We are so glad to have found our next interviewee through the Creative Lady Directory...without further adieu...introducing Lorraine Nam, a Paper Illustrator, Designer and Prop Artist based in Brooklyn, New York. Her work is whimsical and intricate and will certainly brighten your day. Lorraine is also the co-founder of Illustrated Impact, a platform dedicated to spreading awareness on charities through illustration.
Thank you so much for sharing, Lorraine!
Tell me about your path to becoming a freelance paper craft illustrator and prop artist.
I have always been interested in paper and while I was in school, I first started playing around with paper as my medium. I interned at a bookbinding studio, made lots of art books by hand, started paper cut illustrations and dabbled with pop-up books. When I started paper cuts, I really fell in love with the immediacy of the technique and devoted myself to it for several years. Then about 3 or 4 years ago, I felt restless with the medium and started working with paper 3-dimensionally in paper craft. I was working out of my apartment and eventually rented a studio space while I was working as a full time textile designer. The separate studio space really changed my approach to work and after 5 years as a textile designer, I finally took the opportunity to work as a freelancer doing what I love!
In the beginning, how did you attract your first good clients?
I wasn't very good about promoting myself for work in the beginning. I was however posting my self-initiated projects on Instagram and that's how my first clients approached me. In the beginning, most clients found me through social media and some reached out to me after visiting me during Bushwick open studios.
Do you have any tips for being your most productive?
I have found that as hard as I try to be a 9-5er, I work best in the evenings and sometimes really late into the night. It is when I'm my most creative, energetic, and enthusiastic about new ideas. I also feel ready to work when I talk with other creatives or go to see art at museums or openings. On the opposite end of the spectrum, I feel the most un-productive when I look through social media so I try to limit how often I check my feed.
What has been your greatest struggle as a freelancer so far?
Balancing my time between the fun things like creating and the business side of being a freelancer. As a freelancer, you are selling your time and I'm learning how to manage my time in the best way. Another struggle is to always feel motivated. There are some days where doubt creeps in and it is harder to get started. Since I am typically working by myself, talking with peers to get out of my rut is not always an option. I've learned to push through the doubt and the feeling of being productive will eventually encourage me.
What is your favorite thing about freelance?
Being able to work on awesome projects with cool clients. Every day is a different day and that excites me!
Can you tell us more about your side venture Illustrated Impact?
Illustrated Impact started off as a conversation between my friends, Susanne Lamb and Laura Korzon on how we could use our talents to help out with charities. We quickly found out that other illustrators felt the same need and from there, it was born! Every month we feature a different theme. May was Family Month and we chose to share stories and interviews from different people on their perspective on families such as balancing being a mother and a business woman, how to overcome loss in a family, or talking about miscarriage.
For Illustrated Impact you work as a member of a founding team. Do you have any advice for handling communication as a partnership?
Communication is super important and luckily I work with my closest friends. We were friends since our days in college! I can't say that our communication is perfect and we are constantly looking for ways to improve. We have bi-weekly and sometimes weekly conference calls where we start off catching up on each others lives and then talk about who is tackling what for Illustrated Impact. Since this is a non-profit project, we trade off on who is the "leader" for the month so no one person is left with the bulk of the work all the time. We also share a google document that lays out the plan for the month and like other friend groups, we have an ongoing group chat where topics vary from work related stuff to cats :)
Since you are your own boss and juggling more than one venture, do you have any advice for maintaining a work-life balance?
I'm not so sure that a work-life balance exists or at least in the sense that it's been traditionally defined. For me, I can't picture a life where my creative work is separate. My boyfriend is a painter where we share a studio so work is always a topic in our conversations. I try to do the basic things like listen to my body when it's tired or hungry and make sure in between projects, I take a day off for myself to walk around and enjoy New York.
The 3 greatest attributes you need to be a freelance creative are:
Passion, business sense, persistence. A good peer group who supports you doesn't hurt either!