How I create a custom illustration

custom_illustration_ilustracao_elsa_martins_somebodyelsa.jpg

I've realized I don't talk much about the custom illustrations I do.
I'm not even sure if this is the right way to refer to them. Basically custom illustrations are pieces people commission me to do mainly for personal use or to offer as a gift. 
Whenever I have a request I always try to find the time to do them. It's such an honor to be asked to do these works that I always try to do my best to be deserving of it. Which usually means it turns out to be a very time-consuming process but I'm always very pleased with the result. And my clients too, at least that's what they tell me :)
I did this piece two months ago but only had time to edit the footage now. I tought it could be interesting to share with you a bit of the proccess of doing this kind of work.

How to survive slow months as a freelancer

This article was first shared in my newsletter

Slow months are a scary thing when you're a freelancer.
You've been working nonstop for months and when you're starting to think freelancing is finally starting to work out for you, you stop receiving emails with new work proposals.
At first, you almost don't even notice it as you're really busy. When it's been two weeks you start considering that something may be wrong with your email provider... 
Summer months tend to be slower months when it comes to freelance (depending on your area of work, obviously). But it's hard not to freak out and think you're the worst and you'll never get a new project again.
Here are some ideas of things to do when no new work is coming your way:

Work on your brand
This is something a lot of freelancers neglect especially when they have a lot of work in their hands. But if you're being paid to work on someone else's brand you can understand how important that is. So making time to work on your own is important.
This summer I'm thinking of creating a terms & conditions document to send out to future clients. I don't have anything like that and I can really benefit from being able to communicate clearly with my clients.
I also want to make time to create more videos for my youtube channel as I believe it's an awesome way to reach new people who wouldn't normally come across my work.
I believe that presenting yourself as a consistent brand will help people remember you when they need someone with your skillset.

Create new products
I love creating new products! It's awesome to change things up and to create freely without having to follow a briefing while still having your audience in mind. These products you create in your slower months can later be used as passive income streams to balance your finances when you're busier again.

Update your portfolio
If you find it hard (and boring) to update your portfolio on a regular basis, trust me, you are not alone (I am here with you...). But you also know how important it is, right? Use this time to upload the best projects you did in the last months. I'll be taking the time to write case studies for some of my client projects as I think it's something my portfolio needs.

Create a side project
You probably know I really believe in the power of side projects. It's a great way to create the kind of work you want to be hired for in the future.
I'd really love to have some more editorial illustration opportunities next year so I could create a project to showcase my skills in that area.

Send out promotional mail
 I believe this is still a powerful way to find new clients and keep in touch with old ones when you're an illustrator. But I have to confess I'm terrible at it. This summer I'd like to take the time to do it. But I'll probably wait until September to actually send them out.

Relax and enjoy
We're never satisfied. When you're working nonstop you wish you had more time for your projects and when you have the time you freak out and refresh your email waiting for a new client. This time I will try to stop and enjoy the time I have without feeling guilty about it. I'll binge watch a new tv series and I'm even taking a two-week vacation where I'm considering not taking my laptop with me. Can you believe that?

It's not always easy to stay positive when you're going through this but honestly what other choice do you have?
If everything goes well I won't even have the time to do all these things before new work comes my way. But at least I'll have a plan when it happens again.
I'll keep you posted.

What I've learned in a year as a freelancer

This post was first published in my monthly newsletter

It has been a year since I decided to take a leap of faith and decided to become a self employed illustrator and designer. This year has been filled with ups and downs and I've learned a lot so far. In this post I share a bit of what I've leaned so far!

1. Consistency is key
Now I’m sure you heard this already, I know I have! But one thing is reading about it and other is to know it from experience.
As humans, there’s only a limited number of people we can remember. Ideally, your name is one that comes to mind when someone asks “do you know any illustrators that can do this job?” Being present and staying relevant will help people remember you.
I believe a lot of the work I got this year came about from frequently showing up in people’s social media feeds.

