Freelance illustrator Rebecca Hayter lasted just three months in her role at a design company before following her heart and going it alone. While the structure, salary and guaranteed workflow were nice for a while, her personal beliefs and stance on animal cruelty ultimately proved more important.
“The job gave me good experience of how the corporate world works,” she explains. “But I felt it was quite ‘inside-the-box’ and was also confronted with an ethical and moral dilemma. I’m an animal cruelty activist and was getting jobs to create promotional designs for factory-farmed meat and dairy, even hunting firms.”
Since leaving the role, she's relishing the creative freedom that comes with being freelance and has enjoyed building a professional network both online and around Port Elizabeth at places that matter.
“I started networking online through my social media platforms, a free Wix website and portfolio sites such as Creativepool,” explains the illustrator, who is also skilled in stained glass and ceramic art. “With work from staple clients every month whom I’ve built trust with, I’m now at a point where I want to start spending time and money on exhibiting my work.”
Current clients include a health and wellness pharmacy in Durban called Thrive and a company based in Namibia she met on Creativepool. “The rest of my work is based on commissions and retainers in Port Elizabeth,” she adds.
Hayter recently created a series of illustrations showing her home city in a clean and fresh light using bold lines, colours and interesting angles. “I wanted to show the city’s creative and cultural hub through a more aesthetically pleasing and vibrant lens, as I see it, as opposed to working people who have come to view it as a dull, concrete city centre,” she explains. “I like to keep the ‘look’ of illustration with loose linework but combine that with the flat colours that the digital medium allows.”
When working on a MacBook, her inspiration comes from having two windows open - one playing spisodes of The Office US or her Spotify playlist (Bakai, Thor Rixon, Channel Tres and Steve Lacy), and the other being her working window (usually Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop). But her Wacom is another weapon of choice and Hayter says she’s fallen in love with working digitally as it allows for faster turnarounds to tight deadlines and has also improved communication with clients.
If she was to send a message to any clients reading this, it would be to support local freelancers. "I’d ask for more employers to search for and hire creatives that are notably passionate about your brand, service or product because of their preconceived beliefs and morals,” explains Hayter.
And her advice for aspiring creatives looking to make their mark: “Networking is vital. Be active in sending out your CV and offering your services to various corporations or companies that you feel will further grow your network,” she says.
But don’t lose sight of yourself and beliefs in the process. “Focus on sending your CV to clients whom you feel your work would suit or aid," concludes Hayter. "Keep active on Instagram with your work, especially in today's social media-driven world. In saying that, don’t lose yourself and what you stand for.”
See a selection of Hayter's work below and connect with her here.
Bakai Cafe Ganesh
Bakai Wrensch Road
Moments in Time ield Guides to the Eatsern Cape Vol I Icon