The Freelance Life 1 : Looking beyond

The Freelance Life 1 via Opinion9.com

Hello everyone. I’m starting a new series called the freelance life, purely because of the fact that I’m freelancing now, and have been for more than a year and a half. I thought this would be a good way to note down thoughts, advice and general discussion about freelancing. All this applies to any field- with one common factor: you’re working on your own, for yourself and you’re making all the rules as you go along. That’s what a freelancer does, isn’t it? So here’s the first essay of the series. Hope you like it and hope it makes you ponder about things.

The Freelance Life 1 : Looking beyond ( the ordinary)

When you’ve made that decision to work for yourself- first thing, congrats! It’s a brave decision and  one that not many people are strong enough to make. Now let’s get down to the nitty gritties of this whole wonderful yet slightly daunting situation. What happens is- you may have a thought of what you’re going to do. You may not. A lot of people say you should never consider freelancing if you don’t have a proposed plan in mind. I agree and disagree. It’s great to have everything planned out- but what usually happens is- nothing usually goes according to plan. And why should it? You’re moving off the track, you’re creating your own road to walk on.

When I started, I just knew one thing- I wanted to use my art and writing skills to forge a career for myself. I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do- at all. I’m not kidding, I had no idea about me even writing a blog, I didn’t really read any blogs at all. I liked social media like Instagram and Pinterest, but I never really considered the power of it. I basically did not know anything that I do now about freelancing and website design- things I’ve learnt through trial and error, confusion and lots of research.

But that’s all the technical part. That part is the easy bit. You want to present yourself and your work- and yeah, okay, you’ll get there with endless Google searches and seeing what’s happening around- on the world, on the internet. But. The main thing is- what do you want to do?

I liked art and photography and writing. I knew that. I wanted to go in that line of work and enjoy the process. The only problem was- there was no process. I had to create one for myself- and that’s the struggle everyone who starts on their own has to go through. Making their own opportunities.

Nowadays, a lot of people decide: They want to sell their products. They want to start and maintain a blog about beauty / lifestyle / cooking / diy etc. I write this blog and another blog called Surely Simple, where I basically post art, diy, food, travel and basically anything and everything that falls in the broad category of a lifestyle blog. Mine is way more art oriented though, because that’s what I do best. However, I didn’t come to this decision instantly. It happened along the rocky path of uncertainty, lol. At first, when I got the website, I didn’t even touch it for months. I was too pressurized to actually create something, and I spent wayy too long just doubting myself and my skills. Then in March, somehow I made the decision to just start. I learnt more about photography, the technical details of post planning, html and creating a website. I did it all by myself, and still do everything on my own, because frankly that’s just how I roll. And then when I got a bit more confident, I started talking to other creatives and appreciating their skills.

It’s easy to feel isolated as a creative person- but never fall into that trap. We are social beings, and even though the internet feels like open, solo terrain, don’t ever become narrow minded and think that you’re the only one who creates work. There are millions of people out there, working on their creative pursuits, and I really admire them and feel motivated by the way they work. That’s actually one of the reasons why I started the Opinion9 Inspiration series, because people make some beautiful work out there and I appreciate how everyone has their own distinctive style and process. It makes me want to improve, makes me want to learn more.

Looking beyond is so important because when you’re starting out- you probably do not have an exact predefined plan. And you shouldn’t either. Having a rigid plan before actually getting some work experience limits you.

What you should know before planning a freelance career:

– your strengths in your work ( evaluate what you’re currently good at)

– your likes and dislikes (do you like something so much that you can work on it without getting bored? ..)

– be prepared for learning and re learning ( there are skills you need to acquire for your work- what might they be? For me, my skills to acquire list include: more advanced photoshop, technical practice and know-how of photography, learning code for website design, sharpening skills when it comes to scanning and processing my artwork, practicing writing skills frequently so they don’t get rusty etc)

What’s the most important thing- be prepared for uncertainty. Be prepared for days when you don’t have any idea of what you’re doing and why you started. Be ready to try new things if things you planned aren’t going as well as expected. And the most crucial thing- believe in yourself and keep your eyes and mind open for possibilities, ideas, thoughts and learning.

