The rigid planner inside of me
Exactly one year ago I wrote a blogpost titled “From dream to reality - in one year to first customer illustrations” where I showed you how I started to earn money with illustrations for my first clients. The post ended with stating that I have drawn eight paid portraits for people I knew and strangers. As I am a vivid journal writer, I can see that three days later I made my plan for the next year, 2018, and I had a big plan for it!
The end goals for 2018 were:
1) to be published in one magazine,
2) to make one ad-campaign and
3) have an online shop with products with my designs on them.
I’ve planned to start with the shop in the first three months, then go over to making a portfolio worth sending out to magazines and pitching it in the next quarter; for the third quarter I planned to pitch to companies to land a gig in advertisement and the last three months of the year I though I’m probably gonna be working after that much pitching :D
Those three main goals were chosen from many ideas that I have written down, which also contained:
4) illustrating a book cover or a book (for adults)
5) writin a book
6) making an online coaching course
7) learning to animate
But those ideas were put aside as being not my main focus and just too much to be all done in one years time.
Off to a good start - january is the monday of the year
Right after this, I have started with little animations in some free apps just for fun. Luckily I did this, because it would appear that there was no time next year to learn to animate properly and I also realized that I probably am just not patient enough for animation.
Before Christmas I had some more portrait orders which left me with a total of eleven clients who I was incredibly happy to send out Christmas thank you notes to. It was the year where all my family and friends got their portraits as gifts and I was so pleased to be able to give them something handmade, not store bought. I felt happy and alive like a ten year old!
On mondays I have always the wildest plans and the most power to achieve them and january is like the monday of the year, right? So in the beginning of the new year I took part in a contest for a Flow Magazine calendar 2019, I had a struck of lightning about a book idea that I wanted to achieve, which also contained the plan to make a poster and a card set (apparently forgetting that my year was fully planned already) and just for fun I took part in a skillshare class where I learned how to illustrate maps. I also had ambitious plans to grow my instagram following and can tell you right away that those never worked out for me and I stopped caring about the quantity and started caring about the quality instead.
In February I had my first company client thanks to my good friend Sissi, who again recommended me. With Positiiviset HIV Finland we’ve made a social media campaign to spread awareness about the Swiss statement. I’ve also started to build my portfolio for editorial and completely forgot that I wanted to concentrate on the online shop first. Then came the biggest surprise: I’ve got contacted by Calzedonia, which is a big italian underwear brand to make an ad campaign for their new Berlin edition bra! How and why this happened is that they saw the result of my skillshare class - an illustrated map of Berlin and that was exactly what they were looking for. But if you ask me this was what I call magic. I wanted an ad-campaign, I had an ad campaign!
Dream on! Dream big! Book, Editorial, Flow Magazine
In the meantime I was on a longer trip and had time to think about my book project: what will it contain, how do I want it to look, what will the illustrations be and what the text. I’ve made a plan and on the flight back from Sri Lanka I have drawn my first three illustrations for the book.
I’ve heard back from Flow Magazine with positive news, that my illustration is going to be included in their calendar for 2019 and my desire to find my illustrations in their magazine has only risen.
Around march, my former client from Finland asked me, if I want to illustrate a book for them on the subject of HIV and of course I said yes! My first illustrated book, for adults, like I dreamt of, just didn’t dare to really plan it! I think I didn’t mention this fact anywhere yet, because the book is not out yet, but yes, this project was finished by August and I’m really looking forward to seeing it printed!
It was also then, when I started to do Andy J. Pizza’s Creative Career Path, as he described it in his podcast. This was a seven step process to reach a breakthrough in a creative field of your choice and I have chosen to want a breakthrough in editorial illustration. Thanks to this program and many more magical coincidences I decided to finally contact Flow Magazine and propose them to feature my illustrations. This proposal included many different ideas for a collaboration concerning the illustrations I’ve already started drawing for my book. If they wanted to make the book together with me - great. But I was open for other options too. And what happened was magical again: Flow decided to take my project into the mindfulness special as a set of cards, a poster and editorial illustrations (remember my plan? Book -> Card set -> Poster?)
Work, work, work, get married.
With the book and the cards (to remind you, by then I had 5, i needed 48 though) I had a lot of work on my hands for the next months, not to forget, that I was getting married in August. I worked like crazy and drew our wedding invitation, worked like crazy and planned the wedding, worked like crazy and got interviewed for a podcast, worked like crazy...you see the pattern!
A beautiful highlight from that part of the year was, that I recorded a thank you note for Andy J. Pizza and his creative career path and he included my recording in his podcast, which is my absolute favorite podcast for creatives ever!!
Then, in June, I finally took the time to cash in a coupon I got from my soon-to-be-hubby for Christmas and it was a screen printing workshop. There, I have screen printed my logo, the hug, onto tote bags and people went kind of crazy for them...I’ve printed 10 and they were gone in 3 days. So I remembered the plan of the online shop with my designs and opened a redbubble shop. I want to be honest here, I went kind of the easy way. Redbubble is a print on demand service and it was not exactly what I have imagined. But with all that was happening in that time, I just couldn’t have opened my own shop (maybe 2019?)!
It was great to see my designs on pillows, shirts, prints, clocks and so on! And people love it too! I was happy I finally got to achieve this part, much later in the year than initially planned.
Everything slowed bit down around August and late summer for our wedding and honeymoon and to be honest I needed that slowing down. By now actually I have achieved more than I’ve planned for the year and I relaxed.
Drawing on the beach, Personal Projects and Big Plans
Although I decided to take it slow after the wedding, I got a job offer for editorial illustrations I couldn’t refuse (I just liked it too much) so I decided to see, if I will be able to complete a commission away from home, without all of my equipement, just with my iPad. Actually it has been a very big dream of mine to be able to work from anywhere and to be completely free with how and when I complete my work, so it was a great opportunity to try. I drew in the mornings and on the beach and discussed the subjects with my hubby on long car drives and it was no burden at all. I love this way to work and hope that in the future I will be free like this always (for now I still have another part time job I need to go to daily).
For the end of the year I’m trying to concentrate on more personal projects. One if them is “Woman with scars” where I portray badass women who endured pain and are carrying a sign of it on their skin. The big goal for this project is an exhibition somewhen in 2019, but for now I’m looking for more women to portray - do you know any?
Another project I did was portraying the protagonists of the documentary Female Pleasure I’ve seen, because it really touched and inspired me deeply!
And maybe the most important thing right now is my book project, I am working on daily. I plan this book to be published somewhere around the middle of 2019! Let’s see how this will work out!
Every time I do such a resume of the year that passed, I am incredibly surprised, proud and most of all grateful for the path I am walking on! I am so thankful to all the people who support me, my instagram community, my clients, my network. Those friends and loved ones who believe in me. Those colleagues who collaborate instead of competing. Sometimes I just can’t believe my luck.
But I also have to be very honest and say that all of this is a ton of work. Daily perseverance, weekly planning, never giving up. Sitting at home on a saturday night, writing this blog post instead of being out with friends is just one example of hardship I take upon myself, but I gladly do, because I love it, I love this career dearly and it makes me happy and fulfilled. So let’s continue down this road! I already have big plans for 2019, but shhh...you gonna see!