Honest Illustrated


So there seems to be 3 types of people on twitter/instagram/blogs at the moment:

  1. The ‘New Year, New me – 2014 is going to be my motivation in making a change in my life’ people.
  2. The ‘New Year is no excuse to make changes – you can change whenever if you want to’ people.
  3. The people that don’t care!

Well sorry, but tonight Matthew I’m going to be person #1. I’ve been feeling down, unmotivated and lost for a little while now and it’s cliche, but I’m going to use the New Year as a fresh start and motivator. I hate sitting at home watching everyone else enjoy life – it’s soul destroying. I know I need to make changes and steps towards where I want to be in life – nothing is just handed to you on a plate (unless you’re SUPER lucky!) and working hard makes achievements even more worthwhile. This post isn’t flowers and rainbows (it’s over 1300 words long, sorry) and I know that negativity doesn’t make great reading, but I think there are some issues that need to be discussed…



I hold my hands up – I haven’t done anything creative in 2 months. Last week was the first time in 2 months that I opened Photoshop on my Mac. I edited some images for my Dad’s personalised Christmas present and also some blog bits and bobs. It felt really good. Like I said in my 2013 reflection post, I miss being creative. Why haven’t I been creative? The past 2 months have consisted mainly of job searching – where I (obviously) haven’t been successful. I’m not stupid – I knew it would be really hard to get a job and I knew there would be knock backs but I thought I was strong enough to take it. Actually, I now hate my portfolio and have no confidence in my work. The thoughts crossing through my mind: Am I meant to be a Graphic Designer? Am I good enough? Where do I fit in? Do I still want to work in Graphic Design? Which leads me onto my next problem…



I have always been interested in a lot of things. I don’t know why, I’m just naturally inquisitive and I love learning new things about everything and anything. This is one of the reasons I love Graphic Design because theres such a variety of people, subjects and businesses that you can work with. The problem is… can you be too interested? A finger in too many pies? Graphic Design is such a broad subject and I am interested in so many different elements of it: Illustration, Typography, Advertising, Paper craft, Data Visualisation, Photography, Editorial.

Prior to University I was at College where I studied a BTEC National Diploma in Graphic Design. At the time my plan for the future was simple: I would go to Uni, learn a lot, do some good work and get a job as a Graphic Designer. But the reality is so far from that! I left University with so much more than I had imagined – friends, skills, experiences, awards and a good portfolio. That’s not just me being big headed – I have a good degree classification (which doesn’t count for everything, I know, but it’s a start) and have had good feedback on my portfolio from creatives in the industry. (Just to clarify – I know I’m not the best Graphic Designer in the world and I still have a lot to learn.) However I don’t have ‘a style’. My portfolio is varied because my belief is that every client and brief is different so each outcome should be very different. Some creatives have a style which they are well known for and so are approached to do work for brands in their ‘style’, but I don’t. This is fine – I’m not going to force myself to have a style just for the sake of it! ha The other problem is that I don’t have a niche area. Like I said, Graphic Design is a broad subject and there are a lot of different areas which creatives and studios specialise in. If you’re going to do something, you want to focus on it and do it well, right? Nobody wants to be an all rounder. Being an all rounder is like saying I’m average at everything but good at nothing. Guys… I’m an all rounder! I love all areas of Graphic Design, my portfolio is varied and I couldn’t choose just one niche area to specialise in if you asked me. (Although maybe I need to?)



Do I even want to be a Graphic Designer now? Can I sit at a desk 9-5 every Mon – Fri (other than all of the late nights you will work to meet deadlines) designing and still love it? I have been thinking about life after Uni for over a year now and although getting a job as a Graphic Designer is the ‘normal’ progression after completing a degree, I wasn’t sure it was for me. But I was never going to know unless I tried, so in September I started a design internship with Frequency Festival. I may not have loved everything about the experience (who does?) but I 100% loved the studio atmosphere. So it turns out that I can work at a desk 9-5 every Mon-Fri designing and still love it. Now to find the right studio for me – where to start? Look at studios similar to my style and niche area. Oh wait, I don’t have a style or niche area.

