Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Parental Powerhouse, Christina Forshay

It's not easy being an illustrator. It's even harder being an illustrator when add a kid (or several kids) to the mix. Christina Forshay has worked as both an illustrator and a mom of two small kids for 10 years. Christina must have known that many of you are struggling to finish this challenge with children. She has some great tips to get your dummy done!


How to be a Parent who Freelance Illustrates in One Easy Step

Step One: Understand that there is no such thing as balance and go with it.

This December my oldest child will turn ten. TEN. Wow, I have been a mom and an illustrator for ten years now. This September marked the first time both my kids attended school full time. As a stay at home/work-from-home illustrating mama, it is a moment I have been guiltily waiting for. I now have a solid six hours of (mostly) uninterrupted work time!

I know a lot of readers might be interested in all the ways I worked through my book deadlines with two small kids at home. Here is an abbreviated list:

-Disney movies on repeat

-A plethora of snacks always available

-An arsenal of kids crafts available

-Enlisting grandparents for baby duty

-Having husband be Mr. Mom

-Late, late nights

-A lot of (sometimes too much) coffee

-Lots of guilt, some tears (mine)

Most of those things are a given for any parent trying to get stuff done. But trying to break into the children's book world takes a lot of time devoted to craft. Like, A LOT of time. And for me, spending a lot of time on my craft made me feel guilty about the days my kids watched Frozen on repeat. I also felt guilty about my kitchen being a mess the night before a deadline. And there was also guilt about the piles of laundry I tried to ignore while I sketched the night away.

I spent a good portion of the past ten years agonizing about when I would find the right balance between my family/home and work. I actually kind of paralyzed myself with guilt. I constantly felt that there was some trick I hadn't yet discovered to feeling like a legit SuperMom and a legit illustrator.

Well, something over the past year or two has finally clicked with me. I learned (am still learning) that there won't ever be a proper balance in a freelance illustrator's life. And that there are no trophies for SuperMoms. Some days I have to let my kids zone out on tv so I can paint--I shouldn't feel guilty about that.

What I'm basically saying is it's ok to let the laundry go a few days and work on your craft. Don't beat yourself up over wanting (and needing) to spend time on your art. That time is absolutely necessary to become a successful illustrator. You already know you are a great parent, give yourself permission to be a great artist too.


Follow Christina:

Website: http://www.christinaforshay.com/


  1. Sounds like you're doing a fine job as a mom and an illustrator to me! I don't have kids yet so I can only imagine the stress as I struggle with just having a full time job and trying to illustrate and write. Thank you for the post!

  2. This is just the post I needed now! I've got an active 13-month-old and a deadline (for writing, but not illustration) in less than a month. Eek. Just gotta remember that we will get through this deadline...and the next one.

  3. This exactly what I needed to hear! I have a darling four month old and I love taking care of her, but my husband has noticed I don't do as well when I am not doing my illustration work. This challenge has me drawing again and it feels so good!

  4. Thank you! I really needed this today, as my parents are driving away with my 3 and one year old, perfect timing. Looks like a few of us are in the same boat...it's hard, balancing it all and the guilt...wow...thank you.

  5. Even without kids, it's hard to find time for everything. I cant imagine the difficulties of parenting and finding time for your art. Congratulations to all of you who do it - you've got superpowers!

  6. With my second and last kid almost done with homeschooling, I don't wrestle with these issues much anymore, but it's always interesting to see how other freelancers do it!

  7. I also struggle with the guilt and the demands and feeling like I never do any one thing well. I'm so glad you found your balance (or non-balance) because your illustrations are amazing, and I'm beyond thrilled with your illustrations for A MORNING WITH GRANDPA!

  8. I totally sympathize. I have to do my work at night and lose some of my sleep just to be able to create. I home school and love every minute of it, but that does not leave a lot of time for other things. I don't have grandparents to help, so you're very lucky.

  9. I love your illustrations, Christina!