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In my 2021 illustrated calendar, each month I give you a creative idea to try at home. March’s theme is polymer clay pins, watch me make them in this video:

 

 

Want to see the calendar? Here’s on Etsy, and soon these pins will be for sale too!

And that’s that, did you like it? Want to try? Tell me all about it on Instagram , Twitter and LinkedIn and don’t forget to use #creaconwendy and tag me!✨

Hi friends!

I’ve been with this blog for a while now and I always talk about illustration, about illustrators… but, what is an illustrator?*

*While writing this I remembered one of the first classes I had in Fine Arts in college, where they explained to us that “art is what artists do.”

**Note for the international reader: I will be talking about the professional illustrator in Spain, it can be quite different from the way illustrators work in other countries.

Technically, an illustrator is a person who does illustrations *professionally*, that is, they get paid to do them. But there are many different business models for illustrators.

We tend to think of illustrators as freelancers, but it isn’t always that way. According to the APIM (Professional Illustrators Association of Madrid) territorial report of April 2020, 53.57% of those surveyed are self-employed, while 17.86% work for others. Other work situations present in the survey are illustrators who combine the illustration with another job, unemployed, students or retired.

Most of the illustrators registered as freelancers were not registered throughout the year (that is, they registered and canceled according to the needs of each moment).

In fact, 55.10% of the illustrators surveyed “are often forced to work in other sectors because they do not earn enough from illustration to make a living from it” (extract from the APIM report).

In other words, more than half of the illustrators who participated in the APIM survey work in other sectors because they cannot live exclusively from illustration. These other professions can be, for example, teaching, graphic design, selling products online or, in my case, things as varied as selling mojitos at a themed party or walking trough a shopping center dressed as an elf at Christmas.

 

 

What I am trying to say with all of this is that there are many ways to be an illustrator and that you are no less of an illustrator than others because you cannot dedicate 100% of your time to it.

We must be aware that it is a complicated profession, that it has its moments of greater or lesser volume of work and that it must be taken as a long-distance race: step by step and appreciating the small victories that we achieve.

Do you want to see the full report? You can access from here (in Spanish): Informe territorial APIM

How about you? What is your professional experience as an illustrator or creative? Share it on Instagram , Twitter and LinkedIn !

In my illustrated calendar, each month I suggest a creative idea for you to try at home and thus have a good time creating with your own hands. In the month of February, I’m trying brush lettering techniques:

Don’t know about the calendar? Check it out on Etsy!

And that’s all! You can share your letterings at Instagram , Twitter and LinkedIn and use #creaconwendy or tag me!✨

Hi friends!

Another year that begins and many illustrators and creatives are looking for commissions and money wherever they can find it.

The thing is, making a living from a creative profession is never easy (later on I’m planning to write about different types of illustration professionals, stay tuned!)

For this reason, today I will be telling you about something that can help us make ends meet a little easier: passive income.

Passive income is a kind of income that does not require extra worktime once created and that practically works on its own, giving you some extra cash from time to time. Below I am going to list some examples of passive income focused on illustration, but there are many different types (if you are interested in the subject, you can search a little more on the subject, maybe you can even invent a new one!).

1- Sell digital products online 📥

There’s a wide variety of digital products: mobile or computer wallpapers, printable coloring sheets, planners or calendars, books, brushes for Photoshop or Procreate, digital color palettes, tutorials … whatever you can think of. They are already finished products that you will not have to send, so all you have to do is upload them, advertise them and wait for the money to flow.

Where to sell these products: you can try Etsy, Gumroad, or open your own online store (I recommend that before doing so you take a good look at their payment policies, how they work … each platform is different!).

2- Ko-Fi ☕️

There are several crowdfunding pages like Patreon, Buymeacoffe… On these pages, your subscribers give you a monthly amount of money in exchange for rewards (you choose the price and the reward). All of this requires a steady work per month, since you have to create the rewards for your audience. With Ko-Fi, however, you can set up your page and receive donations without having to do extra content every month (if you are interested in that, with the Gold option it can also be done). Another similar action is to put a donation button through Paypal on your own website.

