I wasn't planning to do any sort of year-end reflection, but I'm so glad I did.
It's so easy to forget past events and accomplishments when I'm in a lull or a rut. But looking back, I have a lot to be proud of from the past year and it's nice to remember. Thanks to My friend Vanessa who suggested that we both make something and hold each other accountable,.
To summarize the year, I chose my favorite highlight from each month and animated some elements of the drawing. I hope you enjoy it!
2017 began in protest
I didn't end up making a sign for the Women's March, even though I played around with a few concept sketches. Like most people marching, I am a total newb to activism and wasn't sure what to bring with me. I loved reading all of the signs around me, however, and was delighted to receive this book from my sister only 2 months later (how did they make that so fast?!).
Scoping out the scene
My husband and I decided to move to San Francisco in January, so during this trip to SF I met with friends, collaborators, and potential clients. I had lunch some people from the iPad team at Apple, and began to realize the possibilities of setting up shop in The Bay.
Back to the grind....
....literally. I brought some Blue Bottle beans back home from SF and started a morning pour over ritual. I would fill my mini Chemex and sketch while I enjoyed the brew. I was working on my commission for Apple and another illustration project most of this month, so I drank a lot of coffee and created so..... many..... concepts.
Learning new things...
I wonder if the other illustrators that Apple commissioned spent as much time as I did on their illustrations. Part of the reason I spent so much time was that I was learning a new app (Procreate) along the way. I really love the level of artistic control that it provides you with the brushes. I'm glad to now have this as a new tool for my work! Learned a TON working on this project.
Another big project!
Even though RJ and I had been working on this assignment on and off for several months, this project was a scramble at the last minute to get things ready for publication on May 1st, which is Labor Day for Spain and many other Latin American countries. I had a lot of fun embellishing more traditional graphs to provide additional context and humanize the data for this work.
Feeling the squeeze
This reflection isn't just about my work projects-- it's also about my personal journey. In addition to having several projects going on, I was prepping our house to go on the market. I didn't cognitively feel any anxiety, but physically my body was sending me signals. In particular, it became really hard for me to take a full, satisfying breath.
Soaking up DC
June was our last full month living in DC and I tried to fully enjoy it while checking things off the to-do list. I really loved hosting my scholars from Higher Achievement for a "Careers in Design" field trip, and I loved being interviewed for the Policy Viz Podcast. But my favorite work product came from taking Mari Andrew's class on Skillshare: Drawing for Self Discovery. The "Switching to Decaf" slice of the pie above is a direct result of the breathing issues that started in May. It did help a little!
And then we moved!
We spent much of July prepping/packing for the move and planning our trip across the country. The drive was so much more fun than I thought it would be, and I wanted to illustrate the journey so that Reid and I could remember it. You can find time lapse videos of our trip at #PennyandCamGoWest
Landing and then taking off
August was tricky, but awesome. I signed up to work at a retreat for five days within the first two weeks of landing in SF. By the time I had semi-unpacked and found a dog sitter it was time to leave. The retreat was an incredible experience and I'm so glad I took it on. When I got back I attended a meet up event for the #100DayProject and I decided to take it on myself, with the goal of weaving more photography into my work.
I spent some time in September working on this fun video project with the George Lucas Education Foundation. This was another great learning experience with a super fun client. It didn't hurt that the subject matter was fascinating as well. You can check out the final full video with commentary on Facebook or as part of the full article on Edutopia.com.
Travel and Project Fatigue
In October I had a lot of travel and several mishaps with bookings and delays. By the time this trip to Scottsdale was coming to an end I was SO ready to just be home and start feeling settled in San Francisco. I started to lose interest and get frustrated in the 100 day project, which I think is pretty common. Thanks to those of you who left me some encouragement! I'm planning to pick it back up in 2018.
In November I had two opportunities to step up my graphic recording game. I had a lot of fun creating new templates for this workshop that had a "pop art super hero" aesthetic. These two gigs reinvigorated my excitement about this work and the value of bringing conversations to life with visuals.
I'm counting this Year in Review project as my December highlight. I've been in a bit of a creative slump, and this process of reflection has been a great reminder of all that I have accomplished in the past year. It was hard to choose just one highlight for many of the months! With that in mind, I couldn't resist throwing in a few additional personal favorites.
Thank you so much for following along!!