Freelance Life / Printable To-Do List

Hello! It's Sunday and I want to check in as my first week of my '100 Days Of Productivity' is almost completed. When I wrote the blog post last week, I kind of came up with the challenge in that moment, to keep myself more accountable during the cold and grey season. Especially since it was so short notice, I was surprised at how many people joined and printed out the chart from my blog post! It definitely motivated me to keep setting my alarm for 6am even though I was pretty tired as the week went along. And some sort of 24 hour stomach bug threw me off on Thursday and Friday. But it's ok, productivity isn't about being perfect and it definitely won't be perfect every day for 100 days.

I love seeing everyone's updates on Instagram stories so much! If you haven't joined yet, you can still start at any point. And if you're finishing your first week as well, let me now how it's going!

Here's another printable which is a week to-do list. It's always good to know what you want to/have to do in a week, so you can plan each day better. I kept it pretty simple so it works for everybody and you can use it in a way that works for you!

Download the free printable here: DOWNLOAD  •  PDF    TEMPLATE 

It's getting a lot colder now in London, and when I'm at my desk with blankets and a hot water bottle I can definitely use the extra push of this challenge. Thank you for keeping me motivated! Have a great week & remember to kick ass!

Freelance Life / 100 Days Of Productivity

The days are getting shorter, we're racing towards the end of the year and the urge to hibernate is real! Perhaps not  actual  hibernation but I find myself getting up later (it's just so cozy under the blankets, one more hour can't hurt, right?), skipping things on my to-do list, wasting time scrolling down Instagram and feeling a little more sluggish. It's been a busy year, maybe I should slow down and give myself a break? I think it would be totally fair enough. (And if that's your plan, go for it!)
Problem is, I have a whole bunch of projects and goals and things I really, really want to work on and what will make me happiest is to end the year with a lot of momentum and progress.

So I made the decision yesterday to start a  100 Days Of Productivity  challenge. The idea originally came from the study community on Tumblr: People were posting pictures of their work & workspace every day to hold themselves accountable and stick to good study habits. I find this concept really inspiring and of course it can be applied to anything, not just studying. You can (and should) make your own rules about what you want to accomplish and what productivity means to you. It should be fun!

Do you want to join the challenge? I made a printable chart where we can tick off each day that we've been productive. Yay! I love a good chart. And you can share your progress on social media if you want - I'n planning to post mine on Instagram stories.

My personal goal is to make sure I'm up before 6.30am every day and to stick to my daily to-do list without getting distracted by phone/internet/etc, double my productivity and get as many projects ticked off my list as I can!

You can start this at any time, but if you start with me tomorrow (22nd October 2018), the  100 Days Of Productivity  challenge takes us to the end of January and we will have started 2019 on a roll! Are you in?

Print out the free template  and you're ready to go:  

Behind The Scenes / How To Make A Travel Journal

I finished my travel journal! It's called Planes, Trains & Fireworks and documents James' and my trip to Toronto, Niagara Falls, Buffalo and Rochester. (It's available here!) Fitting bigger personal projects around illustration commissions is challenge so this took some time to complete, which is why I can't quite believe it's finally done and printed. Wohoo! I thought it would be fun to share some behind the scenes of the process! So here we go:

As you can see during our trip I just made very messy scribbles and notes in my sketchbook. When we're on holiday, James and I like to wake up, walk and explore all day (often 10 hours of more) and then fall into bed exhausted at the end of the day. There isn't ever much time to draw, let alone put effort into making a pretty sketchbook! This is an A5 Travelogue Handbook sketchbook, by the way.

Back home in London, I made a rough plan/storyboard for the travel journal I wanted to make. I went through the sketchbook I kept on holiday and roughly divided the content into pages. This time I used an A3 Seawhite Of Brighton sketchbook, because I needed the space!

Then I started to make sketches for the book. Since my original drawings were very basic, I used the photos I took on holiday as reference - for example for all the food we ate. Some things I googled as well, like images of chipmunks which I then drew a few times for practice. (This is a random A4 Leuchtturm lined notebook. The pages were perforated so I taped them with washi tape to make sure they wouldn't rip out).

At this stage I drew each page layout pretty neatly with a mechanical pencil onto A4 sized layout paper. It's pretty close to the final drawings, I only tweaked small details while inking.

The whole book is inked by hand on paper and hand-lettered, too. Ouch! This was the stage where my hand was really aching but it was also the most fun and satisfying part of the process. It's A4 Fabriano drawing paper, with a bit of texture. I love it because it makes the lines look so much nicer than smooth paper.

After scanning all 40 pages, I cleaned up any smudges in Photoshop and 'coloured' the pages (i.e. I added black areas and screentone). I also tweaked the layout, corrected typos/mistakes, added a few small things...) This  stage took a lot longer than I had expected. I printed out each page and taped them up on the studio wall so I could see my progress and also see how it would all look together!

During our trip I collected a lot of tickets, bits of paper, business cards etc which I scanned and turned into a repeat pattern for the endpapers of the book.

The cover was such a nerve-wracking thing because after all this work I wanted it to be something I would be 100% happy with. No pressure, right? Sometimes things are fun and ideas come easily, but with all this pressure I had zero ideas. I made so many different sketches, none of which worked, until I came up with this one. It wasn't until I draw the elements separately and moved them around that the final version came together.

Now it was time to put everything together in InDesign and to ask the printer to send over a lot of paper samples. I wanted the paper to be perfect as well, something beautiful with some texture that would make the final product beautiful and hopefully even more fun to read!
I then asked the printer to send me two printed proofs on different papers that I liked and ended up choosing Mohawk Superfine Eggshell paper (it's so lovely!).  I also realised that the illustration wasn't centred properly on the cover, so I fixed that before sending the travel journal off to print.

And that's the end of this very long story behind the making of PLANES, TRAINS & FIREWORKS. I love seeing/reading behind-the-scenes and hope you enjoyed this! There are more details and peeks inside here in my Etsy shop.