Wednesday, December 28, 2016
Happy Holidays My Loves!!
I hope you've all had the most amazing time celebrating with your families, eating delicious food, and catching up on sleep. With 2017 quite literally around the corner, and so many thoughts swirling through my head, it feels like the perfect time to reflect on the past 2.5 years of running Travel Write Draw full-time. I've had so many ups and downs, SO many highs and lows since quitting my corporate design job in NYC, that it feels only right to share a few tips that I found enormously helpful throughout this time in my life. And let me begin my saying as a *disclaimer* that I'm entirely aware that no two lives are the same. What works for me may not work for you. But at the very least, you can use this list as a point of reference as you prepare to kick some serious ASS in 2017!! So here goes it...
My Top 5 Tips for Freelance Fashion Illustrators:
1. Write Your Mission Statement: One habit I picked up while working full-time was goal planning. It was part of our bi-annual reviews with our managers. We had to map out our goals and to-do's from two weeks, to 3 months, to 6 months, to 2 years. It coincides with "defining what success looks like to you" and it is super important. If you don't know where you are going or what you hope to achieve, how can you expect to attract clients who do? When you are direct, determined, clear and purposeful about your work, you are doing 50% of the work for the clients by showing them how brilliantly you align with their brand. For me, Travel Write Draw has always been about (you guessed it) travel, fashion, and illustration; it's about where these three passions of mine intersect. My career mission is defined by these three passions and ultimately all the content I produce and clients I attract fall into this intersection. Start 2017 by defining your freelance career mission statement, produce portfolio work from there, and watch how the clients come to you.
2. A Structured Schedule: This point isn't entirely specific to fashion illustrators, but it is however one of the most important pillars of my "survival guide". When I first left my corporate job, one of the hardest adjustments I had to make (apart from not knowing where my paycheck would be coming from week to week) was not having an office to commute to 5 days of the week. The lack of structure was almost paralyzing. It certainly didn't help that I was living in a shoebox in the West Village where my bed and desk were a half a meter apart. But once I moved to my place in Williamsburg, and gained 3 separate rooms outside my bedroom, life started to become more manageable.
I joined Classpass this year and every Sunday I would book my morning workouts for the week. Monday at 9 AM was boxing, Tuesday at 8 AM was pilates, Wednesday at 8:30 AM was hip hop yoga, and so on...and by the time I finished my workout class and walked home to shower, my client emails were rolling in and ready to be answered. It might seem silly but having the structure of these classes kept me sane. They got me out of the house, cleared my head, made me feel good both physically and emotionally, and ultimately became the framework of my schedule. Whatever it is, be it exercise, walking your dog, meditation, or a coffee run, starting your week with structure will help you to stay in balance while weathering the unpredictable ups and downs of your freelance career.
Tuesday, November 22, 2016
Happy Tuesday Darlings!!
I'm SO thrilled to share with you the latest feature I worked on with CNTraveler x DeLonghi. Somewhere between my travels to Dubai and Costa Rica, I invited both brands into my apt to share how I bring my inspirations from abroad, back to my life in NYC. The image above is just a screen-grab so be sure to checkout the FULL VIDEO HERE!!
I hope you love it!!
Sunday, November 20, 2016
I'm finally back in NYC for a little while. I've been traveling nonstop for the past 4 weeks and didn't even have the chance to tell you that I was heading to Costa Rica a week ago!! I'm currently in the process of preparing my new illustrated story for Dubai, but in the meantime I'll share with you some of my favorite photos from my stay at Andaz Papagayo.
I had seen glimpses of this hotel on Instagram prior to visiting but, like most things, nothing compares to seeing it in real life. First off, the climate in Costa Rica is so balmy and tropical. It instantly brought my stress levels down to nonexistent. This photo above is from the reception and it certainly sets the tone for your experience on property. Andaz Papagayo is a perfect paradise retreat for the NYC city girl or boy.
Just look at their sparkling infinity pool above, which we had nearly to ourselves the entire time we were there. We were visiting right at the end of their rainy season and got so lucky with sunshine everyday.
I knew I was in for serious trouble though when I first entered my room and saw my own personal terrace overlooking the bay. How was I ever going to be able to leave this place?! That balcony became my outdoor studio for the week and it was perfection...
Our first morning there, Andaz took us to a small local village where we got to see traditional folk dancing performed by the most beautiful Cost Rican students. I was so beyond inspired watching them dance that I had to keep painting them in my sketchbook to express how I felt.
