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Confidence & Creativity in the Time of Corona

As someone who designs and illustrates as both a profession and in her free time, it’s easy to find myself in creative ruts from time to time. Right around the end of March PPK had moved into working from home due to the coronavirus, and I suddenly had more time to devote to creating and sharing work. And my mind was blocked.

I finally had the free time I had spent years lamenting and I didn’t even know where to start. What do I even like doing? When your hobby and your job are the same, how do you decompress?

I began to explore this by doing what I do best—suppressing my feelings and baking. Also baking.

I was feeling so productive and busy! But after the second loaf of white bread I realized that I had begun to dread slowing down because I wasn’t sure I could be creative in the perfect way that I had become so accustomed to seeing on Instagram and Dribbble. If my work didn’t look like that, how could I feel good about it?

I began to dip my toe back into illustration the most comfortable way I knew how: using it in designs for my job. When PPK began creating their socially distant greeting cards it was a chance for me to force myself to illustrate. Getting feedback on illustrations from my coworkers desensitized me to the idea of showing my work to more people. I know that sounds odd; how could a designer be a designer if she doesn’t want to show her work to anyone? While I have shared my work on social media, I have generally done so while heavily relying on my association to my job. “Check out what my company’s up to!” 

Imposter syndrome is real! I have since stumbled upon the #sixfanarts challenge on Instagram and subscribed to a few hashtags that have exposed me to more art styles than the typical Dribbble-famous look. Participating in the #sixfanarts challenge on Instagram has been a great practice in putting my own spin on existing ideas and on sharing the style of work I would like to do professionally.

About the Author

Carmen Clemente is a Graphic Designer at PPK. Her passions are illustration, design, and procrastination via baking. She is currently spending quarantine with her dog Gordo, her boyfriend Cole, and Animal Crossing.

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