Introducing Tickles - Maria Bradley

As you probably know, for the last couple of months we’ve been sharing the ideas and creative projects of artists supported by our Young Artist Development Programme. Today it’s the turn of Maria Bradley whose playful illustrations and insightful words communicate her experiences of tics – let’s meet Maria and tickles.

A digital drawing by Maria Bradley of Tickles Her Tourettes Monster. A purple monster with blue spots and big round black eyes sits in the centre of the image with it's arms outstretched. The background is an opaque pink pattern with gold glitter and black lightning style strokes.

Tickles started by me doodling him, to make me feel less uncomfortable and sad about my tics. I loved him and decided to take him further. I knew I wanted to apply for the project as it was a dream to make Tickles into a book and I knew this was my chance!

The day I found out I’d got a spot on the programme I started straight away. I started with the words. I struggled to begin with, but once I got into it, I really enjoyed writing. I wrote the intro and then described different types of tic: mental tics, vocal tics, writing tics, facial tics, upper body tics, lower body tics, and I added a few things that help.

Once I had finished the writing, I used my older sister’s iPad and Procreate software to create the images of Tickles. I did the pictures in the same order as the text. I found some of them quite hard, but all in all I had fun creating them.

Maria, a young white woman with shaved brown hair and brown glasses, is sat at a wooden table looking down at her iPad where she is illustrating an image for her book Tickles My Tourettes Monster.

Once I had finished everything, I put it all together into book form and with the help of my dad, made a cover, and it was finished!

My family and Katie have been very supportive and helpful throughout this process. Whenever I was struggling, they made sure to cheer me on and keep me motivated.

I had two meetings with Katie, the Touretteshero Solidarity Worker who is running the project. They made sure to check that everything was going well and that I was on track. Katie made sure to provide all the information I needed.

I hope to produce the work I’ve done in the programme as a physical book and continue to raise awareness about Tourettes. This project has really helped me to gain confidence and believe that I can do everything I want to do when I put my mind to it!

You can download a PDF of Maria’s book Tickles My Tourettes Monster here, and Maria has recorded an audio version with image descriptions here.

Thank you Maria (and Tickles), I love the way Tickles takes you on a tour of the body. I can’t wait to see what Maria does next.

This will be the last young artist post of the year, but we’ll be back with more in the New Year. A massive thank you again to all the artists who have shared their work so far.

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