illustration

Liz Rowland

Our midwinter wanderlust has definitely set in, but Liz Rowland’s illustrations are the perfect remedy!

Liz centers her work around travel, exploring and celebrating cultures, and looking at the different ways we live. We loved learning about how she focused in on that niche and especially appreciated her advice for fellow illustrators.

Liz Rowland | Freelance Wisdom

Tell us about your path to becoming a freelance illustrator.

I studied illustration in Falmouth, England and graduated back in 2011. When I finished up there I wasn’t ready for the freelance life and wasn’t sure what I wanted. A lot of my peers were finding admin jobs in creative studios to get by and I did the same. It was a few years into a Project Management job that I realised I had stopped being creative myself.

I started an evening course doing pottery and eventually left my job to travel and figure things out. While I was away I started sharing paintings online and very slowly things built up. I moved to Australia where I met some amazing people who helped me on my way. I stayed in Melbourne for two years building up freelance work around a part time job and by the time I returned to England I was illustrating full time. I think something about being in a new country helped me change things up and push for what I wanted.

In the beginning, how did you attract your first good clients?

This was the thing I worried over the most at the start. I had a clear idea in my mind of the type of work I wanted to do but I didn’t know how to get in front of the right people. I sent out a lot of emails and started telling people I met that I was looking for projects until the right sort of collaboration showed up.

The first big enquiry that came in was so exciting but sadly the project fell through. However, in frustration I emailed a contact for some advice and she put me in touch with my agent. I signed with them and worked hard to fill the gaps in my portfolio. A couple of months later they had found me my first big client and that turned into a monthly commission. I was so relieved! It really helped me build my experience and gain exposure, it was exactly the sort of work I was looking for. Other bits came through that, and eventually through Instagram which is where most clients now find me.

Liz Rowland | Freelance Wisdom

How did you find your way to the "travel, exploring and celebrating cultures and looking at the different ways we live" niche? What is it about these themes that inspire you?

I was aware of finding my own voice in a very saturated market and decided to look at what interests me most in life. Since childhood I’ve wanted to see the world and have been fascinated by people, human interactions and handmade objects. The ways we communicate are usually dictated by the culture we grew up in. In an often difficult and segregated world I think it's important to celebrate our differences and similarities. I started to explore that through my personal work and that helped build the foundations for my portfolio.

What has been your greatest struggle as a freelancer so far?

I think for me it’s the isolation. One of the biggest draws to working for myself is the freedom it allows and I make the most of that. For the last few years I have moved around a lot. It has meant a lot of time working on my own which can take its toll - I like people! I would never trade it though. There are plenty of ways to combat it when it gets too much. Podcasts help! I like listening to conversations whilst I work.

Liz Rowland | India cricket | Freelance Wisdom

How do you continue to attract your ideal clients?

Mainly through personal work. I don’t share everything I do, only if it feels right and is in line with the sort of projects I want to do in the future. Also by making life as smooth as possible for the client, people remember if you are easy to work with.

Do you have any tips for dealing with the nitty-gritty business details? Additionally, is there anything you've learned that you'd be willing to share about working with international clients?

I keep things simple and updated. I use Trello to manage projects and have a rotating list of pipeline, active, invoiced and paid projects. I keep on top of invoices. I send those out as soon as a project is complete and make a note in my calendar of payments due in. It’s a pain to chase up late payments, my least favourite task! I have an income and expenses spreadsheet that I fill out at the end of each month and a folder full of receipts. I’ve recently started working with an accountant, until now I’ve done things myself.

The only difference I’ve found working with international clients is the budgets vary from one country to the next. I use TransferWise for international payments. And always keep time differences in mind!

Liz Rowland | tuk tuk | Freelance Wisdom
Liz Rowland | on her portfolio | Freelance Wisdom

What advice would you give to a fellow illustrator who is thinking about going out on her own?

I think that persistence is the key. I was impatient when I first graduated but the fact is my work wasn’t up to scratch. I needed time to keep practising and get to know myself better. I’ve wanted to give up plenty of times along the way but in the end, practise, consistently sharing work and sticking to my guns has paid off.

It’s also important to remember that a client has come to you because they like what you do. Accept that you will create bad work sometimes! I’ve also found that client feedback isn’t always the most important thing to me (although of course it’s important to make sure they’re happy!), it’s whether or not I am happy with a piece that really counts.

The 3 greatest attributes you need to be a freelance creative are:

Persistence, motivation, adaptability.

Liz Rowland | Nurturing | Freelance Wisdom
Liz Rowland | Persistence | Freelance Wisdom

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Luisa Castellanos

This week we are excited to bring you another international interview, this time from Colombia! Luisa Castellanos is a fashion illustrator, textile designer, and self proclaimed lover of pink. Her work is vibrant, expressive, and powerfully feminine. 

Luisa Castellanos | Freelance Wisdom

Tell me about your path to becoming a freelance fashion illustrator and textile designer.

I decided to become into a fashion illustrator and textile designer three years ago when I was finishing my career as a fashion designer. Illustration was the only attractive part of design school to me; I fell in love and that was the beginning of everything. Then I turned my illustrations into textiles for my semester final project. Since then I’ve practiced a lot. I created Behance and Tumblr profiles and contacted people to see my work.

In the beginning, how did you attract your first good clients?

I started attracting my first clients via Instagram and Behance pages. I posted daily illustrations and prints with tons of hashtags and I did a lot of research and sent emails to fashion magazines and blogs. I think good clients started to come because I take this work seriously. In time, companies and brands started to contact me.
Nora Lozza print.jpg

Do you have any tips for being your most productive?

