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?
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 : )