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Work Related : First 30 days in Reckless Life 2.0 as a Freelancer

I started as a doodler several years ago in 2010.
I worked myself up to be a self-learned graphic designer and a freelance illustrator since I was still in the university - majoring in IT. I love the fact that I learned so many things along the way, and I explored paths in the creative world as much as I could possibly take while working permanently with companies. 

So it's time for an experimental phase again.

Here I'm sharing with you, what it's like to be a noob full-time freelance illustrator. What the days, nights and sometimes weekends look like since I left the 'office' work. I used to get around RM 5k per month as a senior designer + freelancer before this. I left that stable life for a flexible working environment just so I can find meaning to my working life again.

This is a long post that I've been updating everyday for the month of March ;

First week :

Tuesday (1/3) :
  • Illustration - Brownies Packaging + Mockup. The client wants something cheeky and cute in my stroke. So I did something like my personal project - Macaron, and added more items like : brownies, vanilla, almonds, butter, and those little things.
  • Colouring - Brownies Packaging x 4 options 
  • Behance - Bfab Branding posted on Behance


Wednesday (2/3) :
  • Photo Editing - Wedding Izah. She got married early this year but Af has been procrastinating, so I took the job for the full editing + touch-ups.
  • Test Printing - Brownies Packaging (Failed - refer Pantone colour code for printing). It didn't came out as planned. I realized that everything on Mac looks way nicer than on desktop pc/printed, so the printing result usually goes different that what I see on my screen. I need to re-do the colour and do several more test-print :


Thursday (3/3) :
  • Packing - Etsy stuffs + Tokyo Guide - not much of buyers this month as before. And I also posted the Tokyo Guide book to the next borrower :)
  • Packing - ESKP car stickers. I custom made the envelope from our hundreds left-over wedding card envelopes. 
  • Illustration - 2 templates (15 x Washi Tapes and 15 x Paper Crafts projects ). :


Friday (4/3) :
  • Photo Editing - Wedding Izah
  • Colouring - 2 templates
  • Illustration - Didikan Sakura - redo old illustration :


Second week :

Monday (7/3) :
  • FA Printing - Stickers for Aja's birthday
  • Mockup - 3 templates illustrations fro Didikan Sakura
  • Illustration - 1 template (Reading projects - 15 items) :
Tuesday (8/3) :
  • Cutting - Stickers for Aja + ESKP mini :
  • Illustration - Japan travelogue Map (4 items)


Wednesday (9/3) :
  • Illustration - Japan travelogue Map (5 items) - PTSOne
  • Potential client : Cakenis

Thursday (10/3) :
  • Illustration - Japan travelogue Map (5 items) + Detailing - PTSOne
  • Colouring - Japan Travelogue Map started - PTSOne
  • Freepik - First exam (due 15th March)
Friday (11/3) :
  • A meeting with new potential client : CelebrateTV
  • A meeting with the old lawyer
  • Colouring - Japan Travelogue Map - PTSOne

Saturday (12/3) :
  • Finalize - Japan Travelogue Map - first draft - PTSOne :


Sunday (13/3) :
  • Video Shoot - assist Af at the wedding :D But I only recorded the voice while they were giving out their speeches. Ha.
  • Illustration : Cakenis's first draft for illustrated tutorial. She sent me this ! But I don't really wear shawls, so I haven't wear it out yet. It is supposed to be the easiest shawl to wear. Here it it :
  • Example of this week's schedule & to-do list :


Third week :

Monday (14/3) :

  • Illustration - 4 designs for Freepik's first test (spring, love, anniversary, shop). I managed to complete all first drafts in 1 day, submitted at 3 am the next morning, while having the dateline that 7 am :F 

Tuesday (15/3) :
  • Compiling : Travelogue Japan, sent the first draft to PTSOne
  • Compiling : Cakenis's Tutorial - Illustration
  • Freepik - I'm finally in !! :D


Wednesday (16/3) :

  • CelebrateTV : Wushaf's Illustration (1/18)

Thursday (17/3) :

  • CelebrateTV : Wushaf's Illustration (4/18) - submitted drafts and timeline visual. Comment from them : make the stroke thicker and cuter (?)
  • This is the initial ideation and solid stroke illustration that I sent to them :


Friday (18/3) :
  • CelebrateTV : Wushaf's Montage draft (x3 options) - Very odd random options that I did. I personally like the third one, but after a while it feels very amateur, even though they did specifically requested something cheeky and cute :

  • Update : They really like the second one. They asked me to something like that and meet them up for a meeting on Sunday, at Chawan.


