The Creative Unconscious: What's your name, age, and professional title? Where are you currently employed?
Annika Rodrigues: Annika Rodrigues, 25, Graphic Designer at Electric Mirror
TCU: What hobbies do you have outside of your professional field that keep you inspired and motivated to generate personal work? How do they inspire you?
AR: I'm pretty active, so usually in my free time I like to run, bike, ski or rock climb. I grew up on a farm and a lot of my childhood was spent making rope swings and playing with chickens in a sandbox, so hobbies were never really organized activities. Sometimes just getting outside to play is enough to inspire me.
I also draw whenever I can. Whenever I'm bored I draw faces. It's something I started doing in high school out of boredom during my classes. I have entire sketchbooks filled with peoples' faces.
TCU: Do you have a hard time balancing being a creative professional and generating personal work that you're proud of?
AR: Definitely. I think this is a continual struggle for designers. I've found that it helps to keep a sketch pad with me at all times. Whenever I hit a mental block at work, I take a 5-10 minute break and just draw whatever is in my head. Listen to music. When I find ways to tie my personal work with what I'm doing at my job, that's when I tend to be the most successful.
That being said, it doesn't always work the other way around. I absolutely can't bring work back home with me. Leave work at work. Always.
TCU: What time of day do you feel the most creative? What about the most productive?
AR: It's so sad that don't have bursts of creativity at any particular time of day. That would be awesome if it worked out that way! I seem to get my best ideas when I'm bored and have to keep myself entertained. Unfortunately that doesn't always work out for me. It's hard to start drawing a masterpiece when you're stuck in traffic.
I'm definitely most productive in the morning. But if I don't get enough sleep, forget it.
TCU: What are your creative goals for the future?
AR: I've collaborated with my sister in the past on illustrated stories. She's a very talented writer and I'd love to finally publish a book with her.
TCU: Are you working on any personal projects right now? If so, can you share a little bit about your inspiration and your creative process?
AR: Right now I've got a few ideas I'm tossing around for a new story to illustrate. I've been doing tons of character sketches, because for me that's where every story starts. My creative process is pretty erratic. The storyboard for my last project was drawn out on a seven foot roll of newsprint laid out on my kitchen floor. Right now it's just something I work on in my free time, but I plan to make serious progress on it within the next year.
TCU: What scares you?
AR: Not having enough time.
TCU: What does success mean to you?
AR: Ultimately it's about what you can do for others. If I can help someone reflect positively on their own life with my stories or designs, then I feel successful.
TCU: Anything else you want to add?
AR: Challenge yourself. Know who you are and own it. Make good choices. And get your sleep.
You can visit Annika's website if you want to see her design work as well as more of her beautiful illustrations at www.annikavolkmann.com.