This post has additional information & links at the bottom (Article Also Posted Here)
This year has been a pretty big year for me. It actually started slightly before 2016.
In October 2015, I had come to the long-wrestled with conclusion that rather than all of the things I had been doing these many years, my heart was really for illustration and particularly children’s oriented illustration. Additionally, I had a deep-rooted desire to contribute to the minds, hearts, & wellbeing of children; thus, leading to the pursuit of children’s book development.
This meant I would need to be spending a lot of time trying to get back up to speed in illustration as well as children’s book development while simultaneously pushing away anything that didn’t fit into this focus.
So, when I got back from Taiwan (Oct 2015) I joined SCBWI.org (Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators) and jumped right into creating and drinking from a waterfall of information & such.
My 2016 has been about redeveloping myself and building a foundation.
• Attending SCBWI chapter meet ups and educational webinars & conferences
• Reading art & publishing industry related books & variety of online articles
• Going through almost all of SVSLearn videos and some Schoolism videos
• Seeking advice & guidance from industry professionals
• Familiarizing myself with names of people, companies & resources, various terminologies, relevant business processes & technology, various techniques, etc.
• Research & consumption of many picture books, middle grade books, movies, etc.
• Getting back online into social media & connecting with industry people/organizations and populating with content (I had used social media a TON personally but then pulled all of my content & activity back in 2009)
• Actively engaging with others online (like in the SVS Forum, Facebook Groups, other social media)
• Meeting with other illustrators in person
• Created a variety of paintings & attempted new things with each (whether process, style, content, etc.)
• Sketched a lot, also attempting new things with each
• Moving from exclusively digital back into including traditional media
I suppose there are more points that could be added here, but even with the points listed it is quite a bit that has been done, yet, this hardly expresses just how many sub-points and specifics each entails, which is an enormous amount! Truly this past year has been drinking from a waterfall.
I think that I have successfully reoriented my focus; something I am quite excited about.
Because of that, I think that I have made substantial progress on redeveloping myself and giving myself a pretty good initial foundation.
From this, I see 2017 as being a continuation of the education, expansion, & exploration of 2016 but with heightened focus, benefiting from all of the work done already.
Now that I have something to show, I can begin “stepping-up my game” with the quality of my drawing, painting, concept & narrative, etc. of my work, including developing specific types of work absent from but necessary for my portfolio. (No pressure, right?)
I’m still looking for my “breakthrough” illustration(s), but given the growth from pre-2016 to 2016 and within 2016 itself, I think that I have a good chance of achieving that first, seemingly elusive, breakthrough piece soon.
While I will definitely pursue learning, networking, exploring, & creating, I would also certainly like to grow the business side this year.
I am quite appreciative for SCBWI, SVSLearn, and the various individuals & groups I’ve gotten the opportunity to grow from this past year.
In particular, I have gained a tremendous amount from Will Terry, Lee White & Jake Parker and those in the SVSLearn Forums for which I have the most sincere gratitude for.
As I had the opportunity to say to Will: “It is my hope that I can implement and excel from this guidance, and that I may make you, the SVSLearn team & members, and my wife, family & friends proud & encouraged by such growth.”
May it be so this 2017!
Below are some more specifics and links:
This list is IN NO WAY exhaustive by any means. There are so many other websites, people, organizations/companies, tools, books/articles, media, webinars & conferences, etc. that aren’t listed. I just wanted to capture some of my 2016 below:
Websites Important in my 2016:
While there are countless websites that I’ve visited (often too), these were some of the most important and frequently visited.
SCBWI North Texas Chapter
Inspirations in 2016:
In one way or another, these people educated & influenced me, giving me inspiration and aspiration by the great work they do (some preceding 2016 but remaining highly influential still and for quite some time to come I believe).
Special Thanks To:
Lauren Panepinto, Creative Director for Orbit Books and Yen Press and artist, Marc Scheff, both of DrawnAndDrafted.com for the insights they gave in a Schoolism Webinar on Monday 10am ET April 4, 2016, hosted by Bobby Chiu and Masae Seki. It is because of your words that I broke out of my impassioned resistance to getting back into on social media. I think that this will have been one of the most crucial aspects of my 2016 and future, for I have gotten to become aware of, meet & befriend, and learn & be inspired from so many people that I may not have known otherwise. Thank you!
There are so many new people added into my life this year; some I have engaged with and some I merely follow. I have gotten to have great conversations with, advice & instruction from, and be inspired by the following. There are others not mentioned—please don’t be offended. My hope is to create an extended list of the wonderful people brought into my life sometime with commentary and even articles dedicated to each. All of you are dearly appreciated!
A little more needs to be said on these two:
Kent is actually a long time friend, but now that he’s moved back to Dallas, I get to see him often!
Jeff was actually my illustration mentor back in 1995-1997 before he took art director positions at Dreamworks Interactive, EA, Big Fish Games, etc. So glad to get new insights from him this year with my new journey!
New Tools Used & Other Great “Finds”:
Probably too many tools & other resources to count, but here are some that have been of nearly daily importance in my 2016.
Airbrush Notebooks : “Premium Sketchbook”
Copic Multiliner SP: 0.1, 0.3, 0.5
Copic Sketch Markers – Sketching Gray Set
Some Books Read:
These are some industry related books I read (Including concept, presentation, writing/storytelling, art views, etc.) (Also, I did not include other types of books here nor any industry related articles). The first five are strictly secular books and the following are from a Christian worldview:
Made To Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die, by Chip Heath & Dan Heath
The Exceptional Presenter: A Proven Formula to Open Up! And Own the Room, by Timothy J. Koegel
On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, by Stephen King
Creativity Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration, by Ed Catmull
Graphic Storytelling and Visual Narrative: Principles and Practices From the Legendary Cartoonist, by Will Eisner
Art and the Bible, by Francis A. Schaeffer
Art for God’s Sake: A Call to Recover the Arts, by Philip Graham Ryken
Modern Art and the Death of a Culture, by H.R. Rookmaaker
Hollywood Worldviews: Watching Films With Wisdom & Discernment (Updated & Expanded, 2009), by Brian Godawa
Word Pictures: Knowing God Through Story & Imagination, by Brian Godawa
God Against the Gods: Storytelling, Imagination, and Apologetics in the Bible, by Brian Godawa
The Power of Words and the Wonder of God, by John Piper & Justin Taylor
The God Conversation: Using Stories and Illustrations to Explain Your Faith, by J.P. Moreland & Tim Muehlhoff
Again, while a long post, there was so much more in my 2016 both professionally and personally that simply cannot be captured. Many more people, events, organizations, tools, insights, struggles, successes, etc. It’s been a fun ride. Now on to 2017!