Weekends (19+20/3)
  • Sketch for the latest Freepik tasks
  • Help Kadok (KL > Semenyih > Shah Alam > Home)
  • Freepik - Task 1 can be downloaded for public in Freepik ! :

  • Meeting with CelebrateTV team, brainstorm from the sketches and drafts at Chawan, Bangsar. They want more test illustrations :


Fourth Week :

Monday (21/3) :

  • CelebrateTV : They opted for the sketchy illustrations. So I had to re-do the whole things and additional character as well. Another draft & tester sent :


Tuesday (22/3) :
  • Freepik Task 2 - in progress (5/10)- I was so packed with the #wushaf project last week, I didn't have time to do this task. Today I tried cramming these illustrations task. I promised not to take too much time to start on tasks after this T^T

Wednesday (23/3) :
  • Freepik Task 2 - in progress (10/10) + amendments. I managed to submit that night, but only 6 of my assigned task were approved before my Art Director went on a 1 week holiday =.= The other 4 remained on-hold until he comes back.  I worked from 10 am - 1 am for 2 days straight, my shoulders are in uncomfortable strain.
  • One of my favorite illustration came from task 2. I used this style before finalizing to much more modern clean 1-stroke style. This looks like Af :


Thursday (24/3) :
  • Freepik Task 2 - All of those 6 illustrations were submitted and compiled. My assigned art director is currently on leave until the 30th.
  • CelebrateTV - Wushaf updated content. Discussion with the assistant director through Whatsapp, I was too busy with other things and can't afford to meet up.
  • Freepik Task 3 - Assigned (0/10).
  • Update PTSOne : Travelogue Japan, put on hold. They need to wait for the writer to keep up. April project : Travelogue Turkey. 

Friday (25/3) :
  • CelebrateTv - Illustrations for the first few scenes. 
  • Cakenis - I think I'm failing this. I submitted the updates illustration to Keknis. But I don't think I'm reaching her expectation. She responded with more improvements to be made on the illustration, especially about the style. 

Sunday (27/3) :
  • Product photography : Shooting at BeadsNBorders - Assisted AF. We took the whole day for around 130 little items. Our back, and thigh were both in pain by the time we got back. It was such a tough little thing, we definitely weren't expecting that. 


Fifth Week

Monday (28/3) :
  • Aisy Abaya - Photo editing to add size measurement in IG picture.
  • BeadsnBorder - Minimal editing for scarfs lighting. Needed to share the raw files to the client by tonight
  • CelebrateTv - Wushaf illustrations to be submitted by the end of the day. I submitted half of the scenes in the afternoon and another half at night. I worked from 7am until 10pm, almost straight the whole day. It was such an exhausting day. My back was still in pain because of the photo shooting the day before. This is what they sent me from the production team afterwards :D Exciting ! :


Tuesday (29/3) :
  • CelebrateTv - Tiny amendments for the submitted illustrations and another extra additions.
  • Zanubah - Amend the logo to fit the new label structure.
  • Freepik 02 - (1/10)

Wednesday (30/3) :

  • Freepik 02 (6/10) - I sat in front of the iMac for the whole day, from 5 am - until 7 pm. I actually woke up around 3.30am, when Af was about to go to sleep after he did his freelance works *because now we shared the same iMac - until I send my MBP to the doctor =.= 
  • CelebrateTv - There were some new illustrations they needed me to do while shooting. New addition, I had to cancel my working out session and finished it up in an hour. 
  • Today was the shooting day. I couldn't join because I was too busy finishing up my Freepik task. So they sent me this :F Too bad I can't watch the whole process :


Thursday (31/3) :

  • Freepik 02 (10/10) - All freepik tasks finally ready and submitted to be reviewed by my Art Director. Wuhuu ! I am so relieved ! :D


Summary :
  • I did several types of projects in this month. Some of my clients/bosses were : Brownies Packaging, PTSOne, Didikan Sakura, Cakenis, CelebrateTV, Aisy Abaya, my Mom and Freepik. 
  • Scope of works : Mostly illustration, some minor designing, photo editing/retouching, and product photography. 
  • The thing I hate the most is meeting with clients, because I am forever awkward. The second thing are preparing for invoice and ask for payment.

Mini Escapism : Kemaman + Kuantan - Video

Af compiled the videos he took on our last mini escapism to Kemaman. It's another month before our next escapism, so we have to be a little more patient and finish up all the freelance works before the trip. I'm a bit busy lately, I'm curating things in a long go at this moment. 

