Hi guys! New week, new post! Apart from sewing and knitting, I am a craft fan and I love illustrations more than anything. Our house is full of cute prints and fun designs made by local artists and makers that we have been discovering at fairs like Crafty Fox Market or Renegade in London. And it was at one of those that I met one of my all time favorites: Viktorija from Andsmile Studio. Apart from the fact that her illustrations and jewellery are colorful, dreamy, cute and funny, I also enjoy so much reading her feeds on Instagram or Twitter. She is such a positive person! and we share a passion for stationary as well, haha! So that is why I decided to include her on my Crafters section and this is what she told me about herself on this crafty Q&A. Enjoy! 🙂
_Hi Viktorija! So first of all. When did you start drawing? Is it something you enjoyed as a kid?
Hello! I guess like everyone else I loved drawing as a kid and just never stopped when I started growing up 🙂
_You come from Latvia, right? How did you decide moving to London? How long have you been living here?
Yes, I was born and bred in Latvia, in a Russian speaking family. I wanted to study illustration and art education there but the options were more traditional, so I couldn’t go study illustration (it would have to be graphic design, fine art or something along those lines). I always wanted to go on an adventure and study abroad so I came to the UK to the University of Bedfordshire in 2006 and soon after graduating I moved to London (attracted by all the fun and creativity, exhibitions, museums it had to offer) and when I moved to London I just felt so at home! 🙂
_Before becoming a freelance illustrator, did you work for any company?
Yes and some of the jobs during uni and after included: toy shop (that was FUN), working as a waitress, Burger King, pub, Amazon warehouse, food factory, Luton airport, signmakers company, japanese socks company, luxury retail and even super traditional tweed shop 🙂
_How did you find your own style?
I feel like I’m still finding it. But I think first I started drawing in a similar style when given free assignments in art school as a teenager (in between of painting still life & all sorts of Greek heads 🙂 ) and I loved that I could make my own rules and didn’t need to be too serious. I wanted my drawings to cheer people up and make them feel happy.
_How has your style developed and changed along the years?
I hope that I am becoming a bit better at what I do and I hope to keep learning to draw. I’m trying not to overthink that and just keep drawing.
_Do you still have your first drawings? What do you think when you see them?
Childhood drawings are always beautiful and fun, aren’t they? But when I see my old stuff I think it’s pretty crap but at the same time I knew that then as well and I’m proud that I just didn’t quit and kept going.
_For your lovely brooches you usually use famous fictional characters (Amélie, Sherlock and Wes Anderson characters) and real artists as well. How do you choose which one to make and put on your shop?
I usually go with the people/fictional characters I love, so it’s kind of fan art! 🙂
_Which is your best-seller product in general?
Brooches are really popular but I think overall the custom portraits are in the highest demand, unfortunately I am able to take only limited number of commissions but they are always sought after and one of my favourite things to draw!
_Where do you find inspiration for new drawings?
There are themes I always seem to be coming back to but it can be anything really: things I read, hear, notice on the streets or experience.
_Have you got a certain routine before starting to draw every morning?
Coffee comes first! Then it’s TO DO list and all the admin stuff (which goes behind the scenes), only when I know what is happening which day and all is organised I can be creative.
_Being a freelancer and having your own business is a lot of hard work. How do you cope with deadlines and how do you distribute the time so that you can also unwind and relax?
I’m really bad at it to be honest. But I’m getting better. I take weekends off and I try to concentrate on the aims in the long run and think where I want to go with my work and how particular things in question affect that direction. When I’m specially stressed and freaked out yoga always helps, I become super relaxed and answers just pop into my head (while I’m desperately trying to breath and not to smash my face into the mat 🙂 )
_Why “And Smile”?
Words don’t come easy to me so after weeks of trying to find a name for my Etsy shop I decided to call it And Smile because I wanted people to look at my work and smile!!! 🙂
_What do you like about London? Any place you could recommend that you specially like?
E V E R Y T H I N G. I love LONDON! It’s an absolutely gorgeous city!!! I love all the parks, museums, riverside, food, super diverse people… My favourite places are: V&A, Southbank centre & their roof top garden in the summer, walking along the Thames (pick any part of it, so lovely!), all the food markets (because all the food is amazing), the Tate Modern…
_And last! You regularly collaborate with other artists and companies, any project you are very excited about?
I’m super happy about my recent pin set collaboration with Toby from i like CATS!!! And for all the huge changes which are coming super soon to my shop!
Well guys, hope you liked this interview! Every month more makers will show up here (sewing and non sewing related) telling us more about them!
See you here next week 🙂
(All pictures and drawings: Andsmile Studio).