How to Launch Your Creative Career – Julia Rothman’s Story

Your Creative Career Awaits

There are plenty of things to love about a creative career — flexible hours, personal fulfillment, and limitless growth potential, to name a few.  But how do you go from an unknown to an in-demand professional? Skillshare teacher Julia Rothman shares how she went from small-scale to scoring clients like Urban Outfitters and The New York Times.

Want more from Julia Rothman? - check out her latest Ladies Drawing Night class, and her Handmade Wallpaper class!


In the beginning, working for myself was really scary. You didn’t know if you were gonna get a job or not – you just sat and waited.

I’d spent some time doing my own work, but mostly I was like how am I going to make money, how am I going to pay the rent.

A really big turning point in my career was when I decided I was going to do Surtex. I saw all these independent artists sitting at these booths with a stack of patterns and I thought, wow I can do this. So, then I decided I would make my own patterns.

While I was doing client work during the day, at night I was making patterns just for myself of anything I wanted, things I saw around my house. Plants, okay pattern of plants. Shoes,  Oh I’Ill make a pattern of shoes. And I made 100 of them and I thought, you know if I sell all of these, I’m gonna be rich. But that didn’t really happen.

The best thing that came out of that was that Grace Bonney, the founder of Design Sponge, came to my booth and she really liked my work and the next day she wrote about me on her site. After that I got all these emails from all these companies I wanted to work for like Urban Outfitters and Chronicle Books, and that’s kind of how I got my whole career started.

It's awesome to have your work everywhere – on walls and on people’s dishes.

To go from nothing to being really happy and satisfied was a long journey. I worked really long hours and I worked weekends and I did all nighters a lot of the time, and I did deadlines that were in an hour and you know, that part got me here.