Silvia Rossana

Graphic Designer & Illustrator

Silvia Rossana

Graphic Designer & Illustrator

Silvia Rossana is an Illustrator, Graphic Designer and proud plant parent from Italy. If you haven't seen her work already, you're sure to fall in love with her use of pastels, and her beautiful, warm, fun illustration style. We're totally obsessed with using all of her gifs on Instagram - seriously go and check them out. We have no doubt there are big thinks ahead for this talented creative! Thanks for chatting with us Silvia.
© Silvia Rossana
© Silvia Rossana
© Silvia Rossana
© Silvia Rossana

What do you do?

I am a freelance graphic designer and illustrator from Italy.

What did you want to be when you were a child?

My biggest dream when I was a child was to move to the U.S. to become a cartoonist for Disney (at that time I was convinced that cartoonists only existed overseas). I grew up reading comics and I was obsessed with the ones from Disney. I still have a huge ‘Mickey Mouse’ collection at my parent’s house. Another dream was to be a jewelry designer.

Tell us about your journey to becoming a freelancer.

I grew up in a very small town in the countryside near Milan surrounded by nature. Being an only child I used to spend most of my time drawing and creating things with my hands. Even if illustration has always been one of my biggest passions it took me years to realize I wanted to make a career out of it. When I graduated from high-school I was very discouraged and thought I couldn’t make a living as an illustrator, so I took a degree in Economics (yes, you got it right!) but soon after I realized that it wasn’t the right path for me. After some internships I finally got a job as a graphic designer for a company based in Milan and in the meantime I started taking some freelance work and working also on personal projects (hello sleepless nights!). I knew that was the right choice for me, so I took all the courage I had and made the jump to freelance life. It was the best decision I ever made.

When you first started, how did you find clients?

I’ll be honest, it took me a long time to find clients at first. While I was still working as an employee I started to do some freelance work for a graphic design studio based in Milan. That experience was very useful, it gave me the experience I needed and the confidence to promote myself out there, especially on social media. Nowadays most of my work comes from Instagram.

© Silvia Rossana

What are the biggest milestones that have led to where you currently are in your career?

When I was working as an employee in that company I felt very unhappy and frustrated. The working environment was very toxic and made me feel stressed out all the time. I have struggled with anxiety since I was a child and that situation soon became unsustainable. I came to a point in my life where I knew I had to make a choice. So I started working on freelance projects at night. I was super tired but I started to feel happy again, because I knew I was doing something to change my life. When I got enough confidence I finally quitted my job and I consider that a major milestone in my life. Another big milestone was to get my first job from an international agency!

In a world full of so many distractions, how do you stay productive?

That’s a tough question, because as an anxious person I often struggle to stay productive. I have now got to a place where I accepted that I can’t be productive all the time. If I don’t feel inspired I like to step away from the screen, take some time to rest or go for a walk. This usually helps to recharge my batteries and then I’m ready to go back to work.

Managing the business side of things can be time consuming. Do you have any tips, tricks or favourite tools that you find helpful?

Ask for help whenever you need it. When I started working freelance I knew nothing about invoices, tax, etc. I was very lucky to have a friend of mine that works as an accountant helping me with all this stuff. Also I recently bought the ‘Graphic Artist Guild Handbook’ and wish I did it sooner because it’s really helpful.

Animation of an illustration image of a woman with a planet on her head
© Silvia Rossana

What are you working on right now?

I am currently working with a couple of exciting clients on some really cool illustration projects.

What is your dream project?

I have so many! Last year I made many illustrations for branding projects and I’d love to make more! I also enjoyed making my own Instagram stickers (you can find all of them by typing ‘silviarossana’) and I’d love to make some for a company or brand. Another dream project would be to paint a mural, but in the meantime I’ll settle for the digital ones.

What one piece of advice would you give to a freelancer just starting out?

Trust yourself. No one knows what’s best for you better than you do. Ask for help whenever you need. Also remember to be kind with yourself and to be your number one supporter.

“Trust yourself. No one knows what’s best for you better than you do. Ask for help whenever you need. Also remember to be kind with yourself and to be your number one supporter.”

Tell us about a time in your career when you struggled.

As I previously said, when I was working at that graphic design job I was really struggling with stress and anxiety. At that time also my uncle was fighting against cancer and when he passed away I felt really overwhelmed. Later that year I almost had a breakdown: one day I woke up, I went to the bathroom to get ready for work and then I passed out. That was the moment I recognized I had to take care of myself and started to listen to my body signals. Then, even if it wasn’t an easy decision to take, I decided to quit my job: there were so many times I felt I had made the wrong career choice but I kept going anyway and slowly became more self-confident.

© Silvia Rossana

What has been the highlight of your career so far?

Working with international clients at some awesome projects!

What are you listening to, reading, or watching that is inspiring to you lately?

I love listening to podcasts, especially during work time. Some of my favorites are: The Lisa Congdon Sessions, Per Our Last Email, Unlocking Us with Brené Brown.

What is your all-time favourite piece of clothing?

Lately I’ve been loving wearing comfortable pieces with simple shapes and designs. Also I’m trying to learn how to sew, so that I can make my own unique pieces (I’m kind of picky!). It’s not super easy but I’m slowly learning.

Who would you like most to answer these questions next?

Manon Louart, she’s a really talented illustrator and animator. I’m a big fan of hers.

© Silvia Rossana

How can we find out more about your work?

Instagram: @silvia__rossana