So for my second Etsy Resolution interview, I popped to Alice Tams’ colourful South London studio to find out all about Birds In Hats. She’s an illustrator who’s managed to create a successful business out of drawing animals with a difference and is currently offering her expertise as a Etsy mentor on the programme. It’s a useful read if you’ve ever wanted to know what’s it’s like to be one of those illustrators that pops up in your Instagram Explore page every so often and how to make it work in 2016, when it’s a notoriously underpaid industry. Over tea we chatted about the ins and outs of logistics, dealing with social media envy and how to answer the eternally awkward ‘So what do you do?’ question.
ALICE TAMS – BIRDS IN HATS
Like most creatives, I have that obsessive streak. I latch onto things and just want everything to do with it. When I was younger I wanted to be a vet, but I soon realised that it wouldn’t work because I’d have to put animals down. Still, I’d always loved things like anthropomorphism, natural history and character design (I’d been drawing creatures since the age of 5). I was all set to do a creative degree until something made lose faith in the whole idea. I just kept thinking ‘What if I’m not good enough to be a professional artist? I’ll be stuck with an art degree.’ I opted for English Literature and Creative Writing at Goldsmiths instead. I knew that I loved to read and write, plus it seemed a lot more academic. It took a week long internship in publishing to realise that it wasn’t for me. The work gave me an insight into the reality of the industry and I slowly realised that there aren’t that many creative jobs left on a salary. All these people are freelance. It made me wonder whether I could do something like that too, further down the road. I don’t regret doing my degree by any means, I enjoyed and loved it, but deep down I knew that I really wanted to be an illustrator.
If you fancy seeing more Birds in Hats then be sure to check out Alice’s Etsy store and her Instagram feed. Remember that Etsy Resolution starts on the 25th, I’d love to know if you’re thinking of signing up!