A working weekend in the life of an illustrator

This September marks a year since I've been working full time for myself; it's been an interesting year with lots of ups and downs but surprisingly one of the big challenges I have faced during that time is finding a working routine that actually works for me. After years of working in schools, and years before that going as a student, my default mode for work is 8AM-4PM, Monday to Friday; but one of the things I've learned this year is that working for myself, especially in a creative roll, is about find a rhythm that works for me and my energy and sometimes that means working at the weekend and taking days off in the middle of the week.

There is no 'right' or 'wrong' way to set up your week when you work as a freelancer, what matters is finding your rhythm and working with your energy rather than against it. Here's a little look into what that looks like for me during a typical working weekend...


early morning

I've been working harder lately to transition to being more of a morning person for the simple reason that I always complain that there's not enough hours in the day to do all the things that I want/need to do, when in fact there are a few extra hours I can claim back in the morning if I really put my mind to it. For that reason I try to get up somewhere between 06:30 - 07:00 AM, even on Saturday, and start my day by dealing with some household chores; this morning it is emptying in the dishwasher and putting on a load of laundry. I then like to make an effort when getting myself ready - fixing my hair, putting on a bit of make-up, etc., because it makes me feel more like I'm getting ready for work and this helps me get into the right mindset.


I arrive to my desk around 09:30AM and the first thing I do is my 'morning pages', this is a practice from The Artists Way that I've been trying out, it requires three pages of journaling and again I just find it helps me get into the right mindset to start my day. I then check in with my Notion planner and arrange the tasks on my to-do list into time slots so that I keep on task and also create time for breaks. Today is a half day of work because I want to work both Saturday and Sunday this weekend, so I'm spreading out the tasks across two half days.

My morning today consists of checking in with emails, sending out follow up emails to some clients to touch base on upcoming work and checking in with comments and DMs on social media. I just recently released my collaboration collection with CASETiFY so a lot of the morning today is taken up with responding to messages and answering questions about the collection.

late morning

Around 11:30AM I'll stop for a break, especially because Mimi will need to go out at this point and I'll need a coffee top up. Then when I get back to my studio today I'm working on creating some video content for a Creative Fabrica class I've been putting together. I set up my filming space, grab my sketchbook and paints and spend the rest of the morning filming clips of me creating a piece of art for my sketchbook and then turning it into a digital art print. Before I stop for lunch I quickly check in with my Notion content planner and create a post to pop up on instagram and then my half work day is done for today!


early morning

Because it's Sunday I do stay in bed a little bit later today, but I'm still up by 07:30AM. I start the morning with a little bit of self-care: I jump in the shower and then put on a face-mask. While the face-mask is taking action I put away the laundry I did the previous day. Once I'm dressed and ready I head to the kitchen and make myself a latte macchiato before heading to the studio. 


Once again, I start my day with my morning pages and checking in with my Notion Planner. Sunday is usually my 'reset' day when I like to check in on what did or did not get done during the previous week and set up my weekly planner and calendar for the following week, so I start the morning by spending some time doing this as well as checking in with and updating my Notion content planner for the coming week. 

Another task on my to-do list this morning is to finish editing the description and tags on my YouTube upload for the following day, so I pop onto the YouTube Creator studio for a while and spend some time adding links to the description box on my CASETiFY unboxing video which is scheduled to upload that Monday. 

late morning

It's time for a coffee top up and while I'm at it I decide to collect yet another load of laundry from the washing machine to hang out to dry; taking breaks like this through out my work day not only helps me stay on top of other household jobs but also allows me to give my brain a break by focusing on something else, even if it's just for fifteen minutes. 

Once back at my desk I need to work on a few more video clips for my Creative Fabrica class; today I'm creating screen recordings of my editing process so there is a little less involved as I don't have to set up my lights or tripod. Getting these final clips finished is top priority today so that I can move onto editing the class next week, so I work on these right up until lunch time. Then it's time to sign off for the afternoon and enjoy the rest of my weekend. 

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