A common refrain from us freelancers/self-employed, work-at-home people is how lonesome and isolating it can get. Not just the physical “being alone” part, but how the work itself starts to feel disconnected from the rest of the world or in a weird little vacuum chamber.
Sometimes when you really need some feedback to push it, this is bad. And sometimes it’s good because you’re able to create weird little original pieces without too much influence.
In my case, on a particularly self-loathing day last year, it was both: I had wasted so much of my workday spiraling into the abyss of Instagram that out of desperation just to create SOMETHING of my own, I doodled a self-portrait in my sketchbook and posted it on my own feed. It was me, hiding behind a sign of shame (like those poor dogs on the internet who destroy a living room while their owners are gone, or eat Costco-sized rations of Cheese Puffs or whatever). And it said, like a confession, “I didn’t make any art today. I was too busy looking at other people’s art on Instagram.”
People responded to it well, and then, I kinda forgot about it.
Then months later, a woman who had hired me for some calligraphy and became a friend here in Portland, who also happens to own Paper Epiphanies, reached out with a proposal to collaborate on a line of cards with her for spring 2019 release.
When we went to lunch to chat about her vision for it, lo and behold, the illustration she referenced was that weird, sad, confessional Instagram post.
We decided to structure the collab in the same way: womxn communicating their hearts through signs. Some are more confessional than others, but the formula worked across all our designs.
After a few weeks of going back and forth on copy suggestions, revisions, and edits, it was time for me to do the artwork. At our first in-person review, a few were first-draft shoo-ins (otherwise known as the BEST most VALIDATING feeling as an illustrator) and a few just were not working for us.
Our initial artwork deadline ended up falling during a semi-last minute trip to London my husband and I were taking, but with the magic of the internet, and the flexibility of self-employment, I was able to get her all final art files from across the Atlantic in time for our production deadline.
Ten heartfelt, honest, specific, usable greeting cards, and the first JROCROxPE collab. I’m so proud of it and hope you love it!
The cards are ONLY available for purchase over at Paper Epiphanies BUT, I am happy to announce that I have exclusive rights to two designs to sell as 8x10” letterpress art prints.
One is the “I’m in awe of your strength” message, which is so perfect as a gift to a struggling or triumphant friend, partner, or loved one.
And the other? Of course it’s the original inspiration for the line:
Both are available for purchase right here on this old website. Bop over here to throw a few in your cart!