Am I even meant to be a Graphic Designer? Wait, I already asked this question about 20 mins ago – I’m just going round in circles, you see? I love Graphic Design – looking at it, reading it, understanding it, creating it. I do have other skills too – blogging (writing, researching, designing), leadership, teamwork and organisation (Show 13 Press & Communications manager, Auction 13 organiser, RGB fundraising nights organiser, Student Rep and Open Day ambassador). I want to continue learning, meeting new people and visiting new places.



Lets be real here, does the job I want even exist? Who even knows. Discussions with my University tutors before and after graduating have drawn up blank. Which type of jobs should I be applying for? I don’t know what I want to do with my career and that makes it a lot harder for me to choose a direction and go for it. I want to work hard and achieve but I don’t know what I’m pushing for just yet. I’m the only one who can decide and make the first step, so 1000 words later, that is why I am a ‘New Year, New me – 2014 is going to be my motivation in making a change in my life’ person.



I’m really sorry, I know that was a lot of writing but I needed to get that off my chest to be able to move on in 2014. Plus I also wanted to post it because there are thousands of Graphic Design students out there right now, and maybe some of them feel the same way. I guess what I’m trying to say is that it’s ok to not want to take the traditional route – there are other options! If my rambling words have helped just one person, it makes all that typing so much more worth it. Why have I written such a personal post? This blog is, and always has been, about my journey as a Graphic Design student and now graduate so I feel like it’s important to share every piece of the puzzle. You’re here with me through the good and the bad – thanks for that! 🙂

I don’t know if anyone will have read this far, but if you have, thank you and please let me know – comment or tweet me! Do you have any advice for me? Have you gone through a similar experience? Did anything I just said even make any sense? ha Here’s to a happier and more creative 2014!

(Also let me know what you think to the hand written type – just a few quick words highlighted to make this post look more exciting!)


  • Brenda

    12/01/2014 at 5:40 am

    Like the handwritten type. So many people do soul-searching this time of year. What does your heart want?

    • graphiquefantastique

      12/01/2014 at 11:46 am

      Thank you Brenda! I know, but I have been thinking about this for almost a year now and thought it was time to let it out. I don’t like to appear vulnerable but if it helps someone else then it’s worth it 🙂 I don’t know what my heart wants but I’m looking to figure it out this year – wish me luck!

      • Brenda

        12/01/2014 at 1:32 pm

        Good luck! Sometimes figuring out your heart is like reading hieroglyphics, but perhaps a graphic designer has a leg up with that… 🙂

      • graphiquefantastique

        13/01/2014 at 2:17 pm

        Haha I see what you did there Brenda 🙂 Let’s hope so!

  • hannahrose

    12/01/2014 at 6:41 am

    Although in a slightly different situation – I also feel that I have too many interests, if that is possible. I never get a holiday because I want to do all these things!!

    • graphiquefantastique

      12/01/2014 at 11:51 am

      Maybe it’s just a creative thing? I’ve always loved being interested in a lot of things and seen it as a positive but sometimes it does make things really hard – especially for someone like me who is rubbish at making decisions. It’s great to keep busy but we all need a break at times to let the creative juices replenish 🙂

  • topa

    12/01/2014 at 12:52 pm

    Since I have been there many times I would suggest: Don’t worry that much. It seems like you love Graphic Design, so stick to that thing you love, keep looking for the right place to work at and in between be creative (maybe do something every day) instead of worrying. Good luck! 🙂

    • graphiquefantastique

      13/01/2014 at 2:23 pm

      Thanks for the support Corina! I knew it would be a rough ride but I’m trying my best to stay positive. Fingers crossed 2014 will set me on the right path 🙂

  • Léa v.

    12/01/2014 at 1:13 pm

    I’m very much on the same page. I’m an animation & visual effects student but I’m interested in writing for television, making stop motion puppets, advertising, and Visual effects. I’m not sure where I’ll end up as I currently work as a graphic designer/ photographer/ editor and I like that too. When do we get the lightbulb that tells us what is right for us?

