Today we’d like to introduce you to Vettania and Ayanna Clark.
Hi Vettania and Ayanna, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
Vettania (pronounced Va Tina): My father wrote and illustrated a book but never published it. I always admired that he wrote a book. I took a creative writing class in college and that’s where I learned I have a gift with words like my father. After his death, I wrote Bumble Bee Me. It is a story about a girl (me) who is confident in herself because her father encourages it. It is a tribute to my dad and our relationship when I was a child. I’m not an illustrator and my art skills are minimal, so I asked my cousin Ayanna to illustrate the story for me.
Ayanna: I have been drawing since as far back as I can remember but after battling breast cancer, I knew that it was time to pursue my purpose and passion. I realized that life is short and I didn’t want to leave here without fulfilling my purpose. Which is to uplift and help young girls and women love themselves and know their worth. I’m doing that through my art. I was like a lot of other traditional artists and was very reluctant about digital art, but let me tell you, I’m mad I waited so long. I love it and I have now fallen back in love with creating.
Vettania: We decided to work together because Ayanna is a great artist. She had a great book idea in mind but struggled to put the words to her art.
Ayanna: I loved Vettania’s style of writing and we decided to do this as a team. That’s when we formed The Purple Bookmark. We have always been close cousins and in addition really good friends. This is what makes working together and building a brand such a great idea.
I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
Vettania: Some of the struggles I faced along the way was procrastinating and believing that my writing was not good enough to get published. It took me more than ten years and the encouragement from my partner who made me realize that I do have the talent to get my book published. He told me to do it for our daughter and create a legacy for her. I also want to do it for myself and for my father.
Ayanna: My struggle is trying not to overextend myself by taking on more projects than I should. I currently work full time so my days have become very long. I also don’t want to lose the joy that I get from creating because it’s now a business.
Vettania and Ayanna: We are learning the whole business side branding (marketing, finance, advertising, and TAXES), it is new and overwhelming at times.
Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
Ayanna: I’ve worked for Spectrum full time for almost 15 years in many positions, currently as an internet repair rep. I’m also a freelance children’s book illustrator. I founded my own company, Art You Happy, LLC which includes children’s books illustrations, mobile paint parties, selling my art and commission portraits.
Vettania: I’ve worked in education for about 20 years. I was an assistant and now I’m a special education teacher of students with autism. I’m also a published author of children’s books.
Do you have recommendations for books, apps, blogs, etc?
Vettania: My favorite book is The Soloist. I love that it takes you in the mind of a person with schizophrenia who is a musician. All the dynamics of the story intrigue me and I learn something new every time I read it. Reading how the complexities of the character Nathaniel Ayers was written helped me fall in love with reading as an adult.
Ayanna: My favorite app is Procreate on iPad because it’s an awesome digital drawing tool. The app itself is inexpensive, the iPad is not but the investment has paid for itself a few times over.
- Paperback: $13.99
- Kindle: 3.99
- Kindle Unlimited: included in your subscription
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: thepurplebookmark.com
- Instagram: Instagram.com/thepurplebookmark1
- Facebook: facebook.com/thepurplebookmark
- Other: TikTok: @thepurplebookmark
Do-ke Nwachukwu is the photographer for the image of Ayanna and Vettania; his IG is @DKDropknowledge Ayanna is the artist of the artwork.