The year is almost over, so now its time to look back at the work I’ve done in 2021, and look forward to some of the goals and areas of focus for 2022!
(Basically, care to join me as I do my own annual review?!)
I started making my lil’ comics in 2020, but this year I’ve stayed pretty consistent with it! My most recent comic on Instagram was #27! So not too shabby! I did slow down to sharing new comics every other week, so I’d like to maybe get back to doing it weekly, but also I’m terrified of running out of ideas. Sooo, no promises. But definitely a goal…
I also created my cast of characters for my comics this spring– Sam, Pandy, Ghost and Chuck. I like not having to create new characters each week, and starting to sort of build their personalities as the comics go on. I would love to start doing illustration prints of my characters outside of the comics (so kinda like my single panel comics but focused on a single character). Mostly the issue is finding time with everything else I want to do as well.
Basically though, comics definitely became one of the main focuses for my work this year. Creating characters, and single panel comics, and reading other comics (basically homework!) and taking ecourses on making comics, I’ve definitely been making some strides and hopefully that will mean continued improvement into next year! Yay!
So in my mind, this area encompasses everything I work on that isn’t just in my sketchbook, and isn’t a webcomic. My landscapes, abstracts, and other illustrations… basically anything that I’d put in my Etsy shop.
Speaking of, this year I reopened my Etsy shop! I redid basically all of it, the photos, products, packaging, printing…ALL OF IT. It took months and was slowed down by our move across the country earlier this year…but I’m super pleased with how it turned out!
As I’ve mentioned before I’m planning on doing another mini shop update with new prints next month. My goal for next year is to definitely create enough illustrations that I can do quarterly shop updates. They probably will all be mini updates, just a few items each time, realistically. I’m just focusing so much right now on learning new stuff that I’m not making nearly as much finished work as I would normally. But that’s okay! It’s better than nothing, and I’m not going to feel bad about wanting to improve either!
I am hoping though that next year I will be able to slow down the focus on courses and learning new stuff and instead spend that time on putting it to practice and making new stuff!
I really want to focus on character-driven illustration moving forward. To tell stories and have some sort of narrative in my illustrations, and include a bit more like “whimsy” to them. Either like scifi or fantasy elements or humor. I don’t know. It’s definitely pushing my creativity, having so long just like a “draw what I see” approach. But its the kind of work I want to make, so I’ve just got to do it!
I actually don’t even quite know what I want it to look like. I’ve been working a lot of like very cute and kawaii characters most of this year, working in colored pencil in my sketchbooks. But lately I’ve been working in a more realistic style for figure drawing, to practice anatomy and like comic book style inking, so that I could work towards more cartoony stylized characters in the future. So it gets a little overwhelming trying to work in all three styles, and seeing how they work together and what I want my work to look like moving forward. It may just be a combination of all three. I’m not sure. But I also don’t want to rush the learning process, either. So I guess we’ll just see!
I do know that I want to work in ink, digitally, and in watercolor. I love working in ink, always. And I’m starting to get more comfortable working digitally too. I haven’t used watercolor since we moved, so I’m sure I’m a bit rusty. But watercolor is just so fun and I’m sure it’ll look pretty awesome with inky illustration work. I was working on gouache a bit at the start of the year. And I like it, but its just not as much fun. I’d rather focus on ink drawing, with watercolor, than just painting. Its just different. And thats okay. So yeah, definitely want to focus on these three media next year.
I’m so excited!
Last but not least, my beloved sketchbooks…
I FINALLY got comfortable with and consistent about working in my sketchbook this year, since I’ve been doing so much focused learning and trying new techniques. I love my sketchbooks!
I did so much in color pencil and I think that might be my favorite way to just like play in my sketchbook. So I definitely want to do that more next year too. I’m trying colored lead for my mechanical pencils too so I can keep my sketches lighter than when I use traditional graphite. And its so much easier than worrying about a pencil sharpener! Yay!
Unfortunately my scribbly colorful pencils sketches aren’t very A E S T H E T I C. So I haven’t had too much to share. But I’m trying to get over it, and share some of my favorite sketches anyway. So look out for that on Instagram, at least.
I did create one sketchbook tour this year with Mosstober. So that was a fun challenge. I’d love to create another pretty sketchbook to share in a tour again for next year. But it’d need to look cohesive, and I’d need to actually finish a sketchbook. So…maybe it will have to wait until October again next year. But we’ll see. I have a dedicated figure drawing (like character design) sketchbook right now that is a mess but might be interesting to share when it’s finished (let me know in the comments if that’s something you’d like to see?).
Also, side note, I recently got a copy of Mike Mignola’s The Quarantine Sketchbook book… Oh man, that is some serious goals for sketching. Like good grief. I’m just going to carry that massive book around everywhere I go next year and maybe I’ll like absorb some drawing wisdom… just wow. (Not an ad, obviously. Just really excited.)
Favorite Artwork of the Year
Okay, last bit for the review. I did this last year, and really liked it. So I’m doing it again! Picking out my favorite work of art from this calendar year. Woohoo!
The Slinky Cat
I mean, it has to be… I’m pretty sure when I made it I was like “this is the best thing I’ve ever done as an artist” and “I’ve peaked as an artist.” I made it super early this year (that was this year?!?) And it is everything I want my artwork to be. Happy, silly, fun, a lil’ weird. Cute. Inky. Colorful…
…Like what am I even doing now?! I need to return to the simple joy that is The Stretchy Cat… BRB gonna go rewrite my goals for next year… Okay just kidding. But still. I still love it. I’m still so proud of it. Best piece of the year for me.
Whew. I think that’s everything…
So let me know what you think?! And feel free to share any of your creative goals for 2022 in the comments!