Kitiya Palaskas

Real Talk


Real Talk artwork by Kitiya Palaskas.jpg

Hi everyone,

Happy 2019! I know it’s technically mid-Jan, but I figured most of us were busy holidaying and enjoying some down time and might only be getting into the swing of things now. I hope you’re all rested and excited about the year ahead, I know I definitely am. Having said that, I always freak out a little bit at the start of a new year because I have this bad habit of putting a lot of pressure on myself to achieve great things each year, and so feel a bit of panic and anxiety worrying about whether this will or won’t happen. So I did have a little freak out, I have to say, but I’ve moved on from that now and am looking forward to what 2019 has in store for us all.

Remembering your creative purpose

I’ve written about this heaps of times before, but over the last few years I’ve struggled A LOT with creative block and burnout. Just when I would think I was getting over it, it would strike back and I would find myself treading water yet again. This was particularly rife last year, I could feel the build up of the past few years really starting to wear me down. Going into this new year I wanted to find my spark again, and get to the bottom of why I still kinda felt that block.

I listened to a really great episode of one of my favourite podcasts, Andy J Miller’s Creative Pep Talk. It was about defeating burnout, and there was a part where Andy lists some strategies for moving past it. One of them is to remember WHY you are creative in the first place - your ultimate creative purpose. According to Andy, your purpose is the spark that fuels your creativity. Listening to this, I realised (in a dramatic heart stopping moment) that I couldn’t define what mine was anymore! I’d lost sight of it! All of a sudden it made so much sense as to why I’d struggled so much with creative block and burnout, because I wasn’t really working towards a greater purpose. Yes I’ve made things I’ve enjoyed and been proud of over the last few years, but in general I still felt a bit aimless about what I was doing it for. Like I said before, I felt like I was treading water.

Real Talk artwork by Kitiya Palaskas.jpg

So I tried really hard to define my creative purpose, but I didn’t truly believe in the answers I was coming up with. I wrote so many things down, but nothing felt genuine. Then I had a little bit of a panic spiral (gotta love a spiral!). If I no longer had a purpose for being creative, was there actually a point?! Cue mega emo phone call with my boyfriend about what the fuck I’m doing with my life and how everything is horrible and I’m just going to throw in the towel and get a job in data entry from now. Lol sorry babe.

After talking it through I started to think about what my original creative purpose was before my career really took off, before I started getting clients and found myself running a full on business. My purpose back then was to celebrate everything handmade, to keep handmade techniques alive, and to show through my work, and by positioning myself as a commercial designer, that craft has a valid place in the contemporary design world.  When I thought about it, I realised this is still my purpose at heart. Even though I feel like I’ve achieved my purpose, it’s still what drives me at the end of the day. I’d just lost sight of it in the whirlwind of running a business, hustling, networking, the social media success trap, and all of that other noise.

I guess I’m telling you all of this because if you’ve started your year feeling a bit lost, blocked, or without direction, don’t panic. I suggest reminding yourself of what your true creative purpose is. Think really hard about it, have a few panic spirals and emo phone chats if you need to, until you remember. It will help direct you to a starting point for the year, and you can use it as a roadmap to get you on your way.

Real Talk artwork by Kitiya Palaskas.jpg

Setting Goals

I’ve have always been an advocate of setting some goals at the start of a year. I personally need them to give me direction and help keep me on track as the year begins, especially because the first part of the year always goes SO fast, and all of a sudden you’ve blinked and it’s June and you haven’t even got started yet! Your goals don’t have to be set in stone though. I think it’s great to be open to new opportunities coming your way, experiencing things that change your goals, and simply just making it up as you go along. But I do find it useful to have at least a vague road map to work from. If you’re keen on some goal setting to get you pumped up for 2019, here’s some tips you might find useful:


1. Start with a review of last year. What did you love and what were you most proud of?  What didn’t work so well for you that you could ditch or change/improve on in the new year? What new skills do you want to learn this year to build on what you learned last year? For me, one thing I was proud of was starting the Real Talk project, and I loved getting some fresh inspiration from my trip to Mexico, which made me want to prioritise travel more in 2019. On the down side, I realised that client management gave me the most stress out of anything last year, and that I had become quite a reactive maker - only creating when I had a client job, and not for fun or experimentation. So, improving in these areas is going on my goals list for sure.