When I am working I try to keep my cellphone away and try to be as comfy as possible. I also like to listen Tedx talks, interviews, and historians on YouTube (My fav is Diana Uribe), or relaxing music on Spotify.

What has been your greatest struggle as a freelancer so far?

I think the biggest struggle was believing in my work enough to stop working for free.
Luisa Castellanos | Freelance Wisdom
Luisa Castellanos | Freelance Wisdom
Luisa Castellanos | Freelance Wisdom

What is your favorite thing about freelance?

The best thing about being freelance is that I can work in my pajamas and eat on my desk, hahaha.

You are currently based in Colombia, do you find that most of your clients come from within Colombia or internationally? If internationally, how do these clients find you?

Yes, I am from Colombia and I'm based here :) The majority of my clients are from Colombia, but I've had the opportunity to work with people from all over the world. They contact me via Instagram; it's amazing how a few hashtags can connect you with so many people.
Luisa Castellanos | Freelance Wisdom

How do you continue to attract your ideal clients?

I keep posting my work on Instagram (don't forget the hashtags), Facebook, Behance and Tumblr. I also send e-mails to fashion and art magazines sharing my portfolio. But I think the best way to attract ideal clients is word of mouth. If you did great work and you had a good relationship with your client, that will help you to attract new ones.

What do you do to stay creatively inspired?

Runways and trend reports always keep me inspired. I also get inspired by nature in my country (Colombia is the second leader in bird diversity in the world) and of course, women around me keep me inspired everyday.
Luisa Castellanos | Freelance Wisdom

"Runways and trend reports always keep me inspired...and of course, women around me keep me inspired everyday."


Luisa Castellanos | Freelance Wisdom

If you could design for anyone who would it be?

Vivetta, Lazy Oaf, Antonio Marras, Miu Miu, Msgm, Polite.

Since you are your own boss, do you have any advice for maintaining a work-life balance?

+Be disciplined, constant, and passionate.
+Make a schedule to keep your deadlines organized.
+Establishing good relationships with your clients will define your future ones.
+Support freelance artists, buy national products and don't underestimate your work.

The 3 greatest attributes you need to be a freelance creative are:

Discipline, passion, persistence.
Luisa Castellanos | Freelance Wisdom

Photography Credits: Hero photograph - Juan Moore, Other photos - Cristina Salgar, Runway photos - Mint And Fancy

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Brittany Holloway-Brown

Brittany Holloway-Brown is an illustrator & designer living in Brooklyn, New York. She is currently a Storytelling Designer at Vox Media, but enjoys freelance work as a side hustle. Brittany's past clients include Urban Outfitters, MARVEL Comics, Amazon, HelloGiggles, Buzzfeed and others.

We're loving her loose and powerful illustrative style and really appreciating her insight on creativity. Thank you so much for sharing Brittany!

 

Brittany Holloway-Brown | Freelance Wisdom

In the beginning, how did you attract your first good clients?

It sounds cliche to say but I posted my work online often, to Instagram or my blog and used hashtags. It feels disingenuous and try-hard to use that method but it worked. It's ok to want your work to be seen! I would make up projects for myself, such as doing typography or making series of paintings around a particular theme. I was really lucky that one of my series got picked up by Buzzfeed which put me in front of tons of eyes. I'm not Type A by any means, I don't usually cold email art directors or send out promotional materials (those methods work for my friends!) but just by posting some work, people seem to find me.

You work in multiple media, which I imagine is a balancing act. Do you have any tips for being your most productive?

I find 'play' very important between works. I switch from graphic design to illustration to thinking about story structure, sometimes multiple times a week. All of that context switching can be hard for my mind to keep up with so it's important for me to take breaks and make something 'bad'. Doodling, cutting shapes from construction paper or just playing with watercolors keeps me loose. Rest is the most important thing to me; it keeps me creative, focused and sharp.
Brittany Holloway-Brown | Freelance Wisdom

"Doodling, cutting shapes from construction paper or just playing with watercolors keeps me loose."


Brittany Holloway-Brown | Freelance Wisdom

What has been your greatest struggle as a freelancer so far?

Balancing my full-time job and working on side projects is definitely the hardest. I love working in a newsroom and thinking about different types of ways to tell a story but spending all of your creative energy for 8 hours a day, 5 days week, can drain you and not leave a lot left over for freelance or personal work.

How do you continue to attract your ideal clients?

Word-of-mouth, honestly! Because I have the security of a full-time job, I can be really choosy with the clients I take on. When I first started out after college, I would take on a lot of things I didn't want to do because I wanted to gain experience, to save money to move to NYC and because I was afraid to say no. My most recent work attracts the type of people whose endeavors I want to support and then they recommend me to their colleagues or someone sees it and contacts me.
Brittany Holloway-Brown
Brittany Holloway-Brown | Freelance Wisdom

How do you stay creatively inspired?

I make sure to look and absorb as much as I can. The great thing about living in New York is that I have access to a lot of amazing exhibits and lectures. It's important to pay attention to people who don't work in the same medium as you. Listening to how another person thinks about the world or how they approach a creative problem is important; each of us have finite inner resources. The internet is important for this as well, but make sure to not fall into the trap of only looking at others' work as it's important to formulate your own thoughts and techniques.
Brittany Holloway-Brown | Freelance Wisdom
Brittany Holloway-Brown | Freelance Wisdom

The 3 greatest attributes you need to be a freelance creative are:

Humility (always things you can learn from working on new projects or with new clients, also important to stay polite and gracious)
Patience (there will be lulls in work sometimes)
Confidence (believe in your work, there is no right way to start and you will never be 'ready', it's important to just dive in.)
Brittany Holloway-Brown | Freelance Wisdom

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