Penny Royal Design https://www.pennyroyal.me Graphic Design / Illustration / Surface Pattern Design Wed, 28 Sep 2022 05:28:31 +0000 en-NZ hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=6.1.1 https://www.pennyroyal.me/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/cropped-Asset-2-32x32.png Penny Royal Design https://www.pennyroyal.me 32 32 174610733 Printable adult coloring pages are a thing?! https://www.pennyroyal.me/printable-adult-coloring-pages/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=printable-adult-coloring-pages Wed, 28 Sep 2022 05:26:17 +0000 https://www.pennyroyal.me/?p=7981 So it turns out that downloadable and printable adult coloring pages are a thing?! who knew!!

I have 11 pages in my shop, plus I have one for FREE download!

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Printable Adult Coloring Pages.

So it turns out that downloadable and printable adult coloring pages are a thing?! who knew!!

The things you learn in Facebook groups lol. I have always had an urge to create a colouring book with my hand drawn black outline illustrations. But the logistics had never quite added up in my brain. So I thought outside the box and came up with my Colouring Calendars and while I was researching those, I stumbled across downloadable and printable adult colouring pages. Which are amazing, they get rid of all of my printing and shipping issues and are quick and easy to create, the clincher was when I found that my website has a function to automate the whole download process.!

The great thing about just one page, is that it is so fun and quick to create each one, so my creativity gets full rein, with out pesky logistics and reality getting in the way 😊

Penny Royal Design Colouring Page ©_Vintage Robots downloadable adult coloring page
Penny Royal Design Colouring Page ©_Vintage Robots downloadable adult coloring page

Not just for adults

They are awesome for kids too, a quick easy way for parents to print out a colouring page at home. Without needing to buy a whole book. The child can pick the one they like and then print it out as many times as they like.

I have released 11 pages under Colouring on the Stationery page in my shop that are ready for you now, plus I have one available for FREE so you can try before you buy 💞 You can get it here

These are a new product for me. So I would love to hear any feedback from you. Especially if you are a regular coloring pages downloader!!

Have fun coloring and please send me a pic of your finished coloring pages, I would love to see your creations!!

xxx Penny

FREE DOWNLOADABLE AND PRINTABLE ADULT COLOURING PAGE

Penny Royal Design Colouring Page ©_Perching Kingfisher, Bellbird and Saddleback NZ Native Birds downloadable adult coloring page
Penny Royal Design Colouring Page ©_Perching Kingfisher, Bellbird and Saddleback NZ Native Birds downloadable adult coloring page

Printable Adult Coloring Pages

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‘Self-Employed Penny’ is smirking at ‘About To Graduate Penny’ – a 4 year perspective change https://www.pennyroyal.me/self-employed-penny-is-smirking/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=self-employed-penny-is-smirking Fri, 29 Jul 2022 02:34:32 +0000 https://www.pennyroyal.me/?p=7678 I am 100% part of the Gig Economy that I wrote about and researched.
I was convinced at the time that writing an essay was a ‘tick the box’ exercise and not really at all relevant.

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‘Self-Employed Penny’ is smirking. I had funny moment the other day when I was reading through my final years essay about the Gig Economy I had to write for my Bachelor of Arts and Media degree.

I say ‘had to write’ because I REALLY didn’t enjoy writing, especially research papers with referencing, I was there to draw pretty pictures wasn’t I?! It was an ARTS degree wasn’t it! Well, no, and man was I a pain to teach (I am sorry tutors!) while it was interesting, I complained pretty much my whole degree about having to write essays.

But, I digress, I was reading my essay and was smirking to myself, about myself, as I thought back to my headspace and thinking 4 years ago when I was writing my essay. You see, I was convinced at the time that writing an essay about my final artworks (a collection of graphic design projects and personal branding) was a ‘tick the box’ exercise and not really at all relevant, cause I wasn’t creating an artwork with a deep philosophical meaning that I had been inspired by a bunch of great artists and philosophers right!?

I thought I was just working the system, writing something that was loosely relevant to what I had created, making up some deep meaning just to tick the box and get my degree… well jokes on me, on re-reading my essay it has become strangely precognizant of what I would end up doing… what the!?

…jokes on me, on re-reading my essay it has become strangely precognizant of what I would end up doing…

Um, I probably need to explain what type of student I was for this to make sense, you see while most of my classmates were school leavers, not really that worried about the future, just having a good time with minimal responsibilities, I was a single mum of two in my 30s.

I was very much worried about my future, and my main concern was being employed when I graduated, which was one of the main reasons for choosing Graphic Design as my focus, it seemed to be the surest thing in terms of employment. I wanted a 9-3pm 4-5 days a week job with flexibility to work from home during school holidays and sick days and a regular pay check, with annual leave and sick pay.

Safe. Reliable. But still creative.

‘Self-Employed Penny’ is smirking

So, 4 years later, ‘Self-Employed Penny’ is shaking her head at ‘About To Graduate Penny’, I am 100% part of the Gig Economy that I wrote about and researched. I think this was always going to be my journey and I love the way my business works now, and I while this way of working was something that was already increasing in popularity, since the pandemic this has grown exponentially on a much wider scale.

I am 100% part of the Gig Economy that I wrote about and researched.

I have copy and pasted the first part of the essay below, cause I think you will find it interesting, and you may even resonate with it on a personal level.

If you want to read the whole essay you can find it here (the artwork project it references is here).

‘About To Graduate Penny’ having no idea 4 years later she would be part of the gig economy

Excerpt from “Creative Employment in a Gig Economy” research paper by Penny Royal

Introduction

In a society with a strong emphasis on economic-self-responsibility, it could be said that being employed in the creative industries is one of the greatest challenges facing arts graduates today. Society and how we are employed has changed drastically from when creatives were simply craftspeople,[1] and even when they became solitary geniuses, their approach to employment was wildly different from today.