2. Split your goals into areas that are relevant to you, so you can focus on each area separately and not get overwhelmed by how many goals are stacking up on your list. Mine ended up falling into the following categories: career, personal creative growth, and bucket list goals.

3. Can you list a few actionable steps towards achieving each of your goals? What actions can you start to take that will help you work towards them? For example, I’d like to make more time for creative experimentation and fun making, so to work towards this I’m going to try setting aside specific periods in the week for time consuming but important things like client meetings, business admin, emails, studio maintenance etc so that the rest of my time is free to simply just make stuff.

4. Remember that you can’t achieve it all right now this instant. But you can choose a couple of things to get started on right away to keep you motivated and get the ball rolling. I always choose something as my January project to focus on, so I can at least start. This year it’s to revamp the Real Talk project and start to design a line of mini pinatas that I’d eventually like to sell.

 5. Remember that goals can change, as can your circumstances. While I think it’s really useful and inspiring to set goals, try not to feel like you’re locked into them. Keep some flexibility about you and treat these goals more as a guide, not something set in stone. The last thing you want is to start the year feeling any pressure, you might lose motivation and stop before you’ve even begun.

I wish you all an amazing start to 2019! Now, let’s get started!

All images: Kitiya Palaskas

Computer gif by Kitiya Palaskas.gif

Get some Real Talk in your inbox!

Real Talk is an online wellbeing project for creative people, curated and edited by me with contributions by Katie Holcombe. Through a monthly newsletter we share original articles (like this one) and exclusive curated content that we feel will compliment the topics we’re discussing. Things like TED talks, podcast episodes, videos, wellbeing exercises, worksheets and many more inspiring resources. Sign up to our newsletter to get your monthly dose of Real Talk and be empowered to improve your wellbeing so that you can lead your best creative life!


Real Talk



This is an article from the original Real Talk blog, which is now archived here on the KP website!
Happy reading!

Real Talk by Kitiya Palaskas.jpg

I'm super excited to announce our first monthly theme, 'Success'! I felt this was a fitting choice for our first ever theme because it's kind of what prompted me to start sharing my real talk in the first place. Worrying about whether or not we are successful is a big thing for a lot of creative people. Our view on what success means can be affected by so many different factors - our backgrounds and experiences, other people's definitions of success, misconceptions, inner demons, societal pressures, what the media tells us and so much more. This month we'll be exploring the concept of success, its varying definitions, and some of the ways in which outside factors can affect our personal views on what success means to us. We'll hear from members of the creative community, learn about Imposter Syndrome and how it can skew our view of success, get real about the not-so-real aspects of social media, and so much more. 

To get the ball rolling I wanted to share some things that I used to think about success, things I personally thought to be true, but that I now (with a bit more time and experience under my belt) consider to be misconceptions. These views were actually quite damaging to a younger me, and made me put a lot of undue pressure on myself, which didn't contribute positively to my creative wellbeing at all! Maybe you've thought them too at some point or another. So here they are, along with some rebuttals from an older, and hopefully more wiser me. 

Real Talk by Kitiya Palaskas.jpg

The more money you have, the more successful you are.
Ew, no. Sure, I like to be paid well for my work, don't we all? But to me, my career achievements and how good I feel about them often seem completely separate to how much money they brought in. There are so many aspects of my creative life that I consider successful, and most of those have nothing to do with money at all, so there.

Success is a portfolio of big-name clients
Having big names on your client list is impressive, but it shouldn't define success. Some of the most incredible creative people I know haven't once worked for a big name client, or even a client at all in some cases!  And what defines 'big' anyway? Even that is subjective. 

Success is creativity full-time, having a day job is for plebs
Ugh, triggering. I've done both (in fact I have a day job right now!) and I can safely say, I kicked goals and achieved amazing things regardless of my full-time or part-time status. Everyone's situation is different, and just because you have a day job doesn't mean you're any less valid than someone pursuing their creative career full-time. Both are great!

