Digital Art, Thought Starters

A day in the life of a freelance designer

a photo of artist Kayla Ann

Hey there! I’m Kayla Ann. I’m an artist and illustrator who uses Astropad Studio to create my vintage-inspired digital art.

This month I’ve giving you a peek into my daily workflow as a freelance illustrator and designer. I’ll be sharing tips to stay on track and software I use day-to-day in my design projects. Let’s dive in!


I always start my day with a hot beverage and checking emails. This gives me a chance to wake up and make a game plan for my day!

I stay on track by making detailed lists of what I need to do this day/week and also have a monthly list that I can reference. I use Trello to create and compile lists. The platform is really robust and you can break down projects into objectives, assign deadlines, and log progress on each task. The best part is it’s free!

I always have a handwritten list as well, it’s important to have a physical list that I can reference without a screen.

A screenshot of Kayla's Trello workspace

I’m currently designing prints for the fall/winter season, so this week has been full of meetings combined with drawing sessions to build motifs for prints! I schedule my meetings for mornings, as the afternoon is when I focus on designing.

I start my projects in my sketchbook and then transfer to Procreate or use Astropad Studio to work in Adobe Illustrator. I love to use the blob brush tool in Adobe Illustrator via Astropad Studio and my iPad. It makes it so easy to draw! 

A screenshot of Kayla's Illustrator workspace


I always take a break in the afternoon for lunch and to go outside for a walk or work in the garden. It’s a huge part of my workflow to get grounded outside. I find so much inspiration in the plants and people of my neighborhood. It’s also an important time to reflect on the work I’ve accomplished in the morning and make a plan for the rest of the day.

After taking a break, I dive back into design work. Late afternoon is my “prime time” when I can really focus and get my tasks done. This is the best time for me to work on challenging repeat designs, or streamline color palettes for projects.

It’s important to find which time of day works best for you as a creative person.

A photo of a notebook on a table with sketches of flowers


I put the final touches on any projects I’m working on and sign off for the day. After making dinner or going on a hike, I find myself working in my sketchbook on personal projects. Oftentimes the sketches and doodles I work on during this time end up in a collection or final illustration!

Taking time to relax and process in a physical space helps me unwind for the day. I also draw on my iPad for fun during this time. 

Every day is a little bit different as a freelancer, but I try to stick to a schedule and workflow. It helps keep me inspired and on top of my projects! Are there any tips or software you love to use as a designer to stay organized? I’d love to know!

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