I’ve always been in awe of designers, artists and illustrators. Yes, you could put me in the same category as these creative entrepreneurs, however for me there’s something so fascinating and inspiring about those who create visual artworks for the world to see.
SEE ALSO: Free Desktop Wallpapers designed by Margaret
I absolutely adore Margaret’s fun, whimsical style and her playful recreations of everyday moments. Recently Margaret sat down with me to share her story, how she finds inspiration, and the struggles an illustrator can face. Read on:
1. Can you tell us a little about yourself?
Of course! I’m originally from Wisconsin, where it snows 75% of the year and everyone loves cheese (everyone might be an exaggeration), but ventured to St. Louis for school. I am a recent graduate from Washington University in St. Louis with a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Communication Design. While I studied both design and illustration, drawing and illustrating has always been my passion. I love to find subtle poignant and/or funny moments from everyday life and build stories and characters around those elements. I’ve also recently become more interested in surface and pattern design, so often I will turn one drawing or idea into a secondary pattern. My illustration process has definitely shifted and changed as I learn new techniques, but that is part of the fun and why I can’t see myself doing anything else for a living.
2. What inspired you to pursue a career in illustration?
All the way through high school I was incredibly studious. In fact, I think I am far enough removed now that I can say I was definitely a nerd. I had a few friends here and there, but what I loved to do and what I discovered I was decent at was drawing. Looking back at my artwork at five years old, it looks no different than the other finger paintings of my peers. But, what set me apart from other kids was how much I enjoyed the artistic process. I wanted to learn, I wanted to get better, so I spent every one of my high school lunch periods in the art room. Growing up in a family of doctors didn’t allow for much talk about careers outside of medicine, business, law, or any other standard career option. But, it was what I loved to do and as hard as I studied and got perfect grades in school, I knew I wouldn’t be happy doing anything else but art.
3. What is your favorite part of your job?
My favorite part of my job is the artistic process. My style has evolved as I have drawn more and more, but the process has always stayed the same. There is nothing more fulfilling than starting a drawing and watching it transform through the inking phase and then the digital coloration phase. It brings me so much excitement to see the finished product from start to finish.
4. Where does your design inspiration come from?
Normally I like to draw ideas from everyday events for inspiration. Non-fiction has always been an easier source of inspiration than fiction for me and because of that many of my illustrations and personal projects are based on my own life. I love being able to fully relay a specific emotion solely through pictures.
What advice can you give to someone wanting to pursue a career as an artist or a designer?
I am still relatively early on in my own career and have some big dreams I need to accomplish before I’ll feel accomplished enough to give out advice. But, the advice I can give to kids, especially high school and college students, is to put aside the preconceived idea that art is not a career. I have many friends from school that loved art and were good at it, but they didn’t feel that it was a respectable field, so they never entertained the idea. There are so many more careers and professional avenues now than ever before, so the biggest mistake a young artist can make is to doubt themselves and their art.
What does a typical day entail?
Since I am just out of school, I am working a part time visual manager position during the day and then by night I am creating new patterns, designs, and illustrations for clients, as well as my website and Instagram pages. As a freelance illustrator, the amount of work you are doing at one time ebbs and flows, which leaves time for leisure activities like running and swimming.
7. How do you find balance and keep your creativity flowing?
It’s always a challenge to keep from beating yourself up when you feel uninspired or drained of ideas. I think the most important thing to understand about the creative process is that every day is different. Some days you are going to be overflowing with thoughts and ideas, but that day may be followed by a week of uninspired drawing. And that’s okay. When I have what feels like an extremely long “week” where I haven’t been inspired, I like to write a list of about thirty random things I like to draw. Then from that list I pull a few elements that are not only related to each other, but that I can also relate some everyday event or happening. And sometimes I simply just draw (no thinking) and that normally helps get my creative juices flowing.
8. What female entrepreneurs inspire you?
There are so many inspiring women, who have dared to take a risk that ended up bringing them huge success. Jen Gotch, Founder and Creative Director of Ban.do, is one woman whose story and company I absolutely adore. Jen started selling flower headpieces and headbands from scratch and soon built a very prolific, not to mention insanely cute, company. As a woman with similar dreams and ambitions I admire her hustle and her courage to risk everything for her dream. Anna Bond, Founder and Creative Director of Rifle Paper Co, is another female entrepreneur whose story, drive, and hustle I admire. Anna got started in a similar way Gotch had, totally from scratch and mostly all on her own. These two women have become role models for me and my dream of one day directing my own creative company.
Margaret Flatley is an oh-so talented freelance illustrator and designer who currently resides in the
Her colourful illustrations draw inspiration from everyday moments, and are brought to life with her fun and lively perspective.
You can see all of Margaret’s beautiful work on her website and on Instagram.