So how are things going?
Earlier this year I announced that we would be blogging a lot less. I shared our 2019 goals in January and I thought it might be time to revisit those plans to see where we are at. Making a goals list for hard things seems to be good for me. We are nearly 3/4 of the way through the year and I am proud to say that we are on task.
I say ‘we’ because this truly has been a group effort. My husband has been fully supportive of this crazy idea; in fact he has never called it crazy and kinda gets his feathers ruffled when I refer to it as such. Harry and I met at a tiny animation trade school in Sherman Oaks in 1998. We started dating while we drew caricatures at local theme parks and for party entertainment companies. Harry taught at the Art Institute in the animation department for 10 years shortly after we first got married. He regularly told me that I had more talent than students he knew getting hired at animation companies. He also knew why I put stuff in a box after graduation and he isn’t a pusher. For the longest time we had conversations about art and illustration. In these conversations I was someone who knew a reasonable amount, but didn’t consider myself ever worth of that space. This season without art was busy with bringing up kids and I am thankful for that season. We had some rough days (years?) in there for sure, but also some really beautiful moments that I am so thankful for. I just don’t think I would have transitioned back to art without his encouragement and knowledge. I am thankful to be back in a place where Harry and I talk about art the way we did when we first met. I am thankful we have the time and I am of the mindset that we can go to life drawing together for date night again. It’s rad. Life is good. Shout out to husbands who encourage, they are the best kinds of husbands.
Not only is Harry supportive, my kids are supportive. My kids refer to me as an artist now rather than a blogger. I didn’t mind blogging at all, it just isn’t what I set out to do in life, so hearing them say ‘blogger’ always felt like me settling. I used to blog from the couch and my kids could always come in and chat with me. I felt like I was always working and never really done. I felt like I was always being interrupted. Art and computer programs take so much more focus than writing and I need a separate space to work. This need for space might be why I never saw it as an option, but my kids have mostly respected the boundaries of our home office during office hours. I had so many reasons to avoid art. I told myself it was selfish, frivolous, and not a viable career. As it turns out, my family doesn’t think so. I think the muddied waters before led to a lot of anxiety and anger in me that I didn’t even realize. Having boundaries makes for better work and better relationships, go figure. I applied for a job that I am only barely qualified for and I don’t expect to get. I was talking about it with Harry and our 13 year old overheard. She asked about it and I told her. She said with all the sincerity in the depths of her soul “Good job, Mom! Even if you don’t get that job, that is cool that you applied for it.”. She isn’t wrong.
So anyway, this is where I am at with the goals I set earlier this year…..
- “Updated my LinkedIn to reflect my hope of working as an illustrator rather than a blogger / social influencer.” Done! See me on LinkedIn – connect with me there if you are looking for an artist! I’ve made a lot of great connections, I’ve received two freelance assignments, and I even applied for a job. yay me.
- “Further my knowledge of Photoshop and animation enough to be able to offer freelance animation services in addition to Illustration.” In Progress! This will be ongoing, but I cannot believe what I can do in Photoshop considering how intimidated I was by it only a year ago! Since the writing of the first blog post I have added Storyboard Pro and a little Adobe Animate to my resume. Go me!
- “Make as much in 2019 as a Freelance illustrator as I did as a blogger in 2018. This is probably insane, but whatever – I’m gonna try.” I mean…. if this is gonna happen someone is going to need to hire me right now and pay me a crap ton of money for the next 3 months. So I didn’t make much money this year from illustration. Maybe this is a better goal for next year. This might be a good time to say once again how thankful I am for blogging. While I have not created very much new content, visitors to evergreen content and guest writers have helped keep our site’s traffic up. Ads and affiliate links still provide our family with about 1/3 of the income I was bringing in last year. Anyway, if you want to know about making money blogging, I wrote all about it! Harry and I made some financial decisions 2 years ago that made me taking a bit of a hiatus possible. While we were already debt free other than our mortgage, we were pouring money into unnecessary and unending house projects. We stopped the house projects, found contentment in the perfectly imperfect home we have and saved that money. Even still, without my residual blogging income I would probably not have been able to focus on art as much as I have been able to. Thank you for reading our little blog that could, thank you for reading this article, thank you even still for maybe clicking on one more page and staying for a little while longer.
- “Finish the book I was hired to illustrate!” DONE! I will be sure to update once there is a publish date! The author is hoping to self publish in time for the holidays, I will of course share here!
- “Double my online / social presence as an Illustrator” (please follow me on Instagram and Tumblr – I just started, so this should be easy! If I hit 2oo on Instagram, I will have surpassed my goal! If I hit 2 on Tumblr I will hit my goal – LOL!). Instagram is steadily growing, but not there yet – please follow along! If you are already following along, please say ‘hi!’ and maybe encourage a friend or two to follow. It is beyond encouraging to watch that little audience grow and I truly appreciate it!
- Set up an Etsy shop for commissions. Hopefully before the holidays!
- Attend at least one art centered conference / convention. Harry and I attended “Ground Zero” Expo which is an awesome small animation and illustration expo held in Stanton California. I was able to sit in on several workshops and even had two portfolio reviews. My portfolio is in progress so this was a HUGE blessing to have two professionals let me know what to emphasize before I was finished. The information I was able to get about freelance animation and book illustration was so helpful and I hope to apply it in the months to come. I’ve also purchased tickets to Lightbox Expo. This is an expo in Pasadena specifically for Illustrators, Animators, and Gaming Artists. While I am technically working as an illustrator, there is so much I need to learn to make a real career of it. It is no secret that I love animation and this past year I have learned that there are options in animation I never thought were a possibility for me. I can’t wait to check it out!
- Keep learning! Photoshop, Life Drawing, Storyboarding, and Digital Painting are all going to be a regular thing in my life from now on. I already have a degree and I am not looking to get another one, but my hope is to actually do something with that degree. Brushing up has been essential, but also fun! I spent more than a decade trying to forget something I was good at. I hate that I wasted those years, but I am glad to be back in the saddle.
I had fewer goals when it came to blogging. This made things really easy to achieve. We have partnered with a few awesome affiliates to produce Disney and family related content that our audience seems to enjoy. We consolidated our “San Diego Deals and Steals” blog into a nice little corner of this blog. It is nice to have us all under the same roof. We’ve kept our San Diego Deals and Steals Facebook page open for now, but the blog is all in one! We’ve been republishing evergreen content on occasion. Our Pinterest and Facebook pages continue to grow and our traffic to this site has remained steady. If you are a blogger we would love for you to submit a guest post to share! One of the highlights of this year was taking my daughter to the red carpet for Disney’s The Lion King. I can’t imagine shutting down shop here entirely. I love that blogging has allowed me to work from home for nearly 10 years now, and I love that it still is a great resource for our family and others.
We said earlier this year we were going to share about some vacations. I am not going to be able to share about those. We actually decided against going on vacation. We decided it would be a lot of fun for our kids to go to sleep away camp and for me to have time to keep working on goals. We went to Hawaii last year and I think that is just going to have to hold us for the rest of the year. We do have a possible adventure in the works, but it might be more than just a quick vacation. Stay Tuned!
Thank you so much for those that have supported us all these years! Thank you for sticking along for this next phase too!