Spinning Plates

So I don’t really have much of a point to this post, just some musings about where I am at the moment in work and life. I’ve been a bit quiet on social media lately since the last couple of months have been incredibly busy, but busy with things that I enjoy doing! Including travel, dance events, more artistic work, and a new job.

I really enjoy freelancing. It’s great to be able to set my own hours, and have a flexible schedule. I like having the freedom to explore different ideas that I’m interested in, and being able to work in a way that suits me. 

Unfortunately there are some downsides. Work isn’t always consistent, there are plenty of times when there’s nothing coming in, and other times where I’m doing a lot of work - which always seems to coincide with busy periods in my personal life. I’m currently not making enough as a freelance artist to only do that, so I have a few other jobs that I do to make ends meet. They all have different demands, and arranging schedules can be stressful. I never really feel like I stop working. Even when I’m at home on the weekend or at night, I’m always thinking of ways to improve my business, or feeling guilty that I’m not spending enough time on it. Most of the time it feels like I’m spinning a lot of different plates, and it’s difficult to keep them all up in the air.

The last couple months in particular, I’ve found this has had a bad effect on my mental health. I’ve always struggled with anxiety to various degrees, so trying to figure out the best way to deal with it when it relates to my career has been hard. I’m still working on it. I’ve been working through a lot of self doubt and fear about the future. I want so badly to make this a viable career, and there are some days where it just doesn’t seem possible.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how I’m really grateful for my relationships with other people. When I was travelling, and then coming home to another big dance event, I met up with a lot of friends I don’t get the chance to see all that often. And it reminded me of how much I love and rely on my friendships, and other relationships. The joy of seeing each other, and spending time together, especially when we know it won’t last for long. The people in my life have all been so supportive of me as I’ve changed careers and I’m grateful for it.

I’ve had so many friends who’ve requested commissions, given me advice on markets/selling/freelancing, buying prints, liking my social media posts and putting me in touch with possible short term jobs for money. My family have always been so supportive. Always ready to give advice, also requesting commissions and prints, and helping me out financially. 

Finally, Chris has been my biggest support. He’s always been good at calming me down when I’m stressing about work, helping me out at markets, and believing in me even when I don’t. I’m so thankful for his support and love.

I feel very lucky. Even on my busy days and down days. I’m very lucky to be able to try to do this, and it’s a wonderful thing. Thank you all so much, because I couldn’t do it without you x


Commissioning an artwork

Hello everyone! I thought for this blog post, I’d write a little bit about commissions, and what that process is like when someone commissions an artwork from me. For example, my friend Julia wanted to create a birthday present for her husband John, of him flying in his glider. So I’m going to take you through the steps of that image.


Communication

The first step is to talk about what the client would like in the image. Is it a present for someone else? Which people would they like in there, what kind of poses? If the client isn’t entirely sure, then that’s fine, and we can work on developing ideas together. At this stage I also gather together some reference images, photos of people/places/items that the client would like to include in the image. So here are some of the reference images Julia gave me.

Rough draft/sketch

The next step is to put together a rough sketch of what the final image might look like. Sometimes I’ll do a few different sketches for different compositions/ideas. Or if the client has a clear idea for the image already, then I’ll start from there. 

After getting feedback from this first sketch, I’ll make changes, and clean up the lines a bit. For example, in this project Julia asked me to add in the bird, after seeing the first sketch.

First draft with colour

Then comes the first draft with colour. This is my favourite part, because it feels like everything is coming together.

After this stage we a made a couple more tweaks, including adjusting John’s hair and adding in the ground. One of the great benefits of working digitally is that it’s very easy to go back and change things around. When I’m working with traditional media it’s not as easy. 

Final Image

The last change we made was adjusting the colour of the sky a little bit, and then we were all done!

At the end of the day, my main goal is to ensure that clients are happy with their images. After all they’re going to look at it a lot more than I will, so I want to make sure they get a lot of chances to give feedback, and that the finished product feels right to them. 

So if you’ve got an idea for a birthday present, or if you’ve got a great idea for yourself, send me a message! I’m currently available for commissions, and I’d love to hear from you!


Goals for 2019

Hello everyone! I hope 2019 has started well for you! I’ve had a great start to the year, taking a bit of time off to relax and head down to the beach. I’ve also added a lot of new items to my store, with birthday cards, bookmarks, stickers and postcards now available! 

It’s always exciting to start off a brand new year, even though I know it’s just an arbitrary point in our planets journey around the sun. I really enjoy getting into the mindset of starting afresh and thinking what I’d like to achieve, and setting goals for the year.

Some of my goals for 2019 are:

Learning new skills

I’m keen to learn more skills, particularly skills in graphic design. I think this’ll help create more job opportunities for me, and it’s always good to continue learning and growing. 

Illustration Friday

This year I want to make sure I do this challenge every week. I want to get into the habit of regularly creating my own pieces of work, rather than getting caught up in only making artworks for other people. I think this’ll help expand my portfolio and develop my personal style.

Books

I’d really love to do more books this year, since that’s the area of illustration I’m most interested in. I’d like to create my own interpretations of classic fairy tales and stories to release. I’m not entirely sure yet how I’m going to approach it, but I’ve got lots of ideas.


I’m really excited to work on these goals (and a few others I want to keep under wraps for now) and see how the year turns out!

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