Hello, lovely! I’m Kim, a multi-passionate digital designer and illustrator from Bristol, UK. I’m also the creative soul behind Fox Design Den.
I’ve been in the design industry for over 7 years, working pre-dominantly on web design, branding, e-mail marketing and print material. I’d say 99% of my knowledge is self-taught, in fact, my first experience of dabbling in code was at around 13yrs old when I used to be tinker with how my MySpace profile would look.
I’ve always had a fire inside me to “do well”, and a lot of that stems from growing up in a household where I witnessed money always being a constant strain. I vowed that I’d never put myself, or my future kids in that position, and so naturally gravitated towards the security of climbing the corporate ladder and being financially independent.
However, corporate life has often left me feeling unfulfilled (thankfully, my day job now is awesome!), and in a bid to overcome that I have ALWAYS chased something on the side: freelance design and development, qualifying as a personal trainer, and even aspiring to compete in a bikini fitness competition.
Little did I know, that the latter would actually be both the destruction of me and the birth of new beginnings!
Long story short, taking a strict approach to training and diet eventually took it’s toll on me, and despite physically looking and feeling my best, it had subconsciously tapped into the starvation and binge cycle of the eating disorder I suffered with from age 13 to my mid twenties.
I made the hard decision to quit my bikini fitness competition journey (I hate quitting anything, especially as I was so close to my end goal) and tried my best to revert back to normality.
Without training twice a day, and constantly meal prepping and waiting on my next meal, I was left with a huge void of free time. Also, I started gaining weight and my body shape changed a great deal, and eventually I was thrown into a state of depression and self-loathing.
As time passed during those “darker” days, I did a lot of soul searching and tried to think about things I enjoyed doing that didn’t trigger unhealthy eating patterns or negative feelings towards myself.
I needed a positive distraction, and that distraction ended up being drawing – something I’d not done in years, despite always loving it as a kid. In fact, it became a bit of an obsession and I’d look forward to coming home from work and getting my pen and paper out to sketch. It’s a totally different world to pushing pixels around, and it made me SO happy!
Using drawing to help me escape depression, and through the love and support of my partner, I finally realised that my self-worth didn’t need to be attached to body image. By just being “me”, I am worthy of everything I desire, and actually, I have a gift that I can share with others.
In fact, by creating with my heart, and not just producing creative work in line with what someone else wants e.g. a client, I realised it made me feel extremely fulfilled as an individual. Like the final piece of the puzzle had been put in it’s place.
This realisation led to me starting Fox Design Den, which has been an official on-the-side business since late 2016, and for the time being is focussed on colouring pages.
Recently, I’ve combined all my doodles into my first colouring book release Doodles from The Den, and it’s had glowing reviews from the colouring community which I am so humbled by. Some colourists use colouring as their form of self expression (much like myself), or to combat symptoms of physical or mental heath issues, and it’s such an honour for me to have used my own personal experience to provide a form of enjoyment, and positive focus, for others. It’s totally gone full circle for me.
I have dreams and aspirations for where I’d like my business to go, but there is definitely a strong urge to do something directly linked to encouraging a positive body image and managing mental health issues. If it can help me, it can help others.
My side business is still only a baby, and isn’t bringing in enough money for me to make a leap into it full time, but I have a strong belief that my hard work now will eventually pay off. Until that time, thank you so much for your support on my journey.