Maker Spotlight: Illustrator Petra Sitaru
Petra Sitaru exemplifies what it means to be a freelance Illustrator. She discusses her cycle of productivity and what it takes to keep yourself dedicated to your work. Petra’s honesty and frank candor are so relatable. And, her playful and bold color palette lends to eye-catching illustrations that you can’t help but love.
Tell us a bit about your creative practice.
Since I no longer paint and paper scares the bejesus out of me, I mostly work on my iPad. I’ve gotten into the habit of sketching in Procreate and then I move into Photoshop or Illustrator with Luna Display depending on the project I’m working on.
What’s your workspace like?
The reason why I decided to spend big bucks on an iPad and put my Wacom on a dusty shelf is that I wanted to be able to work from almost anywhere. But since I’m a bit of a hermit, I tend to work from home most of the time. I have two desks at home; one desk is in a room I usually use for meetings, and the other is in my bedroom.
Walk us through your daily routine.
I wake up around 9. I then scour social media for an obscene amount of time and then proceed to make a lazy breakfast and sit down at my desk. I work for a few hours, then I make something quick for lunch and continue working until I can’t or don’t want to work anymore.
How does Luna Display fit into your practice?
I use Luna Display to connect my iPad to my laptop. Since I use a bunch of Adobe products, it’s really helpful to use a secondary display. And, this way, I’m not tied to my desk, [so] I can work from bed or my couch.
How do you brainstorm fresh ideas for your illustrations?
Normally when I get stuck, I start looking at my Pinterest boards. Something will eventually inspire me and I try to go from there.
What podcasts are you listening to?
I’m really into podcasts — especially as a freelancer, [they’re] my lifeline. I listen to: The Truth, Ear hustle, This is Criminal, This is Love, Dolly Parton’s America, This American Life, Strangers, 99 Invisible.
What’s your favorite thing about the work you do?
My favorite thing is when the sketch is approved and all I have to do is just draw in the colors. I can do this while listening to a podcast or music and it’s like meditating or something — I feel so at ease.
What’s your least favorite thing about the work you do?
Coming up with a concept can be really hard and stressful sometimes. When you finally do come up with something, it’s really rewarding. But until you get there, it’s a bumpy road.
What method do you use to stay productive?
Sometimes I have to force myself to sit my ass down at my desk and do something. Anything! If I stop working for a few days, I find that makes it really difficult to make anything. It feels like I’ve totally forgotten how to draw; I get so insecure — it’s crazy. So, I try to force myself to keep at it and not take too much time away from creating.
Your use of color is really great. How do you decide on a color palette?
I usually find a painting or a photo [whose] colors [I like], and I pick a few colors from there. Sometimes, it’s not just one photo; it might be several. If I find four colors I like, then it’s easier to keep adding to it. I’m also obsessed with the color yellow because I find it just goes with everything!