Lady Lucas first caught my eye of Twitter. The pretty artwork and cute playful characters are a delight. You can’t help but smile when you look at them. Read this weeks Creative corner interview to find out more about the artist behind the whimsical illustrations.
I’m Ashley (also known as Lady Lucas) and I draw cute animal characters for a living. I love flavoured coffee, hedgehogs, art supply stores and being a vegetarian. I live and create art in Jersey City (a town that is rapidly growing about ten minutes away from lower Manhattan).
Tell us a bit about Lady Lucas.
I started my business Lady Lucas in 2011. Offering adorable artwork to a variety of clients – publishers, greeting card companies, retail stores and various small businesses. I also teach small private art lessons and workshops to children.
What made you start your own business?
Most people that start their own business can relate to this… because I had to! For years I was absolutely miserable showing up to corporate jobs and being confined to a company’s way of living and working. I felt like my life wasn’t being put to good use, and that there was so much more inside of me that had to be utilized. I still don’t have all the answers, but I sure do know that I’m meant to be self employed!
Did you have any formal training or are you self-taught?
My parents owned a gift shop and gallery for over 35 years, so growing up in that environment definitely influenced me. I also recently found out that almost all of my great-grandparents were entrepreneurs so something special must be in our blood! As far as my art, my parents are both fine artists, so I was always encouraged to create.
Explain your creative process.
My creative process is not that romantic… I really just make art based on what project is due, or what class I need to prepare examples for. As far as inspiration, I find it everywhere by being out and about. New York City offers amazing ideas everywhere, and my niece is so funny and creative – pretty much everything she shares gives me a great idea! My next character (a fashionable dog that is a party planner) was influenced greatly by her feedback 😉
Describe your typical day.
I try to write a list the night before my day starts. The more I can cram in the better – that way I’ll feel like I really accomplished something. I start the day eating breakfast with my husband. After he leaves I delve into whatever art is due, or I prep for the art classes that I’m teaching that day. I love to escape for a cup of coffee in the afternoon. There is an amazing Italian family owned bakery nearby that is my favorite spot. I try to extend my work day until 6:30 or 7:00pm and then dinner!
What’s your biggest seller?
On Etsy, my biggest seller has always been my colouring books. My kawaii colouring book set has always been a great seller because it offers value and a little something for everyone 😉
What have been the high and low points of running your own business?
Over the years I’ve had lots of really sweet comments from my art students like “I love this part of the day, I look forward to this class all week and Your art makes me so happy!” Children don’t lie, so their enthusiasm is always appreciated! The other high point is being recognised as a professional artist. I’ve gotten to partner with companies like Family Circle Magazine, OOLY art supplies, DecoArt paints and Taunton Press.
The low point is the uncertainty income-wise. Every week is totally different, and you can never count on sales or sign ups. Some days I would just love to keep me life exactly as it is – but with a salary!
What would be your top tips for running your own creative business?
- Start something you love so much you won’t ever get tired of it.
- Be kind to absolutely everyone, while at the same time standing your ground and knowing your worth.
- Be organized and be realistic. The more you plan and strategize every move, the more you’re going to succeed!
What are your aspirations for Lady Lucas?
One day I would be thrilled if people all over the world knew and loved my Linzer Lane characters (Iggie the Hedgehog, Zinnie the Rabbit and Zoe the Tabby Cat)!
Where can we find you?