a serial sketchbooker.

a visual archivist.

an art explorer.

creative every single day!

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Behind The Scenes

Week In The Life: First Week As A Full-time Creative Freelancer!

by Pam Llaguno

A little over a month ago, I made the proverbial leap into being a full-time creative freelancer. To be honest, it’s a still a pinch-me-am-I-still-dreaming moment for me. My brain hasn’t fully wrapped itself around the concept that I have the entire day to do the things that I love and spark joy in my life. Fingers crossed no one suddenly pulls the rug from beneath me! As a natural memory-keeper, I jotted down everything that I did throughout my first week as a full-time creative business owner (spoiler alert: there were a LOT of Youtube binge-watching) and tried to compare it with what I usually do when I still had my day job. Let me take you through a Week in the Life: First-time Full-time Creative Freelancer Edition!


6:31am

To my surprise, I woke up (and successfully got out of bed) pretty easily. This is probably because I was well-rested over the weekend since I didn’t have to do any work as compared to my situation before where I had to do my passion projects and side hustles over the weekend since I had a day job during the weekdays

I do my usual morning skincare routine to really wake me up and I cook my favorite sausage and onion omelette for breakfast. I never used to have time for breakfast at home so I usually just eat brunch at around 11am at the office.

Starting my day slowly has really helped set the tone for the day. I feel a lot more relaxed and in control of my day when I control how my mornings go rather than letting the morning rush take over me.

9:20am

After a very slow and relaxing breakfast, I make my way over to my office / studio and start a very grueling process of cleaning and tidying it up. This room has devolved into a storage room after my family moved out since I haven’t had the time to spare to organize the entire space.

The most important part of this studio is the desk and the portable cart beside it. I purposely had a wide and deep desk made to make it easy for me to do art projects and still have space for my pens, laptop, a drink and maybe a notebook. The portable cart will contain all my most used art tools and materials such as the acrylic paints, brushes, and paper.

10:22am

After cleaning up the desk area of the office, I took a bunch of photos for Instagram… of course. Then I spent a LONG time being distracted on Instagram and Youtube. I sat on the sofa and just binge-watched a couple (read: a lot) of studio vlogs #oops

1:08pm

After that binge-watching session, I made myself homemade hamburger curry (Japanese-style) for lunch. I made enough for dinner as well as some leftovers for the next day.

Then, I rewarded myself with a cool shower and changed into something less loungewear and more I-can-actually-go-out-in-public-in-this wear. This is one of my personal working-from-home rules – always signal the start of the workday by either changing out of my sleepwear or taking a shower.

3:18pm

The first actual work task for the day was to edit the photos that I took for the sketchbook tour blogpost. I took these photos at the Starbucks in my office building since they had really good natural lighting. This is another glimpse to my old “life” where I have to do bits and pieces of my freelance / creative biz work while I’m in my day job. I usually eat and work at my desk so I can go out during my actual lunch and do things like shoot photos, film videos, or write a blogpost.

After editing the photos, I also wrote the e-mail I send every Tuesday for my newsletter subscribers (I affectionately call them the Amateur Creatives Club). I like to write the e-mails either on Mondays or Tuesdays since I enjoy the experience of sitting down and “talking” to my subscribers in the moment rather than scheduling a bunch of e-mails in advance. Of course, I plan out my topics ahead of time but the actual writing is a bit more in-the-moment.

6:12pm

I’m calling it a day and spending the rest of my time cleaning up around the house before my boyfriend comes home from his work. I also use the time after my working hours to review my task list and transfer any pending task to tomorrow’s list. I also do a bit of content planning for future blogposts, videos and social media content.

8:30pm

According to my Instagram analytics, my prime time for posting is at 9:00pm so I prepared my Instagram post for this day. I try to keep things a little casual BUT intentional on my feed – so lots of photos of my everyday life with captions that relate things back to creativity, confidence, art, and being a creative biz owner.

For today’s Instagram post, I uploaded the photo I took earlier for Instagram and wrote a caption on my three personal rules for working-from-home.

When I was still working at my day job, I usually leave the office at this time and spend 2 – 2.5 hours commuting back home. Ugh, I’m glad I don’t have to do that now!

Just a note: I’m going to skip a couple of things for the rest of the week since my mornings and evenings look pretty much the same as what I’ve already shared. I’m going to focus more on the actual “working hours.”

9:30 am

One of my goals for when I go full-time on this business is to create the time for making art just for myself. I recently subscribed to Skillshare Premium (aff link) and for today, I decided to take the time to learn the basics of acrylic painting since I had recently purchased five tubes of acrylic paint (primary colors + another shade of blue + white).

The first exercise was to just do a lot of paint swatches to get the hang of mixing paint and creating different hues, tints and shades from just the paint tubes that I have with me. I really had a lot of fun with this exercise – all the colors just made me feel vibrant and energetic. If you’re interested, this is the Skillshare class that I followed.

11:51am

I took a bunch of photos to post on Instagram later. One thing that I love about this desk area is that natural light that comes from the big windows right in front of it… instant filter! 😉

12:45 pm

With the remaining paint in my palette (and a bit more white), I just do a random, abstract painting that I ended up not liking.

3:11 pm

I cooked a special lunch today – beef shogayaki! I used to always get this for lunch at the Japanese stall in my old office building and I’ve been wanting to recreate it at home. It was a success! It took a long time though because I forgot to thaw the beef beforehand.

