• Emma Gadd

How I turned my passion into a full time job!

Updated: Apr 29, 2020

Before I was an artist, like many others out there, I was in a minimum wage job. I found myself under ever increasing stress, severe anxiety and at times feeling very depressed. I knew I needed to act, but I was at a loss as to what to do next.

I was renting a little flat with my now Fiance, Jack. He was also struggling with his job, we had discussed many ideas of how to get out of the situation we found ourselves in but had yet to come up with any feasible solutions. In the meantime, I had began to paint again for the first time since school, I found it to be a great stress reliever!

In the end we both packed in our jobs, gave up the flat and moved back in with family as a quick escape. The relief we both felt was instant. It gave us time to really think about what we wanted out of our lives, instead of just walking blindly into another job that wasn't right.

I had seen a few youtube videos of colour pencil artists, and thought that I might give it a go in my spare time. My love for the medium was instant. From this point on I spent hours working with pencils, building up my skill. Firstly taking on commissions for family and friends, in October 2017 I took the leap and put my work on social media! The response even at this early stage in my drawing was incredible.

This is when I began to think I could be on to something...

Practice, practice and more practice. As my skill began to improve, so did the engagement from the online community that had started to follow my progress. Social media was hands down the most important thing for my business right from the offset. I was a complete novice to all things business related, so it was pretty daunting at first as I began to realise how much goes into starting a business.

Pricing my work has always been something that I've found quite tricky..knowing when to put prices up and how much by as the quality of my work improved. Sometimes it was easy to feel like a bit of a fraud, as all the other artists out there seemed so confident, so knowledgable and it looked as if everything came so easy. Whereas I felt like I had stumbled into a world I knew nothing about, with no one to guide me. Now of course, I know that everyone really is just winging it, no matter what it may look like from the outside!

After a while I had found that as much as I love drawing peoples beautiful pets, it's good to change it up a little. So I decided that I wanted to start to focus more on wildlife. This reignited my enthusiasm for drawing and also made me challenge myself with all the new techniques i'd have to develop.

Another big step for my business was when I began to attend markets and shows. This was absolutely terrifying for me! Now though, I love being able to get out and interact face to face with my clients. Being an artist can be a lonely job so it's important that I don't become a complete recluse!

This year has seen the biggest development in my business. Since January I have sent Jack on a professional framing course, invested in brand new framing equipment and rented a new studio!

The studio will be open to the public, where you can pop in to browse through cards, prints and see my original work. Or just pop in for a cuppa and a chat! I am also hoping to start holding small art classes too later on in the year which is super exciting.

Since my journey began in 2017 I have had to learn so many things, first and foremost how to draw! I am by no means the most savy of business people, and there is always so much more to learn, but if I can do it I believe anyone can.

There will always be people out there who don't believe in your dreams, I encountered this often in the beginning. As long as you are willing to work hard and learn from your mistakes (which we all make!) then anything is possible.

Thanks for reading,

Emma x

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