 

3- Make an online course 🖥

I will not talk much about this type of passive income since I do not have direct experience with it, but some platforms such as Domestika, Skillshare or Crehana have online courses in which the teachers are active creative professionals. If you are an expert on a specific topic, you may be interested in this option.

4- POD (print on demand) 🧸

I already mentioned this option a while ago as a way to sell your illustrations online. On pages like Redbubble, Society6 or Shopify you can set up an online store with physical products, but you only take care of the design. Printing and distribution are handled by the platform and you receive a percentage of each sale.

5- Sell stock images 🎨

I have not tried this option myself either, so I don’t know the details, but I mention it because it can be an interesting idea. Instead of hiring an illustrator, designer, or photographer directly, many companies search sites like Shutterstock, CreativeMarket, or Pexels for finished images and resources.

And this the list of ideas on how to generate passive income. I am not saying that you run and open a profile in each and every one of the pages that I mention, but I do hope that it has given you a starting point to investigate a little about the subject and assess which ones can work best for you in particular.

Did you already know some of these resources? Have they worked well for you? Share all of it with me on Instagram , Twitter and LinkedIn !

As I have already announced, every month I will upload mini tips, tutorials, videos and examples of the creative ideas that I propose in the illustrated calendar.

My idea with this is to spend some time doing something creative, trying new things, having a good time and relaxing together.

Creative activities help us focus on a specific topic and put our worries aside for a while. Plus, learning new skills and creating something with your hands builds self-esteem and gives our spirits a boost.

Don’t you know what the calendar is about? Check it out on Etsy!

For the month of January, the creative idea I propose is to make a stamp or linocut. I’ll tell you everything in the following video:

And that’s it, did you have a good time? Have you tried stamping before? Show me your creations on Instagram , Twitter and LinkedIn and don’t forget to use #creaconwendy and tag me!✨

Hi friends!

The new year is almost here and it is a good time to stop and reflect on the year we left behind and think about what will become of us plan for next year.

For my part, this year has been crazy. 2019 was already a pretty tough year both personally and at work, and when I finally started to get out of it I found myself in the midst of a global pandemic that turned everything around again.

Even so, I think I’ve done more or less what I set out to do (except getting out more and seeing my friends more often, of course). I have drawn a lot more, I have gained new knowledge and taken some online courses, I have started to take better care of myself and go to therapy, I have read 49 books so far (you can see my reading challenge on Goodreads) and, yes, I got a haircut.

In addition, I have revived my online store, renewed my portfolio, started (and maintained) this blog and I have managed to keep up with all my social networks without dying in the attempt.

Looking ahead to 2021, I intend to be more active when looking for clients, stop beating myself work on my peace of mind and my confidence, grow my online store, get more in contact with nature (if they let us), start a monthly newsletter full of interesting content, make a new zine and, if I can manage, read another 50 books.

And since we are talking about the New Year, I want to show you the project that I liked doing the most this year: the 2021 illustrated calendar.

I’ve been making a calendar for 5 years now, the previous ones were titled Amazing Women in History. They were A3 size (open) and the layout looked like this:

 

This year I have decided to make a radical change and fit it more to my current style. It is A4 size, spiral bound for hanging and is made with a super nice matte offset paper, which also allows you to write on it.

I have completely changed the design, now it is in bilingual Spanish-English, it has space for notes and the illustrations, more complex and colorful, take more space.

In addition, each month includes a creative idea to do at home: from collage to printmaking, origami or mini-fanzines… I will accompany these proposals with entries, ideas and tutorials on my blog, newsletter and social media to make it more interactive.

You can get it at my Etsy shop, I hope to see your creations!

How about you? What are your 2021 resolutions?

Tell me all about it on Instagram , Twitter and LinkedIn !

You don’t know how hard it is to write this. But I think it is very necessary, since it is a problem that affects many illustrators, creatives and people in general, both professionally and personally.

