Whew, 2020 it’s over…
Such a weird year. Eventful to say the least.
But what will I say that you don’t already know, right?
I must admit that despite everything, I was lucky that my year went mostly okay. I’m a big stay-at-home person so I wasn’t that bothered with the restrictions.
I was mostly bothered with people not following them for selfish reasons or not wearing a mask just because they didn’t feel like it…
(I understand a lot of people have real trouble staying home, anxiety and other issues. Obviously, I’m not talking about people with real problems, just about the ones that go partying with 20 friends and then go visit their grandparents…)
But let’s not get caught up with that!
So, as I was saying, despite everything, 2020 did had a lot of positives for me.
In this post, I’m gonna give a little overview of what I did & achieved this past year. And as usual, I’ll talk about what goals and resolutions I’m setting up for this year.
Here’s a couple of – let’s say – mantras or mottos that I want to focus on for this year that have been in my mind for a while:
- “Be Consistent”
- “Get work done in advance”
I’ll talk about them some more bellow!
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REFLECTING OVER MY 2020
I usually write a post like this every year since I started this blog (2019). That’s actually when I got a bit more serious about having goals and resolutions for my art and business as an artist.
ABOUT MY 2020 GOALS:
Still, I’m gonna do a quick reflection here of the main points I had in mind for 2020:
- Focus on studying (schoolism & other courses)
- Keep my blog & yt routines and improve them if possible.
- Start earning some money with my blog.
- Focus on my shops & start my own on this website.
- Then continue some of my ongoing projects: my circus colouring book & the 100 somethings project.
About studying, I did a couple of courses on Schoolism before my subscription ended. But then decided to leave it be for a while – mostly because I couldn’t renew it but also because I felt like focusing more on art.
- Read more about Schoolism in my detailed review here.
I was pretty good at keeping my routines – despite everything – and I did end up setting up my store here!
And I kept my other shops quite updated ad well!
The other two weren’t as successful.
After reflecting on it for a while, I decided to change the blog’s name and domain from “Confessions of an Art Addict” to my own name.
For many reasons, but mainly because it’s better for me and – as much as I don’t like to say it… – my “branding” as an artist.
However, that did sink the traffic for a good while and I underestimated a bit the work it would take to re-style & update the website.
I might still have over 10 posts I need to review & re-upload… (I’m doing it slowly)
WHAT I’M HAPPY ABOUT
Despite the sink in traffic just when my blog seemed to be starting to pick up, I am quite happy about the change.
Not only the website looks better – thanks to my new premium theme & a good number of hours of work – but I feel like this also served to optimise it better now that I knew a bit more about what I’m doing.
So, I finally have a website I’m proud of & that reflects a bit more my personality! And it’s starting to pick up where we left off now that the SEO gods trust me again.
Having my very own store here it’s something I’m quite happy about as well.
Mainly cause the fees on Esty have been increasing, so I’ll probably close my shop there it once the things start picking up here.
Despite the odds, I did have more freelance and commissions this year than ever, which it’s amazing because my bf and I moved in together in September and I needed all the work I could find.
And still do…
And produced my own merch like Enamel Pins & stickers for the first time!
Lastly, these past final months of the year I’ve been noticing an increased engagement & growth on my Youtube channel, my Instagram page & here on the blog.
Finally, after years of work it seems like it’s paying off.
It might also be due to the fact that I’ve been quite consistent with them these past 4-5 months. – and most of the year too except for a couple of short breaks.
HABITS I WANT TO IMPLEMENT FOR 2021
One of the main things I want to focus on this year is to draw & create more.
For the past couple of years my focus was on learning (thus why I got my Schoolism subscription). And I was in and out art burnout. All the time.
The mixture of the two basically ended up with: barely any new artwork – mainly exercises for the courses – & a constant feeling of unproductivity.
So, my skill was improving but I wasn’t putting it to use.
Also, focusing on learning it’s awesome and you learn a lot but it’s also draining. And let’s be honest, sometimes all the exercises can be more boring than your own art. Mixed with that artblock I was talking about, it just made me feel like I couldn’t come up with ideas anymore.
I will keep learning, but for now I’m taking a break and focus on creating. This will also help me update my portfolio.
