Amanda Cole from Here Lives Amanda is a freelance graphic designer and illustrator currently based in Melbourne, Australia. Her illustrations are playful and laced with light-hearted happiness. Her graphic design is clean and very versatile. I’ve become a big fan of her work and thought it would be nice to ask her a few questions about what she does.


Shana Dennis: What first lead you to want to venture into the design industry?

Amanda Cole: I’ve always drawn, ever since I was young. I studied art, design and music at school, but never thought I could do it for a living. Deciding to do the ‘sensible thing’ when I went to University I enrolled in a business degree. 12 months in and WAY too many economics and accounting subjects later I realised I was setting myself up to be miserable, so I applied for a transfer into Visual Communications, (which luckily I got) and began re-immersing myself back into the creative world.

SD: How would you describe your illustrative style?

AC: It used to be when I was drawing something, I tried hard to create something that was quite literal, but as my knowledge about what an illustration can be expanded, I started to experiment more in my work. With my technical training in Graphic Design, I started to explore a more relaxed style of illustration, working with pencil and pen, finally taking the drawings into Illustrator and colouring digitally. My style has developed as I’ve worked to my strengths, and I’ve tried really hard to embrace my weaknesses as well.


SD: What are some of the most memorable projects you’ve been a part of, and why?

AC: In 2012 I was commissioned to create some portraits for Desktop Magazine, which was a great experience. Desktop is a magazine I love so that was extremely rewarding. After that job gained exposure, I was commissioned by Emirates to do some portraits for their inflight magazine which was a touch surreal, working with an international client (UAE), and illustrating for them was fantastic.

In regards to my Graphic Design practice, the last 12 months has seen me work with the lovely people at Web Directions on two of their events. Each event we begin from the ground up and I’ve been able to feature both my illustration and photography. They are a dream client because they trust what I do, and are a pleasure to work with, which I think comes through in the final result.


SD: What is the creative space like that you work in?

AC: Since going full-time freelance last year, I’ve been working mainly from home with the occasionally drop-in at a co-working space. I have a separate room in our apartment designated and set up as an office which I think is really important for anyone working from home as it helps keep you focused. My desk is always covered in note pads and sketch books, mugs of tea and pencils. It also has terrible music thanks to my shameful Spotify account!

SD: Lastly, where can people find you online?

AC: My main site lives at, and my newly live sketchbook is

Socially you can find me at the following:

Twitter: @herelivesamanda


Instagram: @herelivesamanda



Article by Shana Dennis. All images © Amanda Cole, used with permission.


About Author

Photographer from Newcastle, Australia.

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