Most parents write diaries or take photos to record their children growing up but one mum has DRAWN A PICTURE of her son almost EVERY DAY of his life.
Angie Stevens began doodling son Gruff shortly after he was born and now two years later she has drawn more than 700 pictures of him and his two older sisters, Millie, 9 and Evie, 4. The 38-year-old spends between around 20 minutes each evening sketching a new picture of her three children to document their day, then posts them on her blog, "Doodlemum".
The family's cat Arnie, rescue dog Bonnie, four chickens and Gizmo the cockerel appear in many of the sketches too.
"It is a lovely record for the children to look back on and far better than photos as the pictures capture my emotions too," said Angie, who lives with husband Myles, 40, in Swansea, Wales. "It has become a bit of an obsession and I now do a picture every day after the children have gone to bed. Most of the sketches are humorous, but sometimes it's a way for me to deal with things happening in our lives, such as when Millie was bullied at school or Gruff moved into his own room. In the morning the children come down and can't wait to see the latest picture."
Angie, who has a degree in illustration, has always enjoyed drawing but ended up working for several large companies after graduating from university. It wasn't until she had her first child, Millie, that she found the time to start drawing again and started designing greetings cards. But after the birth of her third child Gruff she suffered from post-natal depression and struggled to get motivated again.
"My husband kept buying me sketch books and suddenly it hit me that I could draw the children and start a diary," she said. "It gave me an aim each day and now I sit down every evening and draw something to illustrate our day. It could be a trip to the dentist, the dog eating my handbag or even just enjoying the sunny weather. I try to keep the picture quite simple and if it needs lots of words to explain it I feel I've failed."
Since starting the blog in 2010 Angie has documented everything from breast feeding, potty training and weaning to beach trips, blustery walks and bullying and now has a huge following from all over the world. She has captured all Gruff's first's such as learning to brush his teeth, having his hair cut and taking a bath. She has also drawn moments many parents would rather forget, including tantrums, fighting, being ill and sitting on the naughty step. Other pictures show fun family memories such as camping, dressing up and making pizza or typical toddler activities including eating cat food and licking the windows.
For Angie, whose own mum died from cancer when she was in her 20's, the doodles are an important record for her offspring.
"They are all accurate doodles of the children and even Gruff recognises himself now," she said. "It's fun to look back at the older sketches and have a giggle over them. They bring back a lot of memories and emotions as well. When you look at them you remember the little moments you have forgotten about in a way which is much stronger than photos. I have very few records of my mum and myself as a child so I really wanted to do this for my children. They will have a record of all these moments and exactly what I was thinking and feeling too."
She said the daily drawings are also therapeutic. "They have become a bit of a ritual and help me clear my mind before I go to bed," she added.