We also got to learn about the coffee growing process in Costa Rica and pick beans straight from the trees (see below).
As soon as I got back to property, I immediately started getting down all that inspiration. There is nothing like drawing straight from your travels and capturing all those vivid first impressions.
The next morning I was greeted by a monkey on my terrace who came charging towards me when I made the quietest hello. I have never experienced anything like that before. It was the perfect reminder that Andaz Papagayo is really built into a very natural, tropical landscape.
Some of my favorite memories on property were having a hot stone massage in the open air cabana overlooking the water, learning mixology at Chao Pescao while designing my own signature cocktail, as well as eating the most incredible ceviche our last night at Ostra. It was the perfect getaway to recharge before the holiday season in NYC.
I'm so excited to share my last few projects and adventures of 2016 with you soon. Stay tuned and as always, follow along daily on INSTAGRAM @TRAVELWRITEDRAW for more.
Monday, November 7, 2016
Hello, Hello Darlings!!
I'm back from my magical whirlwind trip to Dubai. I had the TIME OF MY LIFE on this trip and I'm feeling pretty heartbroken to be back. So much dancing, so many adventures, and so many laughs were had over two weeks in the UAE. But my return was made infinitely sweeter with the launch of my 2016 DFS Holiday Campaign in Hong Kong. This trip and partnership took place in late June and I was counting down the weeks until I got to share the results with you. This project was an absolute dream come true - to see Travel Write Draw really come into fruition. I still can't believe this happened. See how I immersed myself in this infinitely vibrant city in the video above.
If you give joy, you will receive it #GiveJoy!! More to come...
Saturday, October 15, 2016
Hello My Loves,
I wanted to post a quick update to let you all know that I'm heading to Dubai tomorrow with Atlantis, The Palm!! This will be my first time returning to the city since my original visit 6 years. As some of you know, Dubai was the trip that inspired me to start TravelWriteDraw which is why I'm so excited to be returning for my career. I can't wait to share what I'll be working on from this trip. Be sure to follow my adventure over on Instagram @TravelWriteDraw. I'll be posting there daily.
Stay tuned for more darlings!!
Thursday, October 6, 2016
I hope you are all having a fantastic start to October!! Fortunately the weather is still forgiving in NYC and the sun is shining brightly through my favorite cafe window here in Williamsburg. I just wanted to share that I finally received my 2016 Bloglovin x H&M Award for Best Design Blog in the mail this past Monday and I couldn't be more elated. I haven't won an award since high school haha!! Holding it feels equally invigorating and surreal.
I realize that an award is really just, well, an award, and that we shouldn't get too caught-up in accolades. The real reward ultimately is doing work that is honest, fulfilling, that inspires yourself and others. But it feels amazing after 6 years of running Travel Write Draw to be acknowledged by the Bloglovin' community and all of you, my amazing readers!! So, without further ado, thank you x 1,000,000 from the bottom of my heart to everyone who voted, leaves comments, shares my content, and writes me to share their story. You have no idea how beautifully you have all colored my world. Here is to many more years to come of adventures with Travel Write Draw. I feel this is really just the beginning.
Wednesday, September 21, 2016
Hi Again Friends,
I'm over the moon to finally share with you that I'm partnering with Dior in celebration of their exclusive Winter 2016 Fashion Show Bag at Bergdorf Goodman!!
I have been working on this project in secrecy since May of 2016. Can you imagine trying to keep this in for that long?! I produced 3 custom illustrations to promote the event and I'll be doing live fashion portraits Sept 22-23 from 12-4 PM as a gift with purchase.
Below are the other 2 pieces I created specifically for the Dior event at BG:
And here is the invite that BG sent out to their Dior customers:
I always get so excited seeing my artwork married with the brand logos and type for an official invitation.
I also got to speak with the Social Media / Marketing team over at BG to discuss the partnership with Dior and they posted about it on their blog (see above). Here is the link as well:
If you live in NYC, do not hesitate to stop by. I would love to meet you!! More to come.
Wednesday, September 21, 2016
Happy September My Darlings!!
