Big Issue Vendor

How to unlock your artistic side: Big Issue vendor on confidence in your art

Big Issue vendor Slavcho Slavov has been drawing since he was a child. He explains how to build confidence in your art.
Images of two art works done by Big Issue vendor Slavcho Slavov.

At The Big Issue we like to showcase the expert knowledge of our vendors and their outstanding talents. Among them is Slavcho Slavov, now based in Wales, an extremely talented artist and dedicated painter, who is now selling his works. Here explains how to get confident with your art and how to enjoy the beauty of painting.

When I first drew a portrait I was seven years old and I used all my pencils up for that one portrait. It was of a friend of my father’s and I had to draw it 100 times before it was perfect. Then I started different things, like acrylic and oil, and I just kept going. Acrylic is my favourite but I love oil too. Sometimes I use watercolours but I’m not really good with them.

Reflection, a painting by Big Issue vendor Slavcho Slavov
Reflection, a painting by Big Issue vendor Slavcho Slavov
Reflection is one of the artworks Slavcho has created.

Most of the time I start with a sketch but other times I just start working in paint. My sketches are done with a soft pencil and after that I build on them. I never try to get the sketch perfect, it’s quick – maybe just 10 or 20 minutes. Depending on the details it can take 30 to 50 hours to finish it. Then an oil painting takes two weeks minimum to dry.

When I sit down with my drawing on the table I try to put something different, something I see that’s not like the photograph. I just try to put something from myself in the painting, that’s what I love to do. Every time it gets easier and easier to get what you want. At the beginning it’s pretty hard, I remember that. After a couple of days sometimes I think, that’s not what I want and I see the right way to do it.

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Many years ago I spent a year in the art academy in Sofia but I stopped because I didn’t have a lot of money to study for longer. I began to work but I didn’t stop painting. When I’m painting is my favourite time, I love it. I sell a lot of my work, I sell to friends and they tell their friends. I’ve got five paintings here now and they’re all sold, but I can’t send them at the moment. For a portrait I charge £20 to £30, for an oil a little bit more as they need more time.

Slavcho Slavov sells The Big Issue in Aberystwyth. To contact him about buying his art email