Impostor syndrome is a phenomenon that makes us think that our achievements are just luck, that at any moment people around us are going to realize that we are a fraud and that we are not really good at what we do.

It usually goes hand in hand with perfectionism (the difficulty to accept any imperfection or mistake in what we are doing) and, in my case, it directly attacks my self-esteem since I tend to relate my worth as a person with how productive I am or with the quality of my work.

Does all of this ring a bell?

This kind of deadly combo – imposter syndrome, perfectionism, and associating self-worth with productivity – has lost me many opportunities and put more obstacles than I can count. And the worst thing is that I have always been more or less aware of it, but it is very difficult to break these patterns.

At one point, they even made me throw in the towel and completely stop drawing for a few months. In the end, I realized that I needed a change of perspective and, after reflecting a lot, I came to a series of conclusions:

  • I draw because I like it, therefore I should have fun while doing it.
  • It is better to have something finished than to have something perfect.
  • I am NOT my work.
  • I have the right to make mistakes. In fact, if I don’t make any mistakes I’ll never improve.
  • If someone doesn’t like my work, it’s not the end of the world. Not everyone can like it.
  • I deserve to invest time in pursuing my dream job, or at least to try.

All of this sounds great, but it is very very VERY difficult to internalize. It takes patience and you have to accept that there will be ups and downs, better and worse days. So if you are on this path, you go girl!

Here are some extra resources on the subject:

  • Struthless: Illustrator Campbell Walker’s channel. He tells us about his life experience, how he deals with the traps that his mind sets for him during the creative process. He gives some fun and interesting techniques to overcome these obstacles.
  • Viviendo del cuento (in Spanish): In this podcast, illustrators Eva Carot, Srta M and Laura Gómez talk about the profession of the illustrator. In this episode they talk about the impostor syndrome, but I recommend listening to the rest of the episodes since they are as interesting as they are entertaining.

Does all of this sound like you? Do you follow any techniques to deal with the impostor syndrome?

We can comment on it and help each other at Instagram , Twitter and LinkedIn

Hi! Today we will talk about the portfolio layout and I will show you some editorial design basic: the grid.

We will need:

  • A computer
  • The files of our illustrations well ordered, as I said in previous post (if you do not usually work in digital, you will have to scan your illustrations and adapt them).
  • Programs: Adobe Indesign (if you have scanned images you can prepare them with Photoshop).
  • Basic knowledge about these programs is welcome and will make your life easier. You do not need to know them thoroughly and there are many ways to learn how to use the basic tools for free online (YouTube, blogs, manuals …), I think it is a good idea to invest some time in learning a little about this topic.

Let’s talk about the grid: grids are a widely used element in graphic design, especially in editorial design. A grid will act as the ‘skeleton’ of our design and will help keep everything in place and be visually aesthetic.

Ready? As an example, I will make a portfolio to display digitally. I show you all about it in this video:

 

 

I hope it didn’t overwhelm you, specially if you’ve never used Indesign before. My idea for this video / blog post series was not to teach an Indesign class, nor to give a set of strict guidelines for creating a portfolio.

My idea was to give a starting point to start researching about the portfolio, show my personal experience and my way of doing it. Also, why not, invite you to reflect on it: it is interesting to ask ourselves if we are applying everything we know to our portfolio and if it is helping us find the right illustration projects for us.

In short, if we are treating our portfolio as a useful tool or are we not really using it because we do not feel like it, we don’t have the time to work on it, perhaps out of fear or just because we don’t know how to approach it. I will write a little about this for next month’s post.

 

Our portfolio, like our skill as illustrators, is never complete. As we work we improve, and this constant learning means that, from time to time, we have to update our portfolio so it accompanies us along the way and shows our best work.

So do not worry if it is not perfect at first, step by step it will improve.

Finally, I want to say that although it is a lot of information and it is overwhelming at first, if we go one step at a time, we divide the work and we have a little patience in the end we will reach the desired result.

