A qualified graphic designer, Sydney’s Georgia Norton Lodge was slogging it out at her branding agency day job when she began drawing houses. The impetus came when her sister, who was writing a book based in Sydney’s Annandale, needed an illustrated cover to embody the story.
“I started drawing all the neighbourhood buildings and houses, and when I finished, I realised they were pretty cute. I showed my friends and family and they all wanted theirs drawn,” says Georgia who consequently started an Instagram account ‘Georgia Draws A House’ which immediately grew a dedicated following.
“The account helped spread the word of my drawings between work hours whilst I couldn’t – it works full time for you, when you can’t!” says Georgia.
What started as a side hustle now sees Georgia draw between 30 and 40 houses per week (50 in busy periods), and she has justifiably resigned from her desk job. “I gave myself a year to prove that the business could match my agency salary and I went to town in the evenings drawing,” says Georgia. And while Georgia is obviously talented, her branding background really helped spread the word.
“Before I took a leap of faith away from my full-time desk, I did a bit of guerrilla marketing. My parents live in Annandale, across the road from a park and the very popular Cornersmith café – the perfect spot to show off my work. One night, with the help of some amazing artists, I grabbed a ladder and a spray can and drew a large mural, the front of my parents’ house, on the side of their house,” says Georgia.
A social media frenzy ensued with the location now a popular selfie spot; the stunt also landing the artist a full page spread in the Sunday paper. “My phone blew up all day after I appeared in the paper. I went to work the next day and quit my job,” says Georgia.
“Never in my wildest dreams would I think I could make a living drawing other people’s homes. Even after I had proved I could match my agency salary I was I was still terrified to leave my full-time desk,” says Georgia who is making the most of her success, for fear it will be short-lived.
“I feel very grateful to be able to call this my life but am also aware that it could disappear at any moment – hence my crazy working hours!” says Georgia whose prolific output means she works well beyond average hours, and has even saved enough for a house deposit.
Georgia’s work is created with an Artline 200 Fineline 0.4 pen on Fabriano Watercolour Paper (Cold Press/25% Cotton), 300GSM), together with Google Maps. “My secret is that I use Google Maps, though some customers prefer me to work from photos, which is fine by me!” says Georgia who has drawn almost 600 houses to date.
“To order, you just visit my site, click ‘draw my house’, type your address in and voila! A little house portrait will be on its way to you in 4-5 weeks!”