Wednesday, December 30, 2009

2009 Year in Review + My Eureka Moments

2009 was one of the craziest year of my life to date. Some highlights: **Warning: Long blabbing post!!**

-Books published! Two "my first graphic novel readers" published by Capstone Press: Lily's Lucky Leotard and T-Ball Trouble, Light the Menorah published by PSS, and The Great Reindeer Rebellion published by Sterling (a wonderful review of it here by fellow illustrator Kathy Weller..thank you, Kathy!)

-My baby gift card design for Target is now in stores. Had to keep this quiet till now, which was hard to do!

-Participated in Surtex. So grateful to have had the opportunity to experience doing a trade show.

-Partnership with I {heart} Papers to produce my own stamping line.

-And some how in between all of that, I got married and moved out of NYC to a completely new place in which I've never been to or know anyone.

-New place gave me my very own room as my studio = dream come true :-)

Some Eureka moments/lessons learned for this year:

Looking back at this year, I realized I was all over the place with where I wanted to take my work. I spent a good chunk of the time working on projects or portfolio pieces for industries I really have no interest in. So why was I doing it? I'm not sure. I got into the mentality that I must diversify my income and look for other industries that I can do work for. Which I still think is smart, but creatively I wasn't enjoying some of it. But I pushed on, like I needed to prove something to myself. In the end, I feel I spread myself way too thin, forgetting what I was passionate about- which is story telling and creating amazing children's books.

Perhaps the computer sometimes is way too easy to come up with quick, slick, images that can easily impress. I feel like I haven't spent a good amount of time on one amazing piece...but rather, a bunch of quick ones where I can get easy, instant gratifications. Thank goodness for some amazing illustrators out there that inspires me...I'm reminded again that what I want to do is Good Work. (thanks to Tara Lazar, I was invited to pick my top 3 picture books of 2009, check it out here. Some of my inspirations!)

Its time for me to work on more personal projects rather than come up with images which I think can be used in multiple places. Business wise it might be smart, but creatively, it is very stifling to me. The funny thing is, those personal projects of mine usually bring in work for me- work that I enjoy doing! What a concept!

So with that in mind, I'm going to come up with some fitting goals for 2010. I would love to hear some of yours. Much success and creativity to all this coming new year!


Red Fish Circle said...

Wow, what a great year you had. I completely relate to this post - it is great that your direction is becoming clearer - keep moving towards what inspires you and success will follow - not of course just $$ success, but loving what you do more importantly. Congrats on all your achievements in 2009 and I think 2010 is going to be even richer.

Doodlestreet said...

Very good post here...I 'so get' what you said in all of it. Doing what you love, ain't it the truth.

I'm wishing good things your way this coming's going to be a great one!

Barbara Johansen Newman said...

Jannie, I feel like I am in the same boat as you--torn between a lot of lovers, lovers being all the different art directions I want to move in: writing and illustrating books, fine art, licensing. My problem is that I want to do all of them and there are not enough hours in a day.

I am waiting for my epiphany moment or what I call "serendipity wind," to blow me in the right direction. Maybe the scroll saw for Xmas just did that...;-)

Kathy Weller said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kathy Weller said...

Oh my gosh Jannie, I almost could have written that first paragraph under "Eureka moment" myself. That is how closely I identify with your own struggle. You said it girlfriend now let's FOCUS on what we LOVE to do!!! PERIOD!!! :)

I always say/ think that we are BEST at what we love TO DO best. Sometimes, I don't follow my own advice and, like you, try a bunch else in the name of "diversification" and "multiple income streams". It's so funny, because we always have to go around the WORLD to get back to our creative home base, where we are doing our true passion. It's like we have to make sure there isn't something BETTER out there that we are missing the boat on. I think YOU are past that now!! :) (Big congratulations, because the road is hard, huh?!) I recently made a similar discovery too, for myself. And it feels absolutely GREAT.
(My personal mantra: Children's and Art Licensing. And that is IT!!! No if's and's or butts about it! :))

Hey, we are going to KICK MAJOR BUTT in 2010!! YES!!!

Lisa M Griffin said...

What a great year for you! Here's to the continued creative momentum into 2010. Happy New Year!

roz said...

LOVED reading about your year. Many congratulations on all the successes and more importantly for finding yourself. Sometimes it just takes spreading yourself all over to see what really "fits".
Anyway, I'm really looking forward to seeing what the future holds for you this year and seeing more of your incredible illustrations!
HEY- also a big congrats on the TARGET gift card. I will have to go find it, how cool is that!!!

lil kim said...

What a great year Jannie - congratulations to you!!

I think your idea of working on personal projects that YOU enjoy rather than will be 'marketable' is a good one. I always ascribe to the notion that if you do good work (which you do!) then it is only a matter of time before it finds its place. And it means you will be a much happier illustrator and that will show through in your work, so everyone wins!!!

all the best for 2010 and beyond my creative friend.... :-)

Jannie aka Chickengirl said...

Thank you for everyone's support! I need it and hopefully I won't side track again!!

Wishing you all a creatively kick butt 2010!! :-)

miremari said...

wishes for creativity and love :)
I think our job is always amazing, and we are so lucky for this!
congrats for all your fab illustrations!!

crazylady said...

Wow, you certainly have been busy since I last checked! Target and all those books published!..that's awesome! Do you work with a Rep, or do you do all self-promoting?

Jannie aka Chickengirl said...

Hi Crazylady! I do have a rep although I try to self-promote as well. Double attack!! :-)

Alicia Padrón said...

Wooohooo amazing post and wonderful news as well Jannie!!! You are so talented and I can't wait to see all the books you'll work on this new year. :o)

And a BIG congrats on the target baby gift card! That is my favorite store and I love everything in it. So of course your art had to be in it as well. Yay! :o)


Jessie said...

Happy new year Jannie! Here's to a new year filled with joy and love.xx

Claire Louise Milne said...

This is exactly what I've been thinking about too. All those "shoulds" were replacing the instinct to do what you love. Great post, you are going to have an amazing year!!

Haitian-American Family of Three said...

I just found your blog and I LOVE your work!

Tom Barrett said...

Congrats on all you got to do in '09. How awesome is that to do a Target gift card!!

Speaking of spreading yourself too thin, I read a good kids book a while back called "Milton and the Artist," where the moral basically was "do what you love and the rest will fall into place." Worth a read if you can find it at your library.

Hope the new house/city and married life are treating you well.

Best for 2010!

Deb said...

Wow, what a year you have had! Congrats on so much progress and success. I just love your Target baby card. How fun is that! I too can relate to your post. Thanks for writing it. Just not enough time to be really good at all of it.....

Here's to a great 2010!

pilarcat said...

Happy New Year!
You had a great year and I wish you have a very happy and prosperous time this year too.

I will be always your fan :-)

Shirley said...

Such a great post, Jannie! I congratulate you, very belatedly on having gotten married, and for all of your career successes! I thank you for your honest and candid post here regarding your work and reflections. This is the kind of post that definitely helps me to keep in mind as goals are set and paths are forged (hopefully!) this year. I really, really thank you for your visit to my blog and kind comment. You are definitely one of my illustrator heros. : )

Carmen B said...

Dido to Barbara Newman and Kathy Weller.... Do what love and what is in you, because it will zap the very life out of you if you don't! Congrats on the Target card! Now for a Wow! year in 2010!

xenos said...

i completely understand what you mean about spreading yourself too thin. you give me hope that if i try hard enough at something i love to do, it WILL happen. thanks for that...