2011 has been a splendid year for my illustration business. About 80% of my work was illustration, which is a radical leap from last year. This year marks, in my humble opinion, the biggest leap in growth for me artistically. I had the opportunity to work on a few fun projects, while continuing to learn my craft. So many illustrators have said that drawing with great fervor and frequency is the best way to improve. This year certainly brought about the opportunity for more adequate drawing time. Learning my craft has been most exciting, as I can visually see the improvement in just one year. As my book and editorial work becomes public, you will (hopefully) be able to see the improvement as well. The following is a not-so-comprensive review of the work from 2011.
This year I illustrated children’s books for the very first time. While both of these books are yet to be published, I can tell you that they both were splendid projects. I can say that I certainly bit off more than I could chew. Putting a book together is a daunting task, and certainly takes more time than I ever thought it would. Every time I pick up a children’s book I have more respect for the time, talent, and dedication that went into making it a success. Sitting down, and imagining a book, is most compelling. As I begin my 3rd book, I am filled with joy as I imagine the characters, scenes, and epic stories. I can’t wait to show you more!
National Geographic contacted me this past year to work on a project with them. I can’t wait to show you more of the project, as it becomes public. I can say that the folks at National Geographic know what they are doing, thus making the experience concise and pleasant.
Another first for me was working in the education field. Snap Learning, a subdivision of Sullivan Learning Systems has been a brilliant client for me this past year. Repeat work is always nice, and working with Justin has been a breeze. Educational projects offer new and exciting things to draw. Abe Lincoln to Egyptians certainly keep me entertained.
More from Snap Learning is coming down the pipeline.
This year was the first major year for prints sales. The Yellow Umbrella, a local shop here in Bemidji, has been very kind to carry my prints. The summer months were certainly the best for sales. Christina and I even participated in a local indie craft show. Another indie art and craft supporter in the Fargo area is Unglued. They had a Christmas Market over the holiday season that did very well. This coming spring I hope to be a part of their craft fair.
I engaged in other random commissions such as this Porcupine Commission.
Personal projects are certainly my favorite, as I get to work on what I enjoy the most. My philosophy is to fill my portfolio with work that I love, and in turn will attract the kind of projects I will enjoy. Interesting enough, the majority of new clients this year referenced personal projects in my portfolio that they really liked.
Peter Pan Some projects really get left in the dust as client work takes priority. Peter Pan, was that kind of project. I simply couldn’t finish it, due to my project load. One day in October, I decided to just finish the project and have some prints made.
Happy Christmas Cards were really fun.
Comfort Before The Sacrifice is a good example of a personal project that not only sold well as a print, but interested potential clients
This year is a big year because it marks my first professional conference. The Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators hosts one of its annual conferences in Los Angeles. Read about my experience in my SCBWI Conference post.
I have been working with two mentees this year. It has been a privilege to teach them what I know about art and the illustration career. I have not done much teaching so this has been a welcomed stretch.
Scissorhands 20th Exhibit at Gallery Nucleus was my first gallery show since my time at University.
My Goals for 2012
First and foremost in my 2012 goals is to illustrate my first graphic novel. My mind has been consumed by mythical parables that simply need telling. Last year I did not devote enough to these projects, and this year simply must be different. With the advent of the graphic novel, I will also be showing at a local gallery. Along with personal projects, I hope to continue this amazing career in illustration. Over and over I am reminded how amazing it is to be paid to draw. I love drawing, and people pay me to do it. What a great deal. I thank my family, friends, fans, and of course, my Lord, for the support in 2011. Cheers to another great year.