Interview: Emily Harvey on Life as a Freelance Illustrator

My thanks to Emily Harvey for taking time out of her schedule to answer my questions!


Q: How long have you been freelancing for?

A: I left my full time job in an animation studio in early June 2017, I went on a 2 week holiday and started freelancing in the July!

Q: What are the biggest challenges you’ve found?

A: Definitely the uncertainty of it all. Going from a regular wage every month to not knowing whats coming next has been difficult. It's definitely tough to stay creative, yet having to promote yourself constantly to get work, especially in the beginning!

Q: How do you manage your work/life balance? (Do you ever find yourself unmotivated during working hours, or tempting to get extra work done during evenings and weekends?)

A: There are times where I feel unmotivated. During those times I just give myself a break and I walk away from my desk. If I try and force it, I only make myself miserable. It actually works out better because when I am motivated, I find myself WANTING to work those longer hours. The truth is though, I rarely work weekends. I head to my desk for 9.30am every morning and sign off by 6pm.

Q: As a freelancer, your income is naturally more flexible than someone on a fixed salary. Does this make it difficult to manage money?

A: Yes! Its hard! Im only 8 months into freelancing so Im still very early on. Luckily I've built some great relationships and work has been consistent but I do still worry every month. I have a mortgage and a car and those things need paying for! The main thing I have learnt is to not rely on just one source of income. Try and have several outlets for selling work and making money. For me, I work with animation studios, I do private commissions, I have an online Etsy shop and I sell at Craft Fairs. If one of those isn't bringing in much money one month, at least I have the other things to fall back on.

Q: Do you have any tips for others who want to start working freelance?

A: My advice is to try and save some money before you go freelance, and start now while you're still employed. Have things in place so that when you finally go out on your own you're prepared. I had my Etsy shop up and running well before leaving my job and was already doing commissions. Just remember its going to be hard. No freelancer will tell you that making the leap on your own is easy. You will have days where you question your decision and will even be tempted to go back, just take it day by day and be confident that its what you want.

Q: Where can we go to see your work?

A: I'm on all social media as @eharveyart or you can head to my website at Thanks!