Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Multitasking - by Deborah Cuneo

I've heard more than a handful of kid-lit industry leaders mention,  that you should always have a steady  source of income (or two) in place, as you navigate your way through becoming a working professional in this industry.  If that supplemental income  happens to come from your own freelance studio,  multitasking, time management and self discipline become paramount!

My Studio

Prior to my decision to get into  kid-lit, I taught elementary school art and on the side, painted house and pet portraits and created custom artwork for a variety of applications. When I made the final leap into full time freelance it became clear that to make it all work, I would have to proceed in a more organized way.

House Portraits - Acrylic

First thing was to have a business mindset and as with any business, there needs to be a dedicated amount of time during the day to address  all the needs of the business. This was not an easy adjustment ,but a necessary one.

Second,  I discovered that once I started pursuing a career in children's publishing, making some of the art do double duty (when I could), was to my benefit  and a better use of my time. 

(From top, L to R): Birth Announcement to Portfolio, NJSCBWI JAS to Greeting Card

Aside from my work life, there was also my share of the daily, family responsibilities,  my volunteer work and possibly a little down time (still working on that!) that needed to be worked into the mix. The hours are long and It's exhausting at times, but staying organized and keeping pretty strictly to a daily work schedule has been helpful in making this all far,ha, ha! 

Inspired by Koko and Harambe - Digital

The best part that came out of all of this multitasking, was that it forced me to develop  fairly disciplined work habits that help me to stay productive, not only with my freelance work, but in my home life as well .  (Can't say the same for my studio mate though!)


What seemed overwhelming at first, is manageable, I can do this, but it's definitely a series of conscious choices every day! I have to maintain the ability to resist the temptations that exist, while working in a home studio situation and that's not always easy. There are going to be those occasional days that you  feel like it's all just too much and you can't focus, but as one of my illustrative idols, David Wiesner , stated at the recent NJSCBWI conference lunch...

" can't allow yourself to get distracted by the laundry, errands,  the telephone, social media, or having a bad have to just sit down and do the work, no matter're a PROFESSIONAL!"



  1. I especially like the way you turned one project into the next. A kind of art piece multi-tasking. I need to do more of that! Great blog post!

  2. Thanks Pat! I do try to do that as much as possible, but it's not always an option. Just trying to work smarter and maybe work in a little down time here and there!

  3. I need to take notes on your level of organization... You are an inspiration!

  4. Too funny Barbara. Wait till you see how I laid out the production schedule for LD. Can you say OCD???!!!

  5. I enjoyed your post, Deborah! I think I'm going to try following your lead--creating a birthday card/portfolio piece.

    Thank you!