This week I saw a great post by an artist I follow on instagram. She had gone through all the art she had done throughout the year and selected one from each month that she liked. I decided to look through my year of art, mostly because I was curious to see how much my style changed, but also to reflect on the year through my sketchbooks.
This time last year, I had just finished ~15 pages of a graphic novel for a class project. I came out of that experience really excited about my newfound persistence, but didn't feel too excited about the style I had used to illustrate it. (I'm not posting it here because I still want to work on this in the next year.) Regardless, it made me feel more organized creatively, and gave me confidence that I could complete bigger illustration projects.
Around the beginning of January, I was feeling a bit limited by my insistence to use only pen in sketchbooks, so I started doing other kinds of art. I began felting again, carved some stamps, and did some really bad sewing. At this point I was at home, and so I didn't have any other pressures to keep me away from just being creative all day. I drew some cartoons, spent time with friends, and saw a lot of movies.
I decided that it might be better for me to focus by picking a specific topic that I would make several drawings about. So, this is when I started drawing clothes. I drew my clothes, my friend's clothes, clothes I saw on the internet, random people on the street's clothes. I liked the format and how relaxing it was to not draw people for a little bit.
After that, things really didn't go anywhere for the semester. I was only taking writing classes, was working a lot, and felt super stressed and uninspired. I pretty much just scribbled out my frustrations into a sketchbook and wrote down my schedules week after week. After work, I would sometimes draw the people I had seen during my shift. These ended up being my favorite drawings from this time (maybe because they were the only real drawings I was doing at the time.)
The winter lasted well into spring, so my partner and I decided to visit his parents in April for a much needed break from the frozen city. On the day we were supposed to leave, there was a massive blizzard that trapped us at their house for two more days. I spent those few extra days sleeping in front of the fireplace, playing with their old kitty, and doodling carelessly into my sketchbook. It was such a wonderful moment of peace from the otherwise massively taxing semester.
Eventually school came to a very crazy end, with a broken laptop, several massive papers, and a lot of bad colds leading up to the last day. The next day, I hopped on a plane home for the trip my dad and I planned- ITALY! The trip was amazing. I spent more time soaking it all in than I did sketching, but I had some really great journals come out of two weeks of backpacking around the northern part of the country. We spent days in museums, hiked, hung out in city squares, and ate a lot of (not lactose intolerant- friendly) food. One day, we stopped so that I could paint a bluff.
After our trip, I headed back to Minneapolis to work my desk job. A summer job on campus leaves a lot of free time to be had in the office, so I spent a lot of time drawing and embroidering my backpacking when I was at work. I rekindled my love for brush pens, and had a pretty great backpack by a few weeks in. My work schedule was broken up with a few super fun trips (the summer of roadtrips!) My cousin and my partner's cousin both got married, so we travelled together to both weddings, which was so wonderful despite the horrendous storms we drove through to reach them.
During the summer, I had also re-downloaded Photoshop onto my laptop, so color made its way back into my illustrations. Drawing has become so much more fun since I decided to play with color, which had a lot to do with an increased amount of free time to do so. One the semester started up again, I was still in the habit of colorizing and so I never stopped.
From there on, everything was about printmaking. I joined the print collective on campus, and spent even more time making prints and learning techniques than I was already doing in class. On a (rare) free afternoon or evening, I would get myself over to the studio and make prints for fun. Eventually, I ended up selling some of them with the collective, which was super rewarding to get something back from the work I had put in. For more about my printmaking this semester, I wrote about that before (here it is if you want to read it.)
I feel really good about my work right now, and it seems like lots of avenues are opening up for me! There's nothing limiting me right now, besides the cold I currently have. Although I won't be taking art classes next semester... I will be going to LONDON! And I will be working in arts administration, getting a bit of different experience with the art world. More about that in later posts! For now, I nap.