Art Everyday: looking back

It’s 2017! Which means that my year-long “Art Everyday” project has come to a close. Now it’s time to look back on the year and what has resulted because of it. Last year on New Years Eve, I decided to set a goal to draw or paint something every day in 2016. So how did I do? I went though and made a catalogue of all the art pieces I made last year and the total came to 288 out of a possible 365. That comes out to about an 80% success rate of sticking to my goal. But saying “80% success rate” sounds really silly because I consider this project to be a huge success. This has been one of the few (if the only) long-term projects that I have actually stuck with. Granted I missed some days, but I understand why. Becoming pregnant this year may have thrown a wrench in my drawing habit, but I’m really thankful that I had my art as an outlet. I really learned some things about myself and I found a new way to connect with others. It also taught me that when I would approach the subject matter that made me most uncomfortable or when I would second guess myself about posting something, that is when I found my work to be most resonating with others. It had a lot to do with my fear of getting “too deep” and feeling stupid about it. But whenever I did share outside my comfort zone, it felt good. It really inspired me to reach a little deeper into myself and my feelings, and spend time hashing out whatever is going on in my head. Throughout this past year, I found this art-making to be my “me-time”. Something I could do everyday, or as often as possible just for me, to be whatever I wanted it to be. That was pretty wonderful.

My goals for this project were to push me to think outside the box due to the sheer volume of work I would be creating. The hardest part of sitting down to create something was always WHAT to draw or create. It’s still not easy, but I have honed my ability or absorb inspiration which is pretty rad. The gears in my brain do turn a little more quickly now when I see something that inspires me. I also wanted to develop and polish my personal style when it comes to my art. I definitely think this year has been a good start in that direction. I feel like I’m still at the stage where I am testing out completely different styles all the time, but I have noticed some things that are fairly consistent throughout my work. One of these is subject matter. Generally, I have found my favorite subjects to be as follows (in no particular order):  food, people (mainly self-portraits), animals, and plants. some motifs that showed up again and again were bananas, cactus, and pizza. No surprise, I love a lot of color in my work, and tend to stick with the more saturated hues. For the most part, I like to stylize things, meaning nothing is draw hyper-realistic, or even close to that. Also nothing uber-geometric, which had a lot to do with the medium I was drawing: by “hand” with the Apple Pencil in Procreate on the iPad pro. I squeezed a few paintings in here or there, and there are several ink drawings, but I stuck to the iPad mainly because it was the easiest and most convenient. A couple other mini-goals were to share my work weekly, which I tried my best to keep up on but, it was hard, especial in my early pregnancy. I ended up grouping a bunch of weeks together for a total of 42 posts of of a possible 52. Not too bad. I also wanted to frame some of my own art to hang in my home, which I have about two pieces up. Plus a few in my office. Still need to work on that.

Something else in the back of my head throughout this project, was “What will I do with all of this?” Meaning, where will I take these skills, what kind of shifts in my career might this lead to? I still don’t really know. I love what I have been doing, so, so much but don’t know what that means career-wise. Will I try to become an illustrator, or take commissions, or try to sell prints, or look into surface design, apply my designs to baby clothes, illustrate books or something else? I still don’t really know. Illustrating children’s books is probably the most enticing right now, but I know I still have a long ways to go skill-wise to make that a reality. I have tried a couple different ways to make a little money from my developing skills. In June I opened up a shop through Society6 selling my art as prints and on various fashion and household items. I only made a few sales, and honestly the margins are not great. That felt like a bit of a flop, but it also required very little effort so, I guess you get what you put in. The other thing I did was begin selling my very own Procreate Brush sets on Creative Market. Over the year I developed my own tools to create the looks that I wanted, especially because there was really not very much available on the market. I spent months getting them perfect, making them something I was truly proud of, and was so excited to release them. I love the idea of other people creating things using something I created. In the past two moths since I made the brush sets available, I have had 58 sales between the three products I offer, which is pretty amazing in my book. I’m super thankful for the people that decided to give my brush sets a try. I’d love to develop more products like that to put out there on the market. I would also love to develop some tutorials and things like that too, so keep posted to the blog!

Looking back overall, I’m so, so glad I started this project. It has really been a highlight of my year personally and creatively. Developing these skills has always been a “dream” of mine, and actually committing to something big was the push I needed to go for it. Now that it is 2017, I have decided not to commit to “art everyday” for another year, but I know that I won’t be stopping the habit. It is too much a part of me now and I can’t wait to see where it leads me.

Below are all 288 pieces that I created in 2016 as a part of my “Art Everyday” project.

Each image is clickable to enlarge

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