"Move, when the water reaches you"

Johanna Springer

Swamp Girl got heir to the throne today. She is facing an almost dead kingdom. She was the only one brave enough to take over. With her elegant spirit she will listen and take care of everyone in need.

The idea for this illustration was a result of a long and hard downtime (freelance-wise) I had at the end of last year. For weeks and months I tried to do my best to get new jobs, pay my rent and stay sane. I knew the next job will come and this dry phase will pass. I just have to be patient and try to use my time effectively.

And then, it hit me — this is, how being a freelance illustrator looks like. You are sitting on a rock, surrounded by water, trying to keep your feet dry. But the water is rising constantly. So you have to find another rock, which keeps you safe for the next few days until the process repeats itself.

Being freelance means you don’t have a safe and dry spot forever and there is nobody offering you one. You have to find one for yourself. Sometimes within days, sometimes the rock is big enough to keep you out of the water for a little longer. But sooner or later, you have to take a risk and move.

It’s not a bad thing to have a downtime, it’s completely normal. It may feel uncomfortable and I tend to doubt myself, but I know, I just have to trust myself and be faithful. Recently I actually enjoy those times. They are giving me the opportunity to clear my thoughts, learn new skills and be prepared for new adventures.

Artworks, like this, are helping me to process all those thoughts, doubts and reflections. I use my struggle to create new ideas and translate my discomforting situation into a visual image, packed with a lot of emotional layers.

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Johanna is also featured on Creativehowl in “50 Illustrators on Instagram to Follow right now” & our Squarespace portfolio examples guide.