Hey there, 2020 – goals and such
Oh, hi. I debated writing this. Last year like 200 people read my New Year Goals post, so I know it really isn’t for readers (although I totally appreciate the support of those that were genuinely interested). I’m mainly writing it because going back and seeing my goals come to fruition, even the ones I really didn’t think would happen was really encouraging. It is also just nice to take a minute to sit down and write your goals and publish them for accountability, right? OK, so here we go. Side note, it is really fun to write without thinking one bit about how this is gonna play out as far as SEO is concerned.
Illustration Goals from 2019 that were met –
- I’m impressed with my growth when it comes to Photoshop, I still have a ways to go.
- I’ve updated LinkedIn and connected with tons of people.
- I finished the book I was hired to Illustrate (although the author has yet to publish).
- I didn’t just double, but quadrupled my Instagram, I mean, but that is only 400. While that is not a big deal, it is where most of my jobs came from this year, so I am going to call it a win! Small but mighty and growing.
- I did technically set up an Etsy shop. I literally sold one item. I guess this is a lesson in ‘you get what you put into something’.
- I continued classes in Life Drawing as well as Digital Painting, Storyboarding (spoiler, I understand how Storyboarding works, I am not very good at it nor to I enjoy it, but what is important is that I learned that. I didn’t know that before, so it kinda helped me hone in what I do want to do.)
Illustration Goals from 2019 that were not met –
- My skills on Adobe Illustrator are novice at best.
- I didn’t make as much as an Illustrator in 2019 as I did as a Blogger in 2018. Honestly, I didn’t even make as much as an Illustrator in 2019 as I made as a Blogger in 2019…. and I barely blogged. I don’t know if that is a commercial for my ad network Mediavine or sad panda commentary on my modest earnings as an artist, but it is what it is.
Other things I accomplished in 2019!
- I joined SCBWI
- I attended 3 Illustration and Animation conferences. I attended Ground Zero Expo, CTN Expo, and Lightbox Expo. I was bold enough to have a portfolio review at each one which was humbling and helpful.
- This is random, but in addition to a book illustration and a few small single illustration jobs, I also made $800 in December alone just by drawing quick blue line drawings for holiday gifts. While this honestly isn’t something I want to do forever, I am kicking myself for not offering these services for years. I could have paid off a lot of student and consumer debt faster doing this. Ugh, live and learn.
- I took 2 weekend workshops – one on storyboarding and one was figure painting. Both of these were new to me, I highly endorse doing new things.
- I tried a little bit of a lot of things and I think I finally know what I want to focus on. What I like to draw most is characters. I tried my hand at background painting and storyboarding, but I keep coming back to children’s book illustration and character design. My dream would be to work as a Character Assistant if we were to move to Los Angeles. What is great is that working towards this only makes me a better book illustrator so I really can’t lose.
My goals for Illustration in 2020
- Finish the book I was hired to illustrate. I cannot wait to share more about this project!
- Finish the coloring book I was hired to illustrate.
- Be hired to illustrate and complete at least one more book for the year.
- Send out postcards to publishers in hopes of partnering with a publishing company rather than writers directly, although that has worked out well so far.
- Complete my Life Drawing class with my instructor for the 1990’s – Glen Vilppu, I am worried I might drop out because of intimidation. I’ve been to four classes already and it is a lie that you can’t go home again. I am so happy to be back in that classroom.
- Master Adobe Illustrator, or like, become competent anyway.
- Improve my Photoshop digital painting skills, character design, and life drawing.
- Make a demo reel of 2D animation, cuz I’ve come this far.
- Join Women In Animation.
- Continue to offer Freelance illustration services, but also try to put my big girl pants on and start looking for permanent employment outside of my home.
- Seek out opportunities for apprenticeships and learning opportunities at illustration and animation studios.
- Revamp my online portfolio to more accurately reflect my focus rather than ‘all the things’.
Blogging goals for 2020
I have 0 goals when it comes to blogging. I have a couple freelance writers that are willing to share rad content. I might make some cute printables here and there. I’ll keep working with Disney, American Girl, and maybe a couple others if they think we are a good fit. I will continue to let my Highlights Along the Way +Instagram tank and give exactly no effs. If you are a blogger and would like me to make you some unique printables, you might find my rates to be absurdly inexpensive.
Here are some examples of work I have created for myself and other bloggers in 2019 – 2020.
Baby Yoda Free Printable (Hot Cocoa – Valentine)
People ask me on the regular how I was able to just wake up one day and say “Imma artist now, I’m done blogging about peanut butter and yogurt and whatever else needs content creation. Those are the new rules. I need a change.” Between you and me, I hadn’t drawn in more than a decade and it is not like riding a bike. I knew I was not employable in any capacity when I decided this at 39. While my blog is not one of those ‘Six Figure Blogs’ you hear about, it grew from a hobby to reliable and necessary income over the years. I think people ask for a couple reasons, it is weird to see a middle aged woman in a college class and people want to know why. People also want to know how. The long and short answer is that we made a plan and stuck with it. It was that simple and that complicated. No less than one hundred times I looked at rusty artwork and said “I’m gonna take another blog campaign.” and my husband reminded me to stick with this, that we made a plan for me to suck at drawing and not make money for a while, and just let that be my job for a while.
