Diary

Krakow, Poland

The town square in Krakow

I’d never considered Poland as a potential destination till we went and stayed with some friends living out there. I used to think Krakow was reserved for either a cheap Brits abroad stag do or for the purpose of visiting Auschwitz. But there is so much more to Krakow than that. (Don’t get me wrong, I think everyone should visit Auschwitz if they’re in the area. As dark a time in history as it is, its so important to see and learn about what happened there).

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Networking for shy people

Before I begin with the main topic of today, Networking for shy illustrators, I wanted to first look at what kind of resources there are available as an illustrator.

The internet is a great place to start when you first are doing research on being a freelance illustrator. I’ve spent some time scouring the internet for various pieces of advice. But there is one clear pitfall to using the internet as a resource, there’s a lot of it. At some point you have to take a step back for fear of information overload. There’s also something else I’ve come to realise. There is no clear path to becoming a freelance illustrator. Everyone’s experience of success can differ wildly. Whilst is undeniable that for most part, being a freelance illustrator requires hardwork, how you get there is another thing entirely.

In an effort to organise my mind I created a quick spider diagram to brainstorm ideas for getting advice and potentially finding work. I think it’s worth trying several different routes to begin with, you never know.

Different resources to consider as an illustrator

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Whilst you can network online to an extent, I believe the best way to connect with anyone is in person. As a shy person this concept is daunting. For the majority of the day I’m pretty content to keep myself. I really don’t like putting myself out there and being in big crowds (especially by myself). But, I think it’s important to expand my comfort level. So these past couple weeks I’ve done a few things that made me initially uncomfortable. I hope you can learn a little from my experiences.

The networking event

Whilst visiting my family in Cardiff I attended a Creative Morning talk. I’d lived in Cardiff up until last April and it was something I’d always wanted to attend but never could. But here was an opportunity, so I seized it.

That morning leading up to the event I was nervous. So nervous in fact that I almost walked straight past the venue and home again. It was packed with smart looking creatives, people I never truly felt akin to. As individuals I’m sure they are all lovely, but as a group they intimidated the hell out of me. But I persevered.

I’m not someone who finds it easy to approach strangers, so I tried my best not  to look like anxious wreck I felt on the inside. It was only when I sat down and the talk began did I feel myself calm a little.

By the end, whilst I didn’t manage to strike up a conversation with anyone in there, I did come away with a sense of achievement.

The small gallery talk

After encouragement from my boyfriend, I emailed a few local artists. It was something I’d been putting off for some trivial reason. But when I finally did it, I was pleasantly surprised.

Flash forward to Saturday where I found myself in a small gallery in Frome after accepting an invitation from an artists I’d emailed. About eight or so people were there to listen to a printmaking artist. Indiscernible but relaxing music played in the background as he talked through his linocuts from the 1980s to now. It was great.

Maybe it was the fact I had already been to a similar but more challenging event previously, but I felt so easy in going up and talking to different people. I felt emboldened to put myself out there.

After the talk I was allowed to see artists studio (my email acquaintance) that overlooked the same street as the gallery. There’s something special about seeing someone’s workspace. It’s in these cases where I feel so much more motivated to continue.


If there’s one piece of advice from I can give from these two experiences, it’s this: Don’t be afraid to be friendly and just talk to people. The worst that can happen is you don’t click. Even if you think you’ve failed, just remember that you made the effort to join in and there will always be a next time. Bottom line is, some people are amazing at networking but just take it at your own pace. And instead of thinking of it as a place to network, think of it as a place to make friends. 

Self care for busy bees

Self care for busy bees

I’ve been feeling a little run down lately, like a bike with a puncture. Working on things till bedtime really hasn’t agreed with me, so inadvertently I’ve been thinking of self care ways to remedy this.

For me the foundations of self care is keeping to a balanced diet, doing regular exercise, getting enough sleep, going outside and spending time with good people. But what are some quick fixes that make me feel instantly a little better?

6 simple self care practices for freelancers

  1. If its decent weather, go for a walk. Taking a step away from your work and breathing in some fresh air is an easy way to make you feel refreshed.
  2. Do yoga (or any exercise of your choice). Honestly, whenever I come out of yoga class I always feel so much better than when I went in. You can do yoga anywhere really, even if its just some quick breathing exercises.
  3. Hang out with a friend. It’s amazing how much a friend can lift your spirits when you’re feeling less than your best.
  4. Watch a favourite film. Don’t multi-task, just allow yourself to relax and put your full attention on the film. My particular favourites for making me feel better are Legally Blonde, Spirited Away and Harry Potter.
  5. Declutter. Anything that’s bothering you, be it your mind or your home. To declutter your mind you can write down all the things that are filling it up. I often dump all I’m feeling into my journal, it can be very therapeutic to get it all out. Especially if your friend can’t hang out with you.
  6. Take a bath. Even if a bath isn’t your kind of self care you could try giving yourself a manicure or taking a quick shower.

I would love to hear any self care tips you might have that you can share with me in the comments or over on my Facebook page.

Drawing Cariad Bach in my sketchbook

Whilst leant over my coffee table I’ve been taking the time to do some sketches in my sketchbook. I’ve been experimenting a lot with coloured pencils and gouache. All of my favourite subject, Cariad Bach, of course. I’ve been thinking of limiting my colour palettes to refine my work. I really like the idea of using mainly primary colours or muted tones. But when it comes down to drawing, I can’t resist picking all the colours.

Gwdihw

I’d started on a tiny model of Gwdihw long before the news came that it was set to close. But even so, I thought it should be a fitting tribute to complete my project. So here it is, my tiny model of Gwdihw. Not fully accurate, but given its my first model of an existing building I’d say I’ve captured her likeness pretty well.

Amateur Pottery

I tried my hand at a little bit of pottery last year, I won’t say I’m a pro just yet. My favourite part of the whole process is painting the glazes and waiting for them to return from the kiln. They go in all muted and pastel and come out in bright glossy shades. I’m not sure what I’m going to make next from my pottery experiment, but I’d love to get my hands on some more glazes. I’d really like some earthy speckle glazes to contrast the pastel shades I already have.

Find these pots and my business duck figurine in my etsy shop.

Being creative in Somerset – I’m back!

Frome a pretty creative city

I have been living in Somerset for exactly 1 year and 1 month, its been an interesting experience so far. I’ve been trying hard to be more creative since moving, especially with the fact that I have such a lovely studio space to work in. But I won’t lie, I do miss living in Cardiff. It’s very different living a small town as it is to a city. There’s not so many things to do here. Slowly I’ve been discovering more of what there is in Somerset, but there so many things I’ve yet to explore.

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