2. Self-motivation is also key
Being a freelancer and working from home, you can imagine how easy it is to hit that snooze button in the morning and staying in your pajamas all day. Especially when you have no clients depending on you. Trust me, I know! I’ve been there!
But try thinking of having no clients as an opportunity. The opportunity to create for yourself the kind of work you want to be hired for! Creating your own projects will make you want to get up in the morning and be excited to be living your dream life. And it will pay off in the long run.

3. Be organized
I’ve always been organized when it comes to work, it came naturally to me and I didn’t have to work too much on it. But organization means something different when you don’t have a boss telling you what to do nor a teacher reminding you when’s the next project due.
One of the first things I did was buying a planner which I’ve been using religiously ever since (I’m now trying the bullet journal technique).
I’m terrified of missing a deadline or forgetting to answer someone. So having somewhere I can write down everything that I need to do really helps. This way I don’t have to rely on my memory, I can rely on my journal.

4. Organized finances / organized life
So I told you I’m organized when it comes to work, right? When it comes to finances the story is quite different…
Having your finances organized will help you know how much you earned, which are your main sources of income, where did you spend money, how much will you need for taxes, etc. In short, it will help you answer the question “Is my business sustainable?”
Not being organized with my finances is a major source of stress for me and something I need to get better at ASAP.

5. Diversify your sources of income
As a freelancer, you shouldn’t really put all your eggs in one basket. Having different sources of income will help you find balance. If you’re a freelancer you probably heard of passive income and how important it is especially in months where client work was scarce.
My main sources of income are client work, personal commissions, my etsy shop and my cell phone cases. But I’d like to find more in the future.

6. You will feel lonely
I’ve always considered myself as an introvert. So I didn’t think working alone would be a problem for me. Turns out it sometimes is. I don’t mind being alone most of the time but I do miss having someone to talk to, share doubts and ask for simultaneous feedback. I miss making jokes.
To fight the loneliness I try to work from cafes at least once a week. I’ve also been trying to meet people with a similar mindset or career (you’re welcome to join me if you want!). Using a co-working space is something I sometimes think about and if I find something small and affordable I’ll consider joining it!

7. Saying “no” is hard but important
This was one of the hardest things I’ve learned so far. Having something tell you they like and trust your work enough to want to work with you is one of the most precious things you can have. It’s hard to walk away from that. So hard that you’ll say “Yes” more often than not and suddenly you have more on your plate than you can chew. Which will make you stressed and overworked. You will feel anxious at the idea of disappointing someone who trusted you. But, ultimately I think it’s about respect. You have to respect yourself and your limits. And most of all you have to respect the people who want to work with you. You should never give them less than your best. So if you feel you can’t deliver work at your highest quality, just be brave enough to say no.

8. Find what makes you different.
Let’s be realistic: there isn’t really a shortage of designers out there. If you type “freelance designer” on google you’ll get 528000 results. There’s a lot of us out there. And there are a lot of designers capable of delivering a project with results just as good as yours. So you need to find something that makes you unique and explore it, and let people know about it.

9. You shouldn’t always be working
This one’s pretty obvious, right? So why am I even mentioning it? Because I fail to follow it on a daily basis.
One of the perks of having a 9 to 5 job is that you’re often able to come home at the end of the day and unwind. That’s hard to do when all your business relies on you. Even when I’m trying to relax, there’s always a voice in my mind telling me what I have to do. What I find that helps me sometimes is making realistic to do lists every day. When I finish all the items on my list I give myself permission to relax ’till the next day.

10. It will take time to get to where you want to be
When I started freelancing I gave myself a deadline: I was going to try it for 6 months, if I couldn’t do it I’d give up forever and try something else.
Let me tell you something, 6 months isn’t enough time! A year isn’t enough and I’m not ready to quit just yet.

11. Write down your goals and make plans to act on them
Mine is to make a living out of illustration, being happy while doing it and making others happy with my work. But a goal without a plan is just a dream (I’m pretty sure I read that somewhere). It’s important to make plans. They’ll tell you how to act in order to reach your goals.