What tools can be used to help art graduates gain employment in their chosen field? How can these tools be best applied to specifically present design and illustration skills into a workforce that seemingly has a self-employed bias? This paper looks at how a portfolio can be a solution to these questions, how and why the idea of a ‘gig economy’ has been used to describe society today, and how this, combined with experiences of creatives working in the industry today, has informed the authors work “Portfolio 2018”.

The Gig Economy

The term ‘gig economy’ was first used in 2009 at the height of the financial crisis in America.[2] It refers to unemployed individuals ‘gigging’[3], meaning working several part-time jobs whenever they can find employment. However, the earliest usage of the term ‘gig work’ (which is short for engagement) was actually referring to jazz musicians in the 1920’s, where they would get short term work playing music at a venue before moving on to the next location.[4]

Business journalist Christopher Niesche, believes the trend towards a gig economy is driven by the desire to achieve the “holy grail” of work-life balance, by changing from the traditional five day, nine to five working life to something more flexible.[5] But, are creatives achieving the desired flexibility that the gig economy promises?  Niesche is not convinced.

“…it is sometimes questionable to what extent workers get the flexibility they want. They can find themselves working through the night or on weekends on an urgent project because they know if they refuse it, the client will go elsewhere and cut them off from work.”[6] Niesche

Figure 1: “The Diva is Dismissed”, Poster for The
Public Theatre identity and branding campaign, by
Paula Scher, 1994.


This is an interesting point and questions the idea or the utopic notion of freedom that we are sold. Are we sacrificing financial stability for artistic freedom? Questions such as this appear to suggest that ideas surrounding the gig economy function as a façade created by optimists making the best of a changing economy. Nonetheless, there are those who prosper within this environment.

For example, Paula Scher, whose role as a partner in a large design firm, has formulated a flexible work structure, that many designers try to attain by being self-employed. She has achieved a work-life balance and makes her situation work for her.

“I balance three major things: getting business, doing business, and educating… I get to work around 9:30am and usually go home around 7pm… I’m generally in New York (at work) four days a week and in the country (at home) for three… For me, I have to have change and stability. They seem like opposites, but they’re really not: the stability is knowing that I have familiar places, and the change is mixing up what’s going on in those places.”[7] Scher

The question is where has this change to our economy come from, why has it developed, specifically in the arts, and how has this created the climate that creatives operate in today. Author and literary critic, William Deresiewicz links how the audience and changing method of earning a living from art, has been the driving force behind this. Creatives originally served apprenticeships like other craftsmen, creativity was prized, but credibility and value resulted from tradition.[8] Artists were grouped in the middle or lower middle social classes[9], below merchants.

But this started to change in the late 18th century, as part of the Romanticism[10].[11] Where individualism and originality combined with rebellion and youth, led people to break with tradition and make their own way[12]. Arts became a new creed where people pursued higher truths and artists became solitary geniuses.[13] By the modernist movement[14], a century later, the artist was at the pinnacle of their status.[15]

This idea of artists being a creative genius in their own world appears to have fixated the public’s imagination as somewhat of a fairy tale, where in reality, being a fine artist in today’s society is generally not a full time employment option, in fact, rather a part time pursuit at best, supplemented by a ‘real job’.

After WWII art became institutionalised, an entire bureaucratic system evolved, which inevitably transformed the artist from a genius to a professional.[16] The air of mystery and the sense of a divine calling disappeared[17], replaced with educated professionals who worked hard, and could prove their work was a collection of legitimate art built on, over years of hard toil.

“The genius became the professional. Now you didn’t go off to Paris and hole up in a garret to produce your masterpiece… and wait for the world to catch up with you. Like a doctor or lawyer, you went to graduate school.”[18] Deresiewicz

All of which leads us to today where the impression is that society is changing from working for big corporations your entire working life; 40-50 hours per week, focused on the next promotion; to flexible working hours and freelance/consultancy work for a range of clients, working remotely and having a range of skills. As Max Whitehead, an employment law specialist explains, we are a nation of contractors, and a large proportion of employees are now preferring to be part time.[19]

“…baby boomers want to top up their pension …. Gen Z like work life balance, high powered work for high pay and less time at work…. Millennials want flexibility, they don’t want to be committed to one business…”[20] Whitehead

While it seems to be affecting the workforce generally, it appears to be particularly prevalent in the creative industries. Where the changes are being driven by employers as well as employees, companies have the ability to pick and choose their creatives based on specific required skills for individual projects[21], rather than simply having a full-time creative department.

In portfolio specialist Fig Taylor’s opinion, the industry is changing, and multi-talented creatives are becoming more desirable, in an interview with creative director Doug Powell, he says “I think most young designers can improve their marketability by having a broad set of skills – assuming it is not watered down.”[22] Paula Scher also shares this opinion, “I believe most good designers are generalists, which means they can solve any problem.”[23]

Designers today perhaps don’t need to be specialists in one area, in fact this may not be desirable at all, having a range of skills and the ability to problem solve and think creatively appears, now, to be as important as your design skills.  

Working on a freelance basis, instead of working for one company full time, is a popular, and often necessary career path for many young creatives entering the workforce, and this often starts while still studying. French illustrator Jean Jullien studied graphic design but started working on commercial projects while he was still a student, which meant he moved into freelance self-employment quite naturally when he graduated.

Figure 2: “Checkout”, Giclee Print from Allo show at Kemistry
Gallery, by Jean Jullien, 50x70cm, 2013.


“…never really felt like I had to intentionally start a freelance design career – I just continued sharing my work and accepting jobs along the way. I worked on professional projects with clients and kept schoolwork as a playground for my creative experimentation.”[24] Jullien


This approach is also one that has been taken with “Portfolio 2018”, which is comprised of a mix of professional and personal projects. This has allowed the author to both explore and experiment with illustration, but also to gain real-world experience working with clients, expanding her graphic design experience and expertise, and further developing her ability to problem solve and think creatively.

