Leaping headfirst into 2012!

Last year, around this time, I made a committment to myself. Part of my resolution for the year was to make an earnest effort toward my dream of becoming a freelance children’s illustrator. Despite the fact that I haven’t gotten that big break yet, I truly feel like I accomplished what I had hoped to in 2011. I attended conferences, met some amazingly talented people (having a network of friends in the field is wonderful!), completed a dozen or so portfolio worthy pieces, created a website, compiled a mailing list and sent out that first batch of postcards. Honestly, it isn’t as scary to get started in the right direction as I may have once thought.

I know that I will always be my own worst critic and I will never be totally satisfied with my work. I have come to learn that my own doubts are a blessing in some ways… they constantly push me to seek improvement in my work. Because of this, I am proud of the work I completed in 2011 and I look forward to even greater things this year.

I know that first assignment is looming just over the horizon and I am really excited to take my efforts to the next level. I tend to work really well under pressure, so despite my aversion to the dreaded “New Years Resolution”, I decided to make a few goals for this year…

My first (and probably most important) goal is to make an effort to really enjoy the PROCESS of creation more. I have always been a little uptight with my work and rarely allow myself to just dive in and have fun. I often become deadline oriented and fixate on the need to create a masterpiece every time I sit down. I see all the carefree, spontaneous illustrations my “artist friends” are sharing on their blogs and I realize that I need to let go of my need for perfection. I plan to get a little messy this year… and I hope my work benefits as much as my heart does.

My second goal is to fill AT LEAST one sketchbook this year. I have heard many of my favorite illustrators speak of the need to just draw… and I know that my most creative periods have come when I’ve been connected to my sketchbook. I have a blank book on my desk where it has been sitting for 2 months. The ugly perfectionist in me just can’t seem put that first mark on those white pages… but I’m going to overcome that. Maybe later today.

My third goal is to seek out and find an artist rep this year. At the last few conferences I attended, I spoke to several working illustrators about reps… and the majority of them recommended that I consider finding one. The more I learn about how difficult the market is becoming, the more I feel that having someone to guide me through the ups and downs would be beneficial.

I’m VERY excited that I have the opportunity to be going to the SCBWI Winter Conference later this month in… NEW YORK!!! I know I will be completely overwhelmed by the enormous amount of talent there, and I am looking forward to being totally recharged by everyone’s enthusiasm. In the meantime, I will be busily preparing my portfolio, samples and itenerary for the trip (which includes 2nd row seats to see Wicked on Broadway!!!).

Looking forward to an whirlwind of a month… and an even better year in 2012!

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