Start-Up Stories – Rosie Johnson Illustrates

Say hello to Rosie Johnson, an illustrator that hopes to entertain and inspire

Rosie Johnson is an illustrator based in Exmouth, East Devon. She creates beautiful, individual illustrations and portraits on commission as well as her unique line of cards, jewellery and gifts which are infused with her sense of humour and political views.

What does your business do?

I’m a freelance illustrator

How long have you been in business?

2.5 years, but I’ve been drawing all my life.

What’s the story behind your business?

I have been drawing all my life but I turned it into my business when I left teaching and decided to give my dream career a go.

What do you enjoy most about your business?

Finishing a hot cup of tea – any teachers out there will understand. Or parents of young children, for that matter.
I enjoy that I have control over what I choose to do. I can draw as an immediate response to events, politics, TV programmes- anything. It’s a way of expressing myself that also seems to go down well with others- hooray!

What is the biggest challenge you face in your business?

Being all of the people. I’m the managing director and the person who does the Post Office runs (although my lovely boyfriend does do that a lot too) I’m the sole illustrator and also the person who unjams the printer and files the tax returns. It’s been a steep learning curve.

What is the must-have item on your desk or in your workplace?

iPad Pro and Apple Pencil. I use them every day and it’s how I produce my work.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

To understand my values and check that each business decision I make fits with them.

Rosie johnson illustrates jeremy hardy portrait

What have you learnt about yourself from being in business?

I’ve learnt that I’m far more tenacious than I thought. I have a self-belief, not really born out of complete confidence in my artistic ability but my faith in my ability to find a way around problems and work my bum off until I get there.

Who inspires your business?

Artistically, I’m inspired by illustrators like Helen Oxenbury, Rebecca Cobb and Michael Foreman.
In business, I’m inspired by people like Jayne Hardy who built up the Blurt Foundation and made it a beacon of hope for thousands of people. That’s pretty flipping cool.

What piece of advice would you give to someone beginning in business?

If they’d take advice from me I’d say stay in your own lane. Don’t look around at what seems to be successful for others and do that. Focus on what you love and what you’re good at and work out how to make that successful.

Find out more about Rosie and Rosie Johnson Illustrates…

Website > rosiejohnsonillustrates.com

Etsy Shop > RosieIllustrates

Facebook > RosieJohnsonIllustration

Instagram > @rosiejohnsonillustrates


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