Life update: My second niece joined Planet Earth on January 10th! I was there for her arrival and it was one of the more memorable moments of my life, that's for sure! I love being an aunt and can't wait to get to know little Ellery as well as I do her big sister, Nora. They are my little loves.
Career update: Last week I wrapped up my latest illustration job and last night I came to a big decision.
After a lot of anguished discussions with Adam about my illustration career and my unhappiness with it, I've decided go on hiatus from freelancing. It's been a struggle to do work I'm not happy with just for the paycheck that comes some months later. I'm finally able to articulate that I don't want to be a children's illustrator. I want to be a children's book illustrator, which in practice is a world of difference. Ever since educational work became the only arena in which I get work, my career is not what or where I want it to be. It's completely lacking in my own ideas, my enthusiasm, my creativity, my personality, my problem solving skills, my passion. Ultimately: me.
My love for this line of work comes from a love of books and stories---not from a love of drawing or digital painting, or from quick deadlines and being told what to do. Today, my illustration career is an assembly line of detailed directions, dictated compositions, required elements down to each detail---sometimes rough sketches are even worked out for me beforehand. I find it a stifling, creativity-killing process from which I desperately want to distance myself. The problem is that I have been stuck in a cycle: I take a break from freelancing, but then want some money, so I take freelance job, but hate the work, I get bummed out, and take a break from freelancing. On and on for the last few years. And between gigs I'm left with such detest for my own work that I don't even try do work for myself in the downtime. I'm forgetting what it's like to like illustrating.
I am in a hugely fortunate position which allows me not to have to make a living at illustrating (thanks, Adam!). I get to do it because it is something I enjoy. Which is why I think it's counterintuitive to keep taking on work that I do not enjoy doing. Sure, the money is nice when it comes along but that's not good enough anymore. I want to work in the children's industry because I want to have a hand in telling stories. I don't know if I'm a writer or an illustrator (or both), or if perhaps I just really love books. I simply don't know, but I do know it is time I figured it out.
I want 2015 to be a year filled with experimentation, exploration, and hard work. I want to make work that challenges me, pushes me, and excites me.
I'm ready. I've been ready.
Now I have to prove it.