    • graphiquefantastique

      13/01/2014 at 2:20 pm

      Hi Léa, I’m glad I’m not alone! I think it could be a creative thing? I don’t think we will ever get a lightbulb telling us when we are in the right job, but as long as you are happy I don’t see anything wrong with dipping your toes into all kinds of areas. Good luck with your career, wherever it may lead you 🙂

      • Léa v.

        13/01/2014 at 2:22 pm

        It must be, but thank you and you too! Hopefully we’ll get to produce lovely work in all areas we reach until we figure out what the world wants most from us.

  • Rene Andritsch

    12/01/2014 at 1:53 pm

    Hi Tasha,

    I know exactly what you are writing about. I think there are many more people (not only creatives) out there who are interested in a lot of things – I’m no exception. I love to learn new stuff and this is good.

    I think it is important not to mourn about the things you don‘t get hold of but instead cherish those you already learned. There is too much out there, so it is impossible “to get your fingers in every pie”.

    Sometimes I feel overwhelmed as well and then I’m glad about times when I don’t think about graphic design at all (even if that’s seldom the case 😉 Questioning one’s career is also an important facet (for everyone). It helps to refocus and evaluate if you like your professional life.

    I’ve been a self employed graphic designer for 14 years now and I still enjoy it. Of course there have been (and will be) times I was not so sure. Most of the time those were events I changed the way I worked or thought about certain client relationships. Even letting go of habits and also clients are things that you have to consider. In the course of time I realized that the only thing that really counts is listening to your heart.

    All the best for 2014,

    • graphiquefantastique

      13/01/2014 at 2:17 pm

      Hi René,
      Thanks for the support! I have always been told that being interested in everything is a good quality but like everything, sometimes it has its downfalls. I’m glad that you are happy and successful as a self employed graphic designer 🙂
      I know I need to listen to my heart but it’s hard – I’m feeling a lot of pressure as a graduate and I know I struggle to make decisions which will affect my future incase they are the ‘wrong’ ones! ha I feel a lot better getting it off my chest and hopefully I can learn from this experience and get back on the horse! 2014 will hopefully be a good year 🙂

      • Rene Andritsch

        13/01/2014 at 7:30 pm

        I won’t judge decisions too much in terms of being wrong or right – because at the time you decide you just don’t know. If it doesn’t work out you at least learned something which adds up to your experience.

  • mosesmid

    12/01/2014 at 2:02 pm

    I dig person number two. They are real. Your mind makes the most difference in your life.

    • graphiquefantastique

      13/01/2014 at 2:09 pm

      Person number two is strong but maybe a bit insensitive. Not everyone is as strong but with set goals and time hopefully Person number one will get there!

  • lauralupin

    12/01/2014 at 5:47 pm

    I can relate to this post, I constantly question what I want to do with my life! I’m applying for Fine Art degrees at the minute, mostly just so I can buy time to decide what it is I can actually earn a living from but I can’t envisage being in a dream job straight after uni… maybe try applying for jobs just to get yourself out there, no matter what it may be, and make yourself a deal to keep working on your portfolio on the side, and when you’re ready and fed up with this temporary job you could move on to what you really want to do? Might put things into perspective!

    • graphiquefantastique

      13/01/2014 at 2:06 pm

      Hi Laura, it’s tough being young and having dreams isn’t it?! I have tried to get a ‘shop job’ but the problem is that where I’m from working in retail is a career for school leavers. I have been told that I’m overqualified, plus I think they realise that because I have a degree I will probably leave the job to get a career which means they’re wasting their time by employing and training me? I know that whilst I’m not earning I’m not saving any money and so can’t move out or get any closer to the career I want. It’s a vicious cycle but I hope that 2014 will bring me luck!

      • lauralupin

        13/01/2014 at 2:17 pm

        it really is! I’m hoping I can get some work experience before/during univeristy in galleries to boost my cv a bit and I’ve tried before but the council have made local galleries stop doing it for some bizzare reason! Keep up the blogging and portfolio work and you never know what opportunities may arise:) there are always loads of articles in magazines of success stories in the art world that just seem to happen as if by magic – let’s hope that 2014 is your year!

  • beckydwyer

    12/01/2014 at 6:32 pm

    Reblogged this on Collections of Curiosity and commented:
    I miss being creative!

