Mila Pesic is an illustrator and painter, from Niš, Serbia, currently working as a freelancer focusing primarily on fantasy illustration.
You can find her here:
- Hi Mila, how long have you been working as a freelancer now?
I started freelancing 3 years ago, before that I was working for a mobile games company.
- What inspired you to become a freelancer? Did you think about it for a long time or did your decision come suddenly?
It was a little bit of everything really. I had to move to a new city and my contract for the company I was working for was ending. So I was trying to figure out a way to put together my passion and work, and since my country doesn’t offer a lot of illustration in-house jobs, I decided to take a leap into the world of freelance.
- How did you gain your first customers?
My first customers came through Upwork. I remember I was so excited about that first job, even though it was a lower pay, the job itself was really great and I learned a ton of things. Later on came bigger projects, half of those were from the connections I made in real life or through Linked in.
- Who has been your greatest inspiration?
There are a lot of artists and non-artists that inspire me, the list would be too long! Generally I’m inspired by the people who are hard workers and who enjoy their work. That’s why I tried to bind my work and love. If I had to name one, it would be Bastien Lecouffe Deharme. I have been following his work ever since he started posting his art. Watching his work develop and grow, doing his freelance work, I always admired his hard work, boldness and courage.
- John Wanamaker said: Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I do not know which half. Do you gain your clients by advertising or in another way?
I don’t advertise really, I only promote my work through various artist platforms and social networks.
- Do you hire outsourcing service providers for services, which you believe are a waste of your time?
I don’t hire outsourcing service, I do all the work myself.
- What does your typical working day look like? What do you do when you are not working? How many hours/days per week are you working? What do you do in your free time?
My day starts early, I usually check my e-mails to see if there’s something related to the job I need to do that day, than I jump to work. I try to take breaks often and do some exercises in-between, since it’s a sedentary job, 100 squats per day are required, and workouts don’t end there. I work no less than 8 hrs per day, but since I also do personal artworks, it can take a whole day at times. Often I use weekends to paint as well, trying to get better with each artwork and achieve one of the dreams I have, to become Magic the Gathering artist. I spend my free time with family and friends, we organize picnics and hikes. I also love reading, playing games, cooking nice food…
- What would you do differently if you would start again?
I would definitely start sooner with freelancing, and be braver about showing my work to larger audience. When I started I had a certain goal in mind, when it comes to direction of my illustration and polishing out my style. I used to take work that was at times far from that goal, and as much as it brought me experience I think it slowed me down as well. So that’s one of the major things I’d change.
- Entrepreneurs have many things in common. They read a lot. What about you? What are your favorite books?
I don’t really see myself as an entrepreneur, I should be working more on that role. I read a lot of fantasy genre books, horror, history novels, they all give some extra juice flowing for the creative work. As for the entrepreneurship advices and information, I get them from great guys at One Fantastic Week. Also Lauren Panepinto and Marc Scheff share amazing amount of information related to artists work and struggle in the industry on their website.
- What was the best business advice you received? Do you have any advice for other freelancers?
One of the best advices I received is to always give your best regardless of the scope and budget that clients have. Your work represents yourself and it’s what you’ll be remembered for, so give everything you have, be flexible and try to deliver before the deadline.
- Top 3 mobile apps on your smartphone?
I don’t use my smartphone a lot, except for calls nowadays. While I was working for a mobile game company I was a little overwhelmed with apps and games on a daily basis at my job. The ones I use most often are:
- news app
- Top 3 websites?
- Muddy Colors
- One Fantastic Week
- Your last vacation?
Skiathos, Greece. One of the most beautiful islands I’ve visited.