How Leslie David finds time to just be creative

The award-winning graphic designer and illustrator, who works with some of the biggest names in high-end fashion, explains how she finds time to focus on being creative.

What I love about freelance is that it gives me freedom. Of course it's not easy - I work much more since I became a freelancer than when I was employed. I work at night, I work at the weekends. I don't have a lot of free time, even though I'm free to have all the free time I want!

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As a freelancer you need to do much more than your actual job - in fact, you have several jobs at the same time. Every day you have to do administrative work, PR work, plan ahead and keep track of all the projects, and spend a lot of time with clients on the phone. That's why I love working during weekends - no phone calls, no email, it's great.

Get an assistant

During the week, if I spend 50 per cent of my time in a day creating things then I'm happy. Fortunately, in the last few months I've got a super assistant, Laïs, and this situation's getting much better. That's the only solution I've found. She's a graphic designer and she helps me with everything. She does research, takes care of the website, contacts clients, sends files to the printer, and when we have a new brief we now work together on it. I trust her opinion, it's really nice to have a second set of eyes after being alone for a few years.

Before I got my assistant, it was just a case of trying to be organised. I don't really have any tips for staying focused - ignoring emails, phone and Facebook is a good idea but I just can't. I always wanted to have a special day for meetings because I lose too much time running around Paris for meetings. But it's like saying you'll go to the gym every Monday - there is always a cool opening, a dinner, a storm that makes it impossible.

I am always working on 15 things at the same time. While I'm working on a project I'll have an idea for another so I juggle all day long. It drives me crazy but it's the way I work, and it works quite well for me.

Words: Leslie David

This article originally appeared in Computer Arts issue 222.

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