Advice on Starting A Business with Grace Illustrates

Ahh we are so excited to introduce you to Grace Vanderbush, creator and founder of Grace Illustrates! Grace and I met at SDSU where I went to school for a semester and we quickly became friends. She invited me to come to yoga classes with her, we were in a Bible study together, and then we would hang out in her dorm where she would illustrate and I would sketch. I’ve been amazed by her incredible talent, ability to create unique and beautiful pieces, and how she has grown her business. Today we’re chatting with Grace all about life, starting a business, and her love to create!

How did Grace Illustrates get started?

I have always loved to create. There’s an old family video of me finger-painting a dinosaur, so it’s safe to say I’ve been creating artwork since before I could remember. I started selling my watercolored greeting cards when I was ten years old and from there I fell in love with the concept of creating artwork and selling it! As far as getting started with Grace Illustrates, it’s pretty much the result of me trying all sorts of different artsy things and coming right back to my first love! My go-to has always been ink and watercolor and illustrating with a whimsical and playful style and I think Grace Illustrates is the culmination of all of the things that I love and finding that others love it too!

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What inspires you when you begin a new project?

Stories are what inspire me, and I believe that every good story should have beautiful illustrations. I was homeschooled until 7th grade, so growing up I was surrounded by family who loved reading stories and telling stories. Whenever I am illustrating a book or illustrating a painting for a family, I love adding imagery to their personal story.  Celebrating family’s, couple’s, business’, and author’s stories is where I gain all of my inspiration. Oh and podcasts and lots of coffee help, too 😉

What’s your favorite thing to create?

I love illustrating children’s books. I think choosing the color palette for the book, picking themes, styles, and personalities for the characters is exciting.  I love illustrating families, too, but a children’s book is kind of like an extension of that.  Creating a world for the characters to live in, designing the type of clothes they’ll wear, the color of the rug in their kitchen, wow, it’s so incredibly fun.  I also really like watercoloring flowers and birds, too! Gosh, I could list a million things that are my favorite to create!

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How do you balance being a yoga teacher, substitute teacher, and owning your own business?

With a business like mine, some days require a little extra work, so it’s easy to feel stressed on those days.  However, I think at this point, I am more and more selective as to what I say yes to, and that’s where I’ve found the most balance. I love all of the things I do, which is really helpful.  I love working out and teaching fitness classes, I love substitute teaching for kiddos from Kindergarten-12th grade, I love teaching art at the nursing home, I love creating clay jewelry, I love illustrating… and honestly when my evening is free and I don’t have a major project that is needing my attention, I find myself digging out a sketchbook and drawing, or rolling out my yoga mat and doing a workout on my own… My life is filled with so many things I love that I would be doing regardless if I was scheduled to do them or not. This makes it easy to feel at peace most of the time with all of the things I have going on…because I love them!

What would your advice be for someone wanting to start their own business?

Okay, warning, so whenever I give any business advice (which is literally followed by me laughing to myself because it’s so mind blowing that I could actually give advice in this area of life) I definitely heard it on a podcast. I think that goals are key.  Writing down your goals is the very first thing I would tell anyone who wants to start a business.  Think about why you want to run a business and what your goals for your business are in one year, two years, three years!  Once you do that, girl, you gotta pray. Honestly none of my dreams would be happening if I didn’t have a personal relationship with Jesus, or maybe they would be but I’d be consumed with them and livin’ on the edge, freaking out all of the time, and probably squashing anyone in my way…haha whoa that sounds bad, right, but that’s me without Jesus!  He has given me the talents to do what I love to do, and he is my strength to pursue making those gifts a way for me to spread His joy to others! So once you’ve set those big bad goals, given it to the Lord, then you gotta move.  But, don’t let your huge goals freak you out, instead just take one teeny-tiny step in the direction of your dreams.  Christy B. Wright on the Business Boutique Podcast said, “What needs to be true today to make your goals a reality in the future?” And that has really stuck with me!  What is one thing you can do today to work towards your goal? Ask yourself that every day, and get plugged into some good education via books/podcasts, and you’re gonna rock it.

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What’s been the best and hardest part about creating a business?

It’s funny how many highs and lows there are in starting a business. I think that’s probably the toughest part…Within 24 hours I can go from filling up my online Chaco shopping cart with all of the guilt-free feelings because I’m makin’ bank to rolling around on the living room floor crying because I looked at my Excel finance spreadsheet. It doesn’t even make sense, right!? It’s honestly hilarious, but that’s the moment where I have to think about why I want to do this whole thing anyway. I mean, I get to illustrate and make money doing it! WHAT! I absolutely love what I do, and I couldn’t imagine giving it up just because it takes patience and hard work! It might be a slow road, but it’s so worth it for me.

Check out Grace’s portfolio and amazing artwork here: https://www.graceillustrates.com/ 

All photos by the amazing Hope of Love Hope Photography.

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