Home » Profile: illustrator Claire Barclay Draws
She said she could, so she can. Glasgow girl, illustrator and designer, Claire Barclay Draws has been turning frowns upside down with her Scottish banter illustrations made in her beloved city. Creating everything from custom portraits, cards, totes, jewellery and prints based on Scottish culture, Claire breathes life into nostalgia with her fun and quirky pieces.
With live drawings, branding, shop windows and painting couples and pets, Claire has now created an iconic Scottish brand, with instantly recodnisable style. As she says herself, you can take the girl from Glasgow, but you can never take Glasgow from the girl. Here’s a day in her colourful life. Ya dancer!
Tell us a little bit about what you do?
I’m an illustrator who works on commission work as well as running my own shop ‘Claire Barclay Draws’ on Etsy. I create a whole range of products from greetings cards to jewellery all in my illustrative style and a lot of which are inspired by my Scottish heritage and the funny quirks and sayings we Scots have. I also work on a lot of commission projects such as wedding stationary, logo designs and lots of family/pet portraits!
How did you get into this business?
I studied costume design at Edinburgh College of Art and worked in retail for many years during that time. I was always more into the design illustration side of the course and so when I graduated I took my design and retail knowledge and used them to set up my Etsy shop. My first exhibition I had that kicked everything off was in a pub and that’s where my boozy designs such as ‘Beautiful Buckie’ and ‘Luxury Lambrini’ stemmed from, I sold loads of prints over the exhibition period so decided to get them up on Etsy and the rest is history!
Take us through a typical day. What time do you get up at?
I tend to get up between 7 and 8am, I find I am way more productive in the mornings so like to try and cram as much productivity into the start of the day as possible!
What is the first thing you do when you wake up?
Go on Instagram and check my emails.
What do you have for breakfast?
Avocado toast and a green tea, yum!
YUM indeed! How do you keep yourself organised?
Lists, lists, lists! I have tried so many times to keep everything organised in a pretty diary but it does not work for me I just have bits of paper pinned everywhere around my desk! I tend to have an overall to do list for the week and then every morning write myself another one with set time frames throughout the day to get stuff done by, also reminders set on my phone are a god send.
Tell us how you structure your day…
7.30am – Get up, have brekkie, reply to emails and write my to do list for the day.
10am – Depending on the day this will either be spent working on commission pieces, making and packing Etsy orders or making wholesale orders to send out to shops.
12pm – I tend to just have a quick bite to eat so I don’t get distracted and just jump straight back into it. I find working when it’s bright and sunny outside my peak time and especially in the winter months that is not very long part of the day in Glasgow!
3pm – Schedule social media posts for the next upcoming day with a cuppa.
5pm – Check over emails and make sure anything urgent is replied to.
7pm – Finish work and have dinner.
What time do you finish work?
I find it incredibly hard to switch off especially as I work from home so I do find some days I just work from getting up to bedtime more or less, but I try to get out at least 3 evenings during the week to catch up with friends or go to a yoga class and get some breathing space. I love my job so much though that sometime all I want to do in the evenings is work!
How do you wind down?
I like to do yoga or get into a good tv series (though sometimes getting too into it can be a nightmare when you stay up till 4am watching tele!). I also find leaving the studio space and nattering away to my flat mate about her day when she get’s in from work helps!
What’s your bed time?
Around 11pm usually.
Any advice for someone who would like to follow in your footsteps?
Just go for it! I used to swoon over so many illustrators and idie brands online and be desperate to work for someone like that and then one day it hit me I should just create my own brand and do it for myself. It’s the best decision I’ve ever made and there’s never a dull day in the office! Also say yes to as many opportunities as you can. Work hard and be nice to people and it’ll pay off!