I'm taking a short break... my shop will reopen on Friday 26th July 2024.

What does an illustrator do all day?

When I’m explaining to anyone that I'm an illustrator I think most people assume I sit all day and draw. Sadly this just isn’t the case; there’s a lot more admin than you might expect! Here's a day in my life...


My alarm goes off at 6.30am every weekday morning. I normally check my phone and look at any orders that have come in overnight before I get up.

Every Monday we meet some friends to go climbing before work - we leave the house around 7.30am and get an hour’s climb in at the Climbing Hangar, before a coffee and a catch up.

Into the studio

I've had a home studio since we moved house in 2022; it's definitely the right decision for me at this point, but I wouldn't rule out having a workspace outside of the house again in the future.

We’re normally home by about 10am, which is when I head into the studio and start printing off my orders. While my orders and postage labels are printing I check on emails and spend a bit of time on my accounts.  I’m always listening to a podcast - a mixture of true crime, comedy and entertainment.

Week to week it varies how busy I am, but on an average Monday I’d have between 20 and 30 orders to complete and post.  I grab a coffee and crack on with creating all the orders for greetings cards and prints that have come in over the weekend - packing them and getting ready for my trip to the Post Office.

Normally I’m done by lunchtime - so I’ll head over to the Post Office around 1pm, sometimes a bit earlier.  It’s a short walk, but it’s nice to get out of the house. If it’s nice weather I might have a longer wander back.


My favourite thing about working from home is that I can have a nice lunch (and watch TV while I’m eating it)!  My usual lunches are leftovers from the night before - or avocado on toast. On a Tuesday, when I have the house to myself, I normally have a veggie BLT as a treat. I have half an hour of trashy TV then - on a Monday - a quick shower and change out of my climbing gear before getting back to work.


Orders out of the way, if I’m not delivering training/mentoring then the afternoon is normally for working on new projects. If I have a commission on the go then I will have a look at this, spend some time working on it and get any proofs over to the client.

When it comes to commissions, the communication can sometimes take as long as the actual time I spend drawing; it’s really important to get it right for the client. I work with a variety of different clients, from local councils and housing associations, to universities, hotels and local businesses and charities. Some clients will want completely bespoke illustrations, others just a tweak to an existing illustration.  These images are used for all sorts of purposes - some purely for digital marketing, some for packaging or stationery and sometimes for huge vinyls on walls.

I make sure I have a bit of a plan for social media for the week, and have a look at what I want to work on for the rest of the week. I’ll write lists of tasks for each day for the rest of the week; I add to these throughout the week too.

As I don’t post out on Tuesdays and Thursdays, I take a bit of time to make sure I have a clear-ish plan for these days. On a Monday I’ll try and do any necessary research I need so that I can get on with drawing on a Tuesday. This week I am researching which landmarks to include in my next skyline illustration - Stockholm. I’ll spend a bit of time looking at any suggestions I’ve had on social media then do some online research too.

If I have any in-person events coming up then I will make sure I have allocated some time in the week to prepare for these. I set up my stall in my studio and make sure that I have enough stock - and that I have any upcoming events (eg Mother's Day, Valentine's Day) covered.

Some weeks I need to plan in some mentoring work too; I know I need to write an Etsy shop review and create some workshop content this week so I’ll make sure I have a few hours set aside for this.  I often find that if I’m writing then it’s easier to do this in a coffee shop. The change of scenery is welcome, and I am less likely to get distracted.  I’ll pop down to my favourite local coffee shop Bean There and get a coconut latte as a motivator to get some work done.

Finishing work

I don’t have a set time that I finish work. At the moment on a Monday I normally stop work around 4.30, as I have to get to my Italian lesson for 6pm. Tuesdays and Thursdays we have my stepkids here so I finish when they get home around 4pm, and start getting the dinner ready.  I often work a bit at weekends, and occasionally in the evening too; and when I am busy (for example during graduation season) I'll have to start work a lot earlier and finish a lot later.

Every day seems to be a little bit different - it’s great working from home as it’s much easier to mix things up, and if there are things I need to do in the house I can take a moment to get them done. Similarly, if I need to dip into work for a few hours at the weekend then I can do.

So there you go - a day in the life of an illustrator.  Nowhere near as much drawing as I'd like, but on the flip-side it's pretty flexible. The way I work has changed over the years, and I am sure will continue to change to fit around my life. I'd really struggle to do any other job now!