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Instagram famous artist from Preston set to release book with UCLan Publishing

Posted on - 22nd June, 2024 - 6:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Arts, Business, Charities, Chorley News, People, Preston News, Proud Preston, UCLan
Kerri's first book, 'A Book to Brighten Your Day.' Pic: Kerri Cunningham
Kerri’s first book, ‘A Book to Brighten Your Day.’ Pic: Kerri Cunningham

An Instagram famous artist from Preston is set to release her second book this year in collaboration with UCLan Publishing.

Kerri Cunningham, a 36-year-old mum of three, runs Murphy’s Sketches, an Instagram account with almost half a million followers.

On the page Kerri shares sketches and poems about things which brighten her day, aiming to bring joy into people’s lives. She also sells prints and greeting cards on her website.

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Kerri picked up drawing again after her first child. Pic: Kerri Cunningham
Kerri picked up drawing again after having her first child. Pic: Kerri Cunningham

Murphy’s Sketches was set up after the birth of Kerri’s first child. After going part-time in her retail job to stay at home with her son, Kerri started drawing –  a hobby of hers from a young age, after studying fine art at UCLan and taking an art course in Leyland.

“With working long hours and having a family, it seemed like I had forgotten I could do it.

“I studied art when I was younger and it’s always been a hobby of mine. My dad gave me a book the other month full of writing and drawings from when I was a kid so it’s always been a dream.

“I didn’t think I would be able to do it full time. I didn’t have much confidence and there were bills to pay.

“I started making personal commissions. It was fun and I was earning while I did it.

“COVID was when the account started to take off, I started posting things people may be able to relate to. I took inspiration from my children and motherhood.”

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Kerri's viral sketch, 'hello again, Lilibet. Pic: Murphy's Sketches
Kerri’s viral sketch, ‘hello again, Lilibet. Pic: Murphy’s Sketches

In 2022, Kerri’s account went viral with a moving sketch of the Queen reunited with Prince Phillip after her death, with the words, ‘hello again, Lilibet’.

She said: “Looking back at that time now is surreal. It wasn’t something I would usually draw but I looked at it from a family point of view. It was just the two of them laughing and being happy together.

“It was impossible to believe when I saw it placed on the floral tributes for Queen. I wish I could’ve seen it with my own eyes to make it seem real.”

After going from 100,000 to 130,000 in one night, Kerri decided to sell copies of the sketch to raise money for the NSPCC (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children). Kerri raised almost £18,000 by selling the sketch.

She continues to raise money for the charity close to her heart by selling other sketches and is ‘immensely proud’ of being able to use her platform to help.

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Kerri's second book, her children's poetry, which will be released in September. Pic: Kerri Cunningham
Kerri’s second book, her children’s poetry, which will be released in September. Pic: Kerri Cunningham

After the quick growth of her Instagram account, Kerri was approached about creating a book. The idea behind it was to put Murphy Sketches into one place while ‘putting a smile on people’s faces.’

‘A Book to Brighten Your Day’ was released in 2023, filled with drawings which ‘highlight the little things in life’.

Now, Kerri is set to release her second book – ‘There is a Season’ – which is her first children’s poetry book.

“Writing this book is the best thing I’ve ever done. I am living my dream.

“Hazel from UCLan Publishing approached me after my viral post. Since Christmas 2022 we have been in discussions and I finished illustrating and writing the book in February this year.

“It has been a long process but it’s so exciting to be able to share it now.

“Working with UCLan has been fantastic. They’re northern run, run by women and all about promoting northern voices.”

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Kerri's family and children have been a huge support in her career. Pic: Kerri Cunningham
Kerri’s family and children have been a huge support in her career. Pic: Kerri Cunningham

Kerri’s husband and children have played a big role in supporting her dream.

She said: “My husband is my biggest supporter. I doubt myself at times but he’s always there to tell me I can do it.

“My children are great too. I’m happy they get to see me doing something which is a dream.”

Alongside UCLan Publishing and Kerri’s family, Dianne from Chorley bookshop, Ebb and Flo, has also been a huge support.

“Dianne is so passionate about books, literature and local authors. She’s been a big help.

“I’m selling my book through Ebb and Flo’s website with special dedicated and signed editions. I want to help support local businesses and give thanks for the big support Dianne has been.”

To pre-order a signed book, which will be published on 5 September, you can visit Ebb and Flo’s website.

To find out more and order Kerri’s sketches, you can visit her website or Instagram account @murphys_sketches.

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This story was made possible by support from you, our readers, and a host of organisations in the city, through our Crowdfund Lancashire appeal, which unlocked support from the Lancashire Culture and Sport Fund provided by Lancashire County Council. You can see all our coverage and, if you know of an arts project or event in the city we should be covering, send details to contactus@blogpreston.co.uk.

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