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Discussing Design with Zoe

Discussing Design with Zoe- an art interview with ZRA Designs about her art, via www.opinion9.com

Today on the Inspiration series, let’s welcome Zoe from ZRA Designs!

She’s a bright and aspiring graphic designer, who combines her love for creativity and design in her work. I like the bold colours, and vitality in each piece- whether it’s a logo, a pattern etc. I also appreciate how open she is to learning new things in her chosen field- being open to absorb knowledge is so important for a designer to progress!

She answered some questions about her creative process and how she operates her biz while juggling university at the same time! It’s quite a good read – especially if you’re starting out in your artistic endeavour, or you’re struggling with what you have on your plate, as a designer. Zoe might just make you rethink your process.

Read on to hear what she has to say!

Discussing Design with Zoe- an art interview with ZRA Designs about her art, via www.opinion9.com
Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

My name is Zoe. I am from Melbourne, Australia and I am 18 years old, turning 19 very soon. I have a love and passion for all things design and art. I work part-time as a graphic designer, designing logos and stationary for people as part of my ZRA Designs business; I also do a lot of ‘home projects’ and small DIY jobs for myself. I am currently at Monash University studying interior architecture and learning so many amazing new skills with a great group of people.

Discussing Design with Zoe- an art interview with ZRA Designs about her art, via www.opinion9.comHow did you get started in graphic design?

In year 11 and 12, I studied media and visual communication and design. I completed my certificate 3 in media and was eager to learn more. I have always had a thirst for knowledge and a love of learning, by completing the media course and watching endless tutorials on how to improve my digital skills I discovered how much I loved graphic design, however, ever since I was young I have had a love for interior design and architecture, which is why I am studying at Monash in order to pursue both of my dreams.


Discussing Design with Zoe- an art interview with ZRA Designs about her art, via www.opinion9.com

Could you give us a glimpse in a typical day in your life?

On a regular day I wake up in the morning and start on some graphic design work for a client or for myself, then I catch the train to uni, I then spend about 3 hours there for a design studio class, I then make my way home and continue working on my interior architecture tasks and once those are finished I continue on with my graphic design jobs. I often will have dinner with family or friends chatting, catching up and spending time with them, and then head to bed and get ready for another day.

Where do you see yourself in a few years?

In a few years, I would love to be working as an interior architect at an architecture or interior design firm; whilst also running my own graphic design company.

Discussing Design with Zoe- an art interview with ZRA Designs about her art, via www.opinion9.com

What motivates and inspires you the most?

The things that motivate me the most are definitely the people around me. My sisters, parents the rest of my extended family and close friends are all such important parts of my life. They constantly help to motivate me and keep my spirits up. The things that inspire me the most are great design and my friends from university, they constantly give me ideas – whether we are collaborating or working individually and they also recommend other artists and designers I should look up.

Discussing Design with Zoe- an art interview with ZRA Designs about her art, via www.opinion9.com

How long has making and designing been your hobby? How did you think you could convert your hobby into a business?

I’d say probably from the age of about 14 I began photography classes and design classes, and this fostered a love of art. Also, at this age I started going online and creating floor plans of different ‘dream houses’ I would like to live in. I used an online program, which enabled me to see my house in 2D plan form as well as 3D. At the end of my year 12 year, I decided that I would convert my hobby into a business. I created a Facebook, Instagram and website in order to spread the word amongst my friends, with the support of those around me, I have been able to make my dream a possibility.

Discussing Design with Zoe- an art interview with ZRA Designs about her art, via www.opinion9.com

What are your favourite food, colour and flower?

My favourite food is pasta, my favourite colour is turquoise and my favourite flower is a lily.

Discussing Design with Zoe- an art interview with ZRA Designs about her art, via www.opinion9.com

Discussing Design with Zoe- an art interview with ZRA Designs about her art, via www.opinion9.com

Some favourite themes and art topics inspiring you at the moment?

