People: Interview with Bethan Wilson
Name: Bethan Wilson
Creative Mediums: Design and Illustration
Tell us a bit about yourself and what you do?
I am a wife to the amazing and wonderful Matthew, and Mummy to the most beautiful little girl, Issy Joy, who has just turned one. So my world has dramatically changed this last year. I decided to not go back to work. I'm very happy being a stay at home Mum, but also feel incredibly blessed that I can work from home as a designer/illustrator/creative. I'm still working out how to juggle everything, but I’m excited about the new opportunities that are already presenting themselves. I love Jesus, hanging out with friends, beer gardens, fairy lights, Pinterest, song writing, singing, country walks, city wandering - Manchester! I love the unknown of creativity, and yet, hate the first blank page. I am Bethan, learning everyday...
How did you get to be doing what you are today?
Art was always my favourite subject at school, and since a little girl I would always scrapbook. Always be cutting and sticking images and type (graphic design right..?) making photo books of my summers, and always making cards and pressies for my friends. Mum didn't want me to go to an art college so I very nearly went to Sheffield to do Philosophy - thankfully, I found out about graphic design. I thought it was like art, but with a job at the end - so Mum agreed! Yay! I graduated from the University of Creative Arts in 2008 and then after volunteering with The Message Trust for six months doing youth work, did a six-month internship with their in-house creative department and then I became their in-house Graphic Designer. Result!
What has been your favourite project to work on?
My favourite projects are the ones that I work on with my husband, and we have so many brewing, but just trusting God for timing. So many dreams and ideas inside of us, we wonder when and how they will all come out - maybe one big explosion! He draws amazing characters, and the weirdest things, (best not to ask) and I build them together in collage using textures and colour in Photoshop. I also love magazine layout, and illustration.
We interviewed your husband Matt a few weeks back; what's it like being married to another creative?
Aw it's so good! Not only can we work on projects together, like I just mentioned, we also get each other. Especially as we have literally swapped roles. He's now in my role as in-house graphic designer, and I’m now at home doing freelance. Freelance especially I have found a roller coaster - you've got to have so much confidence in yourself, as it's just you, dealing with everybody and every part of the project. So when I have had a bad day, and recently printers have let me down, it can really get to you, but he totally understands. Our house is full of design and colour and it’s great to venture into the unknown with the most creative person I know!
How are you finding balancing the demands of being a new mother and a freelance designer? How do you fit it all in?!
Being a Mum, is number one. I don't ever want Issy to feel like she is being compromised. So at the moment, I only work in her nap times and evenings. My Mum also takes her to a playgroup one morning, and potentially that will go to a full day - so that will really help with finding the time to do more work. It's hard though to know how many projects to take on, as yes, life gets busy. So, I’m still really learning how to juggle everything, but like I said above, having Matt understand the nature of the work really helps. Also, if I need a second opinion, he will help me get out a creative rut if possible. And as I’m really a part-time freelancer, there's really not much time at all - so I need to make sure that I’m doing the right jobs that will bring in the right income for my family, and I’m learning on the job with this one.
What would you say to those women considering freelance design work alongside bringing up children?
It's hard, sometimes your head feels like it’s spinning, but it’s amazing. Mums will agree - there's not enough time to do everything on the list before you chuck in freelance - so I’ve become more realistic, and if only one thing gets ticked off, that's one thing more than yesterday. I think, Mums especially can be really hard on themselves. You can lose your confidence, you are in demand all day, every day, so date nights with hubby, girls nights, just me time, is definitely the answer - making space for the things that fill you up - so that when a busy week or month comes of freelance, we're ready and inspired.
I am a Mum of lists - I have a list for everything, otherwise, if it just stays in my head, it'll stress me out - the app Wunderlist, has been my answer! So practically, just write down everything in your head. I have a list for everything: freelance / chores / blog / shopping… even Issy has a list, but if you can, don't miss those amazing moments with your little ones. I try to keep work as separate as possible to when I’m hanging out with Issy, this means not checking my emails on my phone, which is sometimes hard when you know you'll be working that evening and trying to be as present as I can. I'm learning, so if you are further down the line, hook me up some advice please!