Figure 3: “Best of Jazz Poster”, by Paula Scher, 1979.

In contrast to the author, Jullien and other graduates entering the workforce today, Scher has worked as part of a company for most of her career. In 1970[25]  she started her career as a graphic designer; when it was the norm to get work in a creative department in a large company and specialise; she started by designing the inside of children’s books, and then moved to designing record covers at CBS.[26] Now, as a partner at Pentagram[27], she finds that she works best as part of team rather than on her own as a freelancer.

“My partners at Pentagram stimulate and inspire me; I compete with them, and I like the intellectual stimulation. I was president of an organization called Alliance Graphic International for the past three years, and I have friends all over the world who are terrific designers. I’ve learned a lot from them and they make my work better.”[28] Scher


­However, when entering the workforce in the creative industries today, in the gig economy, how do these issues influence career choices and how graduates present their skills to maximise their appeal to potential employers? Whether this would be an inhouse designer for a company, a junior designer at a creative agency or indeed a freelancer with multiple clients, what strategies are likely to be effective in taking the step from student to professional?

Jullien, successfully navigated this transition by starting to do commercial work whilst still studying and then sharing his work online, capitalizing on the burgeoning blog culture that is thriving today.

Figure 4: “PETIT APPÉTIT” by Jean Jullien,
Giclee Print, A1.

“I actually started when I was still in school. In those days, it was the beginning of the blog culture, so I began posting work I was making at school on MySpace. Soon after, a blog called Manystuff found my blog and did an article on it. That started the snowball effect that characterizes blogging and social media today: as more people shared it, I started to get commissions.”[29] Jullien


An online presence is seemingly expected in today’s gig economy where creatives appear to promote themselves, not just to employers, but to the public, for freelance work. Developing an online following is often synonymous with being offered regular work. People think nothing of tracking down the creative behind a ‘liked’ image online to license the work for another application. The author has experienced this phenomenon when Stroke Foundation NZ[30] found her “Kowhai” fabric design in a google search, then traced it to her Spoonflower.com[31] shop, where they found her contact details on her website. They licensed the design from her to use in their Christmas campaign mailout (Figure 5).

Figure 5: Stroke Foundation Christmas
campaign mailout documents, 2017, photo by
Penny Royal

keep reading


[1] Deresiewicz, William. 2015. “The Death of the Artist – and the Birth of the Creative Entrepreneur.” The Atlantic. Feb. Accessed 07 28, 2017. http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2015/the-death-of-the-artist-and-the-birth-of-the-creative-entrepreneur/383497/.

[2] Hook, Leslie. 2015. “Year in a word: Gig economy.” Financial Times. 30 12. Accessed 09 25, 2018. https://www.ft.com/content/b5a2b122-a41b-11e5-8218-6b8ff73aae15.

[3] IBID

[4] IBID

[5] Niesche, Christopher. 2017. “Christopher Niesche: The rise of the gig economy.” NZ Herald. 05 02. Accessed 07 25, 2018. https://www.nzherald.co.nz/personal-finance/news/article.cfm?c_id=12&objectid=11795137.

[6] IBID

[7] Essmaker, Ryan & Tina. 2013. “Paula Scher on The Great Discontent.” The Great Discontent. 19 11. Accessed 10 19, 2018. http://thegreatdiscontent.com/interview/paula-scher.

[8] Deresiewicz, William. 2015. “The Death of the Artist – and the Birth of the Creative Entrepreneur.”.

[9] In developed nations across the world, the lower-middle class is a sub-division of the middle class that refers to households and individuals who are somewhat educated and usually stably employed, but who have not attained the education, occupational prestige, or income of the upper-middle class.

[10] A movement in the arts and literature which originated in the late 18th century, emphasizing inspiration, subjectivity, and the primacy of the individual.

[11] Deresiewicz, William. 2015. “The Death of the Artist – and the Birth of the Creative Entrepreneur.”.

[12] IBID

[13] IBID

[14] From the late 19th to the mid-20th century, particularly in the years following World War I.

[15] Deresiewicz, William. 2015. “The Death of the Artist – and the Birth of the Creative Entrepreneur.”.

[16] Deresiewicz, William. 2015. “The Death of the Artist – and the Birth of the Creative Entrepreneur.”.

[17] IBID

[18] IBID

[19] Whitehead, Max, interview by Karyn Hay. 2018. “Getting to grips with the ‘Gig Economy’.” Lately with Karyn Hay 18 October 2018. RNZ. 18 10. Accessed 10 23, 2018. https://www.radionz.co.nz/audio/player?audio_id=2018667467.

[20] IBID

[21] Taylor, Fig. 2012. How to Create a Portfolio and Get Hired: A guide for Graphic Designers and Illustrators. Second Edition. London, UK: Laurence King Publishing Ltd. Page 22.

[22] Taylor, Fig. 2012. How to Create a Portfolio and Get Hired: A guide for Graphic Designers and Illustrators. Page 22.

[23] Scher, Paula. 1992. The Graphic Design Portfolio: How to Make a Good One. New York: Watson-Guptill Publications. Page 12.

[24] Heneveld, Tammi. 2016. “Jean Jullien.” The Great Discontent. 09 08. Accessed 04 04, 2018. https://thegreatdiscontent.com/interview/jean-jullien.

[25] Essmaker, Ryan & Tina. 2013. “Paula Scher on The Great Discontent.”

[26] IBID

[27] Pentagram is the world’s largest independently-owned design studio.

[28] Essmaker, Ryan & Tina. 2013. “Paula Scher on The Great Discontent.”

[29] Heneveld, Tammi. 2016. “Jean Jullien.”

