Start Somewhere

An important reminder for this Friday that everyone starts somewhere! 

The text in this piece was vectorized using the same process as the tutorial I posted this week. Seems like people really enjoyed the tutorial - need to dream up some more for the future!

Have a good weekend!

Xo Jess

Freelance Wisdom: Corina Nika

I am so excited to share my interview with the beautiful Corina Nika! Her blog Cocorrina is one of my favorites - her own freelance column was a big inspiration to me when I was preparing to make the leap! There are a few reasons why I am very jealous of Corina - for one, she lives on a gorgeous Greek island!!! Another reason you will see farther down in the interview ;)

Corina is such a stylish and talented woman, and was so sweet to answer my questions! Hope you enjoy our interview.

Corina Nika

Corina Nika

Corina Nika

Corina Nika

What made you decide to pursue a freelance career?

I was lucky enough to have the support of my husband (boyfriend back then). I had finished school and after a surgery I was left for a few months without being able to work outside the house. So my only option was freelance. Just like that, my very first job ever in graphic design was freelance.

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

Since I can remember, I’ve always been very shy. I’ve never pursued my clients. I just started blogging, putting my work out there and people started liking my work and emailing me to do some design work together. Good for me, because as shy as I am, I would be still waiting.
Corina Nika

Corina Nika

Corina Nika

Corina Nika

If you work from home, do you have any tips for being your most productive?

Stick to your schedule. No "oh I could have a nap", or "go for a walk". It’s good to be spontaneous every now and then. It sparkles your imagination. But a good schedule, like what time to be in your office working, when you take your breaks and how much, this is something you should truly and passionately stick to.

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

Definitely the first year of it. Economically speaking of course it was really tough. But also the feeling of being unsure about myself, my skills, my style. It would put me down a lot. I just had to realize that success won’t come in a day, and being hard on myself wouldn’t help. So I took everything step by step reminding myself to enjoy every bit of it.

What is your favorite thing about being a freelancer?

Ever since my very first job, I hated to have to go outside, to work for others and talk with people every day. Don’t misunderstand me, I’m a very outgoing person. Maybe it was the fact that all my jobs had to do with services, but I love the fact that I can set my own schedule. Work in my pajamas. Work even when I’m sick from the couch. Take a day off if I need to. There’s no better thing than just about everything in being freelancer. It’s good to the soul!
Corina Nika

Corina Nika

Do you have any tips for dealing with the nitty-gritty business details?

Have an awesome husband who does all that stuff for you. [editors note: I wish!! JK love you Josh] I’ve never been too fond of all that, it ruins my creativity of course ahha! But thankfully I’ve got my dear hubby who deals with every little dirty thing.

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

Once again, sticking to your schedule. As long as you’re organized, taking 5 minute breaks every hour, starting and finishing a specific time, there’s no reason not to keep yourself sane. At some points I would neglect my schedule, starting work at 11am, finishing at 12am. Nothing worse than that. You can always make exceptions if needed, but those times should be really rare. My day life looks something like 7am - 5pm and that’s it. I don’t reply to emails after that, no work on weekends. Treat your work as you would if you were working in an office.

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

passion, organization, and determination.
Corina Nika

Corina Nika

Thank you so much Corina for your incredible wisdom! Be sure to check out her gorgeous portfolio, read her daily musings on her blog, drool over her gorgeous imagery on instagram (plenty of Island pictures to drool over), and see what inspires her on Pinterest.

Xo Jess

An Illustrated Map Inside Shakespeare and Company

Last month I was asked by Vanity Fair if I wanted to illustrate a map of Shakespeare and Company's historic and whimsical Paris location. Of course I screamed YES! This was by far my most fun, rewarding, and ambitious illustration project to date. I got to paint one of my favorite places in the world - such a good day to have them posted for the world to see! The slideshow has the images a bit small, so I thought I would include them here so you can see the detail :) See the full wonderful story by Bruce Handy on this incredible bookstore here!

A HUGE thank you to Alex Beggs for suggesting me for this piece :) I had so much fun creating these illustrations. Hope you enjoyed!

Xo Jess