Happy New Year, everyone! Gosh, 2020 was quite the ride, wasn't it? For me, it was a huge transition year after moving home from Taiwan. I can't tell if COVID-19 helped or hindered my transition in regards to giving me a LOT of time to myself.
The basic run-through of my year is as follows:
Jan-March: I worked at Portage MCC Thrift Shop and prepared to go to Washington in March to help with another Frontier Comics Seminar with my YWAM pals for a couple of months. But that was all cancelled because of COVID, and instead of quitting MCC and going to Washington, I quit MCC and went to my apartment on the farm and wondered what to do. I took advantage of one month of that government aid thing, but at the encouragement of my dad, decided to try and hack it out as a Real Live Independant Illustrator for at least a few months.
Since March, I've awkwardly flopped from one life lesson to the next and felt the full weight of the challenging self-employed life. It's not easy to be your own boss! I have worked hard to improve my time management skills and try to become more efficient and more skilled in my craft. In addition to illustrating Jeter's Pants, I also illustrated an upcoming book called Calico Fox. I did a bunch of commissions and tried to do a regular comic, which lasted all of two strips. I partnered with a lady to make a creative evangelistic motion graphics project for people who are from India and realized that I don't have the capacity to do an animated project on my own. Oh, and I started a micro-bakery.
Here's a little visual representation of some of the projects I've taken on this year:
I really enjoyed illustrating these two books, and I am so thankful for the authors for being so patient with me! I have learned so much about how long it takes to illustrate a book, what makes for good business practices, how much to charge, what "my style" is becoming, and what the workflow of a book illustration project looks like.
The main lesson I gleaned from serving as a "missionary artist from home" is that I really miss working as a team on these kinds of projects! I work at a snail's pace compared to how we used to work in Taiwan, and it's been a bit humbling to see that I am not an artistic superwoman. But again, God gave me a very gracious leader to work for, and I just hope that I can continue to improve at this part of my art life.
It's been really fun to try some more challenging fine art projects this year. I particularly tried to celebrate my home through my independent artworks. My friend Alyssa really gave me a challenge when she got me to paint her husband as a knight, which I also appreciate! And I hope to continue to build up a nice collection of original art so that I can perhaps make a gallery someday.
When I was making this little collage, I realized to my shame that I started doing these cute comics, and people liked them, but I totally flaked out on it as the year went on! I suppose sometimes things just fall by the wayside, but I have a lot of funny tall stories to tell, so I should probably exert a bit more effort in this area.
In looking at all these categories, which one would you like to see more of?
Comics? I could revive my "The Weather Up Here" strips or perhaps complete a few short comic ideas that have been rolling around in my brain.
Paintings? I would love to continue painting more trees and Manitoba scenes or doing more commissions. I also love doing portraits and would like to develop my skills in that area too.
Illustrations? I have more illustration jobs coming up this year, but for a personal project I have a plan to re-write and re-illustrate a book I wrote when I was a kid called "Journey of Faith." Or, I would love to illustrate an already famous book, such as Alice in Wonderland, or Narnia, or the Secret Garden. The possibilities are ENDLESS. I think it would be fun to do a poll to see what YOU would like illustrated. There's a lot of great books out there!
Ministry? I only do my art ministry stuff one day a week because at this point I have no support for this work. So it's just a labour of love at this point. If I had some art ministry supporters, I could potentially do more art ministry, and do it faster!
Let me know if you have any thoughts about this! I'd love the feedback and input. Looking forward to another year of art! How about you? :D