Tell us a bit about you!
Hi! I’m Estelle (or Stell to most people). I’m a freelance illustrator living in East London, but am originally from the West Midlands.
How long have you been freelancing, and why did you start?
I’ve been freelancing for about 15 months now, prior to which I worked full time for a luxury packaging company in Cambridge. I’ve wanted to go freelance since graduating from my illustration degree in 2010, finally taking the plunge in October 2013.
I quit my job and moved to London with friends, using a small bit of savings to start me off. Since then I’ve been lucky to have regular work and managed to pay London-rate rent…
I started freelancing as I was bored of working for someone else and had a constant itch to create and sell my own work.
[themify_quote]I often stay up into the early hours when I really get stuck into a project.”[/themify_quote]
Let’s talk about the start of your day – are you an early riser, or a night owl?
Funnily enough I actually wake up earlier now that I don’t have a workplace to go to… but I’ve always hated getting up early and unless I have a meeting or need to work on a big project, I start working when I feel comfortable and have had a big breakfast!
I’m definitely a night owl when it comes to working though, often staying up into the early hours when I really get stuck into a project.
What time do you start work?
Usually about an hour after I wake up, after a sufficient dosage of caffeine and pancakes.
Do you work from home?
Yes, at the moment I’ve commandeered our dining table as my work space, but I’m hoping to be able to rent a desk space or studio in the near future.
What’s your morning routine before you start work?
Eat, drink a black coffee and go through my emails and social media channels, replying to messages and updating things if I need to.
Do you take a lunch break?
If I’m stuck into a project I lose track of time and sometimes forget it’s lunch! However I will eventually stop and make myself something; it’s lovely to be able to cook lunch from scratch and really take my time over it, as opposed to grabbing a sandwich like I used to in an office.
[themify_quote]It’s lovely to be able to cook lunch from scratch and really take my time over it, as opposed to grabbing a sandwich like I used to in an office.” [/themify_quote]
How do you tend to spend your afternoons?
After lunch I carry on working into the evening, unless I’m out at a meeting, hanging out with other freelance friends or visiting a gallery/museum. I like to get out for a while or take my housemate’s chihuahua for a walk to break up the day.
How do you keep motivated? Do you have any particular techniques?
I think I’ve always been quite naturally motivated, but as I’m lucky enough to be able to do something I love for a living, I remind myself of that everyday which spurs me on a lot.
Also, the fear of not making rent generally gets me working!
What time do you tend to sign off for the day?
Sometimes when my housemates come home from work at around 6/7pm I’ll switch off and hang out with them, but usually I’ll just carry on until I go to bed.
[themify_quote]I get to draw all day and it’s wonderful.” [/themify_quote]
Tell us – what’s your favourite thing about freelancing?
The freedom. I can do what I want, when I want and I don’t have to answer to anyone else. I don’t have to be somewhere at 9am everyday or work for someone else. I get to draw all day and it’s wonderful.
And your least favourite thing about freelancing?
Difficult clients and low pay (sometimes). I’ve had a lot of let downs with jobs and had to deal with difficult people who don’t seem to understand how commissioning a freelancer works. Also a lot of jobs have a very low budget. I used to work for free/low pay when I started but I refuse now – you have to stand up for yourself and know your worth as an artist.
What tools/apps/gadgets/things could you not live without as a freelancer?
HB pencils, black Indian ink and my scanner. I generally work freehand, scanning everything in afterwards and tinkering about on Photoshop or Illustrator. I also pay monthly for Adobe Suite 6 which is a godsend!
Where can we find you online?
The Big Question – What’s the secret to your success?
I still have a long way to go success-wise… but for me I’ve just always wanted to be an artist and nothing else would do.
Want to take part in the Day In The Life Of A Freelancer series? Simply fill in this form!