Meet Molly Hensley, a freelance illustrator and animator living in Brooklyn, New York. As a freelancer, Molly’s workspaces tend to change often but her home-office remains a steady, inspiration filled haven that reflects her playful illustration style. Get the full-office tour and read about how Molly organizes her days so she stays most productive.
Where do you work? Tell us about your space(s).
Currently, I’m working with Amplify Education on an interactive game about fractions and a series of educational videos for grades K-2. I split my time between working at home and at the Amplify office. When I work on other projects, I work at my apartment or with a sketchbook in a park. I sometimes work at coffee shops but can find them difficult because I’m not able to tape my sketches and references up.
What hardware and software do you use to create your designs?
I use Adobe Illustrator, After Effects, and occasionally Photoshop when I want to get my texture on.
Tell us about your routine. How do you structure your days to get things done?
I love routine—I swear I’m part cat. I start my day off by looking over emails and making a list of things that I need to get done, and a shorter list of things I would like to get done if I have time. I love using Wunderlist to manage my lists because every time you check something off, there’s a really satisfying ding! It helps me focus and meet my deadlines without feeling frantic. After I make my lists, I spend the next hour or so sketching out new ideas. I do most of my concepting in the first half of my day, and I use the second half to building out my illustrations. In the last hour of my day, my brain feels pretty fried so I love to do some visual research for my current projects and be inspired for whatever I am working on the next day. By doing visual research at the end of the day, it gives me a break from work, but it also gives me time to digest information.
How do your space, tools, and habits benefit you? What about those things do you think needs improvement?
Like most apartments in NY, space is limited so I always keep my desk and my space clean. My workspace has a lot of antique details, but once you check out each element up close, there’s a lot of quirky illustration involved. Some of my favorites are the bread mask sitting above my shelves, two porcelain doughnuts sitting on my speaker, and a googly eye over my monitor camera. These items bring inspiration and give me happiness. Because my illustration style is fun and playful, being surrounded by these things inspires me to continue making that kind of work.
I have a big monitor that makes it easy to look at my mood boards and my projects at the same time. I also have a desk-sized wooden mannequin that I use as a reference for poses—it’s faster than looking for visual references online. I’ve also been using a Wacom tablet for three years now, and it’s much easier to use than a mouse.
I would like to improve my workspace by having a second screen and a bigger calendar. As for habits, I need to remind myself to take more breaks. I often forget to take a break even though I would like to give myself more! I am always searching to find more ways to be productive away from the computer because it’s not good for anyone to sit in front of a screen all day. And last but certainly not the least, I’m always looking for more fun decor and art that inspires me; I recently moved into this space and can’t wait to fill it out with more art.