Success is finding one thing and sticking to it
I hope not, because otherwise I've failed big time! I'm someone who is constantly pivoting in their career. I have so many interests and I want to pursue them all, and no one can stop me dammit. Picking just one of these interests to pursue for the rest of my creative life makes me feel totally claustrophobic actually. Why not dream big and aim for success in all your chosen fields, you don't need to pick just one!

Success is being a martyr to your craft
Gross, no. We've all met a martyr. You can recognise them by how tired and unhappy they look. I know this because I used to be one. I used to feel like if I wasn't working on my brand 100% of the time, I was failing it somehow. But slaving away late into the night, not taking breaks, thriving on stress, not eating, not showering (ew), being too busy for your friends and family... none of this makes you a 'success', it just makes you burn out! We all go through busy times as creatives, it's part of the process. But realising the importance of finding balance, nurturing your mind and body, and not feeling guilty about taking time out will actually make you better at your job, not worse.

Success means constant motivation, inspiration and dedication
No mate. Having these things is lovely and feels awesome, but it's also normal if you don't feel like this 100% of the time. Creativity can come in waves, and sometimes you're just not vibing. You would never consider someone a failure during the times they weren't 100% jazzed about their creativity, so why would you think it about yourself? 

Real Talk by Kitiya palaskas.jpg

I think it's important to say that despite feeling like I don't believe in these definitions of success anymore, sometimes I can revert back to them out of habit, and I have to try really hard to snap out that damaging way of thinking. It's a work in progress!  But if there's one main message I want to convey this month, it's that SUCCESS IS RELATIVE. It means different things to different people, it can even mean different things to the same person (at different times in their lives). Some people might not think about it that much, but to others it could be the driving force behind everything they do. No one person is the same, and no single creative path is the same, so success is going to look different for each and every one of us.  I think it's important to define success for yourself, and try to not let external factors influence this. It's also important to be open to your definition of success changing over time, mine certainly did, and will again I'm sure.

I hope you enjoy the thoughts and resources we'll be sharing in this first month of Real Talk. There's a lot of juicy stuff to discuss, so let's get stuck into it!

Get some Real Talk in your inbox!

Real Talk is an online wellbeing project for creative people, written and curated by me! Through a monthly newsletter we share original articles (like this one) and exclusive curated content that we feel will compliment the topics we’re discussing in our articles. Things like TED talks, podcast episodes, videos, wellbeing exercises, worksheets and many more inspiring resources. Sign up to our newsletter to get your monthly dose of Real Talk and be empowered to improve your wellbeing so that you can lead your best creative life!


Real Talk



This is an article from the original Real Talk blog, which is now archived here on the KP website!
Happy reading!

Kitiya Palaskas Real Talk Project.png

Hello! Thank you for finding this little corner of the internet, I'm so glad you're here. My name is Kitiya Palaskas and I'm the creator of Real Talk. I am a craft-based designer who has been working in the commercial design industry for the last 8 years. I am proudly self-made and have built my niche career from scratch through a combination of trial and error, persistence, and many, many Google searches on topics like "how to run a design business", "what is an invoice", "marketing tips for total idiots", "how to not be socially awkward in networking settings", and other similar things.

Over the course of my career, the internet has been an amazing resource to educate, empower and inspire me to be a boss - there is literally no end to the incredible information out there to help people build and run successful brands or business ventures. Because of this I feel like I can say with confidence that when it comes to running my creative business, I got this. But over the years I have realised that there is another side to being a creative person. It's something I didn't really consider or think was important initially because I was so excited about the career I was building and too busy learning all those business-y things so I could one day become the cooler, more powerful, more ethnic version of Martha Stewart.  I didn't realise that this 'other side' is actually as equally important to having a successful creative career as learning how to run a business. I'm talking about wellbeing

