Illustrated Freelance Review

Beci Ward Illustrated Review-01

I have designed this illustrated blog post to review my first year of freelance including my personal highlights, hints and tips for the freelance lifestyle and my hopes for the future.


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The work I’ve illustrated recently with the NHS is one of my personal highlights this year as the compassion and enthusiasm to make a positive change is incredible. I feel so pleased when my work can be used to engage and inspire others. Some of the subject matter has been hard to do justice through drawing, but I hope that I have been able to bring to life strong messages that need to be heard.

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A Huge Thank you to Ruth Evans, Kath Evans, Alice Williams, Lisa Cooper and Kate Branchett

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Another personal highlight has been the large-scale wall paintings. One of my first Freelance assignments was to paint straight onto the walls of the Human Innovation Offices. Cello Health then commissioned me to decorate a wall that coincided with the launch of their Creative Studio. When Human Innovation moved location, I employed a more refined vibe- reminiscent of vintage signage to create another piece of wall art for them. I felt it was such an accomplishment, as it was the first time I had worked at that scale. I really enjoyed this project and it was great to personalise their workspaces in this way.

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Massive thank you to Lee Powney at Human Innovation & Lee Marsh and Toni Bately at Cello Health Creative Studio.

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Another wonderful highlight was to see my designs made into something physical. It was so amazing to see my illustrations printed onto leather and crafted into hand made cycling gloves. I would love to see my illustrations appear on more physical products in the future. Thank you Greta and Zulfi at Vel- Oh.

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A very important highlight is the “Being Human”conference with the Association for Qualitative Researchers. It was a perfect moment for me to demonstrate my style of illustration in front of Qual Research Agencies. My previous experience has been within the Research and Insight Sector and this is where I had my first opportunity to live illustrate. I sometimes have a problem sharing my work as it is often confidential, but this was the perfect chance for me to showcase what I do. This is a great example of being at the right place at the right time and I am very pleased with the leads that came from this event.

Massive thank you to Steven Cribbett and the team at DUB for getting me involved.

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A huge thank you to Jamie and Mike for commissioning the bespoke staircase design.

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Bespoke projects will always be a highlight, as it brings me great joy to create something totally unique and tailor-made. I especially like creating patterns where the personal details are incorporated and are not always obvious at the first glance. Thank you for all the personal briefs that have come my way!

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you would like to commission a tailor made illustration.

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FACE is the agency I worked for before going Freelance. It was the first company that utilised my live drawing abilities within the setting of the Co Creation workshop. I don’t just have ex colleagues there, I have friends and there will always be reasons to come to the office. One activity in particular is Sweet Potato Club.

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When I was full time at FACE we created a communal lunch club with one key ingredient. SPC as we like to call it has now gained legendary status within the office.

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Kevin, Fran, Tereza, Eilidh, and Peter have just set off on their cycle ride to Paris in Aid of the Teenage Cancer Trust. This is in memory of our colleague Piers Leonard who sadly lost his battle with cancer last year. Recently SPC has really upped its game, we have been making a communal lunch nearly every week and I’m proud to say it has raised £748 to date for the Teenage Cancer Trust. It’s so great to be involved in such a great cause.


Massive thank you to the FACE Team (You know who you are) for all the support over the last year!

If you would like to donate to the Teenage Cancer Trust please follow the link below. Thank you.


Photo Credit Sharmila Subramanian

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FACE has also been a springboard to meet lots of other agencies within Cello group, especially Cello Signal. Big shout out to Anne Cecile at TMI, from the early days sitting next to you at FACE to the more recent connection that has go involved me with the Patient Experience Network and NHS. Thank you, very much appreciated!

Here are some Hints and Tips I have learnt in my first year of freelance.

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One of the biggest hints and tips I have about the freelance lifestyle is keep busy, even if the work isn’t coming in as often as you like. One of the ways I did this was to keep drawing. Engaging in this 30 Day Art Challenge really helped. I was making new work each day, this in turn was keeping the creative juices flowing, which maintained my productivity. It is very easy to loose the pace, if you are working to your own schedule. I am not saying I have totally nailed it yet, but I have a better idea of what things need to be in place to get the best out of my time.

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Another tip would be to reflect on your past work. Looking at what you have done previously can remind you what your skills are and where you want to be heading. It is also good to see how far you have come. 

It is also important to have some cool places to hang out, especially if you are spending quite a lot of time working from home. Working in the offices (Space permitting) of the companies that are commissioning the work is always good otherwise finding great coffee shops is the next best thing. I am a social creature, and find it much easier to work surrounded by people.


I really like chatting, most people know that about me, but I am not necessarily the best networker from a formal perspective. Not quite sure if I am at the right places, speaking to the right people, but I do feel like I make strong and meaningful connections when I interact with people, and I feel this is fundamentally important. I have tried to be more proactive about reaching out to other freelancers. It is great to compare notes with someone else that knows the nature of the game.

Another tip is to keep active. If you are working from home you may not be commuting/generally moving around as much as you used to. Being active especially when you are less busy helps keep you motivated and your mind in check. It can also add structure to your day.

Last tip… believe you can! Believe in yourself at the end of the day its down to you, oh and luck, a good dose of luck!

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My main hope for the future is to continue to live illustrate at lots of different conferences, workshops and events. I love to engage and inspire, creating detailed outputs and vibrant narratives whenever I can.

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A dream of mine is for my designs to appear on many more products. I am especially interested in patterns, fabric designs, wallpaper and tiles. 

I would really like another opportunity to create more murals and wall art. I’m definitely interested in collaborating on larger scale projects.

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I’d love to work on an adult colouring book. When I am not live illustrating I have quite an ornate, detailed style of drawing that I think lends itself very well to this genre.

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Thank you so much to everyone I have worked with in the last year, a big shout out to Human Innovation, Diageo, FACE, Vel – Oh, National Deaf Children’s Society, Unilever, Fresh Minds, Tangible, Cello Health, Association for Qualitative Researchers, DUB, UCL, Acacia Avenue, Join the Dots, Patient Experience Network, Qual Street, Quietroom, TMI, National Children’s Bureau, NHS, Ben’s House, and all the personal commissions that have come my way.

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you would like to collaborate with me and utilise my Illustration skills!

Thank you