[30] The Stroke Foundation is a New Zealand charitable national organisation that supports stroke survivors, and their families and friends.

[31] Spoonflower.com is an American based website that sells custom printed fabrics, wallpaper and giftwrap. Designers can upload their designs and sell them for a commission.

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Creativity in Lockdown… or rather, a lack of https://www.pennyroyal.me/creativity-in-lockdown-or-rather-a-lack-of/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=creativity-in-lockdown-or-rather-a-lack-of Thu, 09 Sep 2021 18:05:48 +0000 http://www.pennyroyal.me/?p=5584 I have been quiet on social media and apart from a couple of stories, I haven’t posted anything since NZ went into Level 4 lockdown a couple of weeks ago, and while I don’t feel like I need to do a big dramatic explanation on why I haven’t posted on social media in 3 weeks… cause seriously, I don’t think anyone even noticed lol!! I do think that we are all guilty of only sharing the highlights of our lives and that’s not healthy for anyone out there who is struggling, and if I can normalise struggles and let someone know they are not alone, then I think this is worth it.

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Creativity in Lockdown. I have been writing this post in my head for a couple of days… not quite sure how to write it, what form it should take, or how much to share… oh man I just read that and realised it sounds super dramatic and serious… I am fine!!

But I have been quiet on social media and apart from a couple of stories, I haven’t posted anything since NZ went into Level 4 lockdown a couple of weeks ago, and while I don’t feel like I need to do a big dramatic explanation on why I haven’t posted on social media in 3 weeks… cause seriously, I don’t think anyone even noticed lol!! I do think that we are all guilty of only sharing the highlights of our lives and that’s not healthy for anyone out there who is struggling, and if I can normalise struggles and let someone know they are not alone, then I think this is worth it.

So… get to the point… already super wordy sorry!! (I had thought this could just be a quick insta post caption… think it’s a blog post… oops) … I have posted before about self-care and how I manage my mental health in my everyday life, which I do mostly successfully. Well, it turns out that global pandemics and nationwide lockdowns trigger a bit of anxiety in me… I mean who knew!

(Full disclaimer I realise that living in NZ we are super lucky with lockdowns and covid related tragedies, but also we can’t dismiss our own struggles by saying that other people have it much worse so we should be fine… (mental health doesn’t work like that)… it helps with perspective, but it doesn’t help with acknowledging your struggles so you can deal with them).

After going through the same thing last year in our first lockdown, I realised pretty quickly what was happening and knew that ignoring it, pushing through, “hardening up” and “hustling” actually only makes it worse for me.

So, I had to just stop.

Now in a lockdown, I am in a bubble with my two kids and no other adults, which even though my kids were great (largely because of sooooo much screen time and WhatsApp group chats with their friends), it is still hard being the only adult in your bubble. I work from home most of the time anyway, and I am by no means an essential worker, so you would think this would just be a walk in the park, carry on as usual, just with kids at home. But alas, I didn’t have the mental capacity to function.

A personality trait I have is that when things get hard in my life I start shutting down/off and stopping things until I get to a point where I can cope, and then I start adding things back in as I can deal with them… this does work for me, but it means I am not great at asking for help and luckily my close friends and family know that if I go quiet and they don’t hear from me then I am probably struggling with something and they check in on me (Life tip: surround yourself with amazing people and love them hard).

So, when we went into lockdown again my priorities became real simple, me and my kids’ mental health and did we have food/shelter/warmth. That was basically it to be honest. If I tried to sit at my computer or “be productive” I would get waves of anxiety where my chest would get tight, and I would feel low level panicky and if I tried to ignore it I would end up in tears. Now I am a pretty logical person, and this emotional stuff is super frustrating to me because my logical brain knows that we are totally safe, there is no immediate danger, I have everything sorted, I trust that people much smarter and knowledgeable than me have this all under control… I just have to stay home… seriously, we are good. But my emotional side is not logical… like at all.

So, I just got through day by day, I read trashy books, ate treats, watched trash TV, knitted fugly blankets, did online video workouts with my personal trainer and spoke to my friends and family on video calls. After the first few days the worst of it settled luckily, but I still felt really brain foggy, un-motivated, couldn’t concentrate or focus, tired… (I have since read a post by @shityoushouldcareabout about Languishing that gave me a name for how I was feeling) So I wasn’t really productive at all, just getting the most urgent work done and leaving the rest.

One of my “fugly” (f@#king ugly!) blanket creations. These are an antidote to creating beautiful things that follow client briefs or need to be beautiful so that people will buy them… they have no rules, I can change my mind and cast off at any point, I make it up as I go, it can clash and not work out and it keeps my twitchy creative fingers busy while I am watching TV. I used to draw, but since I started Penny Royal Design drawing feels like work, so I started knitting instead.

And day by day I felt better and was able to do more and 2 days ago (when we went back into Level 2) was the first time I could feel my motivation and creative inspiration come back and it was glorious… like, I can actually do this thing again… life, work, being a self-employed creative.

Creativity in Lockdown

I did do some work over the lockdown, but not much and only the most urgent, and nothing particularly creative. I realise the privileged position that I am in, in that I am self-employed so I can choose what I do, and my part-time job was super understanding. I have also got several passive income streams that were not affected by lockdown, this was in part to the lovely, amazing people choosing to support small local businesses at this time and I am soooo grateful to everyone who purchased art prints, greeting cards, t-shirts, fabric and wallpaper over this time… you kept the lights on and the food in the cupboards xxxx

So, what is the point to this post… know that even if you don’t have a serious mental illness, stuff is hard and it’s ok if you have a hard time and can’t do all the things, all the time. You are human and it’s ok. Life is not normal at the moment, and it does suck, yes other people have it worse, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have every reason to feel a bit shit, or a lot! Do what you need to, to be ok, ask for help and know that you aren’t a failure, you aren’t alone, and it will get easier.

