Illustration Inspiration: Tabitha Emma Interview

How did you get started as a Freelance Artist?
I started out on etsy. I was struggling to find full time work in my industry, so I decided to give etsy a go, and from there entered the world of blogging and sharing my work. I was selling handmade purses and illustrations. From there I got offered some custom illustration jobs, and things just grew from there. I then went on to do a graphic design course, and began to also offer design services.

What do you look to for your inspiration?
I draw inspiration from all over the place. Some clients will send me links and images of things they like for inspiration, and I also keep a big collection of websites that inspire me. Pinterest is a great resource for collecting online inspiration too. In the offline world, I collect a lot of old things, vintage bits, books, magazines, random bits of paper. I also always keep my eyes open to the world around me, being inspired by buildings, nature, signage and shop displays.

How long does it take you to do an illustration, start to finish?
It really depends on the illustration, but usually only a day or two. Design work is usually more time consuming than illustration work.
What is your process when working with clients? Can you explain your typical job?
It usually starts with discuss what they require, and their vision, as well as finding out more about them or their business and how they want to be perceived. Then I look at their inspirations, and gather my own, and begin work on drafts. I then get their feedback and refine it until they are happy. Then proceed with final artwork, or in the case of a website, coding.

Can you walk us through your process?
Rather than just create something pretty, I also like to create with purpose. What is the client trying to communicate, how do they want to be perceived, what first impression do they want to give. So I try to consider the communication behind the design.  But of course a story can be told many ways, so in most cases I start with a few concepts, a few different and possible similar interpretations, and then see what the client thinks of them. I actually find you get a better result when working with a good client then doing a personal project, as you get a second opinion, and new eye, and they may see or think of something I didn’t and so together the result is better.  

Do you get ‘Creative Block’ and how do you push through it?
I usually only feel a creative block, if I am over worked and tired, because I am pushing my brain too hard and it can’t think creatively. So the best thing is to take a break, if its at night, go to bed early, or if during the day, go outside for a bit, just relax and refresh, and let go of the stress, then my mind can refocus on creative things.
What Advice do you have for new kids starting out in the Freelance field?
Keep at it, I find the more work I do the more I get, as word of mouth spreads and my name gets out more. So don’t give up when things seem slow, just keep working (even if it’s personal projects). If you find no jobs coming your way, start personal projects (and blog about them, or sell them on etsy).


  1. I love Tabitha Emma, so this was a fantastic read for me! Very inspiring. xxx

  2. She's on CrossStitcher Magazine next month, amazing!

    1. She is always doing so well with her career. I'll have to take a peak at the mag coming out x