Monday, January 2, 2017
We made it!! Happy 2017!! I don't know about you, but the sun has been BEAMING through my parent's living room window since yesterday morning, and for the first time ever, it really feels like a New Year. I'm not sure why this year feels so different from all the others. Maybe in part because there was such an overwhelming, worldwide, collective-desire to leave 2016 behind. But truthfully, I felt different. Unlike every other family member of mine, my eyes welled with tears when the clock struck midnight on January 1st. I was SO sad to see 2016 go.
2016 was an enormous year for me both personally and professionally. I landed some major dream clients, from Dior to Emirates, filmed a campaign commercial in Hong Kong with DFS (absolute bliss!!), had a gallery show with Gemfields and IMG during NYFW, shared breakfast with the incomparable DVF, and got a mention in the New York Times. I paid off all my student/start-up debt and finally made it safely into the black. But beyond all that, 2016 took me around the world to make peace with my past, in ways I can't quite explain here. I revisited some of my favorite places on earth but also saw so many of my dream destinations for the very first time.
When I write all that down, it feels fairly obvious why I would hate to bid adieu to 2016. But life, and all of its great mysteries, do not allow you to live in the past. We must move forward no matter how hard we try to stay still. So the question I can't help but ask myself is: what in the world comes next? How the hell do I sustain this momentum? Better yet, how, and in it what ways do I want to take my business to the next level? Ok, so maybe I have more than one question for myself here, ha!
You see my friends, one slightly negative thing about Instagram is it tends to become a never-ending highlight reel of all the best moments of one's life. No one, or very few of us, are posting moments of defeat or self-doubts. I never post the frustrations of chasing late payments or navigating difficult areas of running your own business. But it's all there and it's all true. I'm not saying those highlight moments aren't real, because they absolutely are. But so too are all the cloudy, murky moments of confusion. I guess I can't help but feel the tense pull between needing to do what's best for me and my business behind the scenes, and keeping the color filled world of Travel Write Draw alive on Instagram.
Wednesday, December 28, 2016
Happy Holidays My Loves!!
I hope you've all had the most amazing time celebrating with your families, eating delicious food, and catching up on sleep. With 2017 quite literally around the corner, and so many thoughts swirling through my head, it feels like the perfect time to reflect on the past 2.5 years of running Travel Write Draw full-time. I've had so many ups and downs, SO many highs and lows since quitting my corporate design job in NYC, that it feels only right to share a few tips that I found enormously helpful throughout this time in my life. And let me begin my saying as a *disclaimer* that I'm entirely aware that no two lives are the same. What works for me may not work for you. But at the very least, you can use this list as a point of reference as you prepare to kick some serious ASS in 2017!! So here goes it...
My Top 5 Tips for Freelance Fashion Illustrators:
1. Write Your Mission Statement: One habit I picked up while working full-time was goal planning. It was part of our bi-annual reviews with our managers. We had to map out our goals and to-do's from two weeks, to 3 months, to 6 months, to 2 years. It coincides with "defining what success looks like to you" and it is super important. If you don't know where you are going or what you hope to achieve, how can you expect to attract clients who do? When you are direct, determined, clear and purposeful about your work, you are doing 50% of the work for the clients by showing them how brilliantly you align with their brand. For me, Travel Write Draw has always been about (you guessed it) travel, fashion, and illustration; it's about where these three passions of mine intersect. My career mission is defined by these three passions and ultimately all the content I produce and clients I attract fall into this intersection. Start 2017 by defining your freelance career mission statement, produce portfolio work from there, and watch how the clients come to you.
2. A Structured Schedule: This point isn't entirely specific to fashion illustrators, but it is however one of the most important pillars of my "survival guide". When I first left my corporate job, one of the hardest adjustments I had to make (apart from not knowing where my paycheck would be coming from week to week) was not having an office to commute to 5 days of the week. The lack of structure was almost paralyzing. It certainly didn't help that I was living in a shoebox in the West Village where my bed and desk were a half a meter apart. But once I moved to my place in Williamsburg, and gained 3 separate rooms outside my bedroom, life started to become more manageable.
I joined Classpass this year and every Sunday I would book my morning workouts for the week. Monday at 9 AM was boxing, Tuesday at 8 AM was pilates, Wednesday at 8:30 AM was hip hop yoga, and so on...and by the time I finished my workout class and walked home to shower, my client emails were rolling in and ready to be answered. It might seem silly but having the structure of these classes kept me sane. They got me out of the house, cleared my head, made me feel good both physically and emotionally, and ultimately became the framework of my schedule. Whatever it is, be it exercise, walking your dog, meditation, or a coffee run, starting your week with structure will help you to stay in balance while weathering the unpredictable ups and downs of your freelance career.
Tuesday, November 22, 2016
Happy Tuesday Darlings!!
I'm SO thrilled to share with you the latest feature I worked on with CNTraveler x DeLonghi. Somewhere between my travels to Dubai and Costa Rica, I invited both brands into my apt to share how I bring my inspirations from abroad, back to my life in NYC. The image above is just a screen-grab so be sure to checkout the FULL VIDEO HERE!!
I hope you love it!!
