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  • Writer's pictureLauren Kelly

FAQ #3

Updated: Jul 10, 2019

When did you begin creating artwork?

scientifically correct pencil illustration of a fish
Freelance illustration is never boring...

I've been drawing since I first learned to hold a pencil. Digital painting came later. While I was recovering from a fractured spine in my early twenties I found I had quite alot of time to spare and spent the majority of each day laying in bed with a laptop balanced on my chest, learning how to paint using a mouse as a brush and a computer screen as my canvas.

By the time I'd recovered from my accident I was painting using a graphics tablet and pen and my work became incredibly detailed with flowers, foliage, water droplets, magical mists, sparkles and many creatures partially hidden in the landscapes. The kind of ethereal places that I visit in my dreams.

“I've always wanted to be creative for a living. Illustration is not the easiest path to take as far as financial stability goes but it has been incredibly creatively rewarding.”

When I was first considering the idea of taking my art to a professional level I asked other illustrators whose work I admired whether they had any advice they could give me in how to pursue this as a career. Most said 'don't'. Art is not a career, it's a lifestyle choice.

Of course, many years later it seems I've hardly taken their advice as I'm still working in the field though I also work part time as a vet nurse and as yet, have not found a way to be completely a full time artist... at least not yet.

What is a typical day like for you as a self employed illustrator?

I've gotten into a bad habit of staying up very late (into the early hours of the morning) to work on illustrations so I've become almost nocturnal! As a result I now sleep in til 8 or 9am then get up and rush off to my part time job vet nursing at a local clinic. When I return to my studio I do the usual house chores, feed and play with my animals, feed myself, usually while sitting at my desk replying to emails. Then I'll spend the remainder of the evening either designing, drawing, planning or at times, sewing orders for my handmade & fabric design business Thistle and Fox. Yes, I wear many hats.

It can be pretty tricky juggling an online business, freelance illustration and a very emotionally demanding but very practical day job. Despite all the ups and downs I still feel incredibly lucky to live in a beautiful place and do all these amazing things for a living. It would be nice to have funds (and time) for travel and adventures though.

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