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What a Year!



17th May 2021


(...Well 16months!)

This feels pretty weird...I've never been a dairy keeper but this feel very much like that kind of thing. Will my blog be full of interesting snippets of creative life or bore you to death within the first paragraph...time will tell on that one!

2020 was a big year for the world for obvious reasons. Aside from the plague sweeping the globe, the beginning of 2020 marked a huge step for me. January 2020 I left the comfort of a full-time job in design to a new world of working for myself full-time, arghhhh! I had been side hustling in children's publishing for a couple of years before, but January last year I fell head first into being my own boss.

Things started well, I was just getting my head round things and building up work then March hit. LOCKDOWN! my new vocabulary suddenly included the words, Stay Safe and Unprecedented Times and Corona Virus. I panicked initially, in true Jess style, worrying that with everything closed and many of the UK on furlough schemes there would be little work for me. With huge relief I got two big projects around the same time and felt reassured I wasn't about to have to start foraging the woods for food.

The year has been a productive one for me and I am seriously relieved. I know many other people unfortunately won't have come out of 2020 or started 2021 with the same positive feelings. There is still so much uncertainty, but from a work perspective I am glad to be on good footing right now and taking each month at a time. I am still finding my feet as a solo polo freelancer.


I've learnt ALOT this past year. Time management; something I thought I had in the bag but when you're self employed it takes on a whole new meaning. Self-care; I'm still mastering this one! I am very bad at working constantly and not realising the time that's passed, or that I am in need of a break. I don't ever really switch off and I need to get better at that.

Almost 16 months on I am only just getting my head round not panicking when the work is quiet, making rash decisions and applying pressure on myself to be more productive and creative. Guess what doesn't feed creativity? Stress, anxiety and panic. what a shocker, ha!

This month has been quieter than the last as I am waiting for a couple of projects to start. Rather than panic I've chosen to use the time to develop myself and work on things I haven't had time to do before. I'm decorating my studio, opening my sketchbook up again and trying new things. Is the worry, panic and general worst case scenario planning my brain does at these times still there? Yes! But I'm learning to calm it down and that work comes in waves and I need to put my energy into development and growth, rather than frantically trying to do everything at once.

My website is another thing I have decided to put some energy behind. When I launched it last year it was simply an online portfolio...it hasn't changed that much to be honest, but now I want to put a little more content into it and manage it better (rather than letting it just sit there not doing very much). As well as sorting the website out I have added this blog...I may end up just rambling to myself on here but I'd like to hope it might be a useful tool to explore my work, projects, and give insight to anyone who is interested.


I'm still learning on this self-employment rollercoaster, will that ever stop? probably not. I'm hopeful that over the coming months I will have some exciting things to share with you! watch this space


Jess x


#illustration #illustrator #oneyearon #yorkshire #creative #lockdown #pandemic #childrenspublishing #kidlit #bookillustration #artist #freelancelife #selfemployment

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