What happened to 2018 and thoughts for 2019

I feel like the last nearly 7 years have been consumed by just surviving day to day, without plans for the future, with a limited artistic bank. When you have a day job, live by yourself and do the side hustle, it’s a very fine balance of managing your health and well-being

What went well?

  • I got an iPad Pro and started sketching again. I tend to use the iPad more for watching Netflix, but I’m getting more comfortable with Procreate.

  • I became a member of the Guild Wars 2 Collective, contributing to their 2018 zine, Journeys. I’ll be releasing the images later this month. It combined my love of GW2 the game, and provided a challenge for me artistically as the images were more narrative in style, as well as being styled after the GW2 concept art. The community is fantastic and I felt I learnt a lot!

  • I did a book cover for Sentinel by Melanie Jordaan

  • I did 4 character portraits including 2 scifi pieces, a tiefling and a Pathfinder elf

  • I joined several art discord groups, and felt a bit more connected to other artists

  • My guild finally claimed their guild hall as we had enough players on at the one time (I know, no one really cares unless they game :) )

  • I shifted my website from Wordpress to Squarespace. While I miss some of the customisation of Wordpress, I don’t miss logging in all the time to update plugins. The base store is not as great as I would like, but it’s suitable for my purposes. I recently revamped the homepage and am now much happier with it.

Painting on the iPad Pro, learning how to use Procreate

What changed for me?

  • In the day job, I returned to my role as both a manager and a full stack JavaScript developer after having worked as a technical analyst and security specialist for about 5 years. I’m still a fairly novice JS developer, having been a .Net developer and VB 6 dev for my earlier career. I get frustrated with the lack of strong types, and the debugging process, but it will eventually start to sink in

  • I moved around my desk so that painting became much easier. My Cintiq is now my main monitor so it’s much easier for me to start painting

  • I built a new computer. This could go in the bad section, but I now have a shiny new computer that I hope will last for a number of years (and won’t start overheating like the last one!)

  • My illness flared up for me again. I had to take several weeks off as I changed medications and went through the side-effect process (This year I’ve had 3 different meds, and changed doses about 6 times - I have a slow drug metabolism so getting the dose right is pretty awful)

  • By the end of the year, I was not beating myself up for my lack of art and plateauing of digital art skills. For months, I couldn’t bring myself to look at Instagram or many of my old art haunts because it just made me feel like crap. It wasn’t jealousy, it was about feeling depressed about my current art journey. I have a pile of unopened ImagineFX that I need to go through, as well as a number of art tutorials I’ve purchased and never finished.

  • I moved a lot of my work to Redbubble, and abandoned my Etsy store. I’ve been adding new colouring pages and added a few of my prints and things to my website store. The main reason for this has been that shipping from Australia has become incredibly frustrating. I can sometimes get things from the UK faster than I can get from within Australia. With many people expecting quick turnaround that places like Amazon Prime have, they sometimes don’t understand that I have no control of the post or customs, and shipping takes time and left fairly neutral ratings. Some prints took 3 weeks to arrive in the US which I understand is a long time. Other times the print would arrive in a week. This was the minority of customers, but to be honest, it was stressing me out.

  • I revamped my Commission page. There’s more tweaks on the horizon.

Dragon’s Fell

What I want and need to improve on

  • Anatomy - Doing the GW2 project, I came across some shortcomings with my narrative and dynamic poses. Partly this is due to the fact so much of my work has been portraits and fairly static poses

  • Speed of painting, and changing my mindset. I procrastinate sometimes because my head keeps telling me what I produce will be garbage, and my ambitions are bigger than my skill set. The last 2 portraits I did quite quickly and I was pretty happy with how they turned out. I let go of my need for absolute perfection and just knuckled down to work.

  • Keeping my house tidy - I’m in the process of sorting though the accumulated crap in my house. My pantry and kitchen drawers was the beginning, and OMG it is so nice to open drawers and be able to easily find things.

  • Landscape fundamentals. Again, working on the GW2 project I struggled with landscape and architecture. I want to improve, though I don’t have a great love for painting landscapes

  • Managing my time better. I game far too much, I need to build in time to sketch and paint

Queen of foxes sketch

Future Goals for 2019?

  • Turn some old sketches into proper paintings - like the Queen of Foxes piece, and the Dragon Queen sketch. I’d love to repaint my old, old painting of the Blue witch

  • Do a lot of personal work. At the moment I am commission free… something that hasn’t happened for about 15 years. To be honest, I probably burnt myself out… again. I’ve knocked back a number of commissions this year because they either made me stressed because I didn’t feel like I had the skill to create them, or were requests for art types I’ve done before, and struggled to paint, which again stressed me out. I believe if you want a good commission process, the artist should have the skill, and also have a level of enthusiasm that produces quality art. I’m fortunate that I don’t have to take on every commission that comes my way, and I always want a happy client.

  • With that personal art, I’d like to set up a world on WorldAnvil and design a fantasy world which has been floating around in my head.

  • Figure out my sketch commissions. I want to set up Kofi or something that allows sketch commissions on a budget, where I have more artistic control

  • Paint some fan art. I have a list of things on Trello, including Dragon Age, World of Warcraft, GW2, Elder Scrolls

  • Maybe get the watercolours out and paint something. Unfortunately my cat is a PITA and often makes traditional painting a challenge

  • I want to publish a colouring book. At the moment I don’t have enough art, but I’d like to make a collection of illustrations for personal use only. So creating enough colouring pages so that I have at least 24 images is one goal

  • Do another Dragon Sidhe painting. I had an Amethyst one partially done, but I don’t like him enough to finish him

  • Do some video recordings. I’ve been recording my paintings through procreate, but these are just sketches

  • Have a better balance of work and health.