12. Believe in yourself
A daily struggle and something I need to remind myself of. One of the things that have helped me lately when self-doubt kicks in is remembering the people who believe in me and have trusted me already. When I doubt myself is almost like I don’t trust their opinion. That usually helps.

how can cafe working help you be more productive

photo from Tania carvalho

photo from Tania carvalho

When I started working from home I realized I’m not as focused as I thought I was.
I get distracted quite easily and if I didn’t seem like much of a problem when I was only doing it on the weekends, it sure is when all your income depends on it.
Add that to the fact that working from home can feel quite lonely sometimes and you get the reasons why I added working from cafes to my weekly routine.

What kind of work can you do?

As an illustrator, I usually need a lot of space and tools to work. That's not ideal when you want to work from a coffee shop. But, if you're a freelancer you know that there's a lot more going on behind the scenes, other than the actual work you're usually hired for.
What I find works for me is doing the tasks that I find myself procrastinating the most when I’m at home and that doesn't take much space. I usually do all my written work from cafes. Everything from blog posts, emails, budget requests are usually done in the morning while drinking a nice cappuccino at a coffee shop.
I find that my writing is slowly getting better because I now take specific time to work on it. Sometimes I can also do some initial sketches that don’t require the computer. It depends on what I need to do that week.

Reasons to work from cafes when you’re a freelancer

It's inexpensive
Co-working spaces are a nice option for freelancers but depending on the places, locations, and commodities it can get quite expensive. If you can’t afford it right, cafes can be a cheaper alternative and with a delicious breakfast.
Less distractions
It may seem weird but I find it less distracting to work from a coffee shop where everyone is doing their thing than from home where there’s always something to do or something to clean.
Getting out of the house
Ever since I started working from home I need to find reasons to get out of the house. I never really spend my day working in my pajamas (I have to walk my dog everyday) but there are days where I don’t do more than that. Adding the cafe work to my routine gives me a reason to get dressed and out of the house, new people and different sceneries are good for the mind.
Helps to socialize
I haven’t met anyone while working from a cafe yet but I know people who have. But sometimes, instead of working alone I get together with a friend and instead of being alone we make each other company.

Tips for cafe working

Create a routine
Cafe working is now part of my weekly routine. The number of times I do it each week depends on the kind of work I have to do. But I’ll do it at least once. Having that as part of my weekly routine gives me something different to look forward to.
Have a topic in mind
When I head to a cafe I usually already have in mind what I need to get done. This helps me stay focused and I know that when that’s done, the “cafe work” part of my day is done.
Charge your laptop
I know this isn’t the same for everyone but I find it works perfectly for me. If my laptop is fully charged I won’t have to worry about sitting next to a power plug and I also know exactly how many time I have which makes me get focused easily.
Choose accordingly
Some cafes are busier than others. Some have bigger tables, others don’t have wifi. So if you have some research to do, maybe good WIFI is important but if the internet will get you distracted, not having wifi is probably a better option.
Try to think of what you need before choosing your spot and try to used a few different places and switch between them so you never get bored.

to blog or not to blog.

I've started my first blog in 2007 and I've been on and off it ever since. At first I only shared funny stories and thoughts but as my path evolved to a more creative career I started sharing more and more about it.
With time and as I began working creatively I grew more attached to my work and it also became harder to share it openly as it felt way to personal. And internet trolls exist and I admit they got to me.
With this blog (and other things I'm doing like the newsletter and the youtube channel) I'm trying to fight it and share more about me, my process and my work.

I love other creative people's blogs and that's what Inspired me to add a blog to my portfolio.
With the rise of social media, blogging lost some of its power and I understand that not everybody wants to take the time to come and check my blog out. But I also feel that if you're here, it's because you are truly interested and that's my greatest encouragement to share more of what I don't share there. I hope this blog feels like a much closer connection to me because I definitely feel the same.

Blogging isn't easy. And I believe it's even harder when you're not particularly good with words. I could make this an image based blog but I don't really connect to those so I don't want to do that for myself. You have plenty of nice imagery if you just open your Instagram feed. I want you to have more here.

