Featured Illustrator

Justina Leisyte

August 2019

We recently caught up with the wonderful Justina Leisyte — an Illustrator & Designer based in Copenhagen who works with a wide range of clients; from small editorial commissions to large scale brand illustration identities. We chat about why you should use personal projects as a way to explore illustration styles, how her recent wrist injury (ouch) has given her time to reflect on her career, and she tells you not to be afraid of the unknown!

Give us the elevator pitch on what you do.

I'm an independent illustrator and graphic designer. I help my clients from around the world to solve visual problems mostly through conceptual illustrations. I work with a wide range of projects from smaller editorial commissions to large scale brand illustration identities. I find it really rewarding when I can help clients to grow their business and tell their stories through illustrations.

How did you develop your style as an illustrator and what tips would you have for others?

I believe that a personal illustration style evolves and comes naturally after years of creative work and experience - especially in the current ever-changing creative landscape.

What is more, I personally love when illustrations are not only visually pleasing, but also contain a deeper meaning or a message. The Illustration medium has the power to speak to broader audiences and spread awareness.

Tip: developing personal projects is a good way to start exploring different illustration styles. Mix different mediums & techniques, share with others, take breaks, don’t try to make everything perfect. Finding your own voice is a process that can sometimes take a lifetime, so enjoy the ride!

Whats on the cards professionally and personally in the next 12 months?

Due to a recently acquired wrist injury, I've had to take a step back and lower my creative output for the next couple of months. It has given me more time to really reflect on the direction that I would like to go in the nearest future; both creatively and personally. I want to bring more purpose and introduce stronger ideas for the things I create and design.

Personally, for the next 12 months, I would like to find more work/life balance and to allow myself to take longer breaks when I need it.

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By recognising what you don’t want to do or create, you will get closer to discovering what truly sparks your passion and makes you tick. So be patient!

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What are your three must-read design books/blogs/podcasts and why?

The Association of Illustrators' website and blog is an invaluable resource for those who want to know and learn more about the business of illustration and become a professional illustrator. I have found some great articles and resources there that have personally helped me in developing my illustration business.

I have recently listened to How to draw a startup podcast where guests share their insights about how and why illustrations started to play a big role in brands systems and various visual identities. There are 7 episodes/steps and they’re well worth listening to for those who are interested in this topic!

When I have some spare time, I love to read these blogs too: 99u, Illustration age, Lecture in progress.

You can find various topics related to creativity, productivity, mental health, work-life balance and much more!

It’s important to me to stay curious and motivated, so great articles help you keep on moving forward.

What advice would you give students graduating in 2019?

Don’t be afraid of not knowing what you want to do right away after your graduation. Be open to opportunities and try as many things as you can. Your first job might not be your favourite nor a perfect fit. By recognising what you don’t want to do or create, you will get closer to discovering what truly sparks your passion and makes you tick. So be patient!

2019 for you in a sentence.

2019 - Getting out of your comfort zone and working smarter but not harder in order to find the balance in everyday life.

Website: justinalei.com

Instagram: @justina_leisyte

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