Meera Lee Patel describes her road to becoming a full-time illustrator and author as “long and incremental.”
“I worked for six years as an editor at a technical publishing company, the job I secured after graduating college,” she recalled in an interview with Freelance Wisdom. “When I realized I’d never be happy (or excel) in my field, I turned to illustration as an outlet – a way for me to feel more like myself again.”
After working with words for so long, using color and imagery to express her sentiments and emotions came as a relief. Now a self-taught artist and writer, Lee Patel’s basic philosophy in life is that anything is possible. “I’m completely self-taught, so a lot of times, the path was a series of trial and error,” she says. “I felt lonely and isolated often, especially since I’m a bit introverted and found it difficult to immerse myself in a creative community. But I learned an incredible amount about myself.”
These days, her days are filled with creativity to the brim. Working as a columnist at Spirituality & Health, Lee Patel also runs a stationery and gift line and has published two journals and a book. Her work, much like her life philosophy, is very much goal-oriented, teaching others a lesson of kindness and self-determination. “I used to place restrictions on myself – am I writer or am I an illustrator?” she reflects. “I thought I had to choose. But now I feel comfortable calling myself both, and making work as both.”
“When I create work that encourages or comforts others, it’s because I’m trying to encourage or comfort myself, too,” she adds. “Above all, I want to make work that helps others feel less alone.” Her words and images are much needed these days.