DesignerMim by Miriam Home » DesignerMim’s Creative Blog » Illustration » Staying inspired and challenged as a freelance designer

Hola mi amigas y mi amigos!

Hello and thanks for stopping by! I cannot believe another week has passed since I last wrote here. Trying to get my thoughts in order to write this week, I am at a loss as to where the time went! It’s pretty interesting having a set deadline to reflect upon my weekly activity. I wonder if this blog may help streamline my productivity by setting more of a routine than I’ve had recently. This blogpost is a glimpse into some of how I am staying inspired and challenged as a freelance designer. Let’s start with what I did this week to keep going creatively. How do you get your creative juices flowing and push yourself toward growth? I’m also on a mission of getting my creative ducks in a row by setting up healthy boundaries, routines, and getting organised and streamlined for the year ahead. I challenge you to join me. Let’s help each other!

It’s my birthday tomorrow! Eek!

Before we get into what went on in the studio this week, let’s celebrate! I created a poster that could be for anyone on any occasion, instead of designing myself a card. I found when I had time to be creative this week, I felt so inspired that I had to rein it in a little! Do you ever get like that? I feel like we all need to channel more positivity around us, so I thought this happy, naïve, colourful poster says it so simply and succinctly: you are rad!

"You are rad" hand lettering by DesignerMim, bright, colourful, and naïve
You are Rad Poster, Hand-lettering by DesignerMim 2022

How did I stay inspired and feel challenged this week?

As I’ve mentioned before, I use Affinity Designer for all my surface design patterns, illustrations, and graphic design work. I’ve found using their software a fairly logical progression from the more costly subscription applications available. Plus, I always prefer to support the smaller business! I am however, professionally skilled working in Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, and InDesign too. More about all this another time. For now, let’s talk staying our creative juices flowing while growing stronger artistically.

Just an FYI, I wrote a blogpost about how to get the basics right the designing patterns in Affinity Designer. So if you’re new to AD or are just interested in learning new skills, head this way.

I subscribe to the Affinity Designer newsletter and got pretty inspired by two of their posts encouraging creativity in illustration and photography. I’m always on the lookout for inspiring illustrators, photographers, surface designers, artists… well, I should say: I follow a plethora of visual creatives from around the globe across various platforms. I am also part of quite a few groups of Facebook to help freelance creatives solve issues, and overcome creative block with fun challenges. There really are so many amazing creative peeps out there in the virtual world doing so much good and spreading such a wonderful chain of positivity — it’s contagious! If you’re struggling to find some, give me a shout on my Facebook page and I’ll point you in the right direction.

Keep learning, pushing myself, and growing

I am always up for a new challenge, and love pushing myself creatively as it keeps me energised. From the above-mentioned illustration article I found some great ideas to continuously challenge myself to become a more accomplished illustrator.

I watched Guy Warren, a 100-year-old artist, give a wonderful interview about inspiration and continuously seeking challenges to grow as a creative. Give it a watch, he’s wonderfully inspiring! From the photography article, I saw an image from Sophia Hsin that I found too beautiful to resist recreating as an illustration. Which one do you prefer? I enjoyed experimenting with colours, shades, and different brushstrokes. One of the things I love about being an independent creative is having the freedom to experiment, play, and learn. And in so doing, I am growing my skillset swiftly and holistically while feeling continuously inspired and challenged.

Digital illustration by DesignerMim, based on a photo by Sophia Hsin of oranges with leaves with swathes of deep navy, blues and beige in the background
Sophia’s Oranges Still Life 1, DesignerMim 2022
Digital illustration by DesignerMim, based on a photo by Sophia Hsin of oranges with leaves with swathes of pastel coral, blue and cream in the background
Sophia’s Oranges Still Life 2, DesignerMim 2022

Getting inspired and challenged while cooking!

I listen to a few podcasts about various topics, ranging from family life, to WordPress, to freelancing in South Africa, to advice for a creative startup, to fashion… the list goes on. It depends what I feel like listening to keep my mind occupied whilst doing something mundane like cooking. I’m not the biggest fan of cooking so I really enjoy listening to something while I chop carrots! When I hear a particularly interesting snippet I dot down notes to refer to later. Earlier this week I listened to an interesting podcast about minimising pain and maximising joy — cos come on, who doesn’t need a little help with that? There was one particular except that struck me, so I decide to create something with it.

I love finding inspiration in the mundane and creating a challenge for myself to make visually interesting. I enjoy listening to seemingly heavy topics — like minimising pain and maximising joy — and creating something fun and energetic. Hows that for a challenge? Anyone? Is it just me? Haha!

As I often do, I created multiple colourways. I have selected two to display here. Which one do you prefer? I’ll also post these do my social media and you can let me know there!

Hand-lettering of William Irvine quote by DesignerMim in bright colours
William Irvine Quote 1, Hand-lettering by DesignerMim 2022
Hand-lettering of William Irvine quote by DesignerMim in bright colours
William Irvine Quote 2, Hand-lettering by DesignerMim 2022

Inspired to tackle a new challenge: learning Spanish!

As you may know, I love learning new things. I’m continuously challenging myself to learn or get better at something specific these days. With this in mind, I decided to start learning Spanish! I started at the end of last year after not travelling for way too long. I’m no expert, but it’s such fun to do 5-10min every day. Hearing the language takes me back to visiting there several years ago. I would love to go again! Are you learning any languages at the moment? I hope it’s going well!

Adios mi amigas y amigos!

I was chatting to my bestie yesterday about how challenging I’m finding this whole starting a blog thing. I’m really pleased I ripped the plaster and started it though! January was a bit of a whirlwind. I just continued zooming my way into the new year where I left off before our year end mini break. Perhaps this can be a good to space for me to pause and reflect what I’ve been up to each week so I can better plan going forward, keep learning, and honing my skills. Thanks for being on this journey with me, as I get to grips with the new year, stay inspired and challenged, and embrace growth.

One thing about starting something new is you can only get better, right? There’s only upward and onward from here! So, thank you for coming along my creative journey with me. I am so grateful you’re here. Please keep in touch, I’d genuinely love to hear from you.