Some themes and topics inspiring me at the moment would have to be technology and the idea behind the ‘virtual world’ and the way in which so many people are engrossed constantly by their phones. Another one is the idea of transition spaces and thresholds (referred to as heterotopia), which I find very intriguing.

Discussing Design with Zoe- an art interview with ZRA Designs about her art, via www.opinion9.com

How do you balance your creative business along with regular life?

Balancing my creative business along with regular life can be very difficult at times, especially because my university workload is quite heavy, but I manage it because I’m doing what I love. I try to make sure I talk and catch up with my friends and family and organize to do things with them when I can, even if it’s something small like going for a walk or to the local coffee shop. I find that because my family and friends help to motivate and inspire me if I didn’t have the work life balance my work wouldn’t be as successful.

Discussing Design with Zoe- an art interview with ZRA Designs about her art, via www.opinion9.com

 

What are some brand values that you convey to every customer?

Some brand values include ZRA Designs being unique, original and innovative, but also reliable and secure. In graphic design, you are essentially being hired to create a visual identity for someone else’s company and it is very important that as a designer I become someone the client can trust to do a good job and to listen to their feedback.Discussing Design with Zoe- an art interview with ZRA Designs about her art, via www.opinion9.com

What would an ideal day be like for you?

An ideal day would be a nice sleep-in the morning and then getting up and going for a walk or run, then experimenting with some new graphics on my computer, going to uni, seeing my friends, then to finish off the day I’d have dinner with my family and read a book before going to bed.

 

How would you describe your design style?

I would describe it as innovative and contemporary.

 

Any advice for aspiring designers out there?

My biggest advice is just keep working hard, you will get there eventually it’s a tough industry but if you love it you will never stop learning, you will discover so many new skills and amazing people (artists, designers and friends) who will help keep you inspired and motivated.

Discussing Design with Zoe- an art interview with ZRA Designs about her art, via www.opinion9.com

Who are some of your biggest inspirations in the field of design?

I am inspired by so many different types of artists. My ultimate favourite artist is Jack Vanzet, his work is incredible and he works with a lot of musicians which I love. Another inspiration for me is James Turrell, who works with colour, light and space. Also, another inspiration to me is Sarah McCloskey who draws and paints portraits – but with her own unique twist.

Discussing Design with Zoe- an art interview with ZRA Designs about her art, via www.opinion9.com

Discussing Design with Zoe- an art interview with ZRA Designs about her art, via www.opinion9.com

Does the city you live in inspire your work in any way?

Yes of course, Melbourne has been named the most liveable city in the world for the fifth year running and I am so grateful to live in such an amazing place. There’s beauty everywhere and therefore always something to take a photo of, a sunset, the ocean, a lovely park etc. Nature and the environment around me inspire my work. I couldn’t ask for a better place to be based.

Discussing Design with Zoe- an art interview with ZRA Designs about her art, via www.opinion9.com

Thanks, Zoe, for giving us a glimpse into your creative process! Wishing you all the best ahead! -Aaria

Find Zoe and her work on her website, instagram and facebook!

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Mood this month // September

September Moodboard- faded colour tones with pops of florals makes for a September moodboard via Opinion9.comHello. Thought I’d share a little moodboard for September. Basically, as you can see, I’m pretty much inspired by bright florals, minimal faded tones in photography and adding lettering to the mix! September is such a funny month- not really autumn vibes yet. However, it seems like a good month for inspiration.

I’ve recently started experimenting with lettering properly- and not just doodling on scraps of paper and then discarding them, like before. Lettering is so much fun. I really like the idea of integrating it with photos too- it’s such a cool effect. I’m working on my lettering over at surely simple on instagram, maybe take a look, if you like.

As for the flowery elements on this pretty simple moodboard- well, I’m kinda obsessed with flowers and the beauty they possess. I especially like delicate green leafy patterns and the bright pops of colour in vibrant flowers, peonies, roses and hibiscus. Reds and pinks just never get old. Nowadays, I also like oranges and yellows, but the warmth of a red is just too distinct and alluring to see.