Ok… so enough with the unsolicited advice from a creative with absolutely no training/qualifications in anything related to mental health or pandemics!!! This is why I have been quiet, but I am back now and am going to get back to creating pretty things and sharing my creations with you.

Big, virtual, socially distanced hugs to all of you xxx

Penny

P.S. If you are struggling with mental health issues, just like if you were physically sick you would go to a trained professional doctor, please get help and advice from a trained professional (not a random person on the internet!).

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My First Year of Self-Employment: Health and Self Care https://www.pennyroyal.me/my-first-year-of-self-employment-health-and-self-care/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=my-first-year-of-self-employment-health-and-self-care Mon, 20 Jul 2020 22:08:26 +0000 http://box5409.temp.domains/~pennyro1/?p=1156 My First Year of Self-Employment: Health & Self Care Health and Self Care. I had a few health issues last year (I have IBS – Irritable Bowel Syndrome, which is triggered by stress and a bunch of food intolerances) which has added an extra challenge to my first year in business. While it has been […]

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My First Year of Self-Employment: Health & Self Care

Health and Self Care. I had a few health issues last year (I have IBS – Irritable Bowel Syndrome, which is triggered by stress and a bunch of food intolerances) which has added an extra challenge to my first year in business. While it has been frustrating (and downright unpleasant) to be dealing with this, it has meant that I have had to put in place a self-care strategy that I may otherwise have not “gotten around to”. 

Having two children as a single parent and being self-employed is inherently stressful, so managing my stress is very important for me to function. I have learnt the hard way what my limits are and what the warning signs are that I am getting to my limits. This has meant limiting the hours I work each week… I keep track of all my hours in a spreadsheet with graphs etc (I am secretly a spreadsheet nerd, I LOVE it when you put the data in and it magically works out useable information!) and I could see a very clear trend of every time my hours started creeping up I would get sick… so I just had to work less and accept that being healthy physically and mentally for my children (and myself) was more important. The flexibility of self-employment is amazing! 

I also found activities/treats that I could implement for self-care to maintain my health… mostly mental health to be honest. This was hard because as mothers on a budget we tend to always put our children first and go without for ourselves… it isn’t “necessary”… but our children need us to be functioning at our very best, to be great mothers, and if we are struggling with life and feeling shit… we aren’t being our best motherly selves! 

So I started adding in some things into my life that were do-able: 

My Dad offered to look after my kids every Thursday night so I could attend a quiz night with my Mum, it is amazing to interact with adults in a social setting on a regular basis! The kids love it, it has become Grandad Pizza night, and they get quite disappointed if my Dad gets stuck at work and can’t look after them.

I started getting my nails done every 2-3 weeks as a treat – gel polish from a lovely local mum who works from home. It’s a small thing, but it lasts longer than a massage and is cheaper than getting my hair done and I can look down and see my beautiful nails and feel good and feel pampered once a fortnight, plus they look beautiful in drawing videos for social media!!

Give myself permission to just have a blob night or day, when I don’t have the kids and I am feeling tired, and not feel guilty. Sometimes it means saying no to invitations to go out, which is hard when you don’t go out much and feel like you need to make the most of every opportunity. But for myself I have found that I need complete alone time to recharge fairly regularly. Although I am pretty confident and social, at heart I am a bit of an introvert and need to retreat from everything when I get overwhelmed with life. Netflix and some dairy and gluten free snacks on my couch in an empty house is exactly what I need sometimes.

I started having lunch with my Mum on Mondays most weeks, it is a lovely chance to spend quality time with just the two of us (no pesky kids around) and gives both of us a chance to destress and encourage each other once a week. I also try to catch up with some of my mum friends once a fortnight or month for coffee or lunch while the kids are at school. I have an amazing group of super real and honest ladies who are going through the same struggles that I am and are always supportive and understanding and uplifting. There is something very reassuring about hearing that someone else is having just as much of a shit time with their kids that you are … or they did last week and this week is better. It makes you realise that you aren’t actually the worst mum in the world, your kid is just as badly behaved as everyone else’s, and you can actually do it, because they are, these amazing women that you wish you were more like.

I also see a counsellor/life coach/mentor every fortnight. I started going mostly to help me with parenting a challenging 10-year-old, but having not done any counselling or anything before, I now think everyone should go at some stage. It shouldn’t have stigma attached to it, we go to see a GP if we are physically not doing great. Our mental health is just as important… in fact is it possibly more important as it can affect our physical health. We owe it to ourselves to not merely survive life, but to thrive, and in order to do that we need to learn healthy coping mechanisms and deal with past trauma. 

Now trauma doesn’t need to be abuse or death for it to affect us, it can be small things we didn’t think were a big deal, but they can be. It can also be nice to sit and chat with someone who is removed from your personal situation and has a neutral point of view who is trained to give good advice. 

I think we are so often conditioned to put a positive spin on things and “toughen up”, that stoic New Zealand psyche, that we often gloss over the hard stuff, we tell ourselves “… oh so and so has it so much harder than we do..” or “… it could be worse…” but even if things aren’t dire or tragic, they can still be really hard and we can be holding a lot of balls in the air. 

Health and Self Care

I will often just be chatting with my counsellor about what’s happening in my life in quite a happy accepting tone, not complaining, just explaining … and he will stop and look at me and say “You are holding a lot at the moment, you are really stretched and tired and you have a lot to deal with, its hard”. There is power in someone else acknowledging that yes, it is hard, and yes I am tired and I am totally justified in feeling drained and stressed. Having someone acknowledge your struggles (that isn’t your mum) is an empowering feeling, to feel heard and seen. It’s not that they are trying to take your struggles away or fix anything, they are saying that you are coping with a lot, and its ok to feel overwhelmed and tired, it’s understandable, you aren’t weak or a failure. In fact you are strong and capable and kicking arse… keep going, you have been doing it, so you can keep doing it.

