We had a great time interviewing Gina Kiel, a freelance illustrator based in New Zealand. As a versatile illustrator and full time mom, she emphasizes the importance of maintaining creativity in her household.
Do your personal projects differ from your professional work? If yes, how so?
I like to be versatile so that I can take on a range of good projects which don’t always have to match with my personal work, it keeps things interesting and challenging. It’s good to mix it up so everything doesn’t end up looking the same. I put lots of love into every project I work on so I think there’s naturally an essence that ties all my work together, it’s all coming from the same place. I am pretty selective about projects that I show on my website, it’s the work I most enjoy creating and the directions I’d like to explore further. I believe one of the ultimate achievements is to attract professional commissions based on personal work.
What do you think are the most important elements to focus on, when creating a personal website?
Keeping the design of the website simple and minimal to let the work itself be the main focus is important, I think. To put thought into presenting different projects well visually and making the descriptions short but clear. Choose your best work to display and make sure you keep on top of it, update it, maintain your blog, put new work on and take off any old work that you no longer relate to, keep it current.
What is your daily routine?
My day always begins by being woken up at the crack of dawn by my nearly 2yr old! At the moment I’m a full time Mom and a part time illustrator so most days my boy Leo and I hang out and play, go to the beach, the park or visit friends. I work during his nap time and after he’s gone to bed, which is hard sometimes and I get really tired but I remind myself that I’m lucky to be able to make a living doing what I enjoy! I do have a couple of days a week where his Grandma can look after him or his Dad can come home early from work and on these days I’m super productive. I’ve found having a child has made me very efficient with the time I have.
What inspires you and keeps you motivated?
Mainly it’s the unexplainable urge to create images as a response to feelings, music, interactions, desires, life, death and nature, to name a few. I have crazy talented friends are always doing fun things which keeps me inspired and I love working with other people on creative projects. My Fiancé Harry is an amazing designer and art director, he motivates me and we are always bouncing ideas off one another. Our home is always full of creativity and we are all very musical, it’s not unusual to find us randomly bursting into songs with guitars and drums and three part harmonies!
What creative projects you’ve worked on are you most proud of?
I’ve recently been creating custom chocolate bar wrapper illustrations for a boutique Chocolate Factory here in Wellington. I’m really enjoying being able to have creative freedom based around the flavours of each chocolate bar and I love their ethos. They are a few of the handful of people hand roasting the cocoa beans and making organic Fair-trade chocolate from start to finish. But I was also super proud to win Best Album Cover of the year for the Fat Freddy’s Drop ‘Blackbird’ illustration alongside Harry and Inject Design in November!
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