One of the most common questions I get whether it's in person, during one of my classes, or on social media, has to be something to the effect of: "so what does a daily life look like for an illustrator?" And I think this comes from a place of genuine curiosity and also perhaps not understanding the different types of illustrators and what we do.
I can only answer for my own work and routines, but I thought it'd be fun to do a little series on what my daily routines looks like, as a budding illustrator.
First, I'll define what I currently do: I am an illustrator trying to get into the publishing world, a shop owner, and I occasionally teach classes on everything from Adobe Illustrator for adults to 2D art for children. I also do some freelance work. But for the pain part, I focus on creating work for my shop and patreon, as well as practicing lots and lots on my children's book so I can eventually get that published. I also currently work from home, but have, in the past, worked from studios with other creatives.
Now, a typical morning for me doesn't actually have a set time. Meaning, some nights I go to bed later than others due to work deadlines, social life, etc. and because I prioritize 8 hours of sleep a night, sometimes I'm up by 9 am, sometimes, 11am. Regardless of time, the day starts the same.
Tea & Breakfast: I cannot, under any circumstance start my day doing anything other than eating. I usually start breakfast & put the kettle on and then go through my morning toiletries. And as my tea steeps, I make the bed.
Youtube & Sketching: Usually, I watch a youtube video while I eat my breakfast, but often times, the vloggers I follow post really long vlogs and so I'll start my morning sketches while they're still going. Either way, after breakfast, I start with either a warm up sketch of something that's in my head or, if I've got nothing, I'll start on one of my #DarlingDrawing prompts. And once my video is over, I'll switch over to a podcast or to a string of different kinds of documentaries. I like learning while I work.
For these initial morning sketches, I actually spend quite a bit of time on them. Usually, I end up with a finished piece I can share on Instagram, but sometimes, I have to put the project aside and come back to it after my work's done for the day. As my big goal in the next year is to get my children's book published, (or at least in the legit stages of that process), I'm doing everything I can to further develop my skills, my techniques, workflow and style. So these illustrations in the mornings are actually extremely important to me and to my over-all work.
I point this out, because I often get the question "how do you have time to work on personal projects?" To be quite blunt, I don't. I have to make that time; make this a priority in my life. And that's what I recommend to anyone else who is trying to develop some creative talent. You wouldn't question a professional athlete for hitting the gym in the morning, so don't question yourself (or anyone else) for making personal creative time a priority. It's a vital practice, in my opinion.
And for me, I need to be creative as soon as possible in the morning because that's when my ideas are the freshest, my energy the highest, and I'm filled with the possibility of the day. Because I can tell you from my own experience, at least, that when I'm feeling sluggish and I don't have a natural buzz of the day, my creativity suffers and there's are real possibility of falling into some kind of self-doubt hole. But that's why I love my creative, illustrated mornings. They just work for me :)
I'll share my afternoon & evening routine in a different post, so be on the lookout for that! But I'd love to hear from you! What does your morning routine look like? Do you have a creative practice first thing or are you more of a night-owl creative?