The Side Hustle: Victoria Draws

How do you make a shrimp look "Christmassy"? Victoria joins us for The Side Hustle to chat about her love of drawing, especially playful watercolour illustrations.

6th September 2017
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What's your 'day' job?

I work full time as a primary school teacher in Hackney, and September will be the start of my sixth year in teaching! That’s gone by a bit too quickly…

What’s your side hustle?

I design and sell fine art prints, greeting cards and notebooks. I sell these on Etsy and Not on the High Street, as well as face-to-face at local craft or art markets. Recently, I’ve been asked to do more bespoke artwork: pet portraits, wedding invitations, and nursery name art. I’m also working on a couple of children’s books, but I’m not sure when these will be finished as I’ve been very busy with everything else!

How did you get into drawing?

I’ve always drawn and used to fill piles of exercise books and notebooks with stories and pictures. One year, my mum bought me a little watercolour set to take on holiday and I was hooked; watercolours are still my go-to medium. I’ve always painted gifts for people or made them cards for birthdays and Christmas. Before I set up the business, my lovely friends and relatives were the benefactors of my creative outlet; I’m sure that now they’re grateful that I don’t produce quite so much for them!

What's the inspiration behind your work?

9 times out of 10, it’s humour. I might get an idea for an illustration and as I’m planning it, I always wonder how I can inject some humour into it. If I start laughing out loud while drawing, that’s a pretty good sign. I’m also hugely inspired by nature, particularly the sea and sea life. My family are from the north west coast of Spain, and the tumultuous Atlantic has always been a terrifying, if awe-inducing inspiration. I try to capture some of that in my whale illustrations, but I can’t stay serious for very long before I start planning how I can make shrimp look Christmassy, or what would an angry banana might look like.

Victoria Draws Market Day

What's your biggest money challenge as a side hustler?

My biggest challenge has been changing my mindset to make me think more in terms of profit and growth for my burgeoning business. I sometimes second-guess myself when pricing commissioned or bespoke work when trying to balance a fair price for my client, but also ensuring I do make something for my business. I am getting better at this aspect, I think partly due to growing confidence and experience. However, I’m still not great at the more mundane financial elements of the business, meaning that although I’m on top of things, I could definitely do with creating better systems to manage my records!

Three things I love…

  • My family, including the cat
  • Food (cooking and eating — also common themes in my work!)
  • Singing

What's your favourite song right now?

I’m a recent Spotify convert, and it’s led me to discover Come on Home by the Lijadu Sisters. I’d never heard of them before and am now a little bit obsessed.

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?

There are so many places I’d love to go, but I think for the food and wildlife it would have to be South America; Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia, Peru — the whole continent!

Thanks Victoria

If you’d like to see more of Victoria’s work, (and maybe find out what an angry banana would look like), visit her website, Etsy or Not On The High Street page.

If you’ve got a passion project and would like to be featured in The Side Hustle series, let us know!

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