Q&A with AJ Illustration
A little bit about you...
My name is Amy Jackson aka AJ Illustration, I’m 24 and I’m from South Wales. I’m currently working as a freelance illustrator, focusing on building my portfolio and business.
What you do...
Although I mainly work as a freelance illustrator, taking commercial and private commissions such as family portraits or wedding stationary, I also sell prints, greeting cards and stationary. I’ve recently launched a t-shirt and tote bag design with 50% of the profits will be donated to the Plastic Oceans charity (plasticoceans.uk), a great organisation that aims to stop plastic pollution which is something that needs to happen sooner rather than later. In an effort to be as environmentally conscious as possible, I have launched the design through Print Social, where the tshirts and bags will be printed to order to reduce waste. I specialise in a dotwork style of drawing, using a fine liner or depending on the brief, I will often use Adobe Photoshop to add colour. I love surreal illustrations as I find that it’s an interesting way of conveying a message or a cause, whether it’s a social or environmental issue or just an aesthetically pleasing print.
Where do you sell your items?
I sell a limited number of items through my Etsy store and I often go to craft fairs throughout the year as I find it’s a great place to meet people and to network with like minded people. I’ve previously sold a selection of prints at Tilbury’s Scents in Pencoed, and I am currently in the process of finding more stockists. I have a list of past and upcoming events on my website including a few Christmas craft fairs.
Why you started...
I’ve always wanted to draw ever since I can remember, I got into illustration when I was in comprehensive school as I loved English Literature. After receiving my diploma in art and design, I attended university where I graduated with a BA (hons) in Illustration. After graduating university with a BA (hons) in Illustration, I had no idea what I wanted to do and knew that getting a full time job would be difficult with my anxiety and selective mutism, so I started by opening an online store and eventually began to attend craft fairs regularly. I found that this gave me more flexibility with my mental health and helped me deal with my anxiety.
Are there any advantages or disadvantages of running your own business?
As a first step I’d suggest talking to a few artists or crafters who are in the field that you’d like to break into. Sending an email or even dming an artist that you admire can be worthwhile, and if you receive no reply, keep trying and chances are they will get back to you at some point and the information you receive will be worth it. I’d also recommend joining some sort of group or course that helps with start ups, such as the Pop Up Business School, who I can’t recommend enough. I’ve recently attended a 5 day course and it was more valuable than any other course I’ve taken. Another bonus of attending one of their courses is that everyone who attends are all likeminded people, who would like to or are in the process of starting their own business, building a great tight knit community in your local area. There are definitely cons to running your own business, such as financial risk, the long hours and the fact that your income probably won’t be very steady – it’s also true that it takes money to make money. However the pros outweigh the cons in my opinion, as you get to do what you love as a job, you get to do something that you enjoy, that compels you and motivated you to do more.
Etsy Store: www.etsy.com/uk/shop/AJIllustrationStore