When former Balwearie High School pupil Rebecca Thomson first began drawing ice hockey playerss three years ago, little did she know it would become a passion that would take up a huge part of her life.
But her initial drawing of Fife Flyers’ favourite Matt Nickerson sparked an interest that has consumed the dedicated 19-year-old from Kirkcaldy ever since, and is attracting a lot of attention from players and fans around Fife and further afield.
Next week Rebecca, a second-year art student at Dundee University who is specialising in illustration, will auction off 10 of her favourite portraits online, with a percentage of the sales going to Children’s Hospices Across Scotland (CHAS), the Fife Flyers’ nominated charity.
And she will also give part of the money raised from her prints in the Flyers’ shop at Fife Ice Arena to the charity which provides a safe haven for children with life-shortening illnesses and their families.
And Rebecca says she’s happy to help in what little way she can.
“I started drawing as soon as I could hold a pencil and my mum was always creative and makes her own cards,” explained Rebecca, who is a huge Flyers fan.
“I used to draw cartoon characters and I used to make them up, and it gradually went on to drawing people and portraits.
“My grandad has been going to the Flyers since 1967 and I started going along with him and my mum and dad about five years ago, for the 75th anniversary games.
“I began drawing the players and my first real one was Matt Nickerson because he was a real character and I thought he would be good to draw.
“I look at it now and don’t think it was very good, but I kept going and now love drawing them from photographs.
“I originally drew them just for me, but then people began noticing them on my Facebook page and this year the club has started selling prints in the Flyers shop.
“I was never hugely confident about my work, but people told me I should sell them and the fans and players have been very supportive of my work and that has helped boost my confidence a lot.”
Rebecca says that it was when she did a drawing for Blake’s Wheels, a fundraiser set up in aid of Blake McCaughey, a five-year-old Belfast Giants fan from Portadown who is confined to a wheelchair, that her work really took off.
“I did a drawing of him and was invited onto the ice when the Fyers were playing the Giants to present it to the team to take back to him, which was amazing.
“It really got my work shown to a much wider audience, and since then I have had lots of people asking me to do portraits for them.
“They can take anywhere from 25-55 hours, but I love doing them so much, I sometimes get carried away and forget to eat!
“I’ve met lots of lovely people through my work. I used to be very quiet and shy when I was at school, but through my art and speaking to people about it I have really built up my confidence.”
To see Rebecca’s work, visit her Facebook page Rebecca Thomson Art.