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Wishing you all the good stuff
Happy New Year
It’s the most hopeful time of the year.
It’s a new beginning. A blank canvas. A time to set new goals for the year.
That was last week. This week might not be as sweet. For many, this is when those well intentioned plans first start falling apart. Did you set any new goals for this year? If yes, are some of them already losing steam? Maybe my perspective will help change how you look at things.
I love making goals and plans and lists of things I want to do. I make them as often as I can - for the year, the month, the week and the day. They don’t always pan out but they always put me in a positive frame of mind. And this by itself makes it an exercise worth doing. My goals help me visualize a roadmap to my desired destination. They help me see my North Star and imagine a path to it. But I know from the get go that this path is not set in stone. It’s more like a GPS that keeps changing according to weather and traffic conditions, the company of fellow passengers and how I feel about taking certain paths. Everyday on this journey, I learn new things about my surroundings and about myself and I am presented with new choices. Everyday I recalibrate based on new found wisdom. I allow for detours and scenic routes and pit stops. As long as my destination is clear, I am not fussed about the path I take to get there. This the only way to keep my plan alive and kicking. Trying to stick to a rigid roadmap is doomed to fail.
Make sure that your plan has room for you to grow.
Where do YOU want to go?
Naturally, the destination needs to be clear. Where do you want to see yourself in 5 or 10 years? Do your 2023 goals align with that vision? What can you do this year that will get you closer to realizing it?
This was a big challenge for me last year. At any given point, there are at least 25 different paths that could lead to my destination. And like most creative people, I get excited by very many things. I surround myself with motivated creators who are all doing amazing things. I soak in all the things I ‘should be’ doing as an upcoming illustrator. Last year, I put all those shiny objects on my annual goals list only to fall into a big slump of overwhelm soon after. Many of the goals were driven by what others around me were doing. And as I kept pushing myself to do them, it drained me both physically and emotionally.
Make sure that your goals are in tune with your own guidance system. Let the paths you take be ones that work for you. Just because everyone else around you is a runner, doesn’t mean you have to try to become one. Find the paths that work for you. Follow your own Joy. This journey is important. Make sure that you savor it. And if you feel the need to rest and reset, do it. Take your time. This is not a race.
Three Big Goals in Little Bite-sized Pieces
The wise ones I look up to say that the key is to focus on just two or three big goals for the year. Anything more and you are spread too thin. So this year I am going to try and keep my focus on just three big goals. Three Paths leading to my Destination. Every little plan I make for the quarter, month, week and day will be steps on one of the three paths.
Children’s Book Illustration
This month I am creating new portfolio pieces for children’s books. I want to add a couple of classic tales to my portfolio: Jack and the Beanstalk and Thumbelina. If you follow me on Instagram, you will get to see glimpses of the process and the finished pieces. This portfolio revamp is in preparation for my first in-person children’s book conference in February, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) Winter Conference. SCBWI is a wonderfully encouraging and inclusive global membership organization for children’s book creators and I am hoping to make lots of meaningful connections. If you are in any way involved in the world of children’s books, you should check them out. If you are planning to attend the conference, do let me know. It will be so wonderful to meet in person.
Some art from last month
Last month I participated in another wonderful Instagram illustration challenge. Hosted by the super inspiring art agent, Jehane Boden Spiers, ‘Jehane’s Twelve Days of Christmas’ challenge involved creating twelve original pieces of art based on pre-released prompts. I don’t usually make Christmas themed work and was a bit hesitant at first but so glad that I went for it because I ended up with quite a few pieces that I am quite pleased with. The best part of art challenges however is not the art that gets created but the community that you become a part of. I made many new illustrator friends on Instagram through the challenge and it was a wonderful way to end my year. You can see all my twelve pieces here.
Hope you have a wonderful first month of the year. I wish you my very best.
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