  • beckydwyer

    12/01/2014 at 6:42 pm

    I currently feel as lost. Ive changed my combined psychology an fine art degree to a single psychology degree. I wanted to focus my work to persue a career in psychology and keep art as a hobby. But now i dont even know! I have loved art all my life enjoyed drawing and painting and making things. Dont get me wrong i love psychology too, i get excited about certian aspects and studies and learning. However i feel really negative at the moment. I miss art, i miss making it, i miss looking at it. I have no idea what to do! I am still young and in my second year of uni but i have no idea what to do after that. Will i be happy in a job with psychology. Would i be as happy as if i were creating art for a living!
    Feeling lost!

    • graphiquefantastique

      13/01/2014 at 1:53 pm

      I know it’s not much comfort but you’re not alone Becky! Although your situation is slightly different, I totally understand where you’re coming from. I think the main thing for you is to get your degree. You will always have your art skills and usually it doesn’t matter if you have a degree in art as long as you have the portfolio/talent. Psychology is an interesting area and the skills you learn from your degree could lead to you a lot of different jobs. You could even find yourself combining your love of art with Psychology – who knows? Enjoy your time at Uni, get a good degree grade, stay creative and you will go far 🙂

      • beckydwyer

        13/01/2014 at 2:01 pm

        Actually this reply, your post and others comments have made me feel better, its good to know im not the only one who feels slightly lost sometimes. Thanks for your advice it helps to calm the worries! A job combining my psychological and art interests would be my dream job! Best wishes to you xx

  • styleandinfluence

    13/01/2014 at 12:33 pm

    I feel like I can relate to this so much! Don’t give up on your dreams, graphics is what you love and it’s great that you like every aspect. It would be very hard to have found your niche at this stage in your career. Keep going Tasha and good luck with the clean slate! Stay creatively motivated 🙂 x

    • graphiquefantastique

      13/01/2014 at 1:44 pm

      Thanks Nikki – I’m feeling better, I just had to let it all out ha I won’t let the graduate blues get me! 🙂 x

  • Jasmine

    15/01/2014 at 8:48 am

    Cheer up, sweetie! I’m sure 2014 is going to be great. You are talented and have many skills. I’m sure your will find an interesting job. If not, just change. I think we all should do different things. I also love learning new things everyday. That’s good and pays off.

    Jasmine xx


    • graphiquefantastique

      15/01/2014 at 6:03 pm

      Thanks for the support Jasmine – I feel much better after getting it off my chest and I’ve had some great comments from readers which have made me smile 🙂 Fingers crossed 2014 will be great! xx

    • graphiquefantastique

      16/01/2014 at 9:45 pm

      Thanks Brianna – glad you could relate and I hope my ramblings have helped you in some way?
      Good Luck with blogging – I hope you come to love it as much as I do 🙂

      • bmj8

        16/01/2014 at 9:47 pm

        Yes, very much so! This is my first blog and I am a bit surprised how much I enjoy it, almost addicting! ha Look forward to your future posts!

  • allyeen

    16/01/2014 at 8:30 pm

    Don’t feel that you have to have everything together right at this moment. You’re just starting your career and this part of your life is about gaining experience. Even if the first job you get isn’t “the job” it is a step towards one day figuring out what “the job” should be and getting you there. I still haven’t totally figured out what I want – I am working full time at a job that’s not quite what I aim to do for the rest of my life but it pays the bills so I can do more of what I want to do, which is writing for a blog that covers industries I am very interested in and hope to work in (and in fact it is this job that helped open that door for me).

    It’s all a process of discovering what you do like and what you do not like and aligning your skills and experience to push you more towards the former. Keep working hard and enjoy the ride 🙂

    • graphiquefantastique

      16/01/2014 at 9:48 pm

      Thanks for the advice Allyeen – a wise woman! I guess I just get scared that the choices I make now will affect where I end up in life, but totally agree that this is the time for gaining experience! I am keen, very keen… maybe too keen ha Hopefully things will start to click this year 🙂 I hope you’re able to reach your dream job soon!