In the future, I want these posts to be more valuable to you. 
It's hard to objectively look at myself and think of what valuable knowledge can I share when I believe I have so much to learn.

Even though I don't get much feedback on these posts I know you're there (not to sound creepy but I see you on the analytics - the blog is one of the most visited pages of this website). I hope you're finding value here. And I hope one day you'd like to share your thoughts with me.

a week in the life of an illustrator

I love vlogs from other creatives. I always feel inspired to create after watching one of them and I have found myself thinking I wanted to make them too. So I finally just decided to gather the courage and do it.
Making videos isn't easy. If you're anything like me, you'll understand how hard it is to talk to a camera and on top of that having to edit it too!
Turns out I really liked the process of making it and the final result, even if I still cringe when I watch myself talk...
So here's a little peek into a usual week in my life as an illustrator.

Working happily

When I started working for myself, something I didn’t really expect happened: I started going to bed at night thinking I couldn’t wait for the morning to come so that I could get to work again.
Even when there were no client projects, and almost no money was coming in, I was still happy with what I was going.
I was working happy.

Work hard
I read a lot about working hard, productivity and making better use of your time. So much so that I often feel guilty about the time I spend watching silly videos on youtube. I know I could be working harder.
Working alone requires a lot of self-discipline and I’m still trying to adapt to it. I’m also learning tricks to keep myself from procrastinating (like writing to you from a cafe instead of doing it at home).
I’m trying to accept that I’m working as hard as I can and not as hard as I see other people do on social media. Let's face it, we're only sharing our good times there. Having a to-do list as helped with that. I now keep track of everything I do and when I feel like I haven’t done much, I can go back to my list and see what I actually accomplished.

Work smart
Another thing people say we should do is to work smart. And it makes sense! You can be working hard at something but if you’re not doing it right, you won’t see much results, you’ll get discouraged and eventually give up.
I’m not sure I’m working smart. I have a lot of ideas and I should probably focus my attention a bit more. But there’s so much I want to do. I really need to get better at this, maybe I should write it on my to-do list…
This brings us back to working happy.

Work happy
As you can probably guess, I’m not happy all of the time. What I shared here brings me a lot of anguish and even though I wake up happy and excited most days, it also takes me a lot of time to fall asleep. I keep thinking if I’m doing the right choices, or that I should have worked harder that day…
But I’ve decided to embrace this “work happy” as a life motto because if I’m happy with what I’m doing, I must be doing something right.

Inspiring Side Projects #1 - Thanking around

I love side projects!
If you have no idea what I'm talking about, a side project is something you do aside from your main job. It's a creative outlet that allows you to fulfill a passion you probably don't get to explore anywhere else. You do it because you want to challenge yourself, you want to get better at something or maybe acquire a new skill.
There are a lot of reasons for having a side project but what they usually have in common is that it's something you are passioned about and committed to.
I also find it very inspiring to find new side projects other people created. My favourites are the ones where I think I wish I had that idea!
That's why I wanted to share some of my favourite side projects from fellow creatives. Inspiration needs to be shared.
My lastest discovery was Thanking Around by Isabella Lião.

Isabella is a letterer and digital nomad. In this project, she creates a lettering piece with the words thank you in the language of the countries she visits. She then offers a print version of the finished piece to the hosts she stayed with.
Just by itself this idea seems awesome to me but Isabella goes the extra mile and also shares the process she goes through when creating each piece. From photos she takes and uses as inspiration for the piece, till the actual creation of the piece sharing her doubts and the obstacules the found along the way.
It shows you that design isn't only about making things pretty, it's about transmitting a message in the best and most engaging way possible.
I just hope that she travels a lot for me to keep seeing these lovely pieces!

daily art challenge

I love daily art challenges.
I started with the 26 days of food lettering. Then came inktober and 31 days of creating animal watercolours and my last project involved creating one penguin illustration every day for a month.
The truth is these challenges are hard to commit to and they do take up a lot of time. I even wrote a post with a few tips about it.
When Catarina challenged me to create one piece every day for a week even tough I 've been quite busy lately, I knew I had to do it.
Whenever I want to draw something just for the sake of creating, my go to ideas always seem to feature animals. I noticed it started to be my safe area so I wanted to change things a bit this time and decided it could be a good idea to practice drawing people. So that's the route I've taken.

