Extremely Belated Happy New Year and Goals for 2014

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First of all, Happy New Year!

My holidays were a bit hectic and spent driving all over the Midwest, so it’s taken me some time to get back into my routine and to collect my thoughts on 2013 and my ambitions for 2014.

How did I do on my goals from last year?

1. Finish my graphic novel adaptation.
This first goal I did not meet, although I spent a good deal of time pursuing an actual publishing deal with the graphic novel. I have, however, been doing a lot of recipe comics that I feel really good about. They also help contribute to my second goal from last year.

2. Add more food and lifestyle illustration to my portfolio.
Achieved! The lifestyle illustration I’ve added leans more in the editorial direction, but I have added a lot of new work in both categories, including recipe comics.

3. Get hired to do more whiteboard illustration/video scribing.
This was also achieved. Not much to explain and unfortunately nothing I can share publicly just yet, but I did 3-4 of these of videos last year.

4. Experiment and make things with my hands.
I didn’t achieve this in the way I thought I would last year, but I did take a figure sculpting class which I loved. It felt great to be working from a live model again and even better to be working with my hands.

5. Develop alternate revenue streams.
This is a tough one and I can’t say I did this. I still sell prints and originals and I created some Recipe Comic Holiday Cards but I wouldn’t necessarily call these revenue streams just yet. Still building!

So, how about 2014? What’s in store?

Big things, I think. My work has been growing by leaps and bounds and I hit an ambitious income goal I had set for myself, so I’m going into this year with more confidence than I’ve ever had. I’m in the process of sending out some promo postcards and I’m ready to hit it hard!

1. I would like to have a greater portion of my work come from editorial clients.
I love the excitement of a new editorial assignment. While it doesn’t currently comprise a large portion of my client work, it is some of the most enjoyable work, in my opinion. Part of what I like so much about being an illustrator is the variation in projects and the occasional super-tight deadline to keep me thinking and keep me on my toes. I did add a couple of new editorial clients last year and I’m hoping for even more this year.

2. Be more consistent with promotional campaigns – both email and direct mail.
I was surprised to realize late in the year last year that I hadn’t done a single postcard! Time between direct mail and even email campaigns can fly by. This year I want to keep it more consistent. I don’t know if I will be able to afford 3-4 postcards in a year, but keeping my email campaigns more regular doesn’t cost me anything except time and organization.

3. Track and budget expenses more carefully.A couple of big expenses last year, including my Surface Pro, made my budget a bit lopsided. This year I’m not planning any big hardware purchases, so I want to keep a tighter leash on my expenses.

Other than these goals, I always have the infamous goal of “getting better.” While I realize it’s not a very concrete goal, I am always striving to improve my concept and technical skills and always trying to find time to experiment with both. My goals are very practical this year because I want to continue to build my career on a foundation that is growing more solid every day.