Sunday, August 18, 2013

A Life Behind Your Projects

There is this thing that exists behind your projects: it's called your life. 

Life has a funny way of rejecting scheduled things in order to press that random button. We have the best intentions with our clients and our projects but things happen anyway. 

Simply put, life spins madly on despite what you have planned! 

Cautionary Time
Many illustrators such has myself work we live. It's a delicate balance of living, work, laundry, sleep, cooking and downtime. If you've got kids or pets then that changes up the dynamic in a huge way. Art school does not prepare us for this kind of thinking and life juggling. Sadly, we have to learn it by trial and error. 

Whenever I get a project, I factor in 2 to 3 more days beyond the estimated due date. This is my own safety time-call it a blue print for disaster. If you do not give yourself extra time, things could pop up such as:
• getting sick or a loved one getting sick. 
• mistakes or alterations.
• your client may need changes as you progress along. 
• you could run out of materials or hard drive space. 
• the power could go out.
• your internet go could go down. 
• you could have unexpected guests. 
• you could have car troubles, computer issues and the list could go on...  

It goes without saying that you should prepare for the worst but always hope the creative best when it comes to your projects. 

By giving yourself this time it saves you stress, frustration, sleepless nights while not having to explain yourself to a client. It's freelance peace of mind you are going for here. If all goes well, you might be able to turn in the project early before the due date and still have time to make revisions. Or you could take that time to rest for the next project. 

Rememeber: "Chance favours the prepared mind." -Louis Pasteur
Instead of under promising and over delivering try planning then committing so you can deliver your work in a timely manner. 

"What is down will go up. At the same time, you have to be prepared for what is up to go down." -William Shatner 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

What To Do While You’re Waiting!

“Seize the moment. Remember all those women on the 'Titanic' who waved off the dessert cart.” ― Erma Bombeck 

I cannot think of anyone who enjoys waiting. It's one of the downsides to being an adult. We wait in line, we wait for meals, we wait for red lights and so on. When it comes to your career and your happiness while in it, we shouldn't wait. It's extremely liberating when we stop waiting for others to help us, notice our work or promote us. 

Too often I receive emails from illustrators telling me they are waiting for this to happen or for their portfolio to be just right or an agent to take them on. This waiting tends to put them in a holding pattern. If they become stuck for too long, nothing happens, no income comes in and they begin questioning their work. 

The internet is a fickle place and the illustration industry is not exempt. We could stay up all night worrying about it while feeling like we do not measure up to the worlds idea of what is viral worthy imagery. Or we could just keep making work and start taking charge of our own careers despite what others think.  

Being in the illustration industry is one continual experiment. We experiment with our work, style, work hours, types of clients, our tolerance level, our energy and our persistent nature to keep creating. 

It's in us to make things. It's how we're made. It's not complicated! 

We've all heard this expression: If you want it done right sometimes you have to bite the bullet and do it yourself.  

I think what makes a really great illustrator is one who sees themselves as a business, an idea generator and a creative entrepreneur. This also means going out on a limb by going in the other direction. The reality is, not all illustrators will get an agent. Some illustrators choose not to have one and some do not offer what some big agents need. 

I was once told that it was more likely to get hit by lighting then to get an agent. I personally have no idea if that is true or not. What I can say is this: do not judge your style, your experience or your success with that kind measuring stick. You'll drive yourself crazy! 

Being independent does have it's upsides! When you get a moment, make a list. 

So in the meantime while you feel you are waiting, just keep making. Time does not stop when you're in limbo so you might as well use that time for good. 

Go make something. Sketch an idea. Make notes. Create a great playlist to work to. Go for a walk. Connect with other illustrators. Join a group. Do something for someone without expecting anything in return. Be weird again. Make some mistakes. Experiment with your ideas. Enjoy the process.  

Sunday, August 4, 2013

It's My Sunday-I'll Be Lazy If I Want To!

© Holly DeWolf- Drifting

Being lazy is important. You read it right- laziness is good.

What kind of laziness am I talking about? The kind that allows you to shut off, be quiet with your ideas that takes your creative brain off the clock.

So here I am on my deck reading articles. The hummingbird keeps coming over to eat his sugar water right beside me. Three dog walkers just went by. Crickets are buzzing. The water across from the house is like glass. I hear a boat going by. There is a Deer to my left, by the step looking at me cautiously.

It's nothing but it's also something.

Perhaps doing nothing is stopping and looking around once and awhile. These observations are your little piece of get away time. You know, the stuff we are often to busy to notice. I once wrote that being quiet lets the good stuff in. My best out of thin air thoughts occur during this time.

I also wrote that sometimes we need to step outside of ourselves in order to see. Come to think of it, I think the reverse is true as well.

Is it introversion I'm talking about? No. I think being quiet is good for all creative walks of life types. We don't always do it. I think it because many of us suffer from FOMO... fear of missing out. It's an affliction that set up shop in some of our lives from all this social networking stuff. When we stop for awhile it's lets us realize we are missing ourselves and our whimsical creativeness that gets lost in our scheduled lives.

Confession: I have over two weeks a year to be in this world by myself without my kids. It's an odd time. It throws me off my schedule. In fact, I had Cheezies for supper the other night. I watched crap on TV and I took a walk at 5 am. Why? Because I could! I also organized my house. I do this during the summer time-call it a late Spring cleaning.

Confession #2, my house is so organized that if the power went out, I could find whatever you needed in the dark. Yup, I'm THAT girl!

Odd you say? Sure, why not. But maybe it's a little bit of weirdness working it's way back in because its needs to be there. So yay for weirdness-glad it's back. I'm am illustrator not a 9 to 5 girl. I didn't want just any job- I wanted something different so I made it up. Freelance is like that... sort of made up in a way because we all have different creative needs, households, lives to live and best peak times to create. Freelance isn't about working for free as some non illustrators believe. It's about being free to just do what we do best but on your time without the constraints of an actual boss over our shoulder. It also means allowing some much needed laziness to restore the balance so we can get back to what we do best.

It may sound boring but I'm certainly not bored. Enjoy your Sunday. There is a storm heading our way. Another great distraction to relax to.