After that big NHS clap, show your thanks (and relax)… by printing off and colouring in this heart poster for your window
Never before has it been so startlingly obvious how much hospital staff care about their important work.
Across the country, every single day, thousands upon thousands of NHS workers are putting themselves in harm’s way in the battle against coronavirus.
And all for our benefit. I’ve long had reason to feel grateful for the NHS.
In 2007, my dad was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, and four years ago we discovered my stepdad has lung cancer.
Both diagnoses were, of course, very shocking for my family, but the fact doctors and nurses have left no stone unturned in their treatment means so much to us.
Millie Marotta is an illustrator of adult colouring books and has now made NHS illustrations
It is equally emotive to see the tireless dedication of NHS workers during the current crisis.
Many of us feel the need to somehow demonstrate our gratitude. That’s why I came up with the idea of creating a heart-shaped drawing for people to colour in as a sign of their appreciation.
It is a small gesture, but one that nonetheless gives people the opportunity to let the NHS know we are so thankful to them.
My hope is that people will share their colouring via the hashtags #LoveNHS and #ColourForOurCarers on social media. You could also put them on your window or post to loved ones.
There are also benefits colouring can bring to our mental wellbeing. In this time of crisis, many of us feel anxious, and it’s proven that creative, mindful activities like colouring can help to calm the mind.
My black-and-white line drawings are inspired by the patterns and mindboggling details found in nature. I was an art teacher for five years before I went freelance as an illustrator. That’s when I really found my own style.
I’ve always had a keen eye for detail and love creating highly embellished illustrations. My work is largely monochrome, so making colouring books comes very naturally to me.
My first colouring book, Millie Marotta’s Animal Kingdom, was published in 2014 after an editor at Batsford saw my work. But I couldn’t have anticipated how popular it would become.
Print off illustrations like this to colour in and stick in your window to show your support
It spent a record 22 weeks as the official paperback non-fiction No. 1, which left me dumbstruck! I’ve now published seven colouring books and most recently a children’s book.
Of course, my dad and stepdad, both 75, are very vulnerable at this time. They are staying indoors to help reduce the strain on the NHS and keep themselves safe.
There isn’t anyone who isn’t touched by what’s happening at the moment. I’ve tried not to make the illustration overly detailed because I want everyone to be able to colour it — young and old.
A heart is a depiction of our love and appreciation — and the botanic details are meant to connect us back to nature.
I’m hoping that sharing it on social media under the two hashtags will create a gallery of beautifully coloured hearts that will be really uplifting.
The most important message is to give thanks to the NHS. That so many are risking their own lives for us is incredible.
To download Millie Marotta’s illustration, visit dailymail.co.uk/mmlovenhs