It seems utterly crazy that I'm writing this as we approach the end of the month already (holy smokes!!). Tomorrow I'm kickstarting a very exciting project (which I will discuss in the next post) and Friday is my BIRTHDAY, WAHOO!! But before all that, I had a crazy exciting NYFW that I neglected to update you on here. To summarize, I partnered with W Magazine to illustrate the gorgeous ladies attending their IT GIRL Luncheon. Below is model Ellie Stuart Hunter and Broadway actress Cynthia Erivo holding their portraits from the luncheon...
The first show I attended this season (actually the last three seasons for that matter) was Creatures of Comfort. I drew live from the runway and was so enchanted with their prints and colorblocking.
Then I partnered with Refinery 29 to promote Papyrus' room in the 29Rooms Fashion Art Funhouse in Bushwick, Brooklyn.
This was my first time attending 29Rooms so I went utterly bananas taking selfies in all the cool spaces.
I finished the week with a drawing marathon at Lulu's Blogger Style Studio NYFW event with my friend Brooke Hagel. I got to draw this cool chic below in her Tokyo-esque street-style look.
Somewhere in the midst of it all, I managed to do an interview with Jetsetter.com, giving a candid insider's perspective of what NYFW is really like for a fashion illustrator.
And THEN it was finally time for the 2016 Bloglovin H&M Awards, where I was nominated for Best Design Blog, and I WON!!!!!
As if the week couldn't get any better, I finished it off spending two days with the DVF team and my Mom, who flew in from Toronto for the special experience. We got to watch an exclusive fashion show of the Fall 2016 collection, get fitted for a custom wrap dress, and eat breakfast with Diane in her office. TOTALLY SURREAL. Just look at this photo of my Mom and I with Diane. We are her two blonde bookends.
It's such an exciting time for their brand with their new Creative Director Jonathan Saunders taking the lead. Below is my illustration of one of their new SS17 looks.
To finish off the season, I somehow got cited in a New York Times Article on the revival of fashion illustration. You can imagine how bloody ecstatic I was receiving a google alert, notifying me that I was mentioned in the NYTIMES!!
The article is a great read, by the way, for anyone interested in fashion illustration and where it's headed. So that about sums up my NYFW this season!! I'm so excited for my new partnership that begins tomorrow. I'll be sharing that in the next post so stay tuned.
Monday, August 15, 2016
Hello My Loves,
I'm back from the most blissful vacation in Croatia and I'm SO excited to share with you this illustrated guide I created exclusively for Conde Nast Traveler from my trip to Rome last month. As you know, I stayed with Rome Cavalieri and had the pleasure of interviewing their Digital Marketing & Communications Manager on all things Roman etiquette. This guide is the result of that interview. I hope you love it.
Check it out here: http://www.cntraveler.com/stories/2016-08-08/5-common-mistakes-travelers-make-in-rome
Friday, August 5, 2016
I can't even believe it but today I am heading off to Croatia!! I booked this vacation thinking work would be calm during August, but as it turns out, I am completely WRONG. I have so much on my plate in preparation for September/Fashion Month and I'm completely overwhelmed. Looks like I'll be very much on email for the next 9 days lol.
As always, be sure to follow my adventures in Croatia on INSTAGRAM @TravelWriteDraw!!
Excited to share all the new partnerships I have coming up next month.
Monday, August 1, 2016
BABIES!! I'm SO over the moon, thrilled to share, that I've been nominated for a 2016 BLOGLOVIN' AWARD for Best Design Blog presented by H&M!!!! Oh my word, the announcement will be made on September 12th which is roughly the 6 year anniversary of Travel Write Draw. I can't even believe it. It feels like just yesterday I was starting this little blog with such big hopes and dreams and I'm beyond grateful for all your continued support.
If you can, PLEASE VOTE FOR ME at the link: http://www.bloglovin.com/awards
Scroll down to Best Design Blog and tap VOTE under Travel Write Draw!!!!
So much love and hugs my dears!!
Monday, July 25, 2016
I've finally returned from my whirlwind adventure in Italy and can't wait to share with you the highlights of my trip with the beautiful Rome Cavalieri. For those of you who aren't familiar with the property, it sits right above the eternal city, giving you the most unparalleled panorama views of Rome. And despite all the gold embellishment and 5 star sparkle, it feels like a true home away from home. In fact, it feels like you are visiting your very wealthy relatives who host the most lively pool parties, own the most extensive personal Italian art-collection, and boast the most warmhearted staff who make you feel so cared for.
