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.

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2013 Goals – Happy New Year!

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A week short, but I’ve finally gotten a chance to sit down and write a bit about my goals for 2013 and how I did on my 2012 goals as well.

The year started off right with a wonderful illustration workshop at the Light Grey Art Lab in Minneapolis. The workshop was taught by one of my favorite illustrators, Kali Ciesemier. It was great to meet Kali who is incredibly knowledgeable and is also generous with her knowledge and attention. I was fortunate enough to spend the entire weekend with a group of illustrators from around the country (and Canada). We talked about everything from promotion, websites, Photoshop techniques, and types of illustration to more introspective topics about what makes us happy and what kind of lifestyle we utimately want for ourselves. I came away with some great goals for the 2013 and I’ve already taken steps towards some of them.

First things first, though. Did I acheive the goals I set in 2012? You can see last year’s post here.

It looks like I acheived them for the most part. I didn’t create anything new for Denver Comic Con and my secret project hasn’t been launched. That project shifted a bit and is now something I’m working on for 2013. I definitely drew a lot more in 2012 and not only applied for residencies, but spent a month at the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts working on a graphic novel project.

And now, on to goals for 2013:

1. Finish my graphic novel adaptation.
I have been working on a graphic novel adaptation of someone’s memoir since the middle of last year. I don’t want to say too much yet. It is currently under consideration at the original author’s publisher and once I know if they are interested it will allow me to make some decisions about what I want to do with it (take it to other publishers, self-publish, kickstart, etc.). I have also applied for a table at CAKE this year and hope to be able to sell the first few chapters of this book. Regardless of what the publisher wants, I want to finish the entire project in 2013.

2. Add more food and lifestyle illustration to my portfolio.
For much of my illustration career, I’ve been pursuing conceptual illustration in a big way. I’ve come to realize that that may not be the best route for my work. I would like to add more food and lifestyle illustration to my portfolio and begin pursuing more of that type of work.

3. Get hired to do more whiteboard illustration/video scribing.
In the last year and a half I have done a lot of whiteboard illustration (I don’t do the video production for videos, only the illustration). I find the work to be fun and challenging, and seeing the end result is always exciting. This year I will start by sending some examples of my work in this area to agencies I think might be interested and hopefully I can build a solid business on this type of work.

4. Experiment and make things with my hands.
I’ve purchased modeling clay and armature wire and I plan to start learning how to needlefelt. My goal is to try a lot of new things this year and maybe try my hand at sculptural illustration. Even if it doesn’t work for me, it sounds fun to try.

5. Develop alternate revenue streams.
Whether it’s more custom, original paintings, a different print fulfillment site, or handmade goods I can sell, I feel it would be valuable for me to develop some alternate ways of bringing in income. We are in the age of the entrepreneur and I want to take full advantage.

And there you have it. What are some of your goals for 2013? Did you acheive your goals for last year?

I would also like to take this opportunity to wish you all a Happy New Year and to thank you for following and sharing my work. I’m happy to have such wonderful followers and I wish you all success in your endeavors this year!

Goals for 2012

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Okay, so this photo might not actually have anything to do with my goals for 2012, but it’s the holiday season and they look yummy, right? I made these a few nights ago and Chris and I are trying to keep from eating 4-5 a day.

After looking back at my goals from 2011, I’m pleased to report that I either hit all of them or hit a version of them that shifted as my life shifted.

Now that December is half over, it’s time for me to start thinking about the things I want out of 2012 for my illustration business. Here are some very specific goals:

* Launch my new (unfortunately secret) project in the first half of the year

* Create something new to distribute at Denver Con in the summer

* Draw from life more

* Start working in the publishing industry

I’ve also got some larger career goals:

* No free work – and don’t feel bad turning down underpaid jobs

* Make my promotions more targeted

* Apply for residencies & fellowships

* Experiment heavily and get more comfortable with my style of working

What goals are you setting for 2012?