I thought being a freelancer means more time, I was wrong - it means being able to learn and adapt to the flexible working time and find the balance between work, family, and personal life :F Sometimes I'll be drifted off, be super malas and do nothing. Sometimes I'll be super productive. Haiiyoh =.=


Read previous posts 1 2

Little Things 217 : 26 + 32

My brother turned 26 and my older sister turned 32 !

Another addition to the number we are counting ourselves. What it is about being adult that people keep on pestering us on how to be the 'right' adult? How we should spend our lives, where we should work at, how much money we should make, which partner we should be with, how big the house we should be living in. Who are we anyway, to make such demands and decisions on someone else's life?

At this point, I couldn't really point it out like we used to when we are much younger. As far as I can see, we are all grown-ups, and for me what that really mean is giving them full trust and space for them to grow and make their own decision. And maybe, try to respect that as well.


I guess the huge difference between my brother and I at 26 is the responsibilities. I am one of the oldest siblings in the family, and he is used to having several strong figures in his life. So he is a bit off-track. But I've been thinking, who am I to put a certain 'label' in what's good in his life, at his age? As much as I concern, I don't like people to decide for me as well. So here it goes, I've decided that I will help if he asks for help, I've decided that he should pay the house rent because I'm not going to pay for his part anymore, but; which career path he will choose, or how he spends his money, won't be my problems anymore. I'm a bit concerned about him, but I have to let it go, I'm not his parents for-god-sake :p As his sister, I'll give him the space he wants - as long as he is in charge with his own life. Deal.

Af & I got him a pull-up bar and Starbucks gift card :

As for my older sister. She's fine. If she is figuring out what she wants in her life, and she's taking it slow, then that's her choice. I don't really have a word of wisdom to share, she has survived much longer than me :D I'm just hoping that she is happy. Also : Be fit and healthy ! Shessh.

We shared and got her a nice little printer to print photos directed from smartphones or digital camera. It was soooo cool I feel like I want one for myself :F So she doesn't has to go out to print pictures for her crafts projects.


We celebrated their birthdays several times. 
Mostly including a big amount of foods and some presents. Ha. We should probably think of something else next time. Eating out/in is getting a bit over-done. We each brought our best-friend this time. So I invited Tasya, Aja invited Wati, Azmi invited Wan, and Azura invited Aizzah. Plus: Ma and Af, also different event with my dad and Ali. Small gatherings for our introverted family :D 

I personally like the last celebration that we did at home. The one that Ma cooked for us all the Japanese dishes she learned while living in Japan. T^T Aja requested this and so Ma went out for days to find all the raw foods and items needed in making all those crafty foods. She even took the whole day to prepare the food with Azura, and that night all of us helped her with the final stage : frying the tempura.

So there were beautiful sushi, rich miso soup, chawamushi, tamagoyaki, kinpira gobo, and tempura set for all of us. I can't give enough appreciation for her, can't imagine the time and effort to prepare everything for all of us T^T

We should definitely just celebrate at home in the future.


Tokiyo Trip : Post-Tokiyo Videos

Af finally-finally finished editing the 1st video compilation for our Tokiyo trip last September. I've been waiting for months. Ha.

The song taken from The Album Leaf - Window. I remember I found this song and immediate thought of our next escapism video T^T The song is really beautiful, kan


ESCAPISM #6 Tokiyo from Farikarim on Vimeo.


Here's the second video from our Tokiyo trip that Af just finished editing last night *so random?. There are quite a number of slots with my face in it =.= I'm a bit uncomfortable, but Af said because he's the one recording and editing so he can make the choice. In future trips, I'll make sure I'll record him as well !

ESCAPISM #6 TOKIYO Pt 2 from Farikarim on Vimeo.

Note : Watching this makes me miss Japan more, and it's the start of Cherry Blossom season! :F
For the next 3 Tokiyo Guide borrowers, hope they will have a lot of fun in Japan.


Work Related : Reckless Life Version 2.0

Written in mid Feb :

At this point, I could even say that I don't care about not coming back. Every day was a struggle and I keep on telling myself that I can actually do it.  Of course I can, it was just a set of mind, the way we taught our mind to believe in what we want to believe in. 

I tried, I really did. But the thing is for the whole couple of months, I was depressed, my mind wasn't at peace with myself and I keep on asking why I'm doing this to myself? Is it for the money? Or experience? Or just to prove myself that I can actually do it? So I'm letting myself feel awful most of the time - that I was even dragging Af in my small drama every day.

