Friday, January 17, 2020

2018 in a Nutshell

It's only 2 weeks into 2020, so it's not too late to post my recap on 2018 right??? (Oh well, what're you gonna do?)  2018 feels so far away, but also like it was yesterday, and it was the year that started my journey into full-time art.  Now it's time to travel back in time; to a time before I was hardcore schooled in science illustration, before I transitioned to a west coast gal, and before I knew how amazing this terrifying life change would truly be.

Personal Commissions

WHOA jumping right back into my old Copic marker pieces!! Before the CSUMB program, I had only taken one oil painting class (and hated it), so my painting skills were very limited (especially when I made my Audubon House Mural back in the day - 1, 2).  Copic markers were therefore my favorite media for color - they gave me the blending and transparent quality of painting, while keeping me in my drawing comfort zone.  

While I'm kind of cringing at posting these old pieces, I think every artist should try to treat their past-selves better, and look back proudly at their old work.  Art is an always-evolving skill, and the fact that I've grown so much as an artist makes me appreciate my past work as a timeline of my progression.  Don't bully yourself or other artists for being at different levels - art is about expression, and I ain't gonna judge myself anymore!

House portrait for a client
"Parade of Penguins" - commission for a dear friend<3
"Mermaids Go with the Flow" - a gift for a friend

Coastal Connections, Inc.

2018 was also the year that the non-profit I helped co-found took off.  We organized beach clean-ups, sea turtle education events, conducted our second Lionfish Fest, and spread the word about plastic reduction in Indian River County.  Other than curating their social media presence and brand designs, my proudest achievement through them was designing reusable bags and water bottles.  As sea life often confuses plastic bags for jellyfish, I used mine and Natelle Quek's collaborated enamel pin design of a green sea turtle and jelly to create our bag pattern!  I hope I can make more products like this in the future, because the only solution to plastic pollution is reduction 💙

My donated enamel pins in the CCinc store front (back when I was Sweet Dea Drawings!)
Resuable bags and water bottles designed by me for CCinc's plastic reduction mission

Inktober 2018

Even amongst the crazy start of my grad school program, I decided to keep at it with the Inktober challenge (which I started doing in 2017), but this time I made my own prompt list.  I knew that making a full illustration every day was impossible (and unnecessarily punishing), so this year I thought of creating a poster with miniature illustrations every day.  My subject was sea creatures and the depths they are found in the ocean, from 1m to 11,000m deep.  And I just realized 1 1/2 years later that I never posted the final poster (lol oops), so here it is finally!  I'm also planning on making prints of this sometime this spring (and I will POST about it this time).

For 2020's Inktober challenge I'm thinking of doing another one of these - maybe about birds and the elevation they nest at...?
2018's Inktober Challenge - "Ink Below Sea Level"
Top left: orca, Top right: hatchet fish, Bottom left: atolla jellyfish, Bottom right: coelocanth


2018 was the year I finally felt my Etsy shop take off<3  I opened my shop in 2016, so for anyone who is struggling with their new art business, know that it takes a lot of time and effort before you see results, and that's okay!  My personal advice for anyone in the art shop biz is:

- Get in touch with other makers and collab with them (Instagram is a wonderful platform for that regardless of its annoying algorithm)
- Be prepared to invest more money than you're comfortable with in the beginning (especially if you're making pins - lord it's expensive)
- Don't just make what everyone else is making - while it seems like it's what will get you sales, in the long run it won't be satisfying.  Make what you love and people will flock to you.
- Finally, keep a detailed record of your shop sales and products -  I don't know if it's just me, but nothing gets me hyped quite like an excel spreadsheet, and looking back at my progress.  It will help you stay organized, and most of all, motivated when you see improvement.

My new enamel pin designs in 2018!  Sea lettuce pin by Inky Emily, and jelly by Shop Shoal
Some of the new shrink-plastic charm designs I made in 2018
All my sea turtle pins in one place<3 hoping to make a Kemp's, Hawksbill, and Olive soon!

End of an Era

In being the year I decided to pursue art full time, it was also the year I said goodbye to my beloved sea turtle job</3  I already made a VERY LENGTHY post about it, which you can read here.  But something 2018-me didn't know is that I would return for a month in 2019, and I'll be coming back again in 2020, so jk it's not the end of an era!  See ya soon turtles <3

Leatherback hatchling headin' to the big ocean

CSUMB Science Illustration Program

Well well well, we've come to the biggest thing that barreled through me in 2018 - getting accepted into the CSUMB Scientific Illustration program!  I already made a short blog post about my first semester a while ago, but I wanted to add a couple things.  

Going back to school (or going to college in general) is a big decision, and something I wish had been made out as more of an option than a necessity when I was 18.  While I loved and learned so much from my time at FSU, I think I (and the millenial generation), suffered from being thrown into college without knowing the reality of when we came out of it.  When I was 18, I didn't know who I was, or what I wanted to do with my life.  And even though I was told that going to college was the only way to succeed, I struggled for the next 5 years after graduation; living at home, balancing 4 jobs at once, and navigating through the unexpected world of cheap or unpaid internships where I was constantly told I wasn't worth what I had gone into to debt to label myself as - a professional.

With all of that being said, my decision to go back to grad school was made with a clearer and more informed mindset.  Those 5 years spent in the "real world" gave me time to experiment, push myself out of my comfort zone, and ultimately learn what I wanted to do with my life (and equally important, what I didn't want to do).  I'm very grateful I didn't get into this program when I first applied in 2014 fresh out of undergrad.  Without taking the time to find myself, I wouldn't have appreciated this program as much as I did, and it may have been a waste of money and effort.

The moral of this long rant is, that college/grad school does not have to be the path for everybody.  I know many people who have done just fine without going to college, and I've also learned that many of your career opportunities come (realistically) from being in the right place at the right time.  But because we are expected to continue our education right out of high school, the beauty of higher education can easily be lost on us.  It is a life-changing experience when you go into it prepared and passionate about what you are learning, so take the time to learn what you love before making this big decision.  It will make everything more worthwhile in the end<3

Best day of my life - getting to hold Ari the Great Horned Owl
All my lovely classmates<3


Just for funsies, I also wanted to highlight a new obsession I developed in 2018 - BIRDING.  Here are just a few pics I've taken during my bird adventures, and I'm stoked for all the future bird adventures to come <3

From top left to bottom right: Turkey vulture, Barred owl, Ferruginous hawk, Reddish egret, Western gull, Green heron, Florida scrub jay, Tern chicks, Red-shouldered hawk

East Coast vs West Coast

Finially, the most memorable thing from 2018 was my transition from the east coast to the west coast.  There is so much to say about Cali and how it's changed me, but what I really loved was the opportunity to live by two different oceans.  Here are just a few pics showing the similarities and differences among our Atlantic and Pacific coasts<3
Stormy clouds off the Florida coast
"Roll clouds" that come over the bay every day
Left: Sea lettuce and sargassum seaweed, Right: Feather boa seaweed
Left: flat shores, Right: rocky cliffs
Atlantic ghost crab
California kelp crab
Left: East coast critters (Gopher tortoise, horseshoe crab), Right: West coast critters (California mussels, sunburst anemone)
Loggerhead sea turtle
Harbor seals
Black tip shark riding a wave in Florida
A pod of humpback whales lunge feeding in Monterey Bay

Left: Sea turtle skull, Right: Sea lion skull
East coast beachcombing
West coast beachcombing
Sunrise over Florida's east coast beach
Sunset over California's west coast beach

Past year's "In a Nutshell" Posts

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