These pieces took me around 3 to 4 hours to create each day (the one with all the faces took even longer!). I really like most of the pieces I created for the challenge and three of them were even updated to my portfolio. It was a very good experience!

sneak peek into the process of creating the illustrations

sneak peek into the process of creating the illustrations

April overview

I can't believe April has come and gone!
Let me share with you some of the highlights of my month and even where I feel I failed:

1. I started working on a new book! It's going to be a lot of work and a very challenging project but I'm super excited about it.

2. I received some of the cases I illustrated for gocase and I created a few more. It makes me very happy to know people like my work enough to have it with them all day everyday.
Did you know my horny unicorn case is my most sold item?

3. My first editorial illustration was released and I got my copy in the mail this month. I loved working on it. So much so that I can't wait to have the opportunity to work on something similar in the future.
I wrote a blog post about it, you can read it if you want to see more details.

4. I started working on my first font ever! I drew the letters 4 years ago but never finished it until now. Vitória gave me a lot of advice and even said that with some tweaks it could be good enough to sell! Which to be honest never crossed my mind. I'll let you know if I do it. Until then here's a sneak peak of it.

5. This month I also conquered one of my fears and finally made a youtube video talking to the camera. I'm still super self-conscious mainly about my english and whether or not I have something valuable to share but I'm glad I did it. I really want to be an illustrator with a youtube channel.

6. This month I neglected my etsy shop a bit and I'm quite sad about it. Hopefully I'll be better at it in May. I have some new prints I want to put up and I really need to take some time to take care of that!

my work in PPM

Today I’d like to share with you one of my most recent works and one I’m very proud of.
Last month I was invited to create the illustrations for an article of Pet Product Marketing magazine.
was over the moon: illustrating an article about pets! Could there be a better theme for my first editorial illustration work? The answer, as you may have guessed is no.

The challenge of translating text into images and add something new to it isn’t easy (or it wouldn’t be a challenge) but it’s what I love most about it! I really enjoyed creating these illustrations.
I was so happy when I received my copy in the mail…
I’m looking forward to making this kind of work again soon! So if you know of or have any kind of editorial work you think I could be a good fit for, tell me!

my #meettheartist

This week I finally shared my #meettheartist and I used that excuse to finally make a new video for my youtube channel!
But before making my own I decided to check the lovely world os instagram for some inspiration and I made a selection with some of my favourites! 

kimliesterdesign | gabriel.soareszz | story_monster purpleland_ | kamisketsa | mikelodigas alvaro_ortiz_ |  greenpotion | srita.ment

kimliesterdesign | gabriel.soareszz | story_monster
purpleland_ | kamisketsa | mikelodigas
alvaro_ortiz_ |  greenpotion | srita.ment

This is the first video I made speaking to the camera. It was scary. It still is...
But anyway, I really liek how my meet the artist turned out. I love to have Tosta (my dog) by my side because that's usually how I work nowadays: WIth her asking for attention from time to time.
I hope you like it!

meetme.png

Ladies, Wine & Design

photo from Ladies, Wine & Design - Lisbon

photo from Ladies, Wine & Design - Lisbon

Whenever I attend a Ladies Wine & Design (LW&D) event or when I talk about it, there's always a few people curious about it so I decided to write about it today as it's been a week since I attended one of their events.

If you don’t know what LW&D is here’s a little description I found on their website

Ladies, Wine Design was started by Jessica Walsh after writing this article as an initiative to foster female creativity. Only a tiny percent of creative directors are women, and LW&D wants to help change this through mentorship circles, portfolio reviews, and creative meet-ups. In less than a year of launching, we've spread to chapters in over 75 cities all over the world. In New York, LW&D is a monthly salon night limited to a small group of creative women. We’ll wine, dine, and have casual conversations on a wide variety of topics relating to creativity, business, and life.

