Dana Bly is riding the high of her best year yet! The North Carolina-based illustrator supplied gorgeous images to accompany the horoscopes inside each ESSENCE issue for 2015. See how she turned her lay off into an opportunity to become her own boss.   Name: Dana Bly Age: 42 Title: Owner of Pardon My Fro Location: Charlotte, NC Hometown: Brooklyn/Germany Twitter: @olivepaperie   Instagram: @pardonmyfro The gig: I create art illustrations that I sell on art prints and home decor. This year it was an amazing to create art for ESSENCE. I get my inspiration from everyday life, fashion, TV, patterns and bold colors. I love sharing my art and love when people “get” my art and share on social media. The journey: I’ve always loved designing and was head graphic designer for two retail stores. I was laid off in 2010 and decided it was time to pursue my dream of working independently. While working for a company, I got to learn a lot about online retail and applied that to my business.   Her lesson learned: As a freelancer, sometimes it’s just you and a computer at night. When you are feeling overwhelmed, you learn to use time management little bit better to lessen the stress of thinking you have to do everything in one day!   Her best advice: Be yourself and stay true to your passion.  The answer no will eventually turn into a yes! Stay available and reach out to other creatives! Don’t be afraid to share other artist’s work! Not everything has to be a competition! Her favorite book: Any crime or mystery books and, of course, James Patterson. Her superpower:  The ability to push through adversity! I get that superpower from my parents. Her theme song: “ I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor. My tech fix: Spotify is a must! Music helps me enjoy my work! The notes app keeps me organized.   My beauty bag:  Lip gloss and double mint gum. My downtime: Reading and spending time with my daughter! TOPICS: