Every year, during the last days of December, I love going through the whole year and review what happened.
I sit down, away from distractions, and I focus on what happened in the last 12 months. I check my calendar, project folders and emails to help me to get the big picture. I write down a list of the highlights and I usually get surprised about how many things happened.
This year I’ve decided to split the highlights into two lists, one with what went well and another one including what didn’t.
Things that went well in 2016
- I created a lot of illustrations
This year I worked more than ever, I created more than 100 illustrations.
- I successfully switched to Illustrator
I no longer use Photoshop to illustrate. I had to switch to Illustrator and find a new workflow because animations require vector graphics. As a consequence, I abandoned my Wacom Cintiq 13HD and now I use an iPad Pro for the sketches and a Logitech MX Master for the finals. Now my current setup provides me more flexibility and it’s lighter. I couldn’t be happier about it.
- I produced a lot of animations
I created a lot of animations with Jose. We created a lot of short gifs but also 30-second animations including music and audio. One of the animations was broadcasted on TV.
- I received several awards
I received 6 awards including the International Motion Art Awards and 2 bronze Laus. I’m very grateful for all the recognition, especially because most of them were awarded to the animations we created.
- I kept giving talks
I gave several talks, the most important one was for Adobe and it was also the first time I streamed something online.
- I kept blogging
I love writing this blog. This year I’ve been more or less consistent writing every week and I created different kind of content. Including videos for the serie Behind the Scenes, sharing tools, my Asian adventure and much more. I have big plans for the Blog in 2017.
- I released the Toolkit and the Resources Page
I started to share the tools and resources I use with the Toolkit and the Resources Page. Since I launched both in October, more than 1000 people have downloaded the Toolkit and the Resources Page has been visited more than 1500 times.
- I visited New York, Dubai and I moved to Helsinki
I travelled to New York in February to receive the Silver Medal from the Society of Illustrators. I always wanted to visit New York, and I’m definitely going back.
I also went to Dubai to the ING Creative Festival in May. It was my first time in the Middle East. I also had many trips to Barcelona-Madrid, and I finally moved from Madrid to Helsinki.
- I’ve been healthy
Once again, another year without being sick.
Things that didn’t go well in 2016
- I felt busy and overwhelmed
At the end of the year I had too much work that I lost control of my routines and habits. I also felt overwhelmed and I didn’t have time to enjoy my projects and free time.
- I didn’t have enough time for my personal projects
I started working on Illustrators Essentials, an online course for illustrators, but it’s not ready yet. I underestimated the magnitude of the project.
- I didn’t travel as much as I wanted
Even I visited New York, Dubai and moved to Helsinki, I miss travelling as a nomadic illustrator. I wanted to visit East Europe but I was so busy that I had to cancel the plan.
- I didn’t exercise
This year has been very bad regarding exercise and activity. I spent most of my time sitting and working.
- I didn’t read as much as I wanted I read several books that I liked very much. For example, the Mysterious Island by Jules Verne or Break on Through: The Life and Death of Jim Morrison by James Riordan. But reading 5 books a year is very far from what I wanted.
As opposed to 2015, in 2016 I’ve been very focused on working. I’ve created a lot of illustrations but animations definitely got a lot of relevance in my work. I’m going to dedicate more time, efforts and resources to create animations in 2017. Jose and I have big plans together!
Because of that intense focus on working, I felt stressed and overwhelmed, and I even lost control of my routines and habits at some point. I started a couple of very interesting projects but I couldn’t find enough time to work on them properly.
For 2017 I’m definitely going to work on finding the balance between assignments and personal projects. Illustrators Essentials and developing self-initiated animations are going to be my priorities.
For 2017 I also need to create new routines for exercising, and other activities like reading and travelling.
• • •
Looking back and realising how the year has been makes me feel very grateful.
2017 is a new opportunity to improve those things that didn’t go so well and focus on new goals and objectives.
How was your year?
As always, I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments!
PS: My online course Strategy & Business for Illustrators is now available for pre-order!