Behind the Biz: Anne Gonzalves
Happy Monday, you wonderful bunch!
We bring to you another kick ass interview from our Behind the Biz series today – featuring our talented pal, Anne Gonzalves of Etch & Trove. Anne is a jack of all trades; dabbling in illustrations, hand lettering and mindfulness planners (just to name a few), and is one of the wonderful creatives that we are collaborating with on An Anthology of Art. We’ll stop gushing and hand it over to Anne now…
Who’s That Girl?
Firstly, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’m Anne and I am the owner and artist behind Etch & Trove. I have two orange cats, Sil and Marvin who have decided will be a part of my branding (for those playing, my Life stories on Instagram is basically a cat feed!). I am an introvert and love being indoors. My favourite things to do are be curled up on the couch with a good book and a cup of tea by my side and also in the opposite extreme, go to the gym and push myself physically! I’m graduating this year and will be a full time radiographer next year (until I can become a full time biz gal at least!).
How has 2018 been for you so far?
It’s been awesome – I started Etch & Trove around July/August and it’s been a whirlwind just trying to navigate through social media platforms, getting my business out there, and just having a go without fear which is super difficult! I also finally completed 57 weeks of unpaid placement for my radiography course which was definitely a challenge but I’m glad I persevered and got it done! I also started going to the gym very regularly this year and it’s starting to show (hello arm definition!). Overall – pretty awesome year!
What was it like living on the sunny Gold Coast?
I love it here! There’s always a wonderful coffee spot everywhere you look. Burleigh Heads is my favourite spot to go for a walk or to just sit and admire the beautiful scenery. From my many travels around Queensland, I can easily say that the people here are so relaxed and they’re friendly too! Really puts me in a good mood and head space when I’m at the gym or at a restaurant and am greeted with smiles and courtesy. Love it here!
What is home to you?
Having moved countries at 16, my definition of home is a bit skewed to the usual definitions. Home to me for a long time has been myself. Wherever I go, I know I always have my own back. It sounds strange but I’ve had to fend for myself for a very long time so now I find solace and comfort in my own company. I actually have two shoulder tattoos to symbolise this sentiment!
What was your professional background prior to launching Etch & Trove?
Prior to Etch & Trove, I was studying medical imaging full time and working as a histopathology scientist part time! I have no professional background whatsoever in the work I do and it’s all self taught (Thank you, YouTube and Udemy!). Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been drawing and hand lettering since I was 9 years old so I’ve definitely put in some hours into the craft but no formal professional training. In terms of my business background, I pretty much listen to what Tony Robbins and Oprah say and then apply that to a business context!
Did you complete any formal studies or are you self taught?
As I’ve said above, definitely all self taught. I learnt myself initially as a child – doodling and using my dad’s fancy pens to write with. I learnt to draw just from trial and error and over time, developed a style I could stick to. With the advent of amazing technology and information sharing service, I really believe these things can be learnt a lot quicker!
What inspired you to choose a path in illustration?
Illustration has always been my go-to stress relief. I found that I was doing this for friends as gifts and they always seemed to appreciate it! During my studies for medical imaging, I was working on completing 57 weeks of unpaid placement which was driving me mad! So I started illustrating every moment I could so I could have some form of release and shortly after I thought, ‘Hey, why not sell this!’ and that’s how Etch & Trove came to be.
Also a short side note: I was also helping lots of people with their time management and mental health approach by providing them with the systems I used for myself over years of trial and error which led to the advent of my weekly mindfulness checklist which I also thought would be perfect for my business.
How would you describe your illustrative style?
My style is extremely relaxed and minimalist – I like playing with lines to create movement and using small splashes of colour to create character. Over time, I definitely see this style expanding but for now, it is what it is!
You’ve designed a wonderful mindfulness planner – what led you to create it?
