My new year’s resolution for 2014 was a fairly complex one, but in essence it boiled down to two words:
…and it has felt like I’ve drawn a lot this year. Not as much as someone who doesn’t have a day-job and a child, of course, but a steady stream of stuff nonetheless.
Some of it I was pleased with. Some of it I was not – and I’ve learned to call that stuff part of the learning process, rather than a failure.
It was my husband’s birthday and I made him this card:
February first is Hourly Comics Day! I entered into the spirit of things, and tried not to care about putting out unpolished work – after all, that’s what it’s all about.
I’m quite looking forward to the next one already – and let’s face it, February is not usually a month to look forward to.
I made another collage in my series of birds’ eye views, this time featuring lots of very small roofs made of stamps:
In April, I really enjoyed doing some life drawing.
This was also the month that we went to Bath for our family holiday, and I made a holiday sketch diary. Of course, sketch diaries are another form where, if you share them, you have to put out the pages you’re pleased with as well as the ones that didn’t work out quite so well.
Straight after we got back from Bath, work sent me to Santiago in Chile! I was working, so keeping up a sketch diary was a bit more of a challenge, and I finished a good bit of it after I got home.
It looks like I had a month off from drawing in June! In fact, I was starting work on my 4-page graphic short story for the Cape/Comica/Observer competition: you have to start early if your time is limited.
In July, though, I started a series of pictures of the plants that grow alongside Brighton beach, where I go running and also spend a lot of time with my daughter:
Those sunny days seem far away now – hard to believe I was sitting drawing on the Level (our local playground) while my daughter mucked about in the fountains.
The weather turned, naturally, right before our week in Jersey – fortunately there was plenty to do there anyway. Not least, drawing another sketch diary:
I shared my graphic short story competition entry:
I’d entered it, all the while knowing it wasn’t quite the right thing to get placed – not polished enough (but I was very pleased, later on, to discover that my friend Beth had been awarded runner-up prize).
Never mind, I waded straight into another comic strip, this time based on recent experiences with a community archaeological dig:
– and, at very short notice indeed, I threw together a collage for the Association of Illustrators competition:
That was also the month I created the Hashtag Underdog strip. October must have been the peak of my productivity! I should scrutinise what the prevailing conditions were, and try to bottle them.
I didn’t do Clovember but I did paint my daughter in her lovely bright clothes – right at the prescient moment, it turns out, as she’s recently announced a desire to wear only black:
I also made a short comic strip about working from home:
Close friends and family had one of my linocuts bestowed upon them:
– and I moaned a bit about how long they had taken to make. I must say though, that everyone has been very nice about them, which is what every homemade card creator really wants – so it was all worth it. :D
Clearly, the effort of all that lino-printing has taken it out of me because, other than a couple of sketches of my daughter and husband, I have not drawn since.
I’m hoping that a similar resolution for 2015 will result in just as much artwork – but I need to do some careful thinking as well, about just what I want out of all this endeavour.
This year brought a couple of commissions. I find these quite stressful, and it made me wonder whether to refuse all commissions from now on (on the other hand, that means relying only on my own inspirations to drive me forward, a situation which, of course, many artists would be envious of, but which may well narrow my horizons).
This was also the first year that I’ve sold my prints online, as well as in Brighton’s Open Houses. While this was not stressful, it did bring home to me how narrow the margins are – at the scale I was operating, and with the time I have to dedicate, you can’t earn much. It can only really be done as an exercise in spreading your name about a bit.
And as for that – spreading my name about – well, I haven’t done as much as I hoped. Reader numbers on this blog are pretty low (though boosted greatly every time someone tweets or shares the link on Pinterest or Facebook, so thank you very much to everyone who did that).
In 2015, I think I will have an additional resolution to get some strips published in existing comics: that means that someone else is doing the distribution and the marketing, and probably doing so far better than I would have time to do myself.
Sounds like a plan…