Real Talk Project by Kitiya Palaskas

Creativity is personal, it comes from inside us. It's an expression of our personality, a reflection of who we are. It makes sense then that all the things that affect us on a personal level are inextricably linked to our creativity. I often wonder why it's easy enough to reach out  for support about things happening in my personal life, but then seems taboo somehow for me to speak up about the same issues facing me in my creative life. There seems to be a stigma attached to this kind of sharing. Luckily we seem to be in a special period of time right now where wellbeing issues are more openly discussed than ever before, especially online. A safe, nurturing space is being formed where we can reach out, speak openly about our issues, seek help, and feel better. The walls surrounding these topics seem to be breaking down and being more transparent and open about our experiences is becoming the new normal, which is why I feel this is the perfect time and place for me to launch this project.

But let me back up for a minute. Hands up if you are a creative person that has ever experienced one of the following (keep your hand up if you're like me and have experienced ALL of the following, multiple times):

  • Fear of failure

  • Self-doubt

  • Lack of motivation

  • Jealousy

  • Insecurity about your creative future

  • Creative block

  • Overwhelmingness (Is that a even a word? Well it is now.)

  • Imposter syndrome

  • Guilt

  • Burn out

  • Pressure to succeed

I could go on...

Real Talk Project by Kitiya Palaskas.gif

I think you'd be hard-pressed to find a creative person out there who hasn't experienced one or more of these things at some point in their careers. That's because just like in our personal lives, these are a natural and normal part of being creative. For me (and maybe you) however, I haven't always been as willing to admit to them, because up until a few years ago I literally thought I was the only one experiencing stuff like this. Everyone around me seemed to be kicking goals and killing it at their creative lives, 100% of the time. As much as I felt confident and proud about my place in the creative industry, I was scared to admit that I sometimes had other feelings about it all too. I wanted everyone to see me like I saw them, killing it and kicking goals. I also didn't want to whine about feelings and how hard things could be, despite being privileged enough to be able to do craft every day and get paid for it. So I never addressed any of these issues or reached out for help when I needed it. Over time this caused all sorts of turmoil for me, including a mega dose of creative block which crippled me on and off for the better part of 2 years. 

Somewhere in the midst of that gross phase I was invited to speak at a design conference. Rather than showing a highlights reel of my portfolio, which seemed like the safe thing to do, I decided to take the plunge and be honest about some of the things I'd been going through that year. I don't know why I to choose to bare it all for the first time ever in front of an audience of over 500 people, BUT, I had been given an amazing opportunity to share my story, and felt it was important in doing so to shine a light not just on my creative achievements, but also the realities, good and bad, of my creative life. So I did it, and guess what, it didn't bomb! The feedback was so encouraging. Many people reached out to tell me they had been through similar things and experienced this stuff on the regular too! The solidarity that I felt in knowing I wasn't alone in these experiences was so wonderful. Over the years since I have been making more of an effort to be open and realistic about creative wellbeing and how I am feeling. The more I do it, the more normal it feels, and each time I realise I am not alone and that the dialogue I am having with others is helping me to build an arsenal of amazing tools to assist me in leading a happy and healthy existence as a creative person.  

Real Talk Project by Kitiya Palaskas.gif

So, what is Real Talk exactly? Well, it's the culmination of my efforts to be more real about creative life. Real Talk is a safe space for open dialogue about creative wellbeing, structured around a different theme every month. It's a place to share insights and experiences about all the feelings-y things we go through and how to manage them in our day-to-day creative lives. It's also a platform to share inspiring stories and valuable resources from all over the place. I should probably insert some sort of disclaimer at this point so here goes: I'm not a medical professional, nor am I an expert on these topics outside of my own personal experiences. I'm just a gal with lots of feelings trying to make sense of everything so it doesn't get in the way of me making stuff. I'm also not trying to re-invent the wheel with this project. I know there's already heaps of great stuff out there about this so I'm going to try and find all the best bits of that and share it here too. Alongside this I'll be sharing original content (thoughts, opinions, stories) by me and a bunch of creative people I know and love, and also YOU if you're interested (hit me up)!