5:28 pm

At this point, I kinda got tired of looking at my laptop screen so I got my journal and started sketching logo ideas for Sketchbook Scientist. I wanted to play with the “scientist” element so I had this idea of a flask with a colorful / marbled liquid swirling in it. (Spoiler alert: I ended up not using any of it.)

8:53pm

I know it’s a little late but I was just randomly sketching on my journal and actually liked the lettering I did for Sketchbook Scientist. Since I already finished cooking (I cooked enough portions during lunch to have some leftover for dinner) and cleaning, I decided to digitize the lettering and I really liked it! I ended up using this for the actual logo.

 

Speaking of…

Sketchbook Scientist is an online course that aims to help you unlock your creativity and help you become confident with your own artworks through 30 video tutorials on simple but exciting experiments you can do in your own sketchbooks 🙂 The course will be officially open on Nov. 23 but if you pre-order, you can save $10 on the price plus you’ll receive a handmade linocut print postcard from me ? Pre-order the course right here.

Back to regular programming!


9:45am

I worked on the branding of Sketchbook Scientist – logos, typography, colors, the whole shebang – all morning. This involved a lot of font browsing, creating color palettes from images that had the vibe I was going for and picking out the final elements for the branding.

12:12pm

While waiting for my lunch to finish cooking — I cooked pork sinigang which is a Filipino tamarind-based stew — I drew the ingredients of it with colored pencils. Like I mentioned earlier, I wanted to create time for art so instead of hopping onto Youtube and watching a video, I spent the idle time just drawing literally what was in front of me.

3:48pm

I took some self-portrait shots for my Instagram post later since it’s been a while since I showed my face on my feed. I recently bought a remote shutter for my camera and it made this process 10x easier!

5:24pm

I needed some fresh air after not having gone out of the house in the last three or four days so I went to a nearby pet-friendly mall with my shih tzu, Blue. I did also have to run an errand at the bank so it was the perfect timing. Honestly, I think it’s important to go outside at least once a day to stretch out my legs and getting some movement in my workday. I’m going to try and incorporate a daily podcast walk with my dog so we can both exercise a bit!


Yay Friday! I think this is the first time I’ve ever been genuinely excited for Friday. In my day job, I used to work from Tuesday to Saturday so Friday was always an awkward day for me. My friends would invite me out for drinks but I would always have to consider it since I need to be wake up early for work the next day. Now that I’m working for myself… I’m going to make half-day Fridays the norm!

I didn’t really take a lot of photos and notes on what I did on this day (#oops) but I primarily worked on the copy for the pre-order page of Sketchbook Scientist as well as setting up the pages and the e-mails for it. I use Google Docs for ALL my writing needs — blogposts, e-mails, long-form Instagram captions, everything! It’s just easier for me to organize my writing this way and access it on the go as well.

Copywriting is not exactly my strongest suit so it takes me quite a while to nail down a copy that I’m satisfied with. I usually have to write a lot of things first then edit it 100x before landing on the perfect words to convey the message that I want to share. This is one of the things I want to improve on next year.


That’s a week!

Well, four days, technically. This week is probably a more relaxed one as I’m still trying to get into the groove of things. And quite frankly, I’m still unsure of how to maximize all the time that I now have. I definitely watch too much Youtube and spend too much time scrolling on social media because I have this delusion that I have so much free time in my hands. As the weeks go by, I’m sure that I’ll be able to adjust and have a bit of structure in my work days.

I hope you enjoyed having a look into my first week as a creative freelancer. This is definitely a dream come true for me and while the road ahead isn’t going to be easy, I’m eager to explore more of myself, my creativity and my passion as I ride along. If you liked this blogpost, then you might want to subscribe to my Youtube channel because I will be uploading a studio vlog every month where I show you what I do in my studio and all the behind-the-scenes of being a creative freelancer.


Resources/links mentioned that you might find useful:

 

  1. IKEA Raskog Cart. The three-layered utility cart I use for easy access to my most-used art tools and supplies – I absolutely love this!
  2. Sketchbook Tour #1 blogpost
  3. Instagram post on my three personal rules for working from home
  4. Skillshare Premium*. An affordable website I use to access LOTS of useful tutorials/classes on creative subjects for a monthly fee
  5. Acrylic Painting Basics. This is the Skillshare class I followed to learn more about acrylic painting!
  6. Sketchbook Scientist. My upcoming course on unlocking your creativity and discovering your inner artist through 30 creative sketchbook experiments!
  7. Canon RC6 Remote Shutter*. The remote shutter that I use for my Canon EOS M6*. This little device has made shooting photos on my own a LOT easier. I used to waste a lot of time going back and forth to set the timer.
  8. Amateur Creatives Youtube Channel. I will be uploading studio vlogs soon so if you like that type of content, make sure to subscribe to my channel 🙂

Disclaimer: Anything with a * on it is an affiliate link. I might earn a small commission, at no additional cost to you, if you purchase through my link! This is what helps me support Amateur Creatives.


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Then you might like to join my e-mail tribe and receive the weekly Studio Sessions letter. Every Tuesday morning, I will send you a fresh edition of Studio Sessions a.k.a. newsletter. This special e-mail is designed to assist you in exploring mindful and inspired creativity. If this is your jam, leave your details below and you’ll get your first e-mail right away!