Well that was an interesting one...
The first full year out of university.
Moved house. Again.
Painted a big dragon.
Drew a lot of foxes.
Made a book.
Had my first stall at an art & craft market.
Watched my bank balance drain away into redder and redder numbers...
Got worried about lots of things.
Got excited about lots of things.
It was an interesting patchwork of things, events, feelings, and general nonsense. In many ways, it was a good year.
I had plenty of inspiration and drive fuelled days where I managed to produce a whole bunch of work I was actually happy with, which was a pleasant change from the constant drag of all day art blocks I had back at university in 2013/2014. Those busy days sometimes even coupled up with some 'big break' days when big commissions and big jobs would fall in my lap and make it all temporarily seem worth while. My work with GoGoDragons and working on my first Kickstarter based commission were just two of these brief moments which really helped me feel like I was progressing. GoGoDragons finished at the auction in October and the Kickstarter didn't get funded, but despite this abrupt endings to the larger projects, it still really helped me visualise my improvements and progression with this complicated and weird career.
But these bigger projects didn't pop out of no where. They came from my persistent updating of my portfolio and constant promotion of my own work, and the only reason I know this is because the months I failed to do this properly were the worryingly quiet months. I noticed this quite a bit during the year, I ended up posting a lot less work on social media and updating a lot less on other pages, and the fallout from that was definitely hard to ignore. So if I'm going to do resolutions for this new year, one of them will be keep everything up to date (including this blog...).
I certainly feel like 2015 was productive overall, despite the lulls, the red numbers in my bank account, and the less than nice things that happened during the year. I produced an awful lot of work that I'm incredibly happy with, did lots of thinking about important things, and set out goals and milestones for both my personal life my professional life. Having a solid, set in stone plan is super duper hard for anybody, very few people can settle on a plan immediately and continue down that road for much longer than a few months, but I feel like I've taken some steps towards beginning to understand what sort of route I'm going to take. By persistently experimenting with my art style and subject focus with my illustration I've been able to cross off paths I know I won't enjoy or be able to make a living from. Some of these were easier to see than others, some took quite a bit of trial and error before I realised they weren't working, but I've sussed them eventually. I'm most definitely still doing things that, a year or so down the line I'll be able to look at and think "why the bloody hell was I doing that?!".
But that's a huge part of forging your way in the creative industries, trial and error will always be a massive influence in how your create your work, where you see it, and who you do it for, I know it has been for me.
"The problem is never how to get new, innovative thoughts into your mind, but how to get old ones out."