Valesca’s day

What does Valesca van Waveren’s day look like? The illustrator takes time out of one to describe and draw it for us. What’s more, you’ll find a lovely mini-poster from Valesca in Flow Weekly 11 (Dutch only), which is available as of this week.


Valesca’s Day

7:15 – My son Levi (3) calls out from his room, “I’m awake!” That means it’s time to get up. My husband gets him out of bed, while I put the coffee on and set the table for breakfast (we do this. each. and. every. morning).

8:00 – My husband takes a shower and I dress Levi, as he tries to play hide and seek while simultaneously putting a jigsaw puzzle together…

8:20 – I’m in the shower; Levi is busy with blue slime.

8:30 – I should be on my bike by now, but I’m still getting dressed while keeping an eye out to see what Levi is up to with the blue slime.

9:00 – At last: coats and shoes are on, and we’re on the bike.

9:30 – Back home, answering emails and cleaning up the blue slime and puzzle.

10:00 – I’m put together a schedule and have a cup of coffee: the household chores and grocery shopping still need doing, and I also intend to make pictures for up to four maps today.

10:15 – The phone rings; I’ve got an appointment with a client next week. Which is very nice indeed but, oh, I really could use my hours for “actual work” (like making things!).

10:30 – The washing’s on. It’s time to focus and get to work. Time to tackle the maps. Yesterday, I outlined the design digitally, and so now I’m painting the elements one by one with watercolors.

12:30 – I’m not as far as I would like to be, but it’s time for a quick lunch.

13:00 – The washing is done, I’m off to the studio (a fifteen-minute bike ride away)

13:15 – Painting the rest of the images…


15:30 – Time to scan the painted images, and clean them up (remove any pencil flecks, etc.). Now they’re ready to be inserted into the actual map tomorrow.

16:30 – Tidy the studio up a bit, so that it’s nice to work in tomorrow. Do some stuff on social media (but must not linger too long on Instagram and Pinterest!). Check, and reply to, emails.

17:00 – Do some grocery shopping. I try to get as much as possible done in one go, but in reality, I often forget something which means I end up in the supermarket a few times a week.

17:30 – Pick Levi up from the nursery. He’s there three days a week; on Wednesdays he’s with me and on Friday’s, my husband takes care of him.

18:00 – Cooking.

18:30 – My husband comes home and we eat together.

19:00 – Playtime with Levi.

19:30 – Read to Levi and put him to bed! When I say “sleep well,” Levi always replies: “Tomorrow is another party!” That really puts me in a good mood and fills me with optimism.

20:00 – Time to relax, on the sofa with my eyes closed. I ask my husband if he still has much to do. He’s also a creative, and sometimes we need to spend the evening finishing things off.

20:30 – Just called my mother. Because she has difficulty walking, she barely leaves her house. At the moment, she doesn’t go out at all as her legs need to be bandaged every day. A simple phone call is all I can do today.

21:00 – Just checking up on my own progress with work: have I done enough or do I need to maybe get up earlier than normal tomorrow? What has gone well and what needs some more attention? What’s the plan for the next day? Can I find some time to focus on my web shop a bit? And isn’t it time to post a new blog? What are the most urgent things and what are realistic goals for tomorrow?

21:15 – I make a concrete list for the next day, with (hopefully) realistic goals.

21:30 – Now it’s time to spend some time relaxing with my husband. “Tomorrow is another party!”

As well as being an illustrator, I am also a mother, a wife and a daughter. It’s really challenging to put aside enough hours every day to be able to focus properly on my work. In order to do that, I make sure I have a specific time each morning and afternoon to do my mails. In the evening, I evaluate my progress and I make a plan for the following day. These few things help me make the most of my day. I also think carefully about which projects I do and do not take on. Two important conditions are: it must be worth the investment of time for both me and my family; and I want to create work that inspires others and makes people happy. These two things ensure that I stay motivated in what I do.

Photo by onahazymorning