But like, how, Kate? Minimalism, Dave Ramsey, a blog that still makes some passive income, and a family full of cheerleaders. Not joking.
We took a “Financial Freedom” class by Dave Ramsey about seven years ago. At the time we had a little credit card debt, some car debt on one car, and a hefty mortgage. Our debt was nothing like what some of our friends in class had, but it had lingered way too long and we finally just got serious about a budget and got debt free. Now I’m not going to bang the drum for everything Dave Ramsey has to say, but a lot of it was helpful information for us and we have for the most part stuck with his ‘baby steps’. Then we bought a small fixer-upper. It wasn’t the real fixes that got us, but the extras. We love our little house and we ended up spending a STOOPID amount of time and money noodling the death out of it. Don’t get me wrong, what we did was beautiful, but also cost a ton of money. At the very least we didn’t borrow to make this happen, but Harry and I both worked extra jobs just to do projects that were unnecessary. We regret spending all that time and energy on making our house extra fancy. Deep down that isn’t what we care about, but we got wrapped up in it for a while. Anyway, we had some ‘ah ha’ moments and dialed that down quite a bit. The result was us having more free time and extra money. The key was not spending that money, and spending the time on inexpensive or free activities. We are masters at saving money so this was not a problem.
We also read Marie Kondo’s book “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up.” Ok, I listened to the book on Audible and Harry and the kids watched her Netflix show and that turned a switch on inside us. I also listened to several other books about minimalism and reducing clutter, waste, etc. I wouldn’t exactly call us minimalists, but we are definitely living with less than we could. I LOVED thrifting and finding cute decor for our house and adorable outfits for all of us. I still do, but I just don’t do as much of it. We realized having less things and going out to buy less things (even thrifting) also gave us more money to work with. We have sold or given away a ton of stuff. We’ve stopped buying as much stuff. I found that decorating my home was maybe a tiny, long term distraction that kept me from the thing I really wanted to do. I was being creative, but not to my potential. All that stuff was just more stuff to dust and distract. Again, we still have a well decorated home that I wouldn’t consider minimalist, but we have said “thank you, goodbye” to hundreds of things in our home including furniture, toys, tools, and decor and we’ve stopped buying things just to buy things. My son opened his own Etsy and Ebay stores where we gave him things we have said “Thank you, Goodbye” to. Please check it out and support his entrepreneurial spirit!
I still have this blog full of evergreen content. I still share my new printables and printables from my favorite movie studios. I still have a couple awesome writers who share new, fun content from time to time. I will continue to reshare holiday and seasonal blog posts. While I am not taking on any new sponsored content, there are some safe ads in our sidebar that continue to make decent money every month. If you make a purchase off Amazon from our site we also get a very small percentage of that sale. Combined with less house projects and less purchasing, the revenue from this site is still helping us stay afloat. I honestly used to consider this blog my dream job, and when my kids were little it totally was. What I never anticipated was that it would continue to help move us forward with other goals in life with a little passive and reliable income. Our older kids are starting to have fun creating content and coding and we think this might continue on much longer than we originally anticipated. If you have ever considered blogging, yes there is still an opportunity to make money blogging and it has been helpful to us.
I think the biggest help was that I have family and friends that are the best cheerleaders. My husband is an artist himself and he has been the biggest encourager, honestly for years before I finally started drawing again. Our kids compliment my work and encourage me to keep going. Our big kids have taken on making a meal a week while I am in school. They have been great at understanding that many of the blog perks they enjoyed before are now being turned down or stopped coming. They loved this part of me blogging, but have been really gracious at understanding that me being in school is important for all of us. Bloggers I have met over the years are also encouraging me along the way, I am so thankful for so many friendships I have made over the years. One of the sweetest encouragements has been moms of friends I went to high school with. To hear someone say they remembered my dreams at 15 and that they were sad to see me not drawing and how happy they are to see me drawing now, it is hard to describe how thankful that makes me. I guess all of this is to say, when you see someone try to do something new, especially a grown up with some responsibilities and obstacles, say encouraging things to them. I promise it helps fuel them with things are difficult.
Anyway, I am all for doing the thing you love. I know from personal experience that you might see it as impossible from where you sit. Often times there are just ducks you need to get in rows and you need to stay the course. I’ve been drawing for almost two years now. I’ve been taking myself seriously for maybe a year, probably not even that. Becoming debt free and minimizing stuff was honestly a wonderful thing to do anyway, but being able to step back from one career and try to do move on to another was a great byproduct.
I truly hope to update this blog post with several of the goals crossed off. I hope to update next year with more goals and maybe introducing my teens as the new owners of this blog. I am looking forward to 2020 with creativity and gratitude. If you are trying something new in 2020, I hope you will share it with me here! Thanks for listening and thanks for visiting today!