Remember January, when we all made those resolutions and goals for the coming year? It’s June, and that means we’re pretty much halfway through 2017. We're as far from the start as we are to the end. It can be a challenging time, with many projects and goals in progress and seemingly nothing to show for it. The excitement of the idea of the goals themselves has long evaporated, and their results — the juicy stuff you and others can appreciate — have not quite materialized. The middle is always a hard because it takes the most energy to push through without the encouraging sight of the finish line.
At this time, one of the best things we can do is check in with our goals to see how we're doing. We can assess whether we've steered off course, or whether our goals themselves need a bit of redirection. In this middle season, I decided it would be a good time to review my own goals. I'm definitely encouraged to say all of these goals have had some serious action, although they are certainly all works in progress. I am actively doing things toward each goal, but none have been truly achieved just yet. As one might imagine, six months into the year, my goals are definitely a work of progress.
Goal 1: Book Pitch
I declared to the universe that I wanted to illustrate a kid’s book. The universe heard and said, “let me help you with that”. For 3 or 4 years now, I have been hoping to turn a good friend’s brilliant poem into a children’s book. 2017 was going to be the year of action. I had a strong start but ran into a little problem. Almost as soon as I started getting serious with my book idea, a publisher came to me to work with them on a new book. This is really a dream come true for me. After all, a huge reason I wanted to develop my own book was to break into the publishing industry. So the choice to set my passion project on the back burner for now was not so hard. I get to illustrate a kid's book, get paid, and learn a ton about publishing. I’m learning a lot about the book illustration and planning process, and gaining more of a sense of my voice and style for the genre. By the end of July, I will have completed my first published book. I cannot wait to share more soon!
Goal 2: The Canadianist Issue 2
The Canadianist is a series of letterpress prints by top Canadian illustrators. Conceived by Everlovin’ Press and me, our first series was released in 2015 and was a huge success for us. The Canadianist Issue 2 is well under way: the work is on the press as I write — but not without a few snags! We had intended on launching in May but had some unexpected issues on the press (as a craft technique, letterpress is not always a smooth process). I’m pleased to say our exciting lineup, which includes Ray Biesinger, Banquet Workshop, Sandi Falconer and Doublenaut, is on the press right now and we expect to launch this month, just in time for Canada’s 150th birthday.
Goal 3: Colour Class for Skillshare
Oh, Skillshare. This class has been a thorn in my side, to be honest. I want so badly to get this class out there but it has not been shaping up as easiliy as I’d hoped. Not at all. After months of writing and rewriting, and even a false start with recording the footage, I’ve decided to step back from this for now and reevaluate my approach. I’m not saying I’m cancelling this effort, but I do need make sure the time I’m spending here will pay off. If I keep hitting a wall, I will definitely need to change directions here. I have so many other things I feel more confident about teaching, so it may make sense to simply start writing on a different subject. Does this mean I'm failing this goal? It's too soon to find out. If I do fail though, it won't be without its own hidden win. As long as we're trying our best, failure can be our best teacher.
Goal 4: Speaking Engagements
I love speaking to groups about what I do. I love sharing my experience and shedding light on processes and ideas that may otherwise be inaccessible to people. It also is a great way for me to connect with fellow creatives and tap into that beautiful creative energy we all need to do our job! I currently have one speaking engagement in the works and look forward to letting you know more as the event approaches. Meanwhile, I have also had the pleasure of mentoring an illustration student and judging a design competition, both of which tap into my drive to share and teach.
It's encouraging to see how my goals are coming along, and it's also a kick in the old arse to keep up the effort. None of these things will happen without sustained and focused effort. And it's not just about doing the things, but doing them well. That just might be the hardest thing of all — not simply ticking off my goals for their own sake but actually making what these goals are about count.