, non-stop creativity.

I knew I wanted to build Thomkat Illustrations, and I took purposeful, planned steps to get there. At the heart of that, has always been my love of bringing words and ideas to life with pictures. That’s what I set out to do. And so, with my pencil ready, and my mind open, this artist found her writer, and ‘Written by Lyds, Drawn by Thomkat collaborations’ was born.

You’ll find our collaborative poems on both our Instagram accounts (@thomkat pictures and @writtenbylyds) along with all Written by Lyds, Drawn by Thomkat news as we continue to grow. We’d love for you to join us on our journey.

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