To kick things off with style, I caught up with Nate Kadlac over email about the excellent and beautiful newsletter he creates called Plan Your Next.
Tell us about the creative work you do.
By day, I’m a product designer for a real estate startup. Most of my work there involves designing user experiences across a number of platforms, like mobile and web apps.
Outside of that, I write a weekly newsletter called Plan Your Next, which explores how to find creative inspiration to pursue your next thing. I also write longer-form articles on my site, and I love to help non-designers learn how to apply design in their own life, personally and professionally.
How long have you been visually creative?
Ever since I can remember! I grew up in an artistic environment. My dad is a creative OG, a multi-disciplinary artist in the truest sense of the word. He built our house and would finger paint creatures like butterflies and snails into the ceiling paint, and I would often catch myself seeing a new figure throughout my childhood.
I grew up painting, drawing, and using photography to explore my creative interests. During college, I wanted to explore how I could apply design to the web, and was dissatisfied with the speed at which I was learning that. I ended up quitting college and learning how to code and design websites through a mentor of mine at the time, which launched me into a new chapter.
What was your thought process for incorporating original visuals into your work?
To make email less boring! I rarely draw unless it’s aligned with a goal, and having a newsletter to combine my writing with a visual element felt like a natural fit.
When I relaunched my newsletter, I wanted to make the experience more interesting for my readers. Adding an audio component, a visual component, and a written component is rarely found in combination amongst the noise. This is my attempt at creating more signal vs more noise.
What tools do you like to use for creation and publishing?
It’s very simple. My 12” iPad Pro, an Apple Pencil, and Procreate. Some other tools that I use to get creative would be my iPhone, which I use to take reference images and then bring them into Procreate to illustrate in my own style.
After I’m done illustrating, I export my illustrations and drop them into Figma to resize and export for different use cases.
Most of my note-taking happens in Roam. My writing takes place in IA Writer. I publish my newsletter using Substack, use Twitter for signaling, and Webflow for my own blog.
Is there one image you are particularly proud of? What was your process?
The illustration for my article, KonMari your creative life.