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'Doodlemum' finds beauty in the ordinary with daily sketches

Angie Stevens wanted to be an artist since she was a little girl. “Before I was walking, I was crayoning scrawl-y drawings under my parents' table,” says the 38-year-old, who lives in Swansea, Wales, with her husband and three children. “I’ve always loved to draw.”But real life always got in the way. When her youngest was born in 2009, Stevens found herself exhausted and suffering from p
Angie Stevens, aka Doodlemum, draws daily sketches of family life. Her caption for this one: "Nothing beats a jam sandwich encrusted in sand."
Angie Stevens, aka Doodlemum, draws daily sketches of family life. Her caption for this one: "Nothing beats a jam sandwich encrusted in sand."Courtesy Angie Stevens / doodlemum.wordpress.com / Today

Angie Stevens wanted to be an artist since she was a little girl. “Before I was walking, I was crayoning scrawl-y drawings under my parents' table,” says the 38-year-old, who lives in Swansea, Wales, with her husband and three children. “I’ve always loved to draw.”

But real life always got in the way. When her youngest was born in 2009, Stevens found herself exhausted and suffering from post-partum depression. Looking for a creative outlet, she started drawing quick sketches of family life — and "Doodlemum" was born.

“I decided that the only way to kick-start my drawing was to look at what was most familiar to me and give me the most inspiration,” says Stevens, who, on her Doodlemum blog, describes herself as “38, short, defensive, far too chatty for my own good, mother, artist, noisy, chocolate loving and permanently tired.”

Every evening she takes time to draw a sketch capturing a moment in her day, whether it's a walk on the beach or a toddler tantrum. Her drawings capture the beauty in otherwise fleeting moments of ordinary family life. Stevens, who has a degree in illustration but has never worked as a professional illustrator, is now attracting media attention — and an international following. 

“Best blog crossing multiple continents!” one U.S. mother commented recently. “I love getting your glimpses of motherhood and childhood. Beautiful, simple, perfect.” Stevens’ children, Millie, 9, Evie, 4, and Gruff, 2 ½, are among her biggest fans. They love to scroll through her blog and chuckle, Stevens says. Even Gruff recognizes himself now.

“My favorite sketches are the simplest ones,” she says. “The one of Gruff holding his little toy dog. We call him ‘WO WO.’ Another is the one where I am vacuuming the house. I’ve called it ‘adventures in hoovering.’ I like it because there can be humor even in something as mundane as vacuuming!”

Besides her children, the family’s menagerie — “Arnie, our cat without a tail, Bonnie our lab/lurcher mix dog, Gizmo the cockerel, and our four chickens, Fishfingers, Custard, Daisy and Matilda” — appears frequently in her sketches.

Some day, Stevens says, she’d love to publish a collection of her Doodlemum sketches. “There are quite a few, so I would need help in getting it down to a reasonable size or I'm afraid the book would need to come with a health warning and a forklift.”

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