Talented artist Helen Wardropper has a new career all sketched out, with support from the North East Business and Innovation Centre (BIC).
Helen, 37, from Sunderland, made the decision to turn her hobby into a business.
I have always been a creative person, and I love to draw.Helen Wardropper
After taking voluntary redundancy from Sunderland City Council last year, she turned to her favourite hobby of drawing caricature pictures for inspiration when considering her future.
Trading as Helen Wardropper Caricatures, she is now available to hire for live coloured sittings at special occasions such as weddings, birthdays, school fairs, public events and exhibitions.
She recently participated in the Pallion Christmas lights switch on, where she got to meet and draw ex Sunderland Footballer Kevin Ball, and has an appearance on Made in Tyne and Wear’s show, Chatty Lasses, scheduled for March.
She said: “I have always been a creative person, and I love to draw, so when considering my options career-wise someone suggested that I should start my own business using these talents.
“So I thought ‘why not give it a go?’
“I approached the BIC with the idea of turning my hobby into a business, and once confident it could work, I registered the company and started to trade.
“I am lucky enough to have some good contacts so my work can take me from being surrounded by animals such as at the Christmas light switch on, to working with young children in schools.
“Caricatures are a fun way to boost confidence in children and it’s also an amusing keepsake.
“A highlight for me so far has been meeting and drawing Kevin Ball and I’m really looking forward to appearing on Chatty Lasses.”
Helen was assigned business adviser Janice Marsh who worked with her until she was ready to launch the business.
She added: “Janice guided me through the stages of setting up a new business.
“She gave me practical advice and we completed a business plan together.
“I have continued to attend the BIC’s monthly social media café which is a vital resource to help promote my services.”