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Designer and illustrator Petra Sitaru on living the freelance life in Barcelona

Meet graphic designer and illustrator Petra Sitaru who recently took the leap into the full-time freelance world. As a Romanian living in Spain, Petra’s new routine now includes taking Spanish lessons, walking to the beach, and setting up her workspace in a tiny apartment. Keep reading to see how Petra is maneuvering her new lifestyle.

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Where do you work? Tell us about your space(s).

I left my full-time job very recently to work full-time as a freelance illustrator and graphic designer. I’m currently living in Barcelona on a busy street called Rambla del Poblenou but I’m originally from Romania. I do my thing from my home office. From here I can casually ‘spy’ on my neighbors or random people on the street. My desk is right next to the window so I absolutely can’t help it, and from time to time I get some work done as well. When I feel like taking a break from invading other people’s privacy, I make myself a cup of tea because I don’t like coffee (gasp).

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What hardware and software do you use to create your designs?

The 13’’ MacBook Pro is my weapon of choice and my trusty 13” Wacom Cintiq tablet. When I first got started, I was obsessed with Adobe Illustrator but that gradually changed and now I’m a Photoshop enthusiast. Last year I decided to learn how to create simple animations and now I almost never break from working in Photoshop. When I was working full-time, I had to use Sketch in combination with other Adobe suite programs, and I even learned a bit of Cinema 4D and After Effects. They all have something really great about them. I wish I had a few lifetimes to get good at all of them but alas…

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Tell us about your routine (or lack of one.) How do you structure your days to get things done?

From Monday through Friday I try to wake up at 9:00 am. I don’t always make it but that depends on how much I got done the day/night before. On Wednesdays and Fridays, I have my Spanish lessons because “mi español es todavía un cagado”, and if I’m feeling extra energetic I take a stroll to and from the beach because it’s a fifteen-minute walk and walking does one good. It also helps if I’m stuck and I can’t seem to get my work done.

For me, habits are important because they can decrease the energy I put into decision making every day so I can spend that extra energy somewhere more valuable.

For keeping organized I depend on ToDoist, and Spotify to keep me sane—that and a whole lot of podcasts. I think the best feeling in the world is listening to a good podcast episode and having something you’re working on start to look just right.

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How do your space, tools, and habits benefit you? What about those things do you think needs improvement?

For me, habits are important because they can decrease the energy I put into decision making every day so I can spend that extra energy somewhere more valuable. Then there’s my “wake up and Instagram” addiction which I am trying to cure by starting my day off with fifteen minutes of meditation. I use this app called Headspace and it puts me in a good place to start my day off. I’ve been using it on and off for years and it’s the best.

As for the workspace, I think it’s important to be comfy-cozy where you do your magic. Living in Barcelona can be a challenge at times with the tiny apartments and all, and I’d like to one day be able not to see my bed calling to me from my desk. I’d love to have a bigger workroom and a place to experiment with physical things like screenprinting. Until then!

Want to keep up with Petra? Find her on Dribbble, Instagram, Twitter, and at petrasitaru.com.

Find more Timeout stories on our blog Courtside. Have a suggestion? Contact stories@dribbble.com.


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