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Thoughts & Tears on 2020

We've finally arrived in the last month of the year 2020, with Christmas looming! What a year! As things slow down, I start to think back on the projects, the dreams and goals I set out for myself, some that I reached and some that failed. This Christmas, I'm going to count my blessings and celebrate it all!

When COVID hit the UK in March 2020, I had just arrived in January and was working on four projects at the time. Thinking well, I'll finish these off and then sit tight, maybe do some online courses and focus on my creative skills. Well, I did all of that but I also got amazing work opportunities too! I am extremely hard on myself, and often overlook these little wins, which is why it's so important to reflect. To really take stock and celebrate those little achievements. And don't get me wrong there were also many many...many tears. We'll get to those...

1. Finding my personal brand

Since graduating my style has changed a lot and my brand had to change with it. Over the last two years, I've redesigned my logo about six times. At university, I feel you're easily pushed into a mould to fit this artist/creative stereotype. So if you're at university or design school, listen to your tutors (they do know what they're talking about!) but listen to your own creative voice, and recognize when to say no.

My logo came about quite spontaneously, I was designing my website and was sketching out a plan when I drew Ulrike & Mieke. My name is Ulrike Mieke, born Ulrike but after 10 days my parents decided to call me Mieke which would be easier for people to pronounce. When I started working after graduating, I thought I'd give Ulrike a try. I hated it at first but grew used to it, and eventually I'd be Ulrike at work and Mieke to family & friends! Either way- I am both!

2. I won the Women of the City Magazine Freelance Grant.

When COVID hit, I lost my job as a Graphic Designer, I didn't have accommodation and was basically living with my cousins, and working part time as a hair assistant. I decided the best move was to work as a childcarer and freelance, hoping that when lockdown ended, things would pick up. That's when I applied for the grant, I wanted to grow my business and establish myself as a designer & illustrator. A few weeks later, I got the phone call - I won!

I had the amazing opportunity to work with Revolt Agency in London, and the team at Women of the City Magazine, gaining a community of business women, creatives and entrepreneurs. It taught me how to value my work and for the first time, I started to recognize myself as an Illustrator & Designer. Physically saying it when people asked, gave me the confidence boost I needed to get through the rest of the year.

Getting to illustrate for their blog and magazine was just the cherry on top!

3. Joining The Good Ship Illustration Course

This year, has really opened my eyes to the world of online learning. There are so many amazing courses, webinars and resources! I heard about The Good Ship Illustration through @KatieDraws - If you want to grow in your work, learn about freelance tips and tricks! And see cool illustration, give her a follow!

Joining the Good Ship Illustration, gave me a purpose and helped me gain confidence, draw more and just do what I love, trusting that the work will follow.

And since then, I've joined two online courses, I attend weekly webinars run by General Assembly. And I try to sketch as much as possible, even if they look a bit funny. Learning in this way, has expanded my knowledge and confidence in both my design and illustration work.

4. A top secret project

A few months after the Good ship illustration course, someone saw my work on social media and I got my first "big" project! Which is top secret and I cannot wait to share it with you in the new year.

5. Wedding Stationery in COVID

One of my close friends/family, who lives in Bahrain got engaged last year, and we started work on her wedding website, when COVID hit... Everything was put on hold, but in the last two months of this year the wedding went ahead in Namibia! I got to design all the lovely stationery for her big day! It was a pleasure to work with them because of their positivity despite obstacles and being able to work on the project in such uncertain times really encouraged me.

These are just a few of my little celebrations this year that I am grateful for and my little community! Count your blessings this Christmas!

Thank you for reading xxx



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