Those items are part of my maintenance plan… when I am struggling I step it up a notch with making appointments with other professionals that make me feel good. These can be a pamper type appointment for reflexology or a massage or my hairdresser, or they can be a treatment type appointment with a holistic health practitioner like an osteopath, naturopath, homeopath, reiki, etc., whatever I feel like I need at the time. I am lucky enough to have special healing people in my life that combine several specialities in the same beautiful person and I often find myself feeling like I need to go see them for no specific reason other than a feeling they can help… and they always do 😊

I have also just joined the gym and signed up with a personal trainer. Now anyone that knows me, knows this is a big deal… I have always hated exercise and never set foot in a gym until a few months ago when my work decided it would be great if, as a team, we did the Wairua Warrior (a 6km obstacle course)! In order to prepare (so I didn’t die!) we did a series of training sessions with an amazing personal trainer, Jules from City Fitness, and I realised that I could actually do it, it wasn’t scary, and Jules is the most non-judgey, kind but motivating person, ever.

So I don’t have a big weight loss goal or anything (I don’t even own a set of scales), but I do want to be fitter, stronger and healthier. And the mental health and stress reduction benefits of going to the gym have been the best part for me, which has a flow on effect to the rest of my life.

I have a few items I want to add to my self-care plan, as my financial situation allows, they are: to get a house cleaner for 1-2 hours a week (let’s be honest, I hate housework, I would much prefer to be designing something beautiful than cleaning my house… and I can earn more per hour doing it than it will cost to pay a cleaner), same goes for gardening… Some people find gardening relaxing and love doing it. I love picking flowers and that is about it. I would rather relax by going for a motorbike or a horse ride! So I would love to get a gardener for a couple of hours a week as well. I would also like to get my hair done more regularly and go to the movies more often. But we all need goals… and I am working towards earning enough to put these in place, baby steps!

Penny xxx

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My First Year of Self-Employment: How did it happen? https://www.pennyroyal.me/my-first-year-of-self-employment-how-did-it-happen/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=my-first-year-of-self-employment-how-did-it-happen Fri, 20 Mar 2020 22:00:44 +0000 http://box5409.temp.domains/~pennyro1/?p=1151 My First Year of Self-Employment: How did it happen? How did it happen? Now I didn’t go straight into full-time self-employment… in fact, I am still not 100% self-employed. As I have said in my previous post, I am a baby-steps person and with two kids I needed income stability, and jumping straight from being […]

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My First Year of Self-Employment: How did it happen?

How did it happen? Now I didn’t go straight into full-time self-employment… in fact, I am still not 100% self-employed. As I have said in my previous post, I am a baby-steps person and with two kids I needed income stability, and jumping straight from being a student to finding enough clients to support myself straight away was too scary for this risk-averse Taurean! 

So I was lucky enough to secure a part-time job for a local European roofing tools company, Fribesco Ltd as their in-house Graphic Designer before I graduated. They hadn’t had an in-house designer before so I started by doing three days a week and as I caught up on the bigger one-off jobs to start with and then set up templates and processes for the regular jobs. I have transitioned to now only needing to do one day a week there. This has worked out organically and with perfect timing in conjunction with my own self-employed work picking up to where I now need the other four days a week to keep up with demand.

Something I am incredibly grateful for are my fabulous clients. I have been so lucky to get all of my work by word of mouth and I wonder if this has been a factor in how awesome my clients are. I have a couple of larger clients who send me regular work, generally advertising, layout and illustrations. I get to go into their beautiful workplaces and work alongside them for part of the time and via email at home the rest of the time. I also have smaller one-off clients pretty regularly that are usually logo designs, illustration commissions, small advertisements and are a great addition to my workload bringing variety and extra income.

One thing that has contributed to me becoming financially independent and for which I am so grateful, is my clients being super prompt payers. For anyone who has been self-employed, this can make or break a business and I am lucky to have amazing clients.

I am also working to expand on the passive income side of my business. Don’t let the ‘passive’ description fool you though; to create passive income you need to spend a lot of time and energy to get it up and running and making money. My main source of passive income at the moment is Spoonflower, where I upload repeating designs to be printed on fabric and wallpaper. There is quite a bit of work involved in creating the designs and uploading/proofing them but once they are set for sale on the site I just collect a 10% commission every time someone buys one of my designs, with Spoonflower doing all the work! The best thing about creating repeating designs is I actually love doing it, it doesn’t feel like work and I get the complete creative freedom to design whatever inspires me, it is a lovely balance to doing client work.

One other source of passive income that I have just started and am still developing is selling art prints of my designs. This is still very much in the setting upstage. I have put a lot of time into it and am still working out what works and what doesn’t, finding suppliers/packaging/delivery options/selling options/retailers. But I love the product and it is a great way to use artwork I have already created for another purpose in another format to appeal to a greater range of people. These are currently available on my website and I am working on getting these into retailers, which is exciting.

I am also looking into other sources of passive income and hopefully, bigger and more exciting things are on the horizon!

Working in different locations, for different clients, on multiple different projects all simultaneously does seem crazy and taking multi-tasking to a whole other crazy level! However, I am a pretty organised person who fanatically puts everything into my diary that I take everywhere. This allows me to carefully schedule my time and not over-commit myself so I can always hit deadlines and clearly communicate with my clients what is and isn’t achievable. I am also the kind of person that thrives on pressure and challenges; I easily get bored and would find it hard to be working with the same people on the same projects in the same environment week after week. I love the variety of my job. 

