Wow, updating this blog is turning into an annual event! It's a little tricky to recap how my 2017 went since it's currently already April 2018 *cue sound of plates shattering to the floor*.
Suffice to say 2017 was a year of growth and nothing terrible or setback-y happened (that I recall!). My husband and went on a few kayaking trips overseas which really led to a lot of creative recharging to occur. Afterall, there's nothing like floating along in the open ocean in a kayak to really give you perspective.
The kayaking trips really got me thinking about making more kayaking related art and these few designs were directly inspired by these two trips:
Creating these designs made me feel really happy and satisfied that I was able to capture how I felt travelling to these places. I felt like I was also able to pay tribute to how much I really enjoy kayaking and being out on the water. I've made other kayaking related artwork since then and we've also traveled to Indonesia for a kayaking trip this year and while I was worried that the novelty would wear off and that I wouldn't get as much ideas, I've fortunately proven myself wrong. Nature and adventure still remain one of my biggest sources of inspiration and I hope for the remainder of 2018 there'll be more opportunities for me to go explore once again.
In 2017 I also began doing commissions featuring my illustrations which has been extremely rewarding. My neighborhood vet commissioned me to design their Sympathy cards featuring a cat and a dog. They had a very simple style in mind and I'm happy to say they were pleased with the final design (thankfully so, because I regularly bring my cats there! lol).
I was also commissioned to draw up a logo/mascot for a new start up called Nagamon. I had a lot of fun with this one since they specifically requested a lazy fat cat as their mascot.
Another one of my favorite projects from last year and something that sort of brings everything back full circle, is a kayak themed couple's t-shirt design. This one was challenging in a sense that there were a lot of custom/personal elements to it in addition to ensuring that the design would match the t-shirt color that they wanted it on. In the end we chose this design to be printed and the two love birds have been happily rocking out their t-shirts when they go out for a paddle :D
There were a few more fun projects from 2017, but I think these three really summed up my year. It did seem that I was stepping out more and just being a little bit more confident with the art that I could produce. Looking back now it also seems to me that my art style is becoming more and more cohesive and, dare I say, more recognizable??? It's an exciting feeling.
In fact, just this week there's a hashtag going around Instagram called #artvsartist and it's meant to showcase the (often reclusive) artist and the art they create. I thought I'd join the bandwagon and created me my own. While laying out the images that I thought represented 2018 Steph, I noticed that wow, they all seem to have something in common. The medium and style or tone might be different, but I know that they're all my artwork. And I'm a little more confident that more people as well know that this is my artwork. So although I've made it a point since early last year to not obsess about style and to focus more on technique, I'm pleasantly surprised to see my hard earned growth as an artist.
I think my personality is starting to filter through slowly in my work. Humor and some kind of story is clearly my favorite thing to illustrate. If i can squeeze in a cat or two that would be even better lol But these illustrations are just one aspect of what I've been working on lately. Since late 2017 I've also put a stronger focus on my Etsy store and grow it. It was a little hard to measure growth since by the time I had made serious changes to the products and store front, the Christmas shopping season began and that's always a strong season for a lot of retailers. This first quarter of 2018 though, I've continued my effort and I'm hoping to introduce some of my newer art into the store as products.
On a separate note, here are a few projects I've committed to for 2018:
- Pameran Poskad Exhibition (Group) - June 9 - 14
- Singapore Toys Games and Comics Convention (Booth) - September 8 -9
- Portrait Exhibition - 4th Quarter 2018
The first two are pretty much confirmed, however the last one is still up in the air and of course, there may be other events that I'll be a part of as the year rolls by.
All in all, I've been lucky enough to be able to practice my art all throughout 2017 and even now in 2018. I'm thankful and I can only continue to keep on going on :)