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17TH JUNE 2017


Everyone expects creatives to have endless ideas, a variety of talents, and Don-Draper-esque presentation skills. They also expect us to have tattoos and play ping pong while coming up with ideas. The ping pong thing has never made sense to me. So how do creatives keep coming up with endless ideas? How do you keep going after the fourth round? After the ask changes. Again. I can only speak for me. I just start making something else. What do I mean by that?

I carve out a little time during my non-work life to be my own client and make something for the pure joy of making it. It sounds simple, but when you’re a creative for a living, sometimes it’s hard to commit to a creative hobby. Mine has always been illustration. Well, illustration and karaoke—but that’s a separate blog post. Drawing gets me out of my head because it takes concentration. Recently, I’ve started geeking out on making repeating patterns. It’s kind of soothing to know that once you get a pattern to repeat, it can go on forever. My new thing is to apply them to textiles, products, and wrapping paper.

So how does illustrating flowers and maps and sushi by night fuel the work I do for clients during the day? I find when I give myself a chance to remember why I love making things, it’s easier to stay motivated. What’s more, if there’s something I fell in love with for a pitch—a reference, or a color palette that didn’t survive “the meeting,” I find a way to weave it into my personal work. It works the other way too. When I get to a museum exhibit with my sketchbook or research vintage textiles or Japanese posters, there’s always something to take away from it.

And sometimes the worlds intersect. Like the time I illustrated the packaging for the Jack In The Box munchie meal. Or snapchat geo-filters for New York Fashion week. The occasional overlap between personal work and client work can be fun, but separation is key. One fuels the other. Both are important.

My anti-boredom map shows a bunch of my favorite things to do in LA. You can get it on a greeting card at Poketo here. Enjoy!


Kathryn Nyquist