Also, by scheduling my work from multiple groups means I have a lot of flexibility for working around my children and my self-care appointments (more about self-care in my next post) which is the payoff of being self-employed. I can organise my availability around things I want to do and my clients are used to working with me in blocks of time around each other and are thankful for the time I can give them, instead of being resentful of the time I can’t give them. It’s funny when people ask me… “If you could change your job, what you would like to do?” I can honestly say that this is what I have already done that; I studied so I could do what I wanted to do, and now I am doing it… even if I won Lotto, I would still continue doing what I do… maybe with less client work and more illustrations, with all the flash design toys and a nicer car… I would still be doing this, which to be honest is pretty damn cool 😊

Thanks for reading and look out for the next post in this series … My First Year of Self-Employment: Health & Self Care

Penny xxx

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My First Year of Self-Employment: I did it!! https://www.pennyroyal.me/my-first-year-of-self-employment-i-did-it/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=my-first-year-of-self-employment-i-did-it Mon, 20 Jan 2020 21:48:06 +0000 http://box5409.temp.domains/~pennyro1/?p=1147 My First Year of Self-Employment: I did it!! I did it!!. December 2019 marked the one-year anniversary of me graduating and starting to work as a Creative. It has been one of the more challenging and rewarding experiences of my life. I am a Taurean, which means I like stability and certainty and I am […]

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My First Year of Self-Employment: I did it!!

I did it!!. December 2019 marked the one-year anniversary of me graduating and starting to work as a Creative. It has been one of the more challenging and rewarding experiences of my life.

I am a Taurean, which means I like stability and certainty and I am not a natural risk-taker… I tend to need to be pushed to make a big decision or take a risk. As you can imagine this makes self-employment challenging! I also am like most Creatives in that we tend to doubt our abilities and be very self-critical, putting yourself out there as a brand is scary… and hard.

But. 

Someone wise said that nothing in life worth having came easily… or something like that… and achieving two of my #pennyslist goals of being financially independent and supporting myself with my own business last year has been so rewarding. I am a single mum of two (8yrs and 11yrs) and being able to support us, doing a job that I love, with the flexibility to be there for them is what inspired me to study.

However, one thing I wasn’t really prepared for, was how unsettling and hard it would be for me to adjust to working life after study. I vividly remember thinking at the time that I wanted to be one year into the future when everything was sorted and I knew it was going to be ok. Well, I am not sure that everything is sorted, but it is all ok… well it’s great. I am very much still growing my business, but I have some stability now, with regular clients and income.

My dreams and ideas that seemed so far away from being a reality when I was studying and even eight months ago, are now starting to become my life, it is exciting and satisfying to know that I can do it. It is now giving me the confidence to dream bigger and think outside the box and believe that it will happen.

Baby-steps

I am a baby-steps person and believe that things happen for a reason, and if it is right it will work out, and if it doesn’t work out it wasn’t right for me. So my journey is a little slower than others, but as each new thing is a success, I gain confidence and dream a little bigger. I keep my mind open to new opportunities and directions and by being my own boss, I can follow each new idea and opportunity as I feel inspired, this is the joy of being self-employed.

Now when I first started to think about writing this blog post I was intending it to be a single post, fairly short, a bit of a reflection and a celebration of my first year… but 2500 words into it I realised that I had quite a bit to say about my first year… challenges I had faced and how I overcame them, what I learned, how my business works and the things I love about that, what challenges there are…

So, I have decided that I will separate them into a series of blog posts, cut them into relevant and easily digestible portions that I hope will be interesting 😊

This also aligns with my realisation that as a freelancer, people are investing in me as much as my work or products, so I should start sharing… me… on my social media and not just my work.

So, I have started doing some Instagram stories where I speak to the camera and tell people about my work, or my day, or my processes, which is kinda scary putting yourself out there and feels quite awkward, but is becoming more natural and is a great, quick way for people to get to know who you are. Writing this series of blog posts is also another way for me to bring me into my business and for people to learn more about me, and perhaps find some inspiration and common ground with me.

Thanks for reading and do look out for the next post in this series … My First Year of Self-Employment: How did it happen?

Penny xxx

I did it!!

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I did it!!! Art Degree Done. https://www.pennyroyal.me/degree-done/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=degree-done Wed, 19 Jun 2019 20:30:44 +0000 http://box5409.temp.domains/~pennyro1/?p=1117 This happened a few months ago now… but after 4 years studying at NMIT… I now have a Bachelor of Arts & Media degree! I started this journey as a newly separated mother of two young children, struggling with her self-worth on a sole parent benefit. Having worked my whole adult life before having children, I […]

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This happened a few months ago now… but after 4 years studying at NMIT… I now have a Bachelor of Arts & Media degree!

I started this journey as a newly separated mother of two young children, struggling with her self-worth on a sole parent benefit. Having worked my whole adult life before having children, I found myself in a life situation I had not planned for, or ever expected.

I have always been creative; with a very logical brain, this had never let me pursue art as a legitimate income source up to that point. But, with my future now completely wide open and totally different from how I had planned, I decided to think outside the box.

So in 2014 I walked into NMIT and got an information brochure for the creative industries.

Having my children made me realise that if I was going to be spending much of my time away from them working, then it needed to be something that I enjoyed and appreciated… or at least, didn’t hate! Before this, I had never had a job which I considered a career; they were just a means to an end. But, in my mid 30’s, I thought that just maybe… I could start something that I was passionate about, and was even quite good at.

The logical part of my brain determined that Graphic Design was probably the most sensible for me; I had always enjoyed helping other creatives evolve their business. Not only that, but I was now supporting two children, and I knew that in theory, I would be able to work from anywhere and be flexible with the kids school pick-ups and drop-offs, sick days and school holidays.