Thank you! My mindfulness planner is the product of the template I used to hand draw and write daily for over two years! The initial idea for this planner came from a friend who asked me how I got stuff done all the time and even when I didn’t, how I somehow managed my mindset around it. I told her about this template I used and she was very eager to use it for herself. I told her I would make a printable for her and voila the weekly mindfulness checklist was born! The real aim with the checklist is to get you into the habit of checking in with yourself daily and seeing if you’ve done the things you’ve set your mind to. Once you get into the daily check in habit, you’ll be more deliberate with your time and actions which lead to some great results!
Do you have a favourite/most memorable project?
My favourite project is still something that’s being worked on at the moment! I’m currently one of the artists participating in the Halloween show at Bean Cafe in Brisbane and I need to produce six images for the show! It’s an incredibly challenging and fun project as I draw on the horror themes I’ve always enjoyed growing up and turning it into something that’s mine! I’m really excited to set up and have my artwork displayed in that cute cafe for three weeks. If you’re in Brisbane, they will be on showcase from the 24/10/18 to 3/11/18.
What was it like launching your own creative studio?
Scary. There’s no other way to put it. To say that I know what I’m doing would be a lie but to say that I’m learning everyday would be more accurate. It was really difficult to take the first step and it was easy to give up at any second but I thought to myself that I had nothing to lose by trying and that’s what has kept me going all along!
What is your point of difference from other illustrators/studios?
Definitely my minimalist style and my exclusivity to digital art only. I am a sufferer or Rheumatoid Arthritis and it mainly affects my fingers and wrists which means doing digital work is a lot less strenuous on my joints. Drawing on paper and applying “real” pressure using various pens and pencils really takes a toll on me so I tend to stick to digital work only for that reason!
Do you have any advice for those just starting out in the illustration and creative fields?
Keep creating everyday. Whether you draw something small or large, something finished or not… keep doing it daily. Practice your art and your style for and infinite amount of time if you’re serious about it. Most importantly, do not compare. Don’t look at someone else’s work and compare it to yours. That’s not what art is about. Something that looks great to me may not look great to you and that’s okay! The point is to do something you love and when your audience sees that passion into your work, they will love it too.
What is the best part about running your own biz?
Working anywhere! Honestly, that is the best thing ever especially since recently I was travelling overseas and I still managed to get my commissions done and fulfill my business commitments while on the go. Where there is internet, there is ability to run my biz on the go 🙂
And the worst/most challenging?
M-A-R-K-E-T-I-N-G. Business is not my strong suit and I’m always learning something new everyday but in order to make money, it’s important to make yourself visible to your ideal client which involves some level of marketing and business savvy. The learning curve for this is very steep and you need to be ready to learn this everyday! It can get frustrating but with the internet, all the information is out there so you just have to be patient and diligent!
What’s something that people don’t see/realise that you do (the nitty gritty, behind the scenes stuff)?
File formatting and optimisation is the most underrated skill I have picked up to learn how to make my prints appropriate for the size they want. Also the initial sketching phase is grueling. It takes me about 4-5 times to get something I’m happy with!
And of course: what inspires you?
The future inspires me – I’m really excited to see what I can achieve in the next few years in my business. I’m really eager to learn as much as I can and see how I grow as a person.
How do you take your tea (or coffee)?
Skinny latte with one sweetener.
Fave coffee shops/cafes at home
Soul Depot Coffee at The Rocket
Go to outfit
Black leggings, oversized black t-shirt, pair of black Doc Martens
The last day of my 57 week unpaid placement – I freakin’ did it!
Waking up at 8am (that’s a sleep in!) and having a coffee in my backyard admiring the view!
Books: The Daily Stoic Readings (Ryan Holiday), The Power of Now (Eckhart Tolle), Radical Acceptance (Tara Brach)
Podcasts: WTF with Marc Maron, True Crime Garage, Revolutionary You!, The Science of Happiness
Ultimate travel destination
Mykonos (and never come back!)
We hope you’re loving this interview series as much as we are! We are curious in nature, and very much enjoy learning the ins and outs of business and start up stories from other female entrepreneurs.
If you have another wonderful lady in mind that you’d like us to interview, drop a comment below or straight to firstname.lastname@example.org
Until the next brew,
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