Minimal photography is so much fun to try while snapping photos, and just to admire when you notice it somewhere. There’s subtlety and yet s much clarity in just framing one object on a background- and I love that intrigue you get when you just look at a minimal image. It looks like an open book at first, but when you look closer, there’s so much more to it. It’s seriously cool.

I’m also drawing florals again- and you’re going to be seeing some sketchbook shots soon enough!

So, this was a little glimpse of what’s inspiring me in September. What’s inspiring you this month? I’d love to know in the comments below!

Sources from top left to bottom right: 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 5 + 6

photo grid and lettering by Aaria Baid

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Imaginative Art with Daniela


Imaginative Art with Daniela- an artist interview at Opinion9.com

Hello! Today I’m talking to a very talented and imaginative artist. Daniela paints watercolours beautifully, but that’s not all- she has a very imaginative side to her creative process! She uses everyday objects- oranges, paper, fruits, the sky, origami, eggs, tic tacs, spools of thread, candy, you name it!- with her drawings and the effect is just so colourful and pleasing. You have to see her instagram feed to get the full scoop!

As artists, what happens to a lot of us, is that we get limited by our own knowledge and stick to what we know when it comes to painting/ drawing. But not Dani! I like how she transitions so smoothly between her beautiful watercolours she makes and her innovative doodles. She uses her imagination and steps out of her comfort zone overtime- to create her wonderful artwork.

So, let’s hear what she has to say.

Please tell me a little bit about yourself.

My name is Daniela M. Lima; I am 28 years old. I’m an architect and I work in an office. In my free time, I love to draw and paint.

Imaginative Art with Daniela- an artist interview at Opinion9.com

Imaginative Art with Daniela- an artist interview at Opinion9.com

I love how you add different objects in your drawings! Do you plan these or does it happen naturally?

I usually use food, especially sweets, and objects that can associate the shapes of objects and characters. This process is something not really planned, ideas come and I make them happen.

Imaginative Art with Daniela- an artist interview at Opinion9.com

What makes you happiest in your creative process?

I just love when I’m relaxed, eating, watching movies or anything else, and I think, “I could do something using this!” The fact is the whole creative process is something that makes me very happy.

Imaginative Art with Daniela- an artist interview at Opinion9.com

Imaginative Art with Daniela- an artist interview at Opinion9.com

What are some themes/topics that are inspiring you nowadays?

Basically movies, series, music and books and sometimes manga and comics.

Imaginative Art with Daniela- an artist interview at Opinion9.com

What is your usual process for illustrating a piece?

At first, I sketch with pencil on paper, then I use nanquim (indian ink), erase the traces made the pencil and use colored pencils or oil pastel. I really like to use white ink pen. For my watercolor paintings I do the same process, only without nanquim and only with watercolor paint.

Imaginative Art with Daniela- an artist interview at Opinion9.com

How do you balance your creative pursuits as well as your regular life duties?

I usually do my arts on weekends and sometimes at night when I come home, but if I had more time I would do more work.

Imaginative Art with Daniela- an artist interview at Opinion9.com

Imaginative Art with Daniela- an artist interview at Opinion9.com

What inspires you to keep illustrating?

Nature, beautiful landscapes and starry nights will always inspire me.

Imaginative Art with Daniela- an artist interview at Opinion9.com

Imaginative Art with Daniela- an artist interview at Opinion9.com

Imaginative Art with Daniela- an artist interview at Opinion9.com

What art tools and materials do you use on a daily basis?    

I usually draw free hand, but use the tablet to see references. Sometimes I use rulers, triangles and a compass. My favourite art supplies are watercolours and coloured pencils.

Imaginative Art with Daniela- an artist interview at Opinion9.com

How long have you been drawing? Just out of interest, what was the first thing you remember drawing that made an impact to you?

