Wednesday, January 4, 2017

My 2016 Wrap Up and Goals for 2017

Hey there! It's that time of the year again. Time to reflect on the past year and talk about plans for this upcoming 12 pages on the calendar. I spent a good deal of my posts this year going into detail about my 2016 adventures, so I don't want to write too much more about it. I do however want to show off some illustrations. My 2016 New Year's resolution was to spend more time on personal drawings with a goal of finishing one per month. While I didn't necessarily get the chance to draw one in each month (summer was really busy!) I did manage to create more than 12 illustrations. Some of these are animation stills or character sketches, but they all fall pretty closely into my personal illustration requirement.

January: Chozu Horror Comic Pen & Ink

At the start of the year, I got really into pen & ink and comic styles. I found a bunch of great references and decided to try my hand at it. It felt really good to work in a different medium and achieving those super dark blacks with a sharpie was very satisfying.

February: Pokemon 20th Anniversary Drawing & Team Slurpy Drawing

I already talked about this in length in my Leap Day post. Long story short, February was Pokemon month (though honestly, I've been pretty into Pokemon throughout this whole year). I decided to draw my teams from my Fire Red and Crystal playthroughs.

March: Stardew Valley Quickling

Really simple one here. In March I got a new Wacom One tablet and I wanted to try it out on a quick painting. I was obsessed with Stardew Valley at the time so it seemed like the perfect theme! After a few more months, I have to say that I am loving this tablet and I don't know why I put up with my off-brand one for all of these years. Definitely recommend it.

March: "Lonny Hacks the System" Animation Still Frame

This is a still frame from a short animation about Lonny and Gair. It is part of the Nays Gif Compilation project that my sister and I started in 2015. I should probably post the animations themselves at some point. For each one, I gave myself  a strict time limit of 2 hours to complete them. It was a fun way to experiment with different animation styles.

May - June: Nay Drawings

These are all drawing that I've posted before as well. They were drawn in late May / early June when I realized I was falling behind on my monthly goals. They all depict different characters from The Nays.

September: Pearlies Character Lineup

This is a gang of characters I created many years ago. They finally showed up in the recent storyline of The Nays, so I figured it was time to give them new designs. From left to right: Grellno, Poncho, Rocky, Bleek, and Capilstation. They all work for the World Leader of Compass World, Pearly Johnson.

November - December: Nays Gamishness Fake Screenshots

This is a really fun project called Nays Gamishness. I decided to take scenes from The Nays and recreate them as fake screenshots from various games. The first one is the scene in Chozu's past where his Uncle Moz gets hauled off for cheating a casino. It's in the style of Final Fantasy IV for SNES. The second scene is from the Return to Muko Inc Eventure when Elfno encounters a family of boxing-loving dolphin people. This one is done up in the style of Suikoden V for PS2. I've got a whole bunch more of these planned so I'll most certainly be sharing them into 2017.

December: "New Comp Returns" Animation Still Frame

Lastly, another still frame. This is from the Christmas present I made for my sister. The Nays are all lined up on their various devices, getting ready to join Yoisuf's new server.

Overall, this was a fun year-long goal. Working as a professional artist, it's easy to get caught up in working for clients and creating portfolio pieces without simply taking the time to draw for yourself. Even though some of these are pretty simplistic and not necessarily the type of work I would put in my portfolio, it felt good to just go back to my roots and draw for fun.

That said, it's time to plan out my goals for 2017. Rather than set an unrealistic specific goal that is destined to fall short (do X amount of Y each month... my schedule just fluctuates too much to dedicate to monthly goals), I'm instead going to set general guidelines that I would like to work towards.

2017 Goals

More Tutorials: It's important to keep learning new software and techniques, even out of school. I learn a lot from tutorials, so I want to make sure I keep expanding my skills. I was originally thinking of shooting for 1 tutorial per week as my overall resolution, but I don't want them to feel like a chore. With that number in mind though, I plan to learn a lot this year!

ZBrush / Substance Painter Combo: These two programs are becoming more and more integral to my process. I plan to further improve my comfort with this pipeline and really make these tools feel like second nature this year.

More Rigging: Rigging was something I used to hate in college, but in recent years it has become one of my strong suits. Artists with good rigging skills seem to be in demand, so I want to improve these skills even more and learn some useful new rigging techniques this year. I'm currently working on adding more non-humanoid rigs to my portfolio so more on that soon!

Overhaul My Website: It feels like I just redesigned my website recently but it has actually been over 2 years now. While I'm still a fan of the overall theme of the website, the functionality and ease of editing could use some work. I plan to rework a lot of the code, especially in the gallery section.

Shorter, More Frequent Blog Posts: I have a bad habit of trying to write an entire novel each time I make a blog post (just look at how long this post has gotten already!). That expectation that I have to write a ton of interesting information each time is always a big hurdle to updating my blog because I have to dedicate a lot of time whenever I post. I really want to get in the habit of writing much shorter posts so that I can update more frequently than a few times a year. This one is probably the toughest goal, but maybe this will finally be the year that I manage to get in the blog posting habit!

Thanks for making it all the way to the end of the post. I'm really grateful to have people checking out my artwork and supporting me as I do what I love. Ever since I started keeping a blog and writing down these goals, I feel like I have been a lot more motivated to stick to them. So I encourage you to share your own goals in the comments section, even if they're not art related. It really does help. Anyways, I'm planning to make 2017 the best it can be, and I hope you have a great year as well. Until next time... Adios!

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