Case Study: Agility

An illustration showing a woman running holding a pencil.
Image courtesy of UAL

Ignacia Ruiz – juggling multiple projects and staying agile

Illustrator and reportage artist, Ignacia Ruiz, combines freelance work with companies as diverse as Penguin and Scoop, with associate lecturing and a busy exhibiting schedule. Here, the Central Saint Martins graduate discusses the importance of remaining agile in a fast-moving industry.

‘You get a bit of an adrenalin kick and manage to fit things into a tight schedule because of an agile mentality. Use that stress to propel yourself.’

Ignacia Ruiz

Dealing with the peaks and troughs

Developing agility is very important in the professional world, as things tend to move quite fast, though, on occasions, really slowly.

One day you’ll have more work than you can handle and the next you will have nothing to do. I think agility allows you to be in command of both situations, not only to handle big workloads but also be able to get out of a creative/work rut and kick-start your next project.

The ability to be agile is paramount, especially for people who freelance. The design work is only half of the work; finding people to work with and with whom to make connections is the other half. The more agile you can, be the better. It’s very much about juggling jobs, personal work and part time jobs. I think for the first few years you have to be readily available to work. I’m still figuring out the best way to do this and I feel happy to have room to grow and learn.

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Embracing change

I recently had to pitch some roughs for a cover for Penguin the morning I was going on a month-long trip abroad. Sadly, the project didn't go ahead in the end but I proved to myself I can answer the call when under pressure.

I also had a show in Spain last year and the logistics of sending work, framing and hanging in the gallery required a lot of quick acting and thinking. I was out of my comfort zone completely and finished hanging a few hours before the opening. Thankfully it went well, though.

You get a bit of an adrenalin kick and manage to fit things into a tight schedule because of an agile mentality. Use that stress to propel yourself.

I try and get into the habit of accepting rejection. Agility is also about picking yourself back up quickly after you've been turned down. Don't dwell and hop forward.

My advice for current students about being agile and embracing change is don’t take things too personally. Say yes to opportunities and most of all don't let fear of the unknown get the best of you. Get into the habit of doing.

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‘Say yes to opportunities and most of all don't let fear of the unknown get the best of you. Get into the habit of doing.’

Ignacia Ruiz