By William Lailey and Aliki Kraterou
A man who admits he’s terrible at drawing has revealed he’s started a lucrative sidegig – flogging ‘ugly’ portraits of people who pay him to make them look ridiculous.
Ashley Downing, 35, from Coventry, West Mids, started creating funny portraits of his friends and family as a joke, using his phone and a £1 stylus he bought from Poundland.
As he started sharing them online, he started getting requests from people who were asking him how much he charged and that’s how he got the idea of making a profit out of his hobby.
But his extra income is to the fury of his brother Paul – who IS a talented artist and studied art at Coventry College but was never able to make a living from his artwork and now works in construction.
Just two months after starting selling his ‘ugly’ portraits, Ashley’s inbox has been flooded with requests for him to draw people – and he’s got so many that he even has a waiting list as he tries to squeeze in his artwork around his full-time job in maintenance.
Ashley said: “I basically just started doing it as a bit of fun, just drawing friends and family in my free time.
“I started sharing them online and it got big quite quickly – people started messaging me and asking me how much do I charge.
“I was doing it for free until then but I thought ‘I might as well earn some money from doing it’.
“I didn’t even occur to me to start charging until that point- I was just doing the portrait of anyone who messaged the page for free.
“People absolutely love it – a lot of them print them and put them in a frame and then send me a photo of it on their wall.
“I’m hoping to expand soon into putting the pictures on cards and t shirts.
“I’ve already had people asking about making portraits for mother’s day.”
Ashley finds hilarious the fact that his little brother Paul is annoyed at him as he has been to College and studied art but doesn’t make a living out of it.
He added: “He is a bit upset with me because I make money out of crap drawings.
“I even told him I’d give him a job.”
“My family and my other brothers think it’s brilliant.
“Everyone likes anything unique and funny and that’s exactly what I do.”