The event was brought to Portugal by two awesome ladies (Bárbara and Yana) and it has been hosted in different locations since last July. The themes have varied from freelance to leadership and family/career balance...

I used to work with Bárbara in my last job so that how I first heard about the event.
Now, as you may or may not know I’m quite a shy person (and an introvert) so even the word event can be scary to me. But when LW&D was first starting out I was still working full-time with Bárbara and I could see her enthusiasm and how happy she was and that was so contagious that I knew I wanted to attend and be part of it. So far, I’ve been to three of them.

And what’s the difference between LW&D and other creative events? First of all, it’s for women only and most subjects are seen from a feminine perspective and we talk about the struggles we have as women in the creative industry. But one of my favorite parts of it is the fact that it’s for 6 people only which means there’s space for everyone to talk, give and receive feedback! There are never small groups formed, which tends to happen in bigger events and the conversation is so interesting and flows so naturally that you don’t usually feel time pass.

Group photo from one of the events I attended where we showed our portfolios and gave critique and advice to each other. Photo by Olga Moreira

Group photo from one of the events I attended where we showed our portfolios and gave critique and advice to each other. Photo by Olga Moreira

In every event, Bárbara and Yana invite two women to talk about their experience in any given topic. I just learned that this is something they added to the original event and I find it to be a great idea as it usually helps to break the ice and begin the conversation.

Hosting an event like this while having to also focus on your work can’t be easy and I have huge respect for what Bárbara and Yana are doing, so much so that I really want to see LW&D grow and grow in Portugal even if it means the events are always fully booked and I can no longer attend them!

I hope this sparked your interest! The event happens in a bunch of cities around the globe, you can see if there's one close to you here. And if there isn't, how about creating it yourself?
If you're near Lisbon, please consider attending one of the next events! Visit its facebook page for more details.

March overview

Hello dear friends!
Let me start by saying I love my job!
There has been a lot of ups and downs and I'm sure this is just the beginning, but I really love what I'm doing and what I've acheived so far. I actually need to put that in writting to remember it when times get rough.
About rough times... I had a few this month. What helped was putting things in prespective and thinking where I've been and how much I've evolved.

how I used to draw a cat in 2006 and how I am doing it 10 years later. I can definetely see some evolution!

how I used to draw a cat in 2006 and how I am doing it 10 years later. I can definetely see some evolution!

On a brighter note, this month was packed with exciting new things and projects! Here are a few I can already share with you:
The third book I illustrated was finally released! It's the traditional tale of the Twelve Dancing Princesses and it's available in Pingo Doce (a national store) 

the last book I illustrated

the last book I illustrated

I created two new little illustrations I really like and also received some lovely feedback from you on social media. Over the next few weeks they'll be added as prints to my shop

two illustrations I really liked making this month and that will become prints in my shop

two illustrations I really liked making this month and that will become prints in my shop

I also shared a bit of the process of creating my Amy Winehouse illustration. It isn't easy for me to share work that isn't final yet but I'm glad I did! You can read more about it here.

This month I created some editorial illustrations for an article about pets (what a great subject!!!) and I'll be sharing the final results soon! I'm now searching for some more work in that are so if you have an awesome article that would benefit from my illustrations, make sure to contact me!

Yesterday I attended a Ladies, Wine & Design event. It was my third one and I'm planning a post about it later this April so make sure to come back for that.

This month I decided it was finally time to create my newsletter. I started working on it and I already had the first draft ready. But then I came across a few articles about why you shouldn't start one and I found myself second guessing the decision. There are obviously ups and downs to it. I think I'll eventually go ahead and do it but decided to think about it for a little while longer as I really want to make something that's worth the confidence of the people subscribed.

I guess this is pretty much it! I really like writing these overview posts. I hope you like them too. And I hope you feel confortable enough to also share some of your achievements this month down in the comments. I'd love to read it!

 

36daysoftype - food type edition

If you've been following me for a while you'll know how much I love the #36daysoftype challenge.
If you don't know what it is I've talked about it here.

