Uni-corn ... Jemima Riley-Duddin (11) shares her artwork that won an international competition with Australian children's clothing label Minti. PHOTO: ASHLEY SMYTH

A little project to keep Jemima Riley-Duddin busy during lockdown, has landed her international recognition with a major children’s clothing label.

Jemima’s artwork was chosen in a worldwide competition to appear on the front of a Minti T-shirt.

Minti is a Melbourne-based clothing label that is popular for its cartoon-type designs. The competition was run during lockdown on Minti’s Instagram page, to help children pass the time.

It was open to children up to the age of 14, and the prize, as well as $A300 ($NZ320), was to have the winning artworks featured in their next collection. Jemima’s “Uni-corn” was one of three images chosen.

The eldest daughter of Oamaru artist Helen Riley-Duddin, Jemima had already been creating mini artworks daily during lockdown and posting her work on Instagram under the handle @jemimadidit.

“She had made this whole book full of drawings, and we thought, these should be shared,” Mrs Riley-Duddin said.

When she saw Minti was running a competition, she suggested her daughter enter. All they had to do was tag Minti in the drawing and use the hashtag #drawwithminti.

“We hashtagged it and forgot about it. Until all of a sudden we got this message from Minti saying they’d chosen her drawing. It was like, ‘What!’.”

Uni-corn is a corn cob with unicorn features, using black pen and coloured pencil.

The year 7 Oamaru Intermediate School pupil said she got her inspiration by looking around during lockdown and thinking about what she could make.

“I just combined words and I came up with Uni-corn, and I thought, Jemima said.

When Jemima found out she had won, she said she felt “very shocked” and “excited”.

As well as the prize money, she was being sent free T-shirts with her print on it for her and siblings Rowan (6), Sylvie (4), and Claude (1).

The winning money would go towards buying more art equipment.

Mrs Riley-Duddin, the creator behind Tinch Design, described her daughter’s artwork as having a “dry” sense of humour. She thought Jemima showed more creativity than she herself had at the same age.

“Lockdown was a really weird time, and keeping up with schoolwork and that was really hard, but doing a drawing a day . some days we didn’t post it. We were getting such lovely comments from people, we were encouraged to keep going.”

Some of Jemima’s favourite artworks were A Regular Yam, RAD-ish and Deliberate Scribble. She was also becoming quite the entrepreneur, selling her art on limited edition cards, through her mother’s design store Inc.

She even gained her first pre-paid commission during lockdown.

Jemima thought she would like to be an artist when she grew up, and said her best ideas came to her at night, about 8pm.

“Often, instead of being in bed, she’s got the paints out . . . ‘I’ve just got to do this Mum’,” her mother said.

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