I knew that I had to do something, I needed to find solutions, a way to solve the problem instead of bitching about it and letting it eat myself from the inside. So I used the most professional way possible; by discussing about it with my supervisor. I gave 2 choices : 1. Give me an intern/fresh grads to help me with stuffs, because from what I can see, I'm not capable to entertain the group of more than 20 people, or, 2. Let me go and please hire 2 more junior designers to replace my position. I didn't heard from them back until the later week.

In weeks ahead after the discussion, I was still struggling with work and the state of my emotion. I wasn't in the same page with some of my supervisors. We just didn't get along and we kept on arguing, he kept on blaming me for little things and telling me that what I do is 'not enough'. I went back home with the deepest pain everyday - you can't imagine. This is the worst working environment I've ever been in. 

Two weeks ago, they called me in for a discussion regarding things that I mentioned. This time, they gave me 2 options to choose from : 1. Still work with them, with another designer, but cut half of my salary because they don't have the budget, or, 2. Leave by choice.

I didn't even reconsider to get my salary cut by half, and I told them that I chose option 2. I wanted to leave in 2 weeks, as soon as possible. I had it enough. I didn't want to see their faces. They bring out the worst in me and I don't feel comfortable with feeling awful every day. 


Today :

By now, I've been staying at home since the early March. I resigned by choice, I completed my proud baby : branding before my last day at the startup. We've come to a mutual understanding that they choose to hire junior designer, save the budget and I can go my way after passing it down to the next designer. I really want them to succeed.  

It was a really great experience for me, in creating such a huge project by myself in mere 4 months. I succeeded but I was in whole worst emotional state - which thought me a thing or two about working under-pressure. I haven't told my family yet - *especially Ma. | My brother might read this if he got the patience to read the whole page and learn that I'm now a full-time freelance designer + illustrator - but please don't tell Ma yet, I'm going to do that myself tomorrow night during our makan2 session. |

I have backup money for another 2-3 months before I start to work full time with a stable company again. For now, I'm finishing up all my freelance works and personal independent projects that I've been wanting to work on. 

Note : The stress level balanced, I go out for a jogging 3-5 times a week, I'm cooking for my husband every day, and I'm doing all the illustration works I want to do all day long. The main disadvantage is I no longer have a stable monthly income. But, hurraaah !

Mini Escapism : Kemaman + Kuantan - Part 2

The sunrise hunters :

Af woke me up around 6 am as planned. It wasn't that hard to wake up because we all slept early the night before. So I woke Aja and Aja tried to wake Wati but failed :D Ma sarcastically said that it was way too easy for me to wake up for sunrise hunting than Subuh prayer :p Mihmihmih.

So only the 3 of us then. 
At first, we went to the Cherating Beach. When we arrived, it was still dark but it was at least 6:45 am - there should be a subtle light from the hidden sun in the sky. But there was none. We stayed for awhile, tried to explore the place but finally realized that the sun came up from behind the Cherating Hill so we might missed the first peak ! Af said that we should change the location and we drove to Pantai Mak Nik instead.


From there we waited and waited for the sun. It was such a blue morning, the battalion of clouds were marching, there was no sun rises beneath the sea :( We finally missed it. We stayed until almost 8am before heading back to our homestay house with roti tulur for breakfast.

Brunch at Warung Aziz Satar

Before we checked out, we managed to wash our car and vacuum our car. Now we know how hard it is to actually find time to clean it up especially when we are living in an apartment and park the car in the parking lot building. This was our 3rd time and it rained afterwards =.= 

We went to the same food stalls again for brunch. People weren't that many as the day before because we came not during peak hour. The foods for lunch were ready so we just decided to eat before we headed back to KL. I took my normal half rice, and ikan masak tempoyak with ulam. Those simple foods, but later one by one, new food came to our table. It was Aja again ! So there were sata, keropok lekor, sotong + udang goreng tepung, pulut mangga, and some more foods that I even forgot to list =,= Aja is one dangerous species, I tell you. She can make us all fat by these feasting habit of hers. Ha.

We were really full and happy :D
I don't know how I can survive the way back without dozing off.

After the feast, we said our goodbyes and decided to head home separately knowing that they want to shop for more food + souvenirs to bring back home and I want to explore more.


The random stop :

This time we used google map - just so I can view the road myself and see if we can stop by anywhere. I saw one small road next to the beach with 2 exit and entrance - so I lead the way to the road just to see if it leads to somewhere nice. The small road looked abandoned but clean and well taken care. There were no tall wild grasses or forest-like bushes around, but kampung houses can be seen from afar. Af parked the car next to the beach's hill and we walked to the beach. 

