I stumbled over Martyna Wieliczko’s (A.K.A Martyna Makes) work recently whilst scrolling for inspiration and it instantly made me crave more. Martyna’s clean, retro inspired beautifully simple illustrations feel authentic and true to her own views and morals, mostly based around common mental health challenges that creatives face. The first of her work I noticed was the self initiated project Martyna worked on during the early stages of lockdown due to the worldwide COVID-19 global pandemic.
To keep sane during this tough time, Martyna focused on routines to break up her day which led to these awesome designs spurred on by an online initiative to help designers get through lockdown :
'An illustrative exploration of what can help during the 2020 Covid-19 Quarantine as part of the Housebound Project. Focusing on routines was a measure I personally took during that time, creating small routines around the days that felt endless' - Martyna Wieliczko
As a creative we've all experienced ups and downs and the occasional wobble that can slowly manifest into more off-putting mental health challenges that can make you question your worth and creative skills.
We caught up with Martyna to find out more about this up and coming talented designer, hear about her journey and to gather some much needed guidance and advice for other up and coming creatives looking to make it in the industry and overcome their own everyday 'wobbles'.
Hey Martyna! Nice to meet you can you let us know more about the work you do and how you got to where you are now?
Hey Briefbox! I was fortunate enough to graduate from UCA Epsom last summer, before the pandemic hit. I previously did a number of internships at various creative studios & print houses, and now I work at a fab studio in London.
The experience I got from those internships and placements was really great and helpful to get me where I am now.
I know that it can be quite tricky to get experience in the creative industry especially now, but I think it’s always good to stay aware of the companies and brands you like and hit them up! Never underestimate the power of cold emails (and a catchy subjectline) - worked for me!
So what does your typical day look like?
As many people right now my day to day changes all the time! I think I’m a creature of habit and recently that’s been shook up but it’s really pushed my ability to adapt. Some days I work in a studio in London, some of those days are spent working from home and my evenings and weekends are spent freelancing and working on my illustration work.
Lately I’ve spent a lot of time searching for secondhand furniture and bits for a new home (lot’s of going down rabbit holes on Facebook marketplace).
You mention that your work is often about common mental health challenges that creatives face. Can you offer any advice or tips on how to deal with everyday wobbles?
Acknowledge that you're having a tough time, there's no point sugarcoating it and trying to fool yourself into thinking that you're doing okay. Everyone has 'mental health' this is such a big topic to speak about, not just in the creative space. You won't always be able to maintain your mental health as well as you can, it all comes with ups and downs. The negatives can feel like they outweigh the positives just because naturally humans tend to be harsh on themselves, comparing our work, our progress or happiness is futile; everyone is on their own journey so just take it as it goes! Those wobbles should be taken as small lessons you overcame. We're not robots at the end of the day, but even robots have their glitches sometimes too.
What are some recent projects of yours that you love and what is it about them you love so much?
It’s tough to say which projects of mine I really love only because I still think my style is developing which I think is a good thing! I have realised that my personal projects do tend to swerve towards the subjects of mental health mixed with mundane life situations that we all face. I think it’s great to look at something and think ‘oh yeah, I get that’.
I would say to any aspiring designers to always note down an idea, even if it seems rubbish, you never know when it might come in handy!
Here are some recent prints of Martyna's that we absolutely love available now on her online store.
Who are some of your favourite designers / illustrators and who inspires you?
I get my inspiration from the usual places like most people, Instagram and Pinterest but it’s also good to sometimes shut that down and just doodle your thoughts away and see what comes of it! Here our a few creatives I really love:
Mike Sian studio always put out pleasing work (https://www.instagram.com/mikesian.studio/)
I’m always in awe of Alex May Hughes’ work, it all looks so magical, even if it is an image of Homer eating a bowl of fries or other Simpsons related madness! (https://www.instagram.com/p/CC8psCYDN4l/)
Project 26 are ones to keep an eye out for if you enjoy old school imagery, they source vintage Polish posters! (https://www.instagram.com/projekt_26/)
I’ve also really enjoyed the recent BrewDog x Aldi collab just because it was so unexpected:
Wow, that's an awesome selection of inspiration for our community, thanks Martyna! When it comes to balancing your work with your morals and values over having to get the bills paid and ensuring you have enough money to live, what's your view on this?
Morals vs bills it’s definitely a tough call that a lot of people in the creative industry have to make, and unfortunately when you first start out it’s more difficult to say no to money even if you don’t agree with the client. What I will say is that success looks different to everyone, and it can change day to day, some days that’s paying the bills and some days that’s being mega creative and feeling fulfilled.
What would be your top tips to illustrators looking to make it but are struggling to stay motivated?
- Push past that block and the imposter syndrome,
- No one is 100% original
- There’s no such thing as ‘making it’ it’s all a bloody mission, ups and downs and all that.
- Continually work on your style and portfolio with conceptual projects and websites like Briefbox to create a body of work you are proud of.
What’s your work station setup & favourite tools etc?
I have just moved so there’s not much set up however something with plenty of storage for prints, stationery and a seat where I can sit cross legged and get lots of back damage in the process :)
Make sure to keep your eyes peeled for more awesome work by Martyna and you can find work over here: