Martina is an illustrator living and working in Belfast.  Drawing inspiration from daily life and the fantastical, Martina creates engaging illustrations which connect with people. Using a range of media and techniques, a happy marriage of traditional and digital, the resulting artwork is richly textured. Martina enjoys wordplay, and feels that the concept of the illustration can often be as layered as the artwork. 

A key part of Martina's work is her passion for a good side project.  In this interview, we chatted with Martina specifically about the side project - why is it important and how on earth to keep motivated to push it forward!

Tell us about the importance of a side project

Side projects are a great opportunity to create work without the limitations or restrictions of client work. It's wonderful having something you're passionate about you can work on while you're waiting on client feedback or just to start the day. Also, what you create on personal projects can influence or attract future commissions.

How do you stay motivated and focused?

Setting timely goals.
Normally if I have structure within a side project it dictates what needs to be done or when so it feels mandatory. Mandatory, but still in a fun way. My current side project The Monday Friday Project is an illustration for every Monday and Friday of 2017.  It can be hard waking up early on a Monday morning to draw a tired badger or a grumpy hedgehog, but it's a promise I made to myself and I would hate to have a week missing out of the year. If it wasn't for the time restriction I've imposed on myself, I probably wouldn't have managed the amount I have so far.  I have other side projects that are more casual and can sit for months and months without being added to, but that has its own advantages too as they don't get rushed and you can reach further for quality.

Align the side project with some of your other interests/passions.
I've always enjoyed documenting and looking back through memories. When I was a kid I used to keep diaries, other ways I do this now are through using the 1 second Everyday App or creating illustrations about my day. Picking a side project that aligns with my other interests and goals helps motivate me to keep on track as I enjoy it on more than one level.

What are some of the favourite side projects that you have worked on?

I haven't had one personal project yet that outshines the others, I suppose that's a good thing as things can stagnate if you're ever too content with something. I've enjoyed different aspects from each of the side projects.

This Is The Coolest Place - this was the first time I'd ever made GIFs and it was fun to learn a new skill and have all the 'test subjects' be part of a collection. The GIF gang are still hanging out together yet happy to welcome new members when I have the time!

Inktober - A lot of the work I created for Inktober has proved to be very versatile for inspiring work since. I also found my mind to be exploding with illustration ideas while I was working on this.

Springfield Record Co. -This wasn't a side project with a daily limit or any time restrictions so I was able to work a little longer and with more detail. I had just as much fun creating these illustrations as I did brain storming on the ideas. Just like other on-going side projects, this series will be added to when I find the time.