Nicole is one of the most enchanting and talented people I’ve had the pleasure of encountering online. Her paintings are beautiful and her approach to her day is nothing short of magical. I’m very excited to share this week’s Daily Routine of a Creative Freelancer as I’m sure there’s something you will be able to take away from Nicole’s approach, whether it’s her gentle pace, her dedication or to share in her love of cats.
Nicole Piar is an artist, writer, and illustrator on a mission to awaken a sense of wonder, inspire wild flights of fancy and create a bridge between her inner world and yours. She received her BA in Art from Yale University and went on to be a professional illustrator for the last 10 years. Her magical art balances on the vivid intersection of intuitive visions, healing, storytelling, and dreams.
On to the questions!
How and when, do you typically wake up in the morning?
I love the flexibility that working for myself from my home studio provides. I do not use an alarm but I keep the curtains open so that my body can respond to the sunlight. I wake up between 6:30 and 8:30 depending on how late I went to sleep the night before. I love the mornings.
What do you do before work?
I like to lie in bed for about 10 minutes just adjusting to the transition from my dream world into waking life. My mornings are not all the same. Sometimes, I am so excited to get to work that I start right away and take a break later in the morning. My favorite, most common morning routine is 10 minutes of meditation, picking an oracle or tarot card for the day, taking a shower and eating quietly at my kitchen table while looking at my plants.
This deck is also a pure expression of my artistic voice. I have put my very essence without apology into its creation and that is intensely motivating. I didn’t set out to make the Spirit Cats Deck because I thought it would sell or even because I thought people would like it. I made it because my intuition was guiding me strongly in that direction and I have learned to trust that magic even if I can’t fully see where it is taking me.
How do you keep on top of tasks?
For the Spirit Cats Deck, I used a few methods. I did my #MonthofCats project where I committed publicly to paint a cat every day, post it on my Instagram and email it to people who signed up. This external accountability is so helpful.
Then, last November when I committed to expanding these paintings into an oracle deck, I colored a mandala, wrote “Spirit Cats Deck” in the center and affixed it to my wall near my desk. This represented my commitment to focus solely on this project whenever I wasn’t working on client-based illustrations. This helped me to say no to side-projects and invitations from friends and family that would interfere.
There were so many different types of tasks required from creative writing and painting to sourcing a manufacturer, to researching how to run and effective Kickstarter campaign to community-building efforts like creating Vision Seeker, my free tarot / oracle card e-course.
To get it straight in my mind, I mapped out a big picture of deadlines for the next 3 months in Trello. This was a very strategic, left-brained planning session that helped me assure that I wouldn’t misallocate my time by working on something that wasn’t needed when another thing was due in 3 days.
Finally, at least once a week and often more, I use intuitive channeling to help guide the next 1-7 days. I meditate to get into a deep, clear and receptive space and then, intuit my plan for the day or week. This helps keep me stay in the creative flow and work from a place of ease.
What do you have for lunch?
I usually eat a salad with some kind of vegetarian protein like beans, nuts, cheese, avocado, tempeh or tofu. Alternately, I have quinoa or rice with green vegetables and a veggie protein. I also love sparkling water with frozen blueberries tossed in. Dark chocolate or a cookie for dessert is ideal.
How do you beat the afternoon slump?
I like to walk up and over a really steep hill near my house on my way to the beach where I watch the waves and meander through the lagoon. Occasionally, I will drink green tea too in a really cute mug.
When do you clock off?
This varies greatly depending on how late I started, my illustration deadlines, and what I have going on in the evening. If I have Lindy Hop dance classes or am going out to dance, I finish by 6 pm. There are also days though where I work untilmidnight or even 1 am though I often break for dinner and possibly a yoga class, Zumba or swimming.
Is there anything you like to always do before bed?
Brush my teeth, cuddle my cat and my love. If I had an intense day, I love to take a shower to unwind.
Rapid Fire Questions…
Pajamas or Grown Ups Clothes?
Colorful leggings and tops with magical prints or odd cuts.
Regimented Routine or Fly-By-The-Seat-Of-Your-Pants?
In the middle. I have my go-to routines but I change it up too.
Tea or Coffee? Which flavour?
Tea. Current favorite: Damiana, chamomile, lemon balm, ginkgo balboa, mullein, guayusa, and chai spices blend crafted by my partner and made into a delicious iced tea.