It was an open view to a huge white beach ! No one was around - assuming it was lunch time and I guess people don't go there during hot afternoon. But it was nice and windy, the sea was really far ahead and tiny crabs were scattering.

I was so happy. The sand looked so white under the sun. We took several shots and a huge cloud came and blocked the sun, so it weren't that hot. 


The Pandan Waterfall, Kuantan :

On the way back, we had to use the road to Kuantan to reach the highway. I saw a huge signboard about Air Terjun Pandan, Kuantan and decided that we should make a stop. I texted them in the Whatsapp group saying that Af and I were going to take a walk at the waterfall. 

About an hour later, we arrived at the area and saw my family was about to park their car as well. Hah.

There were many people swimming and having a picnic. So we walked some more deeper to reach the high view beautiful waterfall :D There was a long roped bridge to the other side - you can take a beautiful view of the waterfall here. If you are not afraid of heights. *Ma and Aja were, and we enjoyed scaring them with swaying the bridge while they walk.

We didn't went into the water, just dipped our feet to feel the cold water and sat on a huge rocks. Maybe next time we will have a proper picnic :)


Little Things 217 : Basic Japanese Food

The Miso :

I've been searching for Miso soup paste for awhile now. Since I've been spending a lot of my money on eating sushi and miso soup with rice at restaurants, I figured that I might teach myself to make it myself.

I found a local reseller that sells halal Miso paste from Japan with non-GMO soy for RM 10/500g. So I ordered the pack with extra wakame (dried seaweed) from her as well. The pack arrived a week later. Since that day I managed to make miso soup for myself in almost every dinner - mostly just with additional wakame, and sometimes I added veggies as well. Af can't process the taste so I think I will finished it up all by myself. *it might take awhile.

Like all the fermented soy, Miso soup got hundreds of benefits - it goes almost the same level as our tempe. Yes, it contains a lot of sodium and a higher risk of having it genetically modified, in that case you can use less Miso paste for each meal, don't add any salt to it and find a non-gmo soy in the ingredient list. The taste should be quite subtle, additional foods like tofu and wakame can give a nice taste. 

If you are interested in buying a non-GMO soy, halal miso paste, you can contact this lady and ask her more about it : .


As for sushi and onigiris :

One weekend, I tried to make some sushis and onigiris using our normal cooked rice. I put some tuna, added those rice in the diy mini sushi maker that I've been keeping and tried to wrap it using nori. I failed. It crushed =.=

So during our next restock, we bought a different type of japanese rice that is supposed to be more sticky and stay together to create nice little sushi. I waited until Af  isn't at home to try it out - can't accept another failure in food experimentation. But this time it worked ! The japanese rice can stick together and it was really easy to form :D So I made some sushis and onigiris with the cooked rice, tuna, cheese, some kewpie mayo and nori.

T^T I can make my own basic onigiri now T^T
We can definitely save more money making our own onigiris for lunches during our next escapism in Japan. Kaaaaan.


Work Related : All the nerdy stuffs as designer & illustrator

Stickers :

Here are my latest sticker packs that I manages to illustrate, print, cut, pack and put up for sale up in my Etsy. I personally like the geeky light bulbs and also the mini ESKP by Af *because it is square and mini and so cute.

I managed to cut and pack these stickers during Af's game play of 'Until Dawn'.

Look at these geeky light bulbs ! :D


Spotted :

I'm a Backpacker Korea by Halian Azurin at our local Popular bookstore :
I can't wait to find the Europe version in the bookstore.
Note : And I'm in the process of doing the illustrations for another new upcoming book ! Wihuu. 


Branding :

Two big branding project I did for a startup called & a teaching place in Bangi called Didikan Sakura. Ditto Hello Kitty Gourmet Cafe and Begadang Backpackers last year. I am really happy these full-package projects turned out fine. I created almost everything from the scratch T^T I can finally tell myself that what I've been teaching myself in becoming both designer and illustrator is going quite well. Who would have thought T^T

For all self-learners, don't give up, don't compare yourself with others, and don't feel demotivated. If you really like to learn new stuffs, just do it. One day, your efforts in learning those skills will pay off. You might take several years or even lifetime, tapi takpaaa, as long as you can still grow :D I still got a long way to go, but I'm really happy with where I am now. Imagine from that geeky IT girl, to this. Now I can create all those beautiful colourful things using graphics compared to using boring codes.