Mum-of-three Bonny Snowdon, aged 52, became a professional animal portrait artist in her mid-40s after her daughter bought her a coloring book and colored pencils.
She has since gone on to launch the Bonny Snowdon Academy, one of the biggest online teaching platforms for Britain’s budding colored pencil artists, where she is teaching 2,500 members how to create lifelike drawings of their favorite animals, from cats and dogs to horses and even pigs.
She also runs Bonny Snowdon Fine Art where she specializes in creating hyper-realistic pet portraits – with a 1,500-strong waiting list for one of her works.
With just a team of three, her two businesses will turn over a combined £1 million in 2023, up from £450,000 last year.
But Bonny’s life is now a world apart from her problem-plagued past where she struggled with debt, divorce and the suicide of her former husband.
She says that creativity has also given the members of her academy a new lease of life, with many of them changing careers and going on to work in art galleries, becoming professional artists in their own rights, or launching art-related businesses.
“Creativity is a portal to another world,” said Bonny, who has more than 200,000 followers on social media. “It allows us to disappear from our everyday life – and if you don’t lead a very nice life that is just the most amazing thing. It quietens the mind – busy hands, quiet mind is the saying and it’s so true. Creativity in any form is in my opinion essential for healthy minds. I know myself how helpful it was, disappearing for hours with my coloring book.”
Through her work, Bonny supports York-based IDAS, the North of England’s biggest domestic abuse and sexual violence charity.
This year, she is awarding free scholarships to her academy, including a year’s membership and all the art-related materials, for five women seeking help from the charity, as well as running a solo exhibition to raise funds for IDAS.
She said: “Domestic abuse can happen to anyone at any time, mentally as well as physically. I wish with all my heart that these charities didn’t have to exist, but I know what a lifeline they are and I feel honored to be able to support them.”
Find out more at: bonnysnowdonacademy.com and bonnysnowdonfineart.co.uk