Sunday, November 20, 2016
I'm finally back in NYC for a little while. I've been traveling nonstop for the past 4 weeks and didn't even have the chance to tell you that I was heading to Costa Rica a week ago!! I'm currently in the process of preparing my new illustrated story for Dubai, but in the meantime I'll share with you some of my favorite photos from my stay at Andaz Papagayo.
I had seen glimpses of this hotel on Instagram prior to visiting but, like most things, nothing compares to seeing it in real life. First off, the climate in Costa Rica is so balmy and tropical. It instantly brought my stress levels down to nonexistent. This photo above is from the reception and it certainly sets the tone for your experience on property. Andaz Papagayo is a perfect paradise retreat for the NYC city girl or boy.
Just look at their sparkling infinity pool above, which we had nearly to ourselves the entire time we were there. We were visiting right at the end of their rainy season and got so lucky with sunshine everyday.
I knew I was in for serious trouble though when I first entered my room and saw my own personal terrace overlooking the bay. How was I ever going to be able to leave this place?! That balcony became my outdoor studio for the week and it was perfection...
Our first morning there, Andaz took us to a small local village where we got to see traditional folk dancing performed by the most beautiful Cost Rican students. I was so beyond inspired watching them dance that I had to keep painting them in my sketchbook to express how I felt.
We also got to learn about the coffee growing process in Costa Rica and pick beans straight from the trees (see below).
As soon as I got back to property, I immediately started getting down all that inspiration. There is nothing like drawing straight from your travels and capturing all those vivid first impressions.
The next morning I was greeted by a monkey on my terrace who came charging towards me when I made the quietest hello. I have never experienced anything like that before. It was the perfect reminder that Andaz Papagayo is really built into a very natural, tropical landscape.
Some of my favorite memories on property were having a hot stone massage in the open air cabana overlooking the water, learning mixology at Chao Pescao while designing my own signature cocktail, as well as eating the most incredible ceviche our last night at Ostra. It was the perfect getaway to recharge before the holiday season in NYC.
I'm so excited to share my last few projects and adventures of 2016 with you soon. Stay tuned and as always, follow along daily on INSTAGRAM @TRAVELWRITEDRAW for more.
Monday, November 7, 2016
Hello, Hello Darlings!!
I'm back from my magical whirlwind trip to Dubai. I had the TIME OF MY LIFE on this trip and I'm feeling pretty heartbroken to be back. So much dancing, so many adventures, and so many laughs were had over two weeks in the UAE. But my return was made infinitely sweeter with the launch of my 2016 DFS Holiday Campaign in Hong Kong. This trip and partnership took place in late June and I was counting down the weeks until I got to share the results with you. This project was an absolute dream come true - to see Travel Write Draw really come into fruition. I still can't believe this happened. See how I immersed myself in this infinitely vibrant city in the video above.
If you give joy, you will receive it #GiveJoy!! More to come...
Saturday, October 15, 2016
Hello My Loves,
I wanted to post a quick update to let you all know that I'm heading to Dubai tomorrow with Atlantis, The Palm!! This will be my first time returning to the city since my original visit 6 years. As some of you know, Dubai was the trip that inspired me to start TravelWriteDraw which is why I'm so excited to be returning for my career. I can't wait to share what I'll be working on from this trip. Be sure to follow my adventure over on Instagram @TravelWriteDraw. I'll be posting there daily.
Stay tuned for more darlings!!
Thursday, October 6, 2016
I hope you are all having a fantastic start to October!! Fortunately the weather is still forgiving in NYC and the sun is shining brightly through my favorite cafe window here in Williamsburg. I just wanted to share that I finally received my 2016 Bloglovin x H&M Award for Best Design Blog in the mail this past Monday and I couldn't be more elated. I haven't won an award since high school haha!! Holding it feels equally invigorating and surreal.
I realize that an award is really just, well, an award, and that we shouldn't get too caught-up in accolades. The real reward ultimately is doing work that is honest, fulfilling, that inspires yourself and others. But it feels amazing after 6 years of running Travel Write Draw to be acknowledged by the Bloglovin' community and all of you, my amazing readers!! So, without further ado, thank you x 1,000,000 from the bottom of my heart to everyone who voted, leaves comments, shares my content, and writes me to share their story. You have no idea how beautifully you have all colored my world. Here is to many more years to come of adventures with Travel Write Draw. I feel this is really just the beginning.
Wednesday, September 21, 2016
Hi Again Friends,
I'm over the moon to finally share with you that I'm partnering with Dior in celebration of their exclusive Winter 2016 Fashion Show Bag at Bergdorf Goodman!!
I have been working on this project in secrecy since May of 2016. Can you imagine trying to keep this in for that long?! I produced 3 custom illustrations to promote the event and I'll be doing live fashion portraits Sept 22-23 from 12-4 PM as a gift with purchase.
Below are the other 2 pieces I created specifically for the Dior event at BG:
And here is the invite that BG sent out to their Dior customers:
I always get so excited seeing my artwork married with the brand logos and type for an official invitation.
I also got to speak with the Social Media / Marketing team over at BG to discuss the partnership with Dior and they posted about it on their blog (see above). Here is the link as well:
If you live in NYC, do not hesitate to stop by. I would love to meet you!! More to come.