I started drawing between 14 and 15 years, and I painted a lot of canvases. I took a break from my creative process when I was in college, but I did architectural sketches. I do not remember very well the first impactful drawing I made; I think it was a self-portrait when I was 15 years.

Imaginative Art with Daniela- an artist interview at Opinion9.com

Imaginative Art with Daniela- an artist interview at Opinion9.com

Do you have any advice for artists out there?

My advice is: To let the imagination flow, try to create more and copy less.

Imaginative Art with Daniela- an artist interview at Opinion9.com

Just for fun: what’s your favourite food and colour?

It’s to difficult to say this, because I love so many foods, haha! I love pizza, yakisoba and acarajé (Brazilian food). My favorite colour ever is red, but I like violet and green very much too. 🙂

Imaginative Art with Daniela- an artist interview at Opinion9.com

Imaginative Art with Daniela- an artist interview at Opinion9.com

Since you live in Brazil, has the place inspired you and your art in any way?

My hometown is Brumado. It’s a peaceful place, there I feel so good and inspired.

Imaginative Art with Daniela- an artist interview at Opinion9.com

Thanks for sharing Dani! Wishing you all the best ahead! -Aaria

Find Dani and her clever art here on Instagram.

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Dreamy Watercolours with Bee

Dreamy Watercolours with Bee - an artist's interview via Opinion9.com

Hello! Today we have Bee who makes some pretty amazing watercolour work. I really like her consistency in creating different pictures, but all with the same colourful and slightly ethereal quality. Her work was so captivating that I had to ask her a few questions about her creative process and how she works on her dreamy art! Her pastel themed and sparkly landscapes are just a watercolour dream. She also posts videos of her art process on Youtube.

Read on to hear what she has to say.


Dreamy Watercolours with Bee - an artist's interview via Opinion9.com

Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

My name is Bee, and I am 19 years old from South Australia. Currently I am a full time uni student and I work two part time jobs. I have always been creative since I can remember. I remember when I was little I was always creating things with paper and glue, trying to sew, knitting and crocheting. My mother always sewed my dance costumes so I can say I was highly inspired by her to make art a big part of my life.

Dreamy Watercolours with Bee - an artist's interview via Opinion9.com

What sparked your interest in art in general? How long have you been practicing?

Hmm, I find art very emotional. The mixing and blending of colours, and how mistakes can creatively be turned into blessings. The way of art is symbolic for me, in a way of living a happy life. I have been painting with watercolours for about 3 years now; I have fallen in love with the way that the colours spread and blend into each other in a calm and peaceful way.
Dreamy Watercolours with Bee - an artist's interview via Opinion9.com

How do you interpret the presence and significance of art in your lifestyle?

My lifestyle is very busy, but at the same time a little lazy (because I get so tired!). I have to try and juggle two jobs and a full time course, plus time with my other half, family, friends, and other lifestyle choices like working out at the gym. As a natural and intense introvert, these activities can be insanely overwhelming and I will need to spend a lot of time on my own – and this is where painting comes in! Painting allows me to spend time with myself and relax easily. It gives a great balance to my life because its something I really love doing and I can just chill out.
Dreamy Watercolours with Bee - an artist's interview via Opinion9.com

What is your general process while creating an art piece?

I start by making sure I have enough paper to paint a lot of pictures at once. I also love getting my pet cockatiel out so he can sit on my shoulder while I paint. I start by painting the ideas I have with masking fluid, setting them aside to dry, and then I start on my more colourful pieces. I tape the borders of about 4 pieces of paper at once. I find working on more than one painting at a time allows the others to dry, and at the end I have lots of paintings.

Dreamy Watercolours with Bee - an artist's interview via Opinion9.com

For watercolour I like to work in layers, I start by setting a background colour and making sure that I use lots of water! I let that dry and I add more paints, layering them up. I will use black watercolour with less water for trees or other details. Then I use a toothbrush and white acrylic paint to spray a ‘starry’ layer.

What keeps you motivated to draw and paint?