I have shared with you some of my favourite alphabets as the project was running last year. Even though I'm not participating in it this year, I thought I'd do it again as there is a lot of inspiration out there that deserves to be discovered.

Last year I did a food alphabet (it's still one of the projects I'm most proud of) and I realized that this year there are a few artists taking that same approach. So if you liked my alphabet I'm sure you will like these:

Naniastua Nani is also using the new instagram feature that let's you share more than one image in a post and showing parts of the process and detail photos in some of the letters. I LOVE this! I always find it magical to know how others create their magical images! Make sure to follow it!

Naniastua
Nani is also using the new instagram feature that let's you share more than one image in a post and showing parts of the process and detail photos in some of the letters. I LOVE this! I always find it magical to know how others create their magical images! Make sure to follow it!

Isn't it just great to see how different people come up with such great and different things using the same premise?

 

my shitty work

shitty_work-in-progress-amy-winehouse.png

Last week I read this super interesting article by Femke where she talks about how the external pressure to only share great work is actually holding us back and maybe even keeping us from evolving as we're more focused on the finished product than in the process of creating.
I found it inspiring to read something that makes perfect sense but that I never really thought about:

You wanna know the truth? Everyone produces shitty work.
That famous designer you follow on Twitter? I bet they sometimes produce shitty work. Walt Disney? Probably created a bad short at one point in his life.

I don't often show in progress images of my self initiated projects for 2 main reasons:
1. For a long part of my creative process I think what I'm doing is not good enough to show anyone;
2. If I don't show it to anyone there is no external pressure to keep at it even when I think I'm never going to make something good out of it.
This doesn't apply to client work because a) I don't feel right showing work that the client hasn't seen yet and b) quitting is not really an option in that case.

But this post inspired me to share something that as I was creating it I was thinking to myself "no one will ever see this".

The three images in this gif were created in three different days of work. On the first day I did what you see first and what nearly made me quit. It's terrible, it took me a lot of time and I didn't think I could make it better. It took me over a week to have the courage to open that file and try again. And I was incredibly proud of myself for not giving up because if I had given up I wouldn't be able to create something that I am now quite happy with.

This happens with a lot of my work. Even with my first comic attempt that I showed you last week the same thing happened. I created a lot of shit and gave up (for a few hours in that case) before trying again and making something I'm happy with.

I wanted to share this to anyone out there reading that maybe felt the same recently. Just keep trying. We're all making shitty work, we're just not showing it.

amy-winehouse-illustration-portrait.png

my first try at comics

Let me start by saying that I never thought I'd ever make comics. But the other day as I laid in the bathtub i thought I really wanted to share it. That's how it started....

Being a full-time freelancer has been a lot more stressful than I thought it would be so I'm trying my best to find new ways to relax. 
I've heard a lot of people saying baths are super relaxing: candles, bubbles,  calm music, all that jazz. I used to take baths once in a while when I was a child but I never did it as a grown woman so I was excited to give it a try. It didn't go as planed...

Let me tell you it took me a lot of time to create something to have that this only took me 10 minutes look...
But I actually ended up liking the result and I already have a few ideas I'd like to work on whenever I have the time.
I hope you like it too.
Now, off to clean my bathroom!

 

 

thank you for the inspiration

Four years ago, while I was procrastinating on the internet, I found this guy who filmed his watercolor process. I found it so inspiring that a few days later I bought my first watercolor set (which I still use) to experiment with them. My experiment sucked and I gave up on it soon after to only get back to it last year. But that's not what this post is about...

A few months later I ended up getting a job at the same company that guy worked for. 
Years later, he told me one of his goals was to inspire people. It was only then that it occurred to me to tell him the story of how he had inspired me when we didn't even know each other. He had no idea.

Last week a girl told me I had inspired her. In a week that wasn't going particularly great, that made my day.
What I want to say with this is that I find it important to invest a bit of our time telling someone what a positive impact they had in our lives. Sometimes we don't remember it, sometimes we're too busy, sometimes we this it's not that important, that other people probably said the same thing already... But what if we're all thinking like that?