My fellow travel mates and I, including Meagan Cignoli, Sam Horine, Katie Sturino, and Melanie Brandman, arrived in Rome bright and early on Saturday July 9th and kicked off our day with breakfast by the pool at L'Uliveto. The photo above was taken from my Imperial Room bedroom balcony. The view was just breathtaking spanning the entire city (you can see the dome of St. Peter's Bascilia to the far right).
For us, Day 1 was really about familiarizing ourselves with the property. We got to have a personal tour of the art collection, followed by an incredible walk through of the wine cellar with Sommelier Marco Reitano, before heading upstairs to the top floor for dinner at La Pergola. You can see from the photo above that the art collection hangs freely and openly amongst the hallways. The hotel is like an all access art gallery.
Honestly, I'm not quite sure I have the words to portray just HOW incredible the meal was at La Pergola. It is the only three Michelin star restaurant in Rome, and certainly one of the best in all of Italy. We got to meet the lovely and humble resident chef Heinz Beck and I had the privilege to chat with him one on one regarding his research/practice in molecular gastronomy. The dish pictured above was the first on our 7 course menu, amberjack tartare on strawberry ice crush, almond mouse and finger lime.
Day 2 began with an amazing yoga session in the hotel park, followed by a mind-blowing chakra stone massage at the Cavalieri Grand Spa Club, and the famous Sunday Brunch at L'Uliveto. I promised myself I would exercise self-control on this trip, but honestly once you see a fresh bowl of stracciatella sitting next to a mountain of fresh basil, I threw all rules out the window...
Fortunately we had the afternoon at leisure to run off some of our breakfast before our evening food tour...
I've never really mentioned this here but I am an enormous Anthony Bourdain fangirl, so you can imagine how absolutely elated I was when we kicked off the food tour at Bonci (the same pizza spot from Bourdain's layover episode in Rome). AND it was every bit as mouthwatering as I had hoped it would be.
From there things escalated to a dinner overlooking the Trevi Fountain, I repeat TREVI FOUNTAIN!! In all the times I've visited Rome, I have never seen this spectacular site from above. And as if things couldn't get any better, we finished the evening with gelato at Giolitti and all 5 New Yorkers boarded our personal vintage Bici & Baci vespas to tour Rome by night.
Rome Cavalieri, let me just say in the interest of full disclosure, that was probably the greatest night I have ever had in Italy!! I can't thank you enough. AND to think there was still another day of the trip to go...Day 3 started with a private tour of the Vatican Gardens and of course St. Peter's Basilica and the Sistine Chapel.
The last time I visited Vatican City I was an art history student at McGill University. It felt absolutely surreal to be walking through 10 years later as a professional artist. It's amazing how life plays out sometimes.
And I honestly appreciate it even more today, than the first time I ever saw it.
A very special thank you to Meagan Cignoli for capturing this moment above. There was something so beautiful and divine about the lighting in the garden.
After our tour we headed back to the hotel for a beautiful picnic at Rome Cavalieri. The kitchen prepared the most amazing dishes complemented by Moet Chandon and our two celebrity dogs (my new best friends), Toast Meets World and Muppets Revenge.
Just look at Toast and I above laughing at all of our inside jokes. Rome Cavalieri actually has a VIP dog program which is pretty darn glamorous if you ask me.
After our picnic, it was time for a little cabana experience by the pool before getting ready for dinner in the Trastevere.
The next morning I left for Milan and eventually returned to Rome Cavalieri to finish off my last few evenings in Italy with them. I felt this huge sense of relief returning to the hotel, when the transfer arrived at Termini station to retrieve me. It had truly become a home away from home for me and I think that is a testimony to the staff and culture they foster there. I would like to extend a very BIG thank you to Frederick Hawkins and Britta Krug for making this trip so extraordinarily special. Your kindness, knowledge, and warmth made this trip so unforgettable. I'm still dreaming of my days there...
Until the next adventure!!
Thursday, July 7, 2016
I hope everyone is having a fantastic week. I'm still suffering from jetlag post Hong Kong but the good news is I'm heading to Romaaaa tomorrow and will likely get my sleep in order there. It's been 10 years since I last visited Rome (yes 10 years!!) and I can't wait to experience it with the exquisitiely beautiful Rome Cavalieri. I'll also be making a quick trip to Milan for the first time too. As always, be sure to follow along on Instagram @TravelWriteDraw for all the hourly updates as well as my Snapchat: meagan_morrison!!
Can't wait to show you how Travel Write Draw does Italy!!