The Highs and Lows of Freelance Design

Freelance - Annada Menon
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From the outside, freelance design looks like the dream. It’s only when you walk the path you see that the struggle is real. Annada Menon, a freelance visual artist, opens up about her freelance work and what it takes to keep getting those projects.

Babel Fish. This is the cover art album created for the Shubhangi Joshi Collective.

Unlike most artists, Annada Menon did not have a childhood calling for the field of art. She stumbled upon this realisation much later at the age of 16 through drawing classes. The technique and patience with which her teacher guided her with different mediums helped build Annada’s interest in the field.

Motivated - Illustration by Annada Menon
Blending In, Procreate Art Prize entry.
The Garden Menace. The illustration draws inspiration from the amusing struggle.

Annada’s journey into poster design has been quite unexpected. She tells us that once she approached a café in Pune to keep a pop up stall to sell prints of her work, later she was asked to design posters for events held at the same café. This also gave her chance to explore the possibilities of paid work.

Sofar Bangalore poster design.
Social Media creative for The Finch, Mumbai.

Elaborating on her style, Annada’s explains that 80% of her work is purely imagination. She draws everyday and this helps her create an inventory of forms in her head. Thus, the realism observed in any of her work is a result of this constant study. She takes a lot of inspiration from surrealism, animated movies, comic books and children’s book illustrations. She believes her style is an amalgamation of all this, though she would rather not label her style.

‘B’. 365 Days of Type. This is part of the series that Annada created for the 365 Days of Type.
Freelance - Annada Menon
Ukulele with Luv. Social Media Creative for Manmauji Cafe.

For Annada the most important phase of a project is the draft phase. Here she provides 2-3 options to the client based on the brief and references. Originality is imperative; hence she does her research to ensure her approach is unique. Annada is also very fluid with her design, where she allows herself to scribble continuously for an idea to be born.

Freelance - Annada Menon
Art’tma. An album cover designed for Rachintan Trivedi.
Freelance - Annada Menon
Tail Waggers Meet. Social Media Creative designed for a dog meet at Manmauji Cafe.

While talking about her stint as a freelancer, Annada tells us that she started out as a freelancer in 2017. Then it was simply by word of mouth that projects came her way. Comparatively it’s getting easier for her now. She believes she still has a long way to go, but she doesn’t take a project if the client does not understand her area of expertise. She is also bringing in versatility to her projects, this has made the process of landing a project easier.

Freelance - Annada Menon
A poster designed for a Sofar music event.
Freelance - Annada Menon
Tail Waggers meet 2. A poster designed for a dog meet event at Manmauji Cafe.

Apart from poster design, Annada is also interested in canvas paintings, murals, installations, etc. These are derived from her pure arts background, and she is looking forward to practicing it in the future.

Freelance - Annada Menon
A social media creative for The Finch, Delhi and Mumbai.
Freelance - Annada Menon
Llamas are Floofs. Learning to Draw Animals

Looking into the future, Annada wishes to establish herself as an independent artist. However, she is also looking forward to learning from a senior designer or artist either in a firm or independently.

Freelance - Annada Menon
Annada attempts to convey the message of the importance of natural habitat and thinking of the future generations.
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Published in Issue 49

A Freelancer’s Life in India! Every day, with a dream of ‘Being Your Boss,’ many creative professionals jump into the pool of freelancing. But many are not well prepared for the life of the freelancer, which brings many challenges along with benefits. So to explore further, we interviewed many freelance illustrators and designers to get answers to the question you should ask before taking the final call of becoming your boss! So, if you are planning to or have already become a freelancer then this issue is a must-read for you.


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We are a bunch of enthusiastic creatives, designers and writers, who are committed to bringing forth the hidden Indian Design talent with an unbiased and unique approach to design.