  • Ric gravina

    18/01/2014 at 1:01 am

    Ever thought about freelancing? Then you wouldn’t need to pigeon hole yourself. You would be surprised at how many small companies just go to a printers for there graphic design as apposed to a designer, granted this May be down to cost but if you kept your costs low thy would be getting a lot more bang for their buck. Maybe worth thinking through what you might charge as a day rate and approaching a few small local business’ that way you can command the sort of jobs you get.

    I’ve worked at 8 different agencies placement/jobs since leaving uni don’t be afraid to not get your perfect job straight away, I still don’t know what I want to do long term but I’m just going with the flow and jumping on any opportunities thrown at me. Any skills/experience you can get in the design field will benefit you, even if it’s just how agencies work internally with project managers and servers and file setup and stuff.

    Stay positive and just throw yourself into anything. I presume Leeds is to far out the way but your welcome to pop in for a chat anytime, we’re always looking for placements.

    Just me rambling, apologies if it’s nonsense.


  • dianeculotta

    09/07/2014 at 7:52 pm

    I was in the exact position last year when I was still a recent graduate. It’s funny though, because now I have a job in the field, but it makes me feel constricted creatively and I worry I’m wasting my potential. The most important thing to remember though is that no one has all the answers to the rest of their career and people are always evolving. I’m glad I stumbled onto this post though, thanks for your honesty!

    • graphiquefantastique

      09/07/2014 at 8:31 pm

      Thanks for stopping by Diane. It is a tough time, I don’t think I was mentally prepared for it really. I was in a bad way at the time of publishing that post however I’m glad I did it – it got me an interview which got me a job 🙂

  • allyshanila

    22/07/2014 at 11:08 pm

    Just going through your blog now, sorry to jump in the conversation so late! And this is going to be a looooooong reply. Sorry again!

    I’m going through the same thing as of now, but it’s a different situation. I turned to graphic design (out of sheer chance) and it’s helped me collect creative energy that’s been absent in school. I’m basically an art person, whatever that means, and being in fashion school has sunk that passion. I’m frustrated all the time and it doesn’t help that the lecturers leach creativity in order to create something wow all the time. It just doesn’t help knowing the only reason they encourage anything creative is to impress them. Thus any work I create, if it doesn’t impress them, seems like shit. But I know well that it isn’t! Same goes for your portfolio.

    There is always room for improvement though. And as much as versatility is a good trait, I think that’s way more beneficial if you instead think of flexibility more than having a varied set of ‘styles’. This comes with the clients. Besides, you can only create a focus the more you create work, because you have a lot more to choose from. This might seem like the last thing you want to do when you’re on a creative block, but trust me… just getting anything done will be worth it. No matter how shitty you feel, just try to keep on doing it. Because it seems to me that you have a lot of passion for graphics. Just be open to other possibilities.

    I know my graphic designer friend was also in the same position. He just quit his previous job, although he’s been hired again at another place. But between the two jobs, gee. He decided to freelance here and there and ended up being even more tired and frustrated because he didn’t allocate his personal time properly and that his clients were expecting him to be available 24/7. It didn’t help that he was living with his family. Basically, you end up not having as much control as you’d have expected. And concerning ‘style’, he’s established one and it’s not a matter of sitting down and coming up with one, but experience — he’s been working with the last firm for at least 5 years. I do think however, the frustrations have come from realising the responsibilities that lie beyond manifesting creativity and actually having a satisfying job. I told him to go on a holiday, though. That helped a lot! Why don’t you travel for a bit? 🙂

    But the thing is, I honestly don’t think everyone has everything figured out. So you don’t have to either, in the sense that it’s fine to be uncertain about where you’re headed at times. The big picture is not always set in stone and will always evolve as you go. Heck, I thought I was going to be an artist. Now I think writing is the way to go.

    I’m not sure if any of this helps, or is really relevant to your case, but I believe it is. Hope you’re doing okay/better now. Make 2014 your year! If you have any questions, or if you want advice, feel free to write to me okay 🙂 I’m still interning as a graphic designer at a mobile app company. That might interest you!

Leave a Reply

© Natasha Nuttall | January 2022

%d bloggers like this: