Handling the ups and downs of being a freelancer
As a freelance illustrator, you’re probably familiar with the feast or famine workflow that comes with working in the creative field. One minute you’re swamped with work and struggling to keep up, and the next you’re twiddling your thumbs and wondering where the next project will come from. It can…
Business after a facebook hack
Trying to recover your business after a Facebook and Instagram Hack 2022
September 15th, 2022 my personal Facebook account was hacked and it took down my linked business accounts @AlanaMcCarthyArt and @GeekyPet.
I received an email that at 5am someone had gained access to my personal account and posted “child…
Mental Health Awareness
May is Mental Health Awareness Month and #youarenotalone if you struggle with mental health issues.
I went almost 40 years without knowing that I suffered from anxiety.
I just thought it was my personality to always be panicked about everything. I watched my mom act the same and I just…
2022 Goals and Reflections
I think we’re all feeling a little apprehensive about this New Year - seeing how the past two have gone. I’m going into this one trying to focus on things I can change. I want to realign myself because the pandemic has really thrown me off track.
How much will it cost to illustrate my children’s book?
I get a lot of inquiries from first time authors asking “I love your work! How much will it cost to illustrate the children’s book I’ve written?” I’m super excited for these authors, it definitely takes a lot of time, talent and guts to write something and put it out…
2020 Income Breakdown
In 2020 I was much better at tracking my income. Out of curiosity I calculated the percentages of where my money was coming from.
Here are my thoughts on this income mix.
81% CLIENT WORK
I love client work. I love working with different people all the time and making…
2021 Goals And Reflections
2020. What. A. Year.
Pandemic, lockdowns, home learning, Black Lives Matter, the orange clown-baby president of hatred, so many face palm moments, political and social unrest. Slowing down, adapting, pivoting and so much change.
I know so many friends that reassessed their lives this year and made risky changes to…
Creative for life - My illustration career path
When did you know you wanted the career path you ended up on? I’ve known since kindergarten.
I remember being at the craft table every day. Making these huge construction paper figures. The teacher was so impressed that she took me to the principal’s office with one of them, where…
Three life changing tools for the creative business owner
Running a freelance illustration business may seem like an absolute dream job. It really is - I get to draw all day and make money from it! It’s like a childhood dream come true! But running your own business is a lot to handle. You end up wearing so many…
Bleed, crops, gutter, safety lines and other essential marks for illustrators
When I was working as a senior graphic designer I was shocked at how many freelancers had no idea what bleed was or how to set it up correctly. This is one of the fundamentals for setting up images that you plan to print
So what is bleed? Bleed is…
Case study: Beer label design - Tall Dark and Mysterious Stout
🔮 Tall Dark and Mysterious Stout. 🔮
Here’s a walkthrough of my process from sketch to final.
I’ve been wanting to design a beer label for a while now. I started taking Mary Kate McDevitt’s Skillshare course on lettering basics. Her instructions were to pick a phrase to letter but…
Day 1: Working from home with kids - a quarantine diary
Me and the boys, 6 and 10.
Monday March 23, 2020
March break is over and normally I would be rejoicing as my kids went back to school and I got to focus on my illustration business. But nope, this is the age of the Coronavirus Quarantine, so they’ll be…
7 tips for working at home from an illustrator
Wash your hands! A motion graphic I made for social media.
Welcome to the brave new world of working from home! I’ve got over a decade of solitary desk time under my belt and I’d love to share some tips with you.
First off, how is everyone holding up with…
Faced with a difficult decision? Here are some questions to ask yourself.
Are you up at night struggling with a difficult decision? These questions from cognitive behavioural therapy may help you work through it
I found this advice to be so helpful that I decided to illustrate it into a hand lettered slide show to share the technique. Swipe to see it…
2020 goals and reflections
Happy New Year! It’s the start of a new year and a new decade - 2020
I wanted to take a moment to share some of my goals for this year, and also reflect back on my goals and accomplishments from 2019. I’ve never been one for new year resolutions.…
How to easily peel a pomegranate
Ah the pomegranate! These tasty fruits are full of antioxidants and are considered one of the healthiest fruits on the planet. Their juice has anti-inflammatory effects and may possibly fight cancer cells. However, getting into one can be a messy hassle. Leaving you with stained countertops, red fingers and a…
#PoopApologies: Signs calling out irresponsible pet owners
Have you ever stepped in an errant piece of dog poop and then unknowingly tracked it through your office
Have you ever seen one of those poo baggies, filled, then thrown down an alley, tied to a fence, or tossed into a tree because a garbage can was just. too.…
Case Study: Branding and business card design process.
I’ve been working on redesigning my branding for a while now. I think it can be a real challenge to work on the feel of your own business because you’re so close to it. I want to share some of my design process.
It all began with an animated, wobbly,…
Case Study: Custom Portrait Gift for a CEO
I was approached by my friend James who works at Intuit. Their beloved CEO, Jeff Cates had just announced that he was leaving for a new position at another company. To honour this man their team was scrambling to get him the perfect gift. Something that would sum up all…
Shoot your own flat lay for a professional look
A great way to provide context for your artwork is to set up a professional looking flat lay shoot. What the heck is a flat lay? It simply means arranging items and then shooting them from above, usually flat or slightly angled.
This type of shoot is especially great when…
You Have Survived All Your Darkest Days
A reminder to anyone out there who is struggling through something challenging. Maybe you’re starting a new business and it’s moving slower than anticipated. Maybe you’re a new parent who is dealing with sleepless nights and constant cries. Maybe you’re struggling with depression and anxiety and trying to find your…
Aim for Self Love this Valentine’s Day
Emo post ahead. I was reflecting back to Valentines Day a year ago. I was in a terrible state at the time but didn’t fully realize it. I booked the day off work and decided to take a me day. I hit the waters at a spa and tried to…
Best podcasts for creative freelancers
I’m a big fan of podcasts. I started listening to audio books while I freelanced at home. I found they put me in an almost meditative state, where my hand was still drawing, but my mind was listening to the book. When I transitioned to a full time office job…
Oh Mom Guilt - Handling Screen Time with Kids
Oh, Mom guilt! Here’s a new take on the popular acronym OMG. I’ve got total Mom guilt over letting my two boys have too much screen time. How do you handle screen time in your house?This was my first summer being home with the kids since leaving my full time…
How to Stop Social Media Addiction
Modern marketing for creatives is all about social media. You have to interact with people to create a community and audience that cares about you and your work. You have to be emotionally involved in your work and interactions. I definitely think it’s necessary to be active on Instagram and…