Ilana Griffo - lettering artist, designer, illustrator, author
Updated: Sep 8
Upstate New York, USA
We are beyond thrilled to introduce Ilana Griffo - a lettering artist, illustrator, designer, author of "Mind Your Business" and "Rule The World Planner". Ilana is also a mother of two and a co-author of Loomier - an ultimate resource for artists looking to strengthen their knowledge in business.
Ilana, I've heard that you grew up in a creative household. Could you tell us more about your journey into art (brief bio/history/backstory)?
I grew up in a family that really fostered creativity. My sister is also a working artist, and as the youngest, I wanted to do everything she did. When I went to college, I studied fine art and was torn between interior design and graphic design. Once I learned a bit more about each program and the classes, I felt at home with graphic design. It was where I was meant to be.
You are a designer, illustrator and author of an amazing book for creatives called "Mind Your Business". When did you realize that you want to become a freelancer/business woman?
I think it was always in me to work for myself. It wasn't until I was working jobs that didn't fulfill me that the voice was loud enough to act on, but looking back, it was always there. I had started fundraisers, side hustles and done several projects as a kid that resemble the work I do today, and the drive I had for working for myself.
How long did it take you to transition to a full-time designer?
Once I knew it was what I wanted, I set monetary goals and business goals that I wanted to hit before making the transition. I wanted to have 6 months to a year of salary saved up, and have projects booked out for several months before I quit my full-time job as an art director.
Who is your book for?
My book was made with creative entrepreneurs in mind. If you're great at your craft, but struggle and feel overwhelmed when it comes to the business slide of things - it's for you babe :).
You describe yourself as a neat freak who loves organizing. Is that how the "Rule the World Planner" was born?
Exactly! I couldn't find the planner I needed, so I designed it! Over the last ten years, it's evolved, but it's still one of my most loved tools for setting and crushing goals ;).
You are a mummy of two. What was it like for you when you became a mum for the first time? How did it affect your art practice or business?
My priorities definitely shifted when I became a Mom! It also taught me how to get MORE done in less time. My work is really creatively fulfilling, so I make sure to carve out time for it. Having children gave me perspective on this, and I'm so glad I get to show my children what is possible!
You've also created various online courses and workshops. What do they focus on?
My business partner, Katie and I founded Loomier - it's a resource for artists who mean business. Some of our courses are more specific to craft, and others focus more on business for creatives!
Let's talk about food! You have something we all secretly desire - your very own pizza oven in your garden!!! Who came up with the idea?
My husband! I can only take credit for eating it and helping him (aka holding tools and mixing materials!)
What is the message behind your art/designs?
I try and be a source of positivity, and show artists what's possible with their art. I like to be honest and transparent so that others can learn from my mistakes.
What does your art do for you?
I think of my work as my unicorn space (a term from the book "fair play"), it brings me so much joy, it challenges me, and I have a lot of fun when I'm creating!
What are your plans for the future (career, parenting etc.)?
My second book is coming out later this year and I'm working on more content with Loomier! I hope to keep having conversations with artists about pursuing their passion, keep sharing my journey, and keep loving on my kids as I watch them grow! And more pizza - definitely more pizza.
What advice do you have for fellow art mums?
Carve out time for the things that bring you joy! It's easy to feel guilty for taking time for yourself, but I love that I'm showing my children that they can design their dream career! It makes me a better mom when I'm able to show up to them creatively fulfilled and full of passion.