So excited to feature the exceptionally talented and always adorable Grace Danico today! Grace is an archivist and illustrator based in Los Angeles. I love how Grace's work has an infectious happiness and excitement within - I can't help but smile whenever I look at her work. Read on to learn a little more about Grace and her rituals and routines. Thanks Grace!
+ Tell us a bit about your work and creative process.
I’m a full-time archivist and a freelance creative. I specialize in illustration, design, lettering, animation, comics and art. I curated and wrote about illustration for 6 years at the mid-century modern design blog Grain Edit. My creative process involves me drinking lots of coffee, jotting ideas and doodles on paper, putting on some tunes and diving right into my work.
+ Do you have daily habits, rituals, or schedules to keep you on track and productive?
Coffee always comes first. Then, it’s emails and putting on a playlist of music. I sit at a desk all day (and in traffic too), so I try exercise during lunch. Having a day-job means I have to work extra hard to keep on task with personal projects and freelance. I usually scribble these projects in a planner and prioritize what needs to get done. Once I complete a task, I mark it off the list, breathe a sigh of relief for a second, then think of other things to add to the list. It’s never ending. When I get home from work, I put on some music, make dinner, then focus on personal work. I usually work until 11 or 12, which is when I go to sleep.
+ What are the greatest strengths and challenges in your career?
My biggest strength is being able to experiment freely with the work I create. One day, I’ll work on drawings and paintings. The next day, maybe some web design. Another day, maybe I’ll make sculptures and jewelry with clay. Right now, I’m obsessed with making little weavings. Changing things up keeps things fresh for me.
Saying “no” is a challenge. It’s hard to pass up projects, even if they’re unpaid. I guess it’s an exercising in knowing what my work’s worth and striking a balance between work and personal time. I’m continuing to figure it out as I go along.
+ What are you working on now – and what is next?
I just finished a Skillshare class focused on making zines about food and cooking. Right now, I’ve been focusing my time on prepping for Comic Arts Los Angeles, where I’ll be exhibiting a few new zines, prints, and other fun things.
I’m looking forward to the New Year where I can plan new personal projects and hopefully do more collaborating. I definitely want to make more products, textiles, and who knows what.
+ And how do you attract the type of work you want? Or how did you attract it in the beginning?
Attracting work in the beginning of my career was tough. I’m self-taught in most creative things I do, and just made things that I liked and hoped that others would like it too. I thought it would be cool to do editorial illustration, so I did my homework. I asked friends for advice, researched publications I liked, and got the courage to email some art directors. My very first gig was doing an Op-Ed for The New York Times. Right now, I’d like to make more art and fun products. Everything is a work in progress, but I just make what I like and think that helps in attracting more work in that same arena.
+ Who and/or what are you most inspired and influenced by? (Bonus points if they are lady creatives)
Gosh, the list goes on! Lately, I’ve been interested in textiles, product design, and set design. I really enjoy Ellen Dusen’s patterns, Annie Larson’s knitwear designs, Mansi Shah’s fun product line, Adi Goodrich’s bright set design. I love Margherita Urbani’s illustrations, Domitille Collardey’s gif animations, and Kelli Anderson’s various design projects.
+ What would be a dream project or collaboration?
A dream project would be to run a space where I could curate food and art events, as well as products. I love the idea of collecting things and having a storefront that showcases little knick knacks, products, and art.
+ What advice would you give to other established or aspiring creative bad ass boss gals?
Make time everyday to do something creative and don’t forget to do your taxes!
+ Have you found there is a strong creative community to engage with where you live?
Yeah! LA is a great place to meet people. There are a lot of creative people here, artists, cartoonists, animators, and musicians. It’s harder to sometimes meet in real life because of distance or traveling, but that’s just a roadblock. I find that the best place to engage with other creative is at events. Usually, I’ll run into someone, which is always a pleasant surprise.
+ What are you currently reading and/or listening to?
Right now, I’m reading Jillian Tamaki’s Super Mutant Magic Academy and got into a big Squeeze kick. Usually, I listen to my favorites off of Soundcloud.