Probably the satisfaction and self worth that my finish products make me feel. Looking at my art allows me to appreciate myself and appreciate my talent. My other half also motivates me a lot, especially when I am feeling lazy! Haha. I also get a lot of positive feedback from my valued followers on Instagram, which makes me want to paint more.

Dreamy Watercolours with Bee - an artist's interview via Opinion9.com

Dreamy Watercolours with Bee - an artist's interview via Opinion9.com

How much time on average does it take you to create a piece?

Well I work on many at a time, but separately I would guess around half hour to an hour for each piece.

 

What was the first (or your favourite) piece of art you remember creating?

Okay so, very first, when I was in pre-school we had those tripod painting stands (obviously very short because we were so small!). We were given spray bottles which had different colours of translucent ink that had been watered down. The colours were so vibrant and so beautiful when sprayed and I remember I was the first to create the ‘butterfly’ pictures by folding them in half. I was so proud because everyone wanted to do the same!

 

Dreamy Watercolours with Bee - an artist's interview via Opinion9.com

Do you plan to pursue a career in art? Or is art just a hobby you love?

I love sewing and fashion was going to be a huge career decision for me. However, to get the most and highest possibility of a successful career out of it, I would have had to move away from family and start in a completely new city. Art is just a hobby I really love, like I mentioned before, it gives my life balance from all the other things.

Can you share a glimpse of a typical day in your life?

Sure, go to sleep at 2am, have some funky dreams, wake up at 10am. Skip breakfast in a desperate rush to get to uni, get in my car and endure a stressful 35 minute drive. Buy some lunch, sit through lectures, rush home to get ready for work. Work a stressful waitress job, come home by midnight, spend time with my bird Charlie, go to sleep at 2am.

It sounds so boring! I do get a couple of days away from uni though, but when I have a whole day free of uni and my jobs, I will spend the entire day painting.

Dreamy Watercolours with Bee - an artist's interview via Opinion9.com

Whats your outfit staple? And your favourite flower and colour?

Outfit staple would have to be anything black with a pop of colour/sparkles. I don’t know why but I really love wearing black in all styles, whether it’s formal, party, or one of my favourites: sports luxe. I swear I’m not goth! Haha.

I love all flowers, but I especially love peonies and carnations. My favourite colours are all shades of pink, and mint green.

Dreamy Watercolours with Bee - an artist's interview via Opinion9.com

I spy a cockatiel! 

His name is Charlie, born November 2014. He enjoys head scratches and inspecting jewellery and other shiny things 😂. I hand reared him from a very young age and weaned him myself, which in turn gives us a stronger bond because he sees me as his true ‘mother’. Birds are very adaptable to their owners so Charlie knows that he spends most time with me late at night (since I work a night job). Oppositely, my friends cockatiel goes to sleep as soon as it gets dark because he has adapted to his owners life. Charlie is happy to just sit on my shoulder while I paint 😊

 

What are some fun themes/topics that are inspiring you nowadays?

I love painting scenes. I remember I used to binge watch anime, and Toradora was one of my favourites. The scenes (especially snow ones) gave me a special feeling, warm but calm. I try to go for this feel in my paintings.

Dreamy Watercolours with Bee - an artist's interview via Opinion9.com

What is your favourite art tool you use?

Hands down masking fluid.

 

Could you share any tips on how to be good at watercolour?

Be generous with how much water you use. A lot of people don’t use enough water! Make sure to let things completely dry before you add layers of depth. I always remember that with watercolour, you can paint dark on lighter colours, but you can’t paint light on dark (however you can paint light on dark effectively with gouache!)

 

What do you think makes a good, satisfactory piece?

Being able to feel the emotions that the painting exhibits is a good sign. I also think a good border really puts someone at ease when looking at a piece of art.

Dreamy Watercolours with Bee - an artist's interview via Opinion9.com

 

Thanks Bee for sharing! Wishing you all the best ahead in your dreamy, ethereal world of watercolour! -Aaria

..

You can find Bee on her instagram here.

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