I have this friend that when she finds someone inspiring takes her time to write a thoughtful email telling them that. I always thought it was a great thing to do and that I should do the same but I never did.
I'm daily inspired by different people in different areas of my life and yesterday when I couldn't fall asleep I thought those people should know it.

This is why I decided that ever month from now on I will take a bit of my time to tell some people they inspire me.
Maybe I end up sharing them here too, what do you think? Maybe this way you also find new inspiring people. We'll see.

I thought that maybe by sharing this you'll be inspired (eheh) to do the same and make someone else's day better!
___

Portuguese:

Há uns 4 anos, houve um dia em que, enquanto procrastinava na internet, encontrei os videos de um rapaz que filmava o seu processo de ilustração. Aquilo inspirou-me de tal maneira que dias depois comprei as minhas primeiras aguarelas para experimentar. Ficou uma porcaria. Desisti pouco depois para só voltar a pegar-lhes o ano passado, mas isso não é  importante agora...

Meses depois, e sem saber disso, acabei por ir trabalhar para o mesmo sítio em que esse rapaz trabalhava. 
Um dia, ele disse-me que um dos seus objectivos era conseguir inspirar pessoas. Foi só nessa altura que me ocorreu contar-lhe aquele episódio e dizer-lhe que me tinha inspirado, mesmo antes de o conhecer. Ele não fazia ideia.

Na semana passada, uma rapariga disse-me que eu a tinha inspirado. Numa semana que não estava a corre particularmente bem, aquilo fez o meu dia.

O que eu quero dizer com isto é que acho que é importante perder um bocado do nosso tempo para dizer a alguém o impacto positivo que teve em nós. Às vezes não nos lembramos disso, às vezes achamos que não é importante, que outras pessoas já lhe devem ter dito o mesmo... Mas e se estivermos todos a pensar assim? 

Tenho uma amiga que quando encontrava alguém inspirador "perdia" o seu tempo a escrever um extenso email a essa pessoa. Eu achava aquilo o máximo e que devia fazer o mesmo, mas nunca fiz. Por preguiça, por vergonha, porque eventualmente esqueci-me.
Sou diariamente inspirada por pessoas nas mais diversas áreas da minha vida e ontem, enquanto não conseguia dormir, pensei que essas pessoas deviam sabe-lo.

Foi por isso que decidi que, todos os meses vou tirar um pouco do meu tempo para dizer a algumas pessoas que me inspiraram. 
Talvez acabe por partilhar isso também aqui, o que acham? Pode ser que assim conheçam pessoas novas e que elas também vos inspirem de alguma maneira. Vamos ver.
Lembrei-me que podia partilhar isto com vocês, que pode ser que vos inspire (eheh) a fazer o mesmo e que assim possamos melhorar o dia de alguém!

January overview

january penguin illustration

January is already over. 
I intended to make a 2017 goals post but life got in the way and I ended up postponing it so much that it doesn't really make sense to make it anymore.
If you follow me on social media, or if you read my last post, you already know that in January I challenged myself by committing to create one penguin everyday.
I did it because I love penguins and I love monthly challenges.  It was hard to have only one subject to work with and I thought about giving up quite a few times but I'm glad I didn't.
I ended up with a few pieces I'm actually proud of and I'm even thinking about turning a few of them into prints and selling them on my etsy shop.

Truth is that this kind of challenges do take quite a big chunk of my time which meant that I wasn't able to complete some of the monthly goals I had set for me in the beginning of the month:
I wanted to post more frequently here on the blog which didn't happen at all during this month, and I also wanted to keep on making one new video for my youtube channel every two weeks. Between commissioned work and the monthly challenge which I obviously didn't want to fail one, I just couldn't spare the time to do it. It's hard. These aren't things I HAVE to do but are things I really WANT to do. But they take time and I've been finding it hard to put myself out there, specially in video
But not all was bad! I was able to create and share new designs in the shop and I also made more sales than I thought I was going to do in January! And I also just updated my portfolio with a few illustrations and patterns I made this past month.

I wish you a great February!
And I hope to talk to you soon.