I am so happy to be starting a new interview series for the Yellow blog. We will be interviewing creative women who are out in the world making stuff happen. Our first lady is Becky Murphy from the blog Chipper Things. Becky is an illustrator and graphic designer living in Austin, TX. She recently wrote and illustrated her first book, “I’d Rather Be Short” , she has an Etsy shop with some adorable prints for sale, and takes on various lettering and branding projects. This girl’s got her creativity on lock! See below for our interview with Becky, along with this adorable video from her website done by Elle Wildhagen.
Tell us a bit about yourself! Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Becky and I’m a freelance illustrator, graphic designer and writer in Austin, TX.
How did you get started doing what you do?
I’ve always been the art kid, so it was no surprise I went to Iowa State to study graphic design (I’m from Iowa). Then I flew south, got a job at a design firm where they let me draw monsters on band shirts. It was really fun, but I always knew I wanted to work for myself. I wrote a book a few years into my first job, and that was just what I needed to fly solo. I started my own shop at the beginning of 2013, and I haven’t looked back.
What drives and motivates you to do what you do?
There’s no other choice. I really do love having the freedom to do whatever I want to do. While it’s a lot of work and I have to stay self-motivated, it’s a fun challenge. I see it as a game. It probably took me a year to get on my feet and get into a rhythm working for myself. But now that I’m here, I’m bursting at the seams with ideas. I don’t have enough hours in the day; while that used to stress me out, now it only frustrates me, because I sincerely like doing it all and I want to do more of it more often. I want more time to execute ideas. I think motivation gets easier when you have momentum. Each success, whether it be acquiring a big client or being featured on a blog you admire, goes a long way in building momentum and confidence. The risk vs. payoff is what keeps it exciting.
What does your creative process look like?
I like the way this question is structured. It makes a great point. Creativity is a process.
It’s not an issue of “feeling it” or being born with it. It’s systemic.
I try to set myself up for success by putting myself in new situations where I have new perspective or feel uncomfortable. Sometimes it’s intentional and sometimes it’s not (singing improv was intentional, moving 1,000 miles away from home was done for the sake of becoming more creative).
Other than that, I try to stay optimistic and keep a sense of humor about things. I find that when I am present when I’m away from my computer, it makes work on my computer 10x richer. Living and experiencing life goes a lot further than inspiration blogs.
What does a typical day look like for you?
Wake up between 6-7:30, depending on how late I stayed up. I try to go to the 6 or 8 AM
Pray, shower, make two eggs over-easy or a smoothie, Consult my to-do list in my bullet journal (on Monday I already planned the week)
Respond to urgent or fun emails
Work for a few hours on a project
Eat sweet potatoes probably
Work some more (changes, conference call, blog post, email, etc.)
I usually call it a day around 7. I have commitments most nights, which help me have a life outside of my desk.
What makes you feel alive?
When I’m living with purpose.
What is currently inspiring you?
Playing with my new iPad.
Also starting sentences with “honestly”, just to be annoying.
“Honestly, I could go for a bloody mary.”
“Honestly, I could live without jeans this summer.”
Now you, give it a shot. Your friends will hate it, but eventually they will start to do it too.
Coffee or tea?
Tea tea tea! I’ve never cared for the smell of coffee.
Three things that make you happy.
1. The swing set at the park a block away
2. When friend groups merge and become a super-friendship-force
3. Feeling appreciated
Advice for those just starting out in your industry?
Keep at it. If you’re consistently putting out work that’s authentic to you, people will find you. It may feel slow at first, but keep at it. Be delusional enough to think that it’s going to one day happen, because it will. You have to forge through the ditches and idles times first, but be thankful for the harder times. That’s when your skin gets thick and your creativity flourishes. Oh, and always lead with gratitude.