Do what you love: How Acrobat helps The Lust List combine business and creativity
Behind many creative careers is a seed of a dream. With passion, curiosity, and time, that dream organically grows into something that may not have otherwise been planned or predicted.
For self-starter and illustrator Sally Spratt, what started out as a side project — sketching illustrations of luxurious items she lusted after but couldn’t afford – has flourished into a business called The Lust List, which has her working with brands such as La Mer, Bobbi Brown, Estee Lauder, Ultraceuticals, L’Occitane, Johnny Walker, Nescafe, and many more.
“It’s taken me a lot of hard work, but I can now say I make a living from doing the thing I love most in life,” Spratt says.
Over the years, Spratt has accumulated a huge library of illustrations, and each is scanned, digitized, and organised into folders, such as fashion, beauty, and accessories, using Adobe tools. When it comes to creating a new ‘flatlay’ – shooting arranged items on a flat surface from directly above – all she has to do is dip into the library and explore new placements.
“It’s sort of like being a glorified jigsaw puzzler!” she says.
The hustle behind the passion
Six years ago, Spratt was unhappy in her work as a graphic designer and found herself illustrating and developing passion projects in her spare time. It was her then-roommate who encouraged her to take the leap and try freelancing full time as an illustrator.
“It was a huge leap to leave a job without any financial backing, so I gave myself six months to make it and find an agent, with the goal of becoming an illustrator and making a living from my artwork,” she says.
While facing the often-difficult realities of a fledgling freelance career, Spratt would often work seven days a week to build a portfolio and make a living. Without much disposable income, she began illustrating luxury items she wished she owned. A friend encouraged her to share her worked on Instagram, and so The Lust List was born. The premise: “If I can’t have them, I’ll draw them.”
The page quickly attracted a following, embedding a confidence in Spratt to keep investing in her personal projects. When she found an agency, The Ministry of Talent, to represent her work, the team helped her with transforming The Lust List into a diverse, sustainable business offering custom graphics for events and editorial, packaging and product collaborations, and more.
In time, working with bigger clients, like L’Occitane, and the seasonality of her workload has given Spratt the support and flexibility to learn new skills, share her process on IGTV, and even develop a side hustle for a new range of prints and stationery.
Blending creativity and business
To turn inspiration behind The Lust List into a business also required learning new approaches to streamline her illustration process, Spratt explains.
What began as quick five-minute sketches evolved into a thoughtful production line, working on multiple works in more detail and to a larger scale.
The typical creative process for Spratt’s work starts with using the Adobe Scan app to capture sketches, allowing her to work quickly and without plugging into a scanner. From there, sketches are imported to Adobe Acrobat to create PDFs for her management team so she can collect feedback.
“I bring my sketches into Adobe Acrobat, and from there I can select any number of images, make notes for myself on the approach I want to take, and have comments all in one place for when it comes time to draw them,” Spratt says.
Flexibility is one of the perks of being a freelancer, such as working from cafes or galleries or on the go. Adobe Acrobat helps Spratt to capture inspiration wherever she might be, speed up her workflow – and ultimately, combine creativity with business.
“I think that to blend creativity and business, it’s about embracing technology and finding the best methods you can,” she says.
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