My 2019 Year in Review

General / 07 December 2019

Last year was a pretty big year for me, personally and professionally.  

Last April I quit a fulltime corporate job I had for three years to pursue art full time.  I had reached the point where I was having more bad days than good, and I was coming home each day with less and less energy to get artwork done.  Before resigning, I saved up a bit of money and started shopping around my portfolio to every fantasy book and tabletop game publisher I could find a submission method for.  I think I heard back from 2 of them, both polite rejections.

So I set to level up my digital painting and draftsmanship skills.  I got a Schoolism annual subscription during their summer sale and took Andrew Hou's Intro to Digital Painting.  I had quite of bit of general art education (I have an MFA in Studio Art, but I focused on oil painting technical skills were not really the emphasis of the program), so I was focusing on more specific skills (like using digital tools most efficiently). I also worked a lot on painting different textures/materials and building more complex compositions while trying to post new work more regularly.   I also was able to get into a live Figure Drawing class at a local art center.  I somehow managed to get an art degree without ever taking a Figure Drawing class, so the focused practice helped quite a bit.  You can probably notice more accurate musculature in my latest figures as a result.

I've also been working on streamlining my online presence.  My general mindset with regard to social media changed a lot.  I used to be very numbers focused, and I've been working toward more focusing on quality and consistency, and not worrying so much about likes and follower counts.  I kind of limited how many people I follow places like Instagram so I could actually see and keep track of the people I follow, for example.  I also cleaned up my feeds, removing work that was outside my brand (ie, non-fantasy art).  Just recently I've also been using Later to schedule posts so I make sure post captions are higher quality and are going out at good times.  It frees up a lot of mental energy so I don't have to spend as much time on social media in general, which means more time for painting.

I've also just been shaving down the number of platforms I try to make use of.  At some point this year, I've tried to manage over 15 different platforms.  It's really just impossible to effectively manage that many platforms as an individual.  So I combined things where possible (like my portfolio site is now powered by Artstation), and focused on the handful of platforms that I actually enjoy, or that have very clear roles.  So I post regularly on Instagram and my Facebook page and monetize my personal work with Patreon and Redbubble.  I may have stuff going on in other places from time to time, but I think it's better to focus on making good work and being consistent on a few platforms than trying to post madly everywhere and getting stressed out.  And reserve any extra energy for submitting my portfolio to art directors.  

Anyway, there are some other milestones this year, I attended my first con, took my first commissions, and got engaged!  ⁠
⁠I'm excited to see where 2020 takes me! Thanks to everyone who's come along for the ride!⁠  Let me know if you have any questions or would like any more details about anything I mentioned! (I realize I kinda rambled about social media a lot).

Oh, and check me out on Patreon!  I just opened several new tiers, including one that includes paintovers/art mentoring.