And more or less that’s all I wanted to share about the portfolio. Did you find it interesting? Do you have any doubt? Write me! Tell me all about it at Instagram , Twitter and LinkedIn

I’ve been unable to upload videos for a few months due to technical problems with my computer (in early July my laptop died unexpectedly and a series of catastrophic misfortunes prevented me from getting a new computer until the end of August). I’ve been able to work with my iPad and fueled by willpower, but now it is solved.

Today I bring you a very special #drawwithme video: it is part of the #inktober challenge. This year I have decided to follow it at my own pace: 8 illustrations, 2 per week during the month of October, and all about witches! Doing fewer illustrations has allowed me to spend more time on each one and avoid stressing out if I didn’t like a sketch and had to repeat it a couple of times. In the end, it’s all about hitting the brushes and having fun!

I hope you like the video as much as I liked doing it. It has been a lot of fun choosing the music and decorating the illustration for the final result, it has been my way of celebrating Halloween since this year we will not be able to go out much and that is my favorite holiday of the year! 🎃

 

We are getting closer to laying out the portfolio, but first I want to dedicate an entry to other basic elements that we need to decide before starting to lay out: composition, typography and color.

Remember that designing is an act of conscious creation, that is, before we start working we think about what we want to communicate and what is the best way to do it. Contrary to popular belief, designing is more about making decisions based on prior knowledge than expressing what we feel without thinking about it twice.

A note: Due to the size of the entries in this blog and as not to bore you, I will only briefly mention these elements. If you are interested in me making another more detailed entry on any of these topics, please tell me and I’ll gladly prepare it!

Back to what I was saying: in our case, what is most important are the illustrations, so we will choose a graphic style that adapts and accompanies them. Again, there isn’t one correct way to do it, but we will have to see what best suits each case.

Composition: you should treat the pages of the portfolio as if they were an illustration or a series of illustrations: apply the same principles of visual hierarchy (highlight the main elements), contrast, order, visual weight, space, rhythm…

Typography: Typography is very complex and rich and I am not going to get into it much because I am not an expert in this field. If you are interested in knowing more I can leave you some resources about typography later, but for now it is enough to know a series of basic rules:

  • Legibility: VERY important, we must be able to read the texts well, be careful with fantasy typefaces.
  • Sizes: the same principle. If you are not sure how it will be read once it is printed, one way to do it is to print a few pages (in a home printer or in a copy shop) and thus you make sure that it will read well. A high contrast between the titles and body text will give interest to the page.
  • Combination of fonts: the ideal is to use one or two fonts at most. When choosing, we must combine two fonts that are quite different to generate contrast, the classic example is one with serif and one without. Fonts with many bodies (light, book, medium, bold, condensed, extrabold, black …) give extra versatility.

  • Where to find fonts: Typically, people look on Dafont or 101fonts, which are free font directories. Be careful with this: many of them are free tests and do not have all the necessary characters (for example, the accents or exclamation points). I recommend researching on design websites and blogs and see how they use typography and which one may work best for you.

 

Colors: You can do whatever you want as long as it makes sense. For example, if you want to give an image of sobriety or elegance you can use black and white. If instead your illustrations are kawaii and colorful, you can use bright colors (remember that what should stand out are the illustrations, the layout accompanies but does not dominate). A reduced and harmonious color palette is always a good option.

Now I know that there are many things to assimilate but I firmly believe that it is worth researching and learning a little about design. You don’t have to be an expert, but having some basic knowledge will help you in your life as an illustrator. Regarding the portfolio, I think that pausing a moment to think before starting will help you a lot to know what you want to do and to do it with more confidence. It is not a matter of design done right or wrong, but of design serving  its purpose and expressing well what you want it to express.

Bonus tip: on a personal level, I think that when in doubt it is better to go for a simple design. If you don’t feel very confident with your level of knowledge of graphic design, making it simple will make your task easier and it will look its best. In the end, the strength has to be in the illustrations and that is what we have to highlight.

And so far today’s post, did you find the content useful? Would you like me to share some resources on graphic design, typography, composition, color, etc. around here or on my social media? We can comment on it on Instagram , Twitter and LinkedIn