- For this, I set myself a goal to draw 5-10h every week. (That I’ve been doing since November)
- And I want to do at least 100 drawings/illustrations this year. I even made a tracker in my Bullet Journal to keep myself accountable!
These two aren’t super hard – at least I don’t feel like it – but they will help to keep me accountable.
This goes alongside the lines of the previous.
I’ve always kept a sketchbook – since I found out about them – however, I never use it the same.
There’re times I use it a lot, and others, specially lately, that I don’t use it as much as I like to. To help with this, I also keep a “digital sketchbook” in case I rather feel like sketching digitally.
I want to fix this and try to make it a habit.
I’ve read & heard several times that it’s really good to warm up for 10-15 minutes at least before you start working. Just like exercise, you warm up your hand & your brain.
Also, and I’m not sure where this came from, I’ve heard that starting your day spending 10-15 minutes in your sketchbook helps artists a lot.
I’ve been wanting to try this regularly for a while and see how I feel after implementing this routine.
So, here are my habits to implement in this regard:
- Allow myself 10-15 minutes in my sketchbook every morning as I take my breakfast. No pressure, just doodle whatever comes to mind.
- Finish my handmade sketchbook this year – About 25% into it!
- Create “The Sketchbook Workshop” course on Skillshare. Where I’ll be giving advice, prompts & ideas to make spending time in our sketchbooks a happy time. And productive too if it needs to be!
This last one has been in my mind for a bit – and slowly in the works – and I feel it will really help me as well as anyone who wants to join.
I plan to get it out in this first quarter of the year, so if you want updates on that sign up for my mailing list! (Plus, you get freebies!)
Organization it’s key for anyone trying so many avenues as artists nowadays.
I, myself, feel like I’ve improved tremendously my organization skills over the last couple of years. Especially since I started bullet journaling!
But, there’s still room for improvement, specially since I’m doing this 9 to 5 now from my own home. There have been some changes and I still feel like I need to adapt & do better in a lot of ways.
A couple of goals for this year:
- Start batching tasks for the blog & youtube. Hopefully, this will help with the goal of getting work done ahead of time and improve my productivity.
- Read or take courses about organization/habits. I do have a few pending!
- Eventually work to set up some boundaries: weekends off! Probably this will take a while, so I’ll start by trying taking just Sunday off first.
I’ll probably start by re-reading the book “Atomic Habits” by James Clear while taking some notes. I remember it was really good but I forgot most of the good stuff…
GOALS AND RESOLUTIONS ABOUT PERSONAL PROJECTS
I always have like 10 projects I want to embark myself on. And 2-3 in progress all the time.
The problem? Some of these have been in the backseat for years!
I mean, it’s not all bad, I do get some projects finished.
But, I have had a Circus colouring book in progress for 3 years or so that I should probably start taking seriously. I have 7 illustrations done and I want the finished book to have between 15-20.
I also have an ongoing project called “The 100 Somethings project”. I talk about it in this post, so I’m not going too much into it here. Just know that it’s one I’m taking slowly but it should get a few additions from time to time…
So, here’s a list of personal projects I’d like to – at least – make some progress with this year:
- Circus Colouring book.
- 100 Something project: reach at least 10-20 designs.
- Improve my portfolio. Make more statement pieces.
- Finish the 6 Fan Arts Challenge.
- Make my Pumpky Zine/sort-of-children’s book in time for Halloween! (This was my Inktober project for 2020 that I really enjoyed, you can read more about it here)
- Finish the Lingerie Challenge. – no pressure, for fun!
Then, I would love to do this thing where I do a mini-personal project every month.
I just feel it’s a really cool idea, it could be anything from making a set of bookmarkers, to make a movie poster every month or whatever you want!
However, I feel that till I finish my Skillshare class I’m not gonna venture myself into this. And I should probably focus on some of the points above before this as well!
Maybe for next year!
GOALS & RESOLUTIONS FOR SOCIAL MEDIA + YT & BLOG
So, I’m gonna try to keep it up!
For Instagram, I decided a few months ago to try to always keep stories up (even if it’s just one) but only post on weekdays. That’s five posts a week that I usually schedule on Monday – if I can – and I try to mix it up and upload a reel or a video from time to time.
Sometimes the reels I do in the weekend to help boost the engagement over the week. (I read it helps)
And then I basically re-post manually all of that on twitter. Plus, some occasional extra tweet.
