How would you describe your job?
I work on the art desk at BuzzFeed’s London office. I’m a member of a small team comprised of myself, another illustrator-designer, an art director and two people on the picture desk (where original and commissioned photography is sorted). My job is to create original illustration, design and animation for BuzzFeed outside of the US (there is a separate, larger team of in-house artists and designers for BuzzFeed’s American stuff).
What does a typical working day look like?
A typical day involves waking up later than I mean to, and commuting 30 minutes from my flat in Finsbury Park to the BuzzFeed office in Oxford Circus. I start work around 10am, and it’s straight to drawing and designing for requests scheduled for that day. We have an email listserv so that BuzzFeed writers and editors around the world can request art. These could be for serious longform news pieces, personal essays, humorous ‘buzz’ pieces (think listicles), lifestyle articles, distribution content (social media), or online videos. Then a project will get picked up by whoever is most suited to the brief on the art desk.
Every once in a while, we get to do something really different. Sometimes we get pulled into being in one of BuzzFeed’s videos, or become a test subject for a post. Basically, there’s a lot of variety.
I typically finish at BuzzFeed between 6 and 8pm. Then for the last few months, I’ve been doing a lot of freelance work, so I typically start a second shift at that point. Recently I’ve finished projects for Co-operatives UK, Gimlet Media, and a Brazilian publishing company. I’m currently in the middle of a private portrait commission, and a long-running project for Amnesty International as part of their Write for Rights campaign.
These days, sleep is in pretty short supply. I make sure I leave a bit of personal time for loved ones and walks, but my life is quite work-focused.