Au Revoir 2010 (and good riddance)!


I’m happy to see the back side of 2010.

It wasn’t a totally horrible year. In fact, some pretty great things happened to me: I had my first (and hopefully not last) exhibition at Cedarhurst Center for the Arts. I have a newish website (but I’m getting ready to update that yet again, I’m never satisfied with it), I had a little spot in Layers magazine which was nice, I work with some fantastic clients and I always appreciate the projects they feel I’d work well on, I manage to walk/run five miles a day, I’ve made some great friends on Twitter, and I deactivated my FB page. My husband got a new job, and our boys are happy and in great health. So, these things, made 2010 pretty terrific.

However, I’ve been at a crossroads with my approach when it comes to illustration. Some days I love how I work out a problem, other days, I question if I’m really doing my best. I mean, I don’t know if I’m really pushing myself as far as I can go, or only as far as I can go that day. I haven’t been able to create art just for my “book” (portfolio) in over a year. Some days, I’ve been in tears just thinking about that. I have two boys who are school age, so it should be easy for me to do, right? Wrong, it’s difficult for me to say no, or rather, it’s difficult for me not to volunteer for something. At first, I felt really good about it, but now I find it’s robbing me, no, I’m letting it rob me, of the things I love to do. I missed doing the sketchbook project (even though I paid for it), I missed They Draw And Cook (that looked so fun to participate in), I didn’t get my promo out, I didn’t get new business cards designed. The latest was this Christmas, I got a lovely assignment, and was going to do that and work on some self promotion. Then, the day after the last day of school, bronchitis…Great. I had so many plans for the winter break, and they all went out the window because I wear myself down with stuff that really isn’t that important, and I was vulnerable to getting sick.

SO! Now that I’m recovering from that, I decided to look at the new year a little differently. It’s not typical of me to make resolutions. I feel they’re unrealistic expectations that are doomed to fail about a month into the new year. We’d had a little chat about it on Twitter, and one of my friends mentioned that she picks kind of a theme for the new year. A nice all-encompassing idea, and we can work throughout the year on accomplishing small goals to acheive that idea. That’s what I’m going to do. While I don’t want others to be miserable, I did take some comfort in knowing that I’m not alone in questioning if I’m doing my best. Many of my illustrator friends are also at a crossroads regarding their style, their clients, even if they’ve chosen the right path creatively. There’s almost too much available to compare ourselves with, a plethora of talent online. All different mediums and styles…There are so many facets in our industry, we feel like we need to try all of them.

I like the ‘pressure-less’ theme idea. I’m not sure what my theme will be, but it will be about going forward, not backward. I just ordered some Vilpuu manuals (also a suggestion from a friend) and I want to relearn things. Do you like my little New Year’s type experiement up top? I want to create full time, and I want to do more of it with my kids, they have some amazing ideas! And, I’m also never going to call myself a freelancer again. Ever. I was talking to my mom about how I was feeling, and she said (and I’m paraphrasing a bit) “You tell everyone you’re free, that’s the first word people hear when you say ‘freelance illustrator’, if someone shouted free cake, people would assume that free cake is available. You wonder why people don’t get you. Don’t say you’re free, you’re an illustrator, an artist. Why can’t you just be that?” She’s right, why can’t I?

Thanks mom…

Maybe it’s less about seeing the backside of 2010 and more about meeting 2011 head on. New Year’s Eve my husband, my sons and I will enjoy some chinese food, and a game or movie of some sort. New Year’s Day we’ll watch the Winter Classic, and celebrate my husband’s new job, and mine. As an illustrator, and as a student. : ) Have a very happy new year!!

a : )

10 thoughts on “Au Revoir 2010 (and good riddance)!

  1. Great post! You are so not alone. We all struggle with the same issues. The easy access to so many wonderful artists’ sites has a downside. We compare ourselves too much. I’m looking forward to seeing what you do this coming year!

  2. Heya there Andi,

    I know exact what you mean. I’ve been meaning to do a lot more this year then what I actually intended. Wanted to do more competitions, publish more drawings/sketches and actually get that drivers licence. None of the above happened this year. I think (and this is just me talking here), we can only do what we do best, enjoy the ride and see where it takes us. Everyday again and again. Eventually we’ll get to do all the things we have to/want to do.

    Happy new year to you too ^^


  3. Andi, I’m lost in your illustration – it’s beautiful! This was a wonderful post – I had/have some of the same struggles. I passed on SBP, and missed the boat several times on TD&C. I usually (blog) post my goals as well, and have done a ‘theme’ before too. It does seem to put less pressure on. Congratulations for all of those great things you listed for 2010 – and may 2011 be a bit more liberating (for all of us!).

  4. Thanks so much for your thoughts! I’ve felt like I’ve just been “plugging along” for a little while now, I want the fireworks back! I see all the young up and coming creatives now, it’s such an amazing time with all the new technolgies and mediums. I wonder what they’ll be doing when they’re 40, and dealing with brain blocks and 20 y.o. creatives 20 years from now! Cripes it happens really fast…

    a : )

  5. Resolutions only work if they’re goals with a plan, then they’re not unrealistic at all! I make new goals every month, every week and every morning. It’s the only way I get things done. x

  6. Your blog title, oh yeah! Last year was really tough all around. Good things happened but, it was followed up by lots of rough situations. One thing I heard that helped me get through was no matter what you are doing “you are doing the best you can”. You can’t compare yourself to others or base yourself in their standards, even though it is so easy to do! You do the best you can and that is enough. It’s something I too struggle with all the time but, that line gets me through. It helps me keep myself from being sorry for things I didn’t get to do. It makes me remember there are limits and that is ok.

    You do great work Andi! Can’t wait to see what you do with 2011 🙂

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