It’s been a while since I wrote a blog post. Not because I ran out of illustration topics to talk about, there are plenty! I took a break because I needed some time to think about what I need.
In 2010 I switched from being a graphic designer to being an illustrator. It was a great leap to be honest because my freelance career as a designer was going really well. Stepping into the world of illustration was unknown territory to me. I hadn’t studied illustration in art school, I knew nothing about this world.
Not making illustrations is denying who I am.
It’s been eight years since I started professionally in illustration and although I love it with all my heart, it’s incredibly hard work. I’ve had many jobs (including life guard, art director, photographer and grave digger) but I can honestly say this is the toughest job I ever had. I have never worked so many hours and put in so much love. It’s like I give away my heart every time. I do it out of sheer passion and the urge to create stories. For me, there isn’t an other reason: this is why I’m here.
“I wish I enjoyed it more.”
So much has happened in my years of being an illustrator. I can hardly understand what has happened in those past years. I was so busy working I didn’t hold still for a moment and look at where I’m at. And I regret that a little bit.
Neil Gaiman said: “There wasn’t a moment for the next fourteen or fifteen years that I wasn’t writing something in my head, or wondering about it. And I didn’t stop and look around and go, this is really fun. I wish I’d enjoyed it more. It’s been an amazing ride. But there were parts of the ride I missed, because I was too worried about things going wrong, about what came next, to enjoy the bit I was on.”
Even though I have listened to his commencement speech a dozen times, I still forgot to enjoy the ride.
It’s time to hold still. Look back at what I did and enjoy the ride.
I read many, many books in the hopes to find an answer. I took social media breaks. I took days off from work. Talked to friends. It didn’t clear up everything but it did give me perspective. I’ve taken on some really nice assignments for clients that give me energy and make me happy. Choosing quality over quantity!
Taking time to gather my thoughts
And then, a few months ago, I granted myself one of my biggest wishes: renting a little cottage in de Peak District in the UK for a few weeks. If you follow me or my blogs for a while you know I love the UK. I’m slightly obsessed. I love the landscape, the language, the people (maybe not all), the way of living in the countryside…
I’m going to be all alone for three whole weeks and I am looking forward to it. In two weeks I will be in that little cottage near the lake, with just some basic tools.
I hope I get bored out of my mind so I will be confronted with my own thoughts.
I hope to relax, take hikes, enjoy the nature.
I hope to get back to me. Understand my own dreams and wishes a bit more.
I hope to follow my gut feeling more after this trip but at the same time I don’t want to put too much pressure on it.
Allowing myself to have three weeks to take every day as it comes without a plan sounds like the best plan.
I will update you on my trip through Instagram, so if you don’t follow me there but are curious what I’m doing there, please give me a follow!
I will write about everything I have discovered and saw when I get back of course 🙂
Have you ever done something like this? Or would you like to do something like this? I would love to hear your thoughts!
Photos by Hanke Arkenbout
All text and images © Marloes De Vries