Happy New Year! – Looking Back at ’14, Looking Forward to ’15

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Happy new year everyone!!! I hope 2014 has been a great year for you, a year where you accomplished everything you wanted to do, and more, and had more fun than you’d ever imagined you would! Of course, there are rough times too, but I hope that you were able to learn from them and come out on the other side a stronger and better person.

Personally, 2014 has been a year of doing things I’ve never done before (and never imagined I would).

In May, I got this crazy idea to crowdfund a book – and even more crazy than that to me is that it succeeded, with the help of a group of amazing backers! By December 7, I had self-published a 40-page book full of my own illustrations, and in the process got closer to my hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio. That project brought me places that I never dreamed of going in its conception – local television, a gallery, and Amazon.

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working on a finished piece of local landmark, Cincinnati Music Hall

One skill I had always admired but never even came close to mastering was pattern making. So I set out early on in the year to figure out how to design my own patterns. I learned a TON in the process and the more I made the more my patterns improved from simple to complex.

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the first pattern I ever made

starting to get the hang of things

starting to get the hang of things

one of my favorite patterns

one of my favorite patterns

Once I had found my groove in pattern making, I wanted to do something with them – so I entered the realm of surface design. The evolution of this newly learned skill was to start my own line of illustrated goods. I then opened an online shop to market them.

a notecard I created in my own illustrated succulents pattern

a notecard I created in my own illustrated succulents pattern

thick, satin wrapping paper created with my own illustrated presents pattern

thick, satin wrapping paper created with my own illustrated presents pattern

I then had my start marketing my products in person at a small craft fair in May.

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my first craft fair in May

While it wasn’t exactly a smashing success, I did learn a lot from it about creating a marketing a brand, building up inventory and in-person customer-merchant interaction. With another event under my belt in early November, I felt ready for a big holiday show.

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Sharonville Holiday craft show in late November

At this event I felt much more prepared. I had spent the several months prior building up an inventory I could say I was truly proud of – products including patterned notecards, earrings, necklaces, prints, wrapping paper and more. With the help of a lot of wonderful people, I acquired product showcasing items for my booth and the manpower to help set it all up and tear it down afterwards.

With all that under my belt, I really can’t wait to see what this new year will bring! Success is always great to look back on, but I am a firm believer in always moving forward and keeping my momentum going when I am on a roll. So I wanted to share some of my goals for 2015 with you! I hope you’ll share yours as well in the comments below.

My goals for the new year:

  • fill one sketchbook a month
  • create a drawing a day (line, at least)
  • focus more on composition (when drawing both from imagination and life)
  • create more dynamic poses in my drawing from imagination
  • get better at bookbinding
  • improve my character designs – through observation and from imagination

What do you plan to accomplish in 2015? I’d love to read about it in the comment section below!