The next part of this story, may have been a sign from the universe. I am naturally quite a cautious person and like to ease into things, so I ensure I can cope with them. But, when someone on Facebook shared a Grab One link to a Semester One Paper on Graphic Design at NMIT for only $90, I knew I could probably JUST stretch for that money, plus it was only one day a week, during school hours so I could put my youngest into childcare for one day a week, I knew it was a commitment that I could at least be realistic about sticking to.

I simply loved that class. Next semester I picked up another class and the year after that, I picked up one more. So, after two years I had completed the first year of my Bachelor of Arts and Media degree.

Later that year, my parents moved back to Nelson and my youngest started school, so with the support of my family helping me with the kids now and then, I decided to go hard. I went back to NMIT full time, and finished my final two years.

I explored print making and painting, as they are art forms that I highly appreciate; however, the longer I studied, the more I gravitated towards graphic design and illustration, making them my specialties.

So! Here we are. Four-something years later, I have a bachelor’s degree in Art and Media, and I have a part time job working as an in-house graphic designer/marketing person, for a European roofing tools company. In addition to this, I’m also a freelance graphic designer, illustrator and surface designer where I get to have a lot of creative freedom and indulge my love of creating.

When I’m not working, I’m a mum to my two beautiful children, (which is still like having a full-time job). Yes, I’m still working on my job/life/mum balance, but I honestly love it.

I get to be creative for my job, pursue my own art projects and I have the flexibility to be a mum. I’m constantly learning (often the hard way) but I’m growing as a person, a mother, a professional and a creative. Bring on the next four years.

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2018 Graduation Exhibition https://www.pennyroyal.me/2018-graduation-exhibition/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=2018-graduation-exhibition Fri, 14 Jun 2019 08:47:53 +0000 http://box5409.temp.domains/~pennyro1/?p=1123 2018 Graduation Exhibition. As art students at NMIT the culmination of our 3 year degree is an exhibition showcasing our final years work, for me this was a portfolio of graphic design and illustration work. In November last year, as a class we held the annual BAM exhibition in Nelson, NZ at NMIT. It was a wonderful […]

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2018 Graduation Exhibition.

As art students at NMIT the culmination of our 3 year degree is an exhibition showcasing our final years work, for me this was a portfolio of graphic design and illustration work.

In November last year, as a class we held the annual BAM exhibition in Nelson, NZ at NMIT. It was a wonderful celebration of our hard work before we stepped into the real world.

Wall Statement from the Exhibition:

Portfolio 2018

As an illustrator and graphic designer whose cross-disciplinary approach is diverse yet cohesive, the portfolio construct is an ideal way to present my skills in a range of media. Digitally collected into a slideshow, the full collection of projects completed this year is displayed along with the branding I have developed for my own practice. This portfolio includes work commissioned by clients as well as personal projects. A selection of works have been profiled, liberated from the page so to speak, and installed into this exhibition context.

Purl Foundry

Brief: Create a logo and develop brand identity for an online knitting pattern business. Develop illustrations for knitting patterns from reference photos provided by client. Develop promotional material that fits with the current product (pdf patterns printed on home printer, black and white).

Goatsbeard

Brief: Design a label and develop a name for a local craft beer. The design must stand out amongst locally available craft beers. Create a mockup of the design presented on an actual bottle. Develop promotional material for the product. (Class set project)

The Story Inside My Head

Brief: To bring the disciplines of art and literature together, in a quirky and imaginative layout. Create an innovative way to move past ‘art speak’ and critical jargon so that gallery visitors connect with the feelings and personalities of the contributing artists of the exhibition. Create a design, that responds to the title of the exhibition. The design will be used to serve a promotional purpose as well as define the look and feel of the exhibition’s catalogue.

Oh, and I got a Distinction award from Impressions Gallery

🙂

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Kowhai Design for Stroke Foundation https://www.pennyroyal.me/kowhai-design-for-stroke-foundation/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=kowhai-design-for-stroke-foundation Sun, 12 Nov 2017 13:28:52 +0000 http://box5409.temp.domains/~pennyro1/?p=1134 Kowhai Design for Stroke Foundation. The Stroke Foundation of NZ recently licensed one of my surface designs to use for their Christmas fundraising campaign, which was super exciting  🙂 The mailout included, a piece of giftwrap and example gift tag stickers, as well letterheads and was posted out to 50,000 NZ addresses 🙂 If you […]

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Kowhai Design for Stroke Foundation.

The Stroke Foundation of NZ recently licensed one of my surface designs to use for their Christmas fundraising campaign, which was super exciting  🙂

The mailout included, a piece of giftwrap and example gift tag stickers, as well letterheads and was posted out to 50,000 NZ addresses 🙂

If you would like to donate to the Stroke Foundation click here.

You can see other products I have created with this design here

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‘Lavender’s Eggs’ is being Published! https://www.pennyroyal.me/lavenders-eggs-is-being-published/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=lavenders-eggs-is-being-published Sun, 12 Nov 2017 09:15:08 +0000 http://box5409.temp.domains/~pennyro1/?p=1161 ‘Lavender’s Eggs’ is being Published!. Our Kickstarter campaign was fully funded today, so now we can get the book printed!!!!! I am so excited and grateful to everybody that has contributed to our campaign and made this happen, thank you sooooo much!!! The best bit is there is still 15 days to go on the […]

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‘Lavender’s Eggs’ is being Published!.

Our Kickstarter campaign was fully funded today, so now we can get the book printed!!!!!

I am so excited and grateful to everybody that has contributed to our campaign and made this happen, thank you sooooo much!!!

The best bit is there is still 15 days to go on the Kickstarter campaign, so that means people have until the 28th November to order a copy of the book for the special cheaper Kickstarter price of NZ$22.00 inc postage within NZ. (After 28th Nov the books will be NZ$24.95 + postage).

Order yours now

Thank you!!

P.S. I turned a bunch of my illustrations into wallpaper, fabric and homewares designs, check then out here!!

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