How My Disabilities Helped Me Become a Professional Colored Pencil Art

How My Disabilities Helped Me Become a Professional Colored Pencil Artist

by Rosalind Batty

Colored pencil artwork by Rosalind Batty - Butterfly and flowers drawing in colored pencil.

The Beauty in Nature, 11.7" x 8.3"
I have a passion for butterflies and lavender.

I've always enjoyed art. From being young I could be found with a pencil and paper in my hand. I always wanted to create photo-realistic drawings, and spend many hours practicing my techniques.

I enjoyed lots of different crafts including card making, stamping, pottery, crochet, sewing and drawing, but as I got older, life got in the way. I met my husband and we decided to start a family. I had my first daughter in 2004, and that's where the problems started.

I suffered with a condition called Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction, which made my pelvis unstable and caused unimaginable pain. Unfortunately it didn't just stop there. During my 2nd and 3rd pregnancies it developed into a Spontaneous Symphysiotomy, which is basically where the pelvis splits into 2. When it fused back together, my pelvis ended up twisted, which caused a whole heap of problems for the pelvis, hips and back.

My body decided it didn't want to work anymore, and basically broke down from that point. I sunk into a very dark hole that was depression, and couldn't see a purpose to my life anymore, I'd had to give up everything that I loved, and couldn't see any light at the end of the tunnel.

I had good days, when I could actually get out of bed, but wasn't fit to do anything other than curl up in the chair, and bad days, where getting out of bed wasn't an option. Life seemed very bleak.

The Gathering of Crops, 18" x 13"
This piece reminds me of home.

One day I realized that I needed to do something, anything, to take back some control, and I got my sketch pad and pencils out and started to draw again. I could draw in bed on my bad days, or at the table when I felt well enough to get up. It was something I could pick up and put down when I needed to, without ruining it.

Slowly I regained some of my spirit, and realized that I did still have a purpose. I knew it was going to be a battle to get back to my former self, but knowing that I had art in my life, knew that I could do it.

I practiced every day, working on my techniques, and started to show my friends my work. They asked me if I worked in color and I didn't at that point because I didn't think I could achieve realistic work with them, but thought I would give them a try, and see how they worked.

I bought a cheap student set first, and got some nice results with them, but was surprised at how realistic my work looked. I realized that if I wanted to achieve great things, I needed to invest in some professional pencils, and started to research different brands of pencils.

One brand that really stood out for me was Faber Castell Polychromos, and I decided that they were the ones for me. I bought the set of 60 and went from there. I was amazed at the quality of them, and that in itself gave me the confidence to strive to achieve amazing things with them. My work went from strength to strength, and I felt that I would reach my dream of becoming a professional artist.

I worked hard and gained more confidence with every piece that I completed. I started entering them into different showcases, and also into magazine gallery submissions and was amazed that my work was actually being chosen.

Grapes on a Vine, 16" x 12"
This piece was inspired by the vineyards in France.

I have now been published in several coloured pencil magazines, and have also had my work chosen to be published in an upcoming coloured pencil book, which I am over the moon about.

I still have a long way to go until I am happy with my work, and I am my own worst enemy when it comes to critiquing my work, but I am happy with my progress and know that I have the determination to progress. I have started my own drawing group to help other artists improve their own drawing techniques and also make my own YouTube videos showing in real time how to create different techniques using colored pencils. I also accept commissions for drawings and have a large following all over the world

I suffer with 13 different chronic illnesses and am on a cocktail of different medications, just to help me get out of bed in the morning, but one thing that helps me focus is knowing that I can create beautiful artwork with colored pencils, and that I am helping other achieve their dreams of becoming artists too.

If I could give anyone suffering with a chronic illness one piece of advice, it would be to never give up on your dreams. You might have to adapt them slightly, but you can still achieve them.


About Rosalind

Rosalind has always been passionate about art, but decided to become serious about it just over 2 years, when Chronic Illness changed her life beyond recognition. She's now a published artist and teaches other people how to draw and improve their drawing techniques.

See more from Rosalind on her Facebook page:




Comments (7)

Your work is absolutely beautiful and you story is beyond inspiration. I am so very glad for you that this wonderful thing called “art” has put your life back into you hands. We all know that art can be healing, but you demonstrate that with each and every piece of art that you create. I wish you only the best. Regards, Will

Will Kirkland - Oct 11, 2017

I love your art, and it is so inspiring to learn about your story. My daughter has severe health problems also, and chronic pain, and she is an artist at heart. I hope your story might inspire her to find peace and success in developing her talents. Your art is gorgeous!

Kelly Paquet - Oct 11, 2017

THANK YOU for your story ! I too suffer from numerous health issues and am wanting to get back into my art . Love your art and I will check out your YouTube videos !

Lisa Dorrell - Oct 11, 2017

Bravo for you Rosalind, very inspirational and beautiful work !!!

John Danks - Oct 11, 2017

Rosalind, thank you!
My story is very similar to yours, different health problems but I also am bothered with chronic pain, bed ridden and have good and bad days.
I have picked up my art once again after being too busy to do much in the past. Seeing your work and hearing about your life and difficulties has really given me a boost of inspiration and motivation. Hopefully one day I’ll be as good as you with my own artist website.
So, Rosalind, Thank you so much for sharing. Good luck for future prospects and a hope for painfree days for you.

Debra Phillips-Machin - Oct 11, 2017

Have recently been diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic cancer. Never had time to focus on art and old hobby. Now I have nothing but a little time left to enjoy family friends and other things that used to whiz by. Giving away art I’ve colored in has kept me occupied and has produced a lot of smiles from loved ones. Amazing what time and paracticr and realization that everything is so beautiful is a gift from GOD Himself! Color On!!!!!!

Kevin - Oct 11, 2017

Well done for finding a path to emotional health. I too am disabled with various chronic illness. Art has helped me focus on beauty and the creativity within me and less on how I feel physically which is such a blessing.

Robin Rudolph - Oct 11, 2017

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