Tristan Kromopawiro is a freelance designer and illustrator currently working three days a week for Sketch. He spends the rest of the time taking on other freelance projects. Based in Amsterdam, his home office is a small and cozy space where he has all of the tools he needs to live and work comfortably. Read about what his day-to-day typically looks like and why he enjoys working from home!
Where do you work? Tell us about your space.
I work from our cozy apartment in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, where I live with my girlfriend and our dog, Luffy. In this case, cozy is just a cuter word for “small”. We don’t have a traditional hallway so when you enter our home you’re immediately in our living room, which is also where my workspace is set up. I have a desk with almost everything I need, in what used to be a dining area. That’s where I spend most of my time, whether I’m working, just playing games, or watching a series.
I love the neighbourhood we live in which definitely makes up for the fact that our apartment is a bit on the smaller and older side. There are actually tons of nice places to work from nearby, but I discovered I’m really most productive in the comfort of my own home. If I ever need a break, I love taking a walk around the neighbourhood with our dog or take a stroll through the lovely nearby Vondelpark.
What hardware and software do you use to create your designs?
It depends on the project, but most of the time it’s Sketch, Illustrator, and Photoshop. I run these on a 15-inch 2015 MacBook Pro connected to a 27-inch monitor, my main screen. I’ve used a Wacom tablet for a couple years but switched back to using a mouse (Logitech G502) about two years ago.
Other than that, I still use markers and paper for lettering and calligraphy, or I sketch stuff using Procreate on my iPad. This makes it easy to share sketches with clients or export them for finalizing later on.
Tell us about your routine (or lack of one.) How do you structure your days to get things done?
When I first started freelancing full-time I had a lot of trouble finding the right routine for me. I’m very much a night owl, but staying up late every night and waking up early again obviously takes its toll. Since then, I’ve luckily managed to find my groove. I wake up around 9:00 am, cuddle with our dog, shower, have breakfast, and sit down behind my desk. I put on some music and browse through my usual list of websites before I take a look at my to-do list and get to work.
I usually wait to have lunch until our pup has to go outside again (she’s seven months old), which is usually between 1:00 - 2:00 pm. I either take her to the park or go on a long walk. I grab something to eat along the way or have lunch behind my desk when I’m back home. My girlfriend usually comes home between 6:00 - 7:00 pm. We have dinner, take the pup on another long walk and just chill for the rest of the evening. I try to go to the gym every other evening as well. I usually get back behind my desk around 11:00 pm to do more work before I go to bed, which is usually around 1:00 or 2:00 am. Still not exactly an early bedtime, but it used to be much worse.
When it comes to productivity I really don’t have any routines. I think it’s a combination of several things that currently keep me going: The fact that I’m taking on a variety of projects (from logo design to illustration, calligraphy, and personal projects), loving what I’m doing, and the luxury of having a flexible work schedule if needed. This is what keeps me motivated and inspired.
That being said, creative block is unavoidable. Experimenting and personal projects help me keep that roadblock out of the way, but when I eventually do hit that obstacle I make sure to take some time away from work to recharge.
How do your space, tools, and habits benefit you? What about those things do you think needs improvement?
Working from home has a couple of benefits for me. I love that I don’t have to commute at all, which gives me more time to start the day the way I want it to. I’m an introvert, so not having to go to an office where there are so many distractions is huge for me. I really like being in my own bubble working on whatever. It gives me room to focus and get stuff done. Most of the time I have Slack on in the background, so if I need to discuss something with co-workers, they’re just a click away. I think it’s amazing entire companies can be run entirely via internet and remote working.
The downside to the above is that I should reach out to friends more often and make more of an effort to meet up with people. I love hanging out with friends, it’s just that I never take the initiative because I don’t feel the need to, so that could definitely be improved.
Having my workspace in our home, in exactly the same place where I relax, can make it difficult to separate work from downtime. This is one of the reasons I get back behind my desk to work on stuff before I go to bed. Ideally, I’d have a small, separate home office to work from. I really can’t complain though, as my current situation is already nearing perfection for me and I’m super grateful!