Since I’ve been doing that more or less regularly, I feel like I’ve started to get out of my 2k follower rut I’ve been for the past 2 years. So, it’s basically about keeping it up – while keep reading about the algorithm and its changes.
As for Youtube and the blog, so far, I plan on sticking to my current routine: one post every fortnight alternating blog & yt.
I’m trying to plan my content a bit more by having the content for the next month or so thought out up front.
And I would also love – as I said up there – to be better at having a buffer of a couple of videos and blog posts done ahead so if something comes up I don’t have to stress out about that & leave my platforms without content.
GOALS AND RESOLUTIONS ABOUT PRODUCTS & COURSES
As I recalled in the beginning, this year was quite good for me in terms of products. (For making them, not as much for selling them…)
I was especially excited about stickers & enamel pins! (you can find them in the shop if you want a peek)
And while the enamel pins haven’t picked up yet the stickers have slowly started to sell over on my Esty!
I’m really looking forward to making more stickers, it’s just so exciting! And a relatively cheap investment to start with.
- The Skillshare course I talked about, plus some other if I feel that goes well.
- Write an ebook on watercolour basics for illustrators that I had in mind for a while.
- Find a good printer (locally or on the internet) to get quality prints made. – Though long-term I’ll love to invest in a printer & make my own prints!
- Think about more stickers & sticker packs.
These ones I’ll take as it comes and my budget or time allows!
This helps diversify my income & hopefully make a more reliable income in the future.
COMISSIONS / FREELANCE WORK
This one of the main “goals & resolutions” for me this year.
I’m not a student anymore and I’m living on my own, so I’m gonna really focus on trying to get commissions & freelance work this year.
I’ve set myself a monetary goal to be able to pay the bills plus put some money on the side to save. It’s not too high but I want to see if I can make it there because it will mean I can keep working from home and as a freelance illustrator/artist.
Mainly, I’m gonna be searching for work more actively.
I’ve already started but I feel there’s still much to learn about searching for work as an artist. It’s a surprisingly unknown world for many of us that not many talks about.
If I do make advances on this regard, I plan to search what I learned, so it can help you as well.
I’m willing to take a job on the side to help pay the bills if I can’t make progress. I’ve tried already, but with the current pandemic situation I haven’t been able to find anything…
We’ll see how that goes!
PERSONAL LIFE GOALS & RESOLUTIONS
So, this time of staying home hasn’t been too good for my body. I must say we’ve indulged quite a bit on ordering takeout more regularly than usual & on chocolate. And probably other not-so-healthy things.
I’ve put up a few pounds that I would like to get rid of, but most of all I would love to be a bit healthier from now on. – talk about typical goals & resolutions, uh?
However, I’m not and I’ve never been a fan of exercise. I’ve tried, I promise…
Yoga & going for walks has been the only thing I enjoy doing, so, I want to do it more regularly.
I’ve started the year by doing the 30 Days of Yoga with Adriene on yt. I’ve been doing yoga with Adriene’s channel for about 2 years – though not regularly – and I really enjoy it.
Plus, it helps with my back problems!
I hope this is the start of a better yoga routine that I think will benefit me a lot.
Other personal goals are:
- Go on walks more often. At least once or twice a week to start with.
- Keep doing yoga regularly, even if it’s not daily after the 30-day challenge.
- Eat better. We home cook 95% of the times and we’re big veggie fans, so I just want to eat a bit less quantity and reduce the takeout & sweets for some time. Be more conscious of what I eat.
- Finish my Final Degree Project for Uni and officially graduate. (In progress)
I do have more specific goals & resolutions for certain stuff & long-term goals but I feel like I shared enough already.
Basically, when I write this I do it to keep myself accountable and try to inspire artists to have their own goals and resolutions as well.
Goals are what keep us improving and moving on so we don’t stagnate.
You don’t have to be crazy strict, of course. But it’s always good to reflect over what you want and what you have been doing to achieve it. – or have you been standing in your own way?
Whatever it is that you want you can have it. As long as you put in the work, I believe we can all get where we want to.
That’s why I set myself these goals & resolutions.
Here’s to a better 2021 for all of us!
And don’t forget to share your goals with me in the comments if you feel like it!