I really want to form a community around this project, and encourage you to share your own thoughts and experiences by commenting on posts here and on social media. What Real Talk won't be is a place for judgement, or calling out, I want everyone to feel they have a voice within this community and that they can confidently share their stories to a like-minded audience that is willing to hear them. Also, I love an epic rant as much as the next person, but will aim to keep my content empowering and constructive, even if we are talking about things that can be painful, frustrating or negative. If at any time you have thoughts on how we can improve what we're doing here and make it more valuable for everyone, please don't feel shy to speak up. 

Anyway, thank you for taking the time to read our first post. To stay in the loop about what's coming, including an announcement about our first theme, follow us on Instagram ( and sign up to our mailing list via the form below. 

Thank you so much for being here, I can't wait to get the ball rolling and see where this project takes us!

Speak soon,

Real talk Project by Kitiya palaskas.png

Get some Real Talk in your inbox!

Real Talk is an online wellbeing project for creative people, written and curated by me! Through a monthly newsletter we share original articles (like this one) and exclusive curated content that we feel will compliment the topics we’re discussing in our articles. Things like TED talks, podcast episodes, videos, wellbeing exercises, worksheets and many more inspiring resources. Sign up to our newsletter to get your monthly dose of Real Talk and be empowered to improve your wellbeing so that you can lead your best creative life!


Design Work, Inspiration


Kitiya Palaskas Girl Power felt collage

Happy International Women's Day to all of you amazing powerhouses out there! I'm feeling the significance of this day so strongly as I think about how this past year has proven more than ever that if we band together in solidarity and support one another no matter what we can achieve powerful things and make real change. Our voices can and will be heard. We got this.

I made this felt-cut poster to celebrate the indomitable power of women . You can download and print it at A4 size, and hang it where you'll see it every day. I hope it encourages and empowers you. xoxo

Right click and save to download the poster!


Life Stuff



A few weeks ago me and Spencer Harrison (aka Spenceroni) - my studio buddy of over 3 years -moved out of our shared artist warehouse in Clifton Hill into a beautiful light-filled new studio on the top floor of an old zip factory in Brunswick East. It feels so good to be slowly settling in to this awesome space, unpacking all my colourful junk, and getting back to work. We're planning on filling the entire space to the brim with plants, which is already coming along pretty well if I do say so myself! My favourite parts about the new studio are the parquetry floors, huge windows that let in heaps of warming light (excellent and highly necessary for our cold Melbourne winters!), and the large walk-in storage cupboard where I can hide all the ugly things like my hideous industrial shelving and the many "random bags" of stuff I've been intending to sort out forever but realistically never will. Here's some glimpses at the space so far!

Kitiya Palaskas studio 10
Kitiya Palaskas studio 11
All images: Kitiya Palaskas

All images: Kitiya Palaskas


Design Work



Late last year I was commissioned by Sydney-based agency One Green Bean to create a series of DIY videos for Australia's largest supermarket chain Woolworths, in collaboration with Melbourne-based video producer On Jackson Street. The series featured three unique Halloween costume ideas for kids. I wanted to try showcasing each project using stop-motion, a format I've loved for ages and thought would be a quirky, unique way to present DIY content, especially for social media, as these videos were intended. Tatanja from On Jackson Street brought my ideas to life with her charming animation skills and I love the result! Check 'em out and maybe even consider trying some out next time you need a party costume!





As part of my website upgrade I wanted to create something that showcased my design services and gave you all a bit of a behind the scenes look at my studio and day-to-day activities. I'm super stoked by the end product, a mini film shot by the talented Tatanja of On Jackson Street, and featuring me being a weirdo in various locations around my hood. Enjoy!





I recently shot this splashy photo series with my babe friend Esther for my Summer range of laser-cut acrylic accessories and am so thrilled with how it came out. I'm hanging out so hard for Summer and can't wait to wear some of these babies with my favourite hot weather outfits. They're all available in my Gift Shop now, with more new stuff to come!

Photography and styling: Kitiya Palaskas Model: Esther Olsson

Photography and styling: Kitiya Palaskas
Model: Esther Olsson