Based in Edinburgh, Perim İşisağ’s creative role is one which brings joy to anyone who sees her work. An accomplished artist, Perim tells us what her daily life as a homeworker looks like.
Perim, what do you do?
I am a freelance illustrator currently focused on writing and illustrating my second children’s picture book.
What does your workspace look like?
I have more than one workspace, just to spruce things up! When I work from home, I’m either working on the kitchen table because it’s smooth and at a correct height for illustrating without bending your back, or I’ll be in the living room on the iMac to do some Photoshop work. If I need to concentrate more, I’ll go to my Summerhall attic studio which I’m sharing with two other lovely artists.
Do you have a work uniform/wardrobe?
No, but comfortable clothes are a must. I even keep a comfy set of clothes in the studio just in case I turn up in a ball gown.
How has your practice/workspace/job in general changed over time?
Even though I have been doing freelance illustration work for many years now, Covid played a huge role into turning that into my main occupation. I worked full-time as a set designer before – and still technically am working, however instead of working at work and then coming home to do illustrations, I now work on illustrations full-time.
I am really lucky that I was able to turn around my workspace in the past year. I only found my studio a month into the Covid summer and it saved my mental health: back then my husband and I were living in a 42 square-metre apartment and were both working from home. I took the bulk of my arts supplies to the studio – how they fitted in our tiny flat in the first place, I have no idea. What ultimately changed both of our work-from-home situations for the better was our moving into a larger flat a couple of months ago. We now have not one but three tables/desks to use between the two of us. We’ve never had such luxury!
What’s your greatest remote working challenge?
I suppose not being able to distinguish your work and play times is the hardest for me. I know many people who work from home who have excelled at this – but not me, sadly. If I am not working while I am awake and at home, I tend to feel guilty. My working hours span between 10:00 am and 04:00 am and I don’t necessarily take weekends off. I know it sounds unhealthy, and it probably is, but illustration is really fun in itself so it’s not as horrible as it sounds!
What’s your favourite aspect of being a home/remote worker?
I quite like that I get to decide when I do what. I have pretty strict working discipline anyway and don’t need to be guided or watched when doing a job. I think I’m the most efficient boss that I ever had!
What’s your top tip for effective remote working?
Make sure to entwine your work time with something you love! I love listening to the news or podcasts, or having Gilmore Girls on in the background when I illustrate. If you can’t focus on both, maybe try listening to some music instead. This way you won’t get bored and are less inclined to leave your desk.
Is there a device/object/bit of furniture/piece of tech that improved your remote working station or practice?
I would say the iMac, the Wacom graphics tablet and Adobe Photoshop are the ultimate make-life-easy trio.
What aspect of remote working in your role might people not know about or understand?
Being a work-from-home person usually comes hand-in-hand with being a freelancer, and being a freelancer has its own set of challenges; having to find projects to keep your financial situation stable being the major one. Not being given a job for a fixed amount of yearly salary but having to job-hunt alongside doing said job is truly effortful. Having to update and interact with others on social media, updating your portfolio on various service-offering websites, reaching out to agents and publishers, preparing quotes for different clientele and undertaking daily email correspondences take up a long time.
Your remote working soundtrack: do you have a favourite playlist/podcast/radio station to keep you motivated, or is silence preferable to you?
I listen to a lot of Turkish news, being from Turkey myself, and there is never a dull moment in Turkish politics so I’m always entertained! If you wish to get perspective on how worse things could have been in the UK, you can always tune into this link here to hear all about it from a very level-headed liberal journalist from Turkey:
What’s your fondest memory and/or greatest achievement in your career so far?
I have illustrated picture books in the past but writing and illustrating one that completely belongs to me and having it gobbled by my little beta-readers was honestly a true bliss. I can’t wait to share it with a larger audience.
Where do you see you and your business going in the future?
Skyrocketing to the moon, I hope. Or at least landing on a literary/illustrator agent and getting published. Either, or!
Perim is waiting for the publishers to give her a publication date for her first book. We will keep you posted!