17th August 2017 - Comments Off on Hello. Is this thing on?!

Hello. Is this thing on?!

Probably a bit of a heavy subject for my second blog post and a topic that has already been covered before by other creatives but here it goes – the lonely life of freelancer.

My move into freelancing came rather suddenly – after the company I worked for went bust (right before Christmas as well! I know, right?). I didn’t have time to prepare or ease myself into it. I didn’t even have a website ready! I had been thinking about going freelance for a while but lacked the confidence to make the leap. When fate intervened I thought ‘Sod it! In for a penny, in for a pound!’. So armed with nothing more than some contacts that a friend had given me and a makeshift holding page I set about trying and drum up some work… aka ‘hustling’.

Ah hustling. Along with quoting it’s probably my least favourite task when it comes to freelancing. I’ve never found it easy to put myself out there and sing my praises, instead finding self-deprecation much easier. I’m the one at industry events nervously stood in the corner or acting like I’m REALLY interested in the work is on show.* The idea of going up to someone and simply saying ‘I’m Leanne, I’m a freelance designer. What do you do?’ brings me out in a cold sweat.

The best thing about being a freelancer is being my own boss. It is something I have really taken too. I’m really lucky to have a great little set-up at home (yes I work from home for the most part), which saves on outgoings but I find it is during those lulls in work where I miss having colleagues the most. Not just because the walls can sometimes feel like they’re closing in but having people to bounce ideas off or give their opinion on what I’m working on. I find, if I’m struggling to resolve a design, left to my own devices I can really be my own worst enemy – I overthink work, constantly tweak it and can lose confidence. Having another (trusted) pair of eyes look at your work can be invaluable.

There are days when I’m contacting people, trying to get my name out there, make connections and… nothing… It feels like I’m shouting into a cave sometimes. Those are the harder days.

I’m very aware that more often then not people portray a skewed version of themselves online – they only win pitches, never lose; they are constantly busy; each job is exciting and creative; and they never burn (or in my case grill) their cakes. I know I shouldn’t but I can’t help comparing myself to others and I usually end up feeling like I’m failing. That’s on top of the day-to-day insecurities of hair, weight, clothes. Sometimes I think I could make worrying an Olympic sport.

Comparing yourself to others is natural though. Everyone does it. I try and force myself to try and do it positively though, as a means to help me improve and definitely not as a means to drag me into a depression spiral where I find myself sat on the sofa crying through Jeremy Kyle while comfort eating slabs of cheese. For the record I have not done this, I’d never watch Jeremy Kyle and neither should you.

So to conclude… yeah sorry I don’t really have the answers I’m still learning as I go, still trying to plug away at it and find the courage to one day walk into a room and announce to everyone ‘Hi, I’m Leanne and I’m a freelance designer’ whilst showering them with business cards. Ok that will probably never happen but I’d settled for finding the confidence to go up to someone I don’t know and introduce myself.

If you have the answers feel free to share them with me or even if you’d like to meet up for a chat. We’re all very small fish in a incredibly large pond.

*If you ever do see me at an event staring at something for a few minutes and not blinking then feel free to come over and say hello, I’m not as intense as I’d be coming across!

29th March 2017 - Comments Off on Challenging myself to 36 Days of Type

Challenging myself to 36 Days of Type

Last month, on a whim, I decided to take part in 36 Days of Type – an event where creatives from anywhere in the world undertake to design a letter/number everyday for 36 days. There are no restrictions as to how these can be created.

I was hugely impressed with many of the submissions – a great deal of time, thought and effort had gone into their work. I was especially blown away by some of the 3D work, which looked so realistic I was nearly fooled into believing a few of them were real! Due to only deciding to take part on the day the challenge started (see I wasn't joking about the whim!) I chose to see the project as a personal challenge – to try and be a bit more creative everyday, do work other than what I am paid to do and who knows even learn something.

You can see some of my alphabet below. Admittedly it is a random collection of vector illustrations, papercutting, photography and some (beginners) animation.

For the numbers stage of the challenge I stuck to illustration (again on a whim) and created a small series of vector illustrations based on the theme Things You'll Find On Or Around My Desk. Catchy I know.

I'd never got involved in something like this before because I felt I couldn't justify the time, seeing it as a luxury that should be spent trying to bring paid work in. Some days my submissions were done in a rush, fitting them in around work, but I stuck to it and didn't miss a day. I enjoyed pushing myself to come up with something new everyday and I appreciated the daily engagement I was having with the other participants. It has definitely helped me re-engage with my creativity and enthusiasm for design.

All of my letters and numbers are available to view on my Instagram and Behance pages.