Bonnie Brown

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Hey Bonnie! We're so grateful to have such amazing creative talent supporting Prepair NZ. Thank you. You've supported us with illustrations, Prepair product collaborations, and a feature in your new mag Counter Journal -- WOW. 

Can you tell our readers a little more about your work and how you came to work with Prepair?

I’m an illustrator, and now co-founder of Counter Journal. Basically I’m self-employed and work with a range of different businesses and brands that use illustration to help tell their story — working on anything from textile design, to social illustrations, window displays, packaging design and anything else I can get my hands, or pen, on!

I first learnt about Prepair through Instagram. I thought the imagery for the #TrueLoveIs campaign was so beautiful that I had to draw it. As a result, I connected with Irene and we met up to chat about what Prepair was all about! We’ve been huge supporters of each other’s work ever since and I jumped at the chance to create illustrations for Prepair. The rest is history!

 

You featured Irene Wakefield, creator and CEO of Prepair, in your first issue of Counter Journal Magazine. 

What inspired you to include Irene and Prepair in your very first issue?

Myself and my partner Zack (co-founder of Counter Journal) have been huge believers in the work Prepair does since we first met Irene. I knew that she was one of the first people I wanted to feature when we launched CJ. Not only is the work that Prepair does incredibly important, but Irene is an amazing storyteller, and had a journey that I just knew our readers would relate to. It needed to be shared. The ethos behind Counter Journal is to share the most interesting stories you never knew you wanted to read. I don’t think many people sit down and think ‘today I want to read about emotional abuse’, it can be a heavy subject, but it’s an important topic and when told by Irene it becomes more approachable and relatable.

Personally I was also really interested in learning more about the impact of being a new mum had on Irene, and how she was managing to balance everything. We chat a bit about this in the Pilot issue, too.

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You are a talented artist and worked with Prepair to design our gals. Irene has released a video on IGTV all about what they stand for.  

Can you tell us about your creative process and how you brought the gals to life? 

Irene had a really strong idea about what each of the girls stood for, which made it super fun to interpret these as illustrations. Each different girl was inspired by a unique flower which helped to drive some of the colours and styles used in each of the illustrations.

In terms of the actual process, I create most of my work straight on my iPad Pro, and tried to use a range of different reference images to influence the overall poses and vibe. I started with an overall sketch for composition, and then began to fill in the different block colours later from there on. My work uses a lot of simple shapes and block colours to create the form, so even though the final result can look quite simple it can be a complex process to create this simplicity!

 

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In our Prepair community, self-love means so much to us.

What does self-love mean to you, and how do you practice it?

I think self-love is always a multi-level approach. I have small ways of practicing self-love, like getting out and running when I’m in slump, treating myself to a coffee out, putting on a face mask and doing my nails, but these are quick fixes.

To really practice self-love, I believe you need to challenge your way of thinking. Growing up, young girls and women face such immense pressure to look and act a certain way that it can be really difficult to truly love and accept yourself. Reframing the way you speak to yourself, about your worth, values and looks is incredibly important in building true self-love. It feels silly to look in the mirror and tell yourself that you look great today, or that you’re valued (particularly if in that moment you don’t believe it), but these small actions will help to reshape the way you think.

 

Prepair is a charity and it blossoms through the incredibly thoughtful donations, time and effort from our supporters, such as your kind self. 

What does it mean to you to support a charity organisation like Prepair?

First and foremost, my mum left a physically abusive relationship and raised my sister and I to know our worth and to not tolerate abuse in any form, so Prepair hits particularly close to home. I think had my mum been taught the same things she taught me when she was growing up, with a physically abusive father, she wouldn’t have continued this cycle.

Organisations like Prepair are desperately needed in Aotearoa, unfortunately our domestic violence statistics speak for themselves. Being able to support Prepair through my work selfishly does help me feel like I’m doing something to help. Not only that, but I’m a big believer that being kind, vulnerable, and empathetic is a strength in business, not a weakness, and the more I can continue to support Prepair the stronger my business will grow.

Bronte Stevenson