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A New Year 🎊
Goodbye 2022, Hello 2023
Happy New Year, everyone! 🎊 Thank you for all your support in 2022 and for allowing me to do what I love for a living. I’m wishing you all a happy and healthy 2023! Here’s a little work-in-progress shot of my first illustration of the year:
Hopefully I’ll be able to carve out some time to finish it before Lunar New Year (Chinese New Year) which will be coming up later this month. I don’t personally buy into stuff like astrology or zodiac signs on any kind of serious level, but I do think it’s fun to look at annual predictions (The Chinese calendar rotates in 60-year cycles based on 12 animals and 5 different elements) and it looks like 2023 is the year of the Water Rabbit—which I’m relieved to see being defined by characteristics like “relaxation”, “quietness”, and “contemplation”. Those sound like qualities all of us could probably benefit from after the chaos of the past few years.
I was thinking about doing a retrospective on 2022, or at the very least an art summary, but if I’m being honest, I feel like I’ve been stuck in a time warp and my perception of the passage of time has been totally screwed since the start of Covid, so I’d rather just leave it in the past and not try to make sense of how much or how little I accomplished. I saw this take on the Blinking Man meme the other day and I dunno about you guys, but it feels like there’s no better summary of the last 3 years:
Instead, I’d like to focus on what I’m looking forward to in 2023, and share a few of my personal goals for myself. I’d love to hear what all of you are hoping for this year as well!
Firstly, I’m hoping to take on a bit less client work in order to make time for personal art beyond just sketches or simple sequential drawings—I’ve had so little bandwidth to create original works in recent years and I’d like to be more intentional about dedicating the necessary time to creating finished illustrations that are for me, not for work.
Secondly, and this isn’t something that’s necessarily unique to 2023, but more of an ongoing goal of mine that I keep failing at; I’m going to try to be less of a perfectionist when it comes to my art. I waste a lot of time just noodling away at drawings, trying to make each detail accurate, and I know objectively that it’s usually to my own detriment. Not only is it really frustrating process-wise, but it actually often results in worse-looking final results. Anyone who’s drawn before knows that with every “clean up” pass over the initial sketch, it becomes harder and harder to retain the original energy/fluidity/dynamism and I am mega-guilty of this. I need to reprogram my brain a bit to be more accepting of looseness and selective rendering in my own work, instead of feeling like everything has to be perfectly accurate (and therefore, stiffer, less improvisational).
Lastly, I want to make more narrative work that prioritizes storytelling. I’ve obviously drawn comic interiors/sequentials many times now in my career, but it’s always been in the service of someone else’s story. In 2023, I’d like to tell my own by doing every stage of the work myself—from writing all the way to lettering. Well, maybe not lettering.. that really is a separate skillset that I don’t think I have a ton of talent for, haha. We’ll see.
Now, as far as stuff I’m looking forward to, I’ve got to mention the absolute bonkers lineup of upcoming video games on the horizon—2023 is going to be absolutely stacked with a ton of majorly anticipated titles, from Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, to Yakuza: Ishin, to Street Fighter 6, to Hades 2 (!!!) but obviously, I’m most excited for Final Fantasy XVI. Covid-related delays might have made 2022 a bit of a quieter year but it looks like 2023 is going to be an absolute feast.
My favorite Final Fantasy game of all time is (of course) FFVII, but FFXII, FFIX, and FFVI are basically all tied for my second-fav, so I am thrilled to see a return to a more classic FF world and I’m beyond hyped for everything I’ve seen of the new battle system and the gameplay in general. Really looking forward to spending some time with this one.
I’m also looking forward to some of the shifts happening in regards to social media—I know it’s kind of a nerve-racking time right now because things seem very uncertain, and I’ll expand on this in a separate post soon, but I think there’s more to be optimistic about than people might think. Change is always scary, but it’s not always bad.
Finally, I’m (tentatively) excited to (maybe) begin traveling again. I’ve never been a huge fan of the act of traveling itself, but I sure do miss seeing old friends and getting to try new foods. I don’t know how things will go when it comes to the pandemic—it’s certainly not over, we certainly shouldn’t be ignoring it or pretending it isn’t a problem anymore—but I do feel like at this point, I’ve done all I can do to protect myself and others from it and I’ve pretty much avoided leaving my house for 3 years now, so perhaps it’s time to (slowly) get back out there. I think all of us have lost an awful lot since early-2020 in terms of human connection, and I’m looking forward to at least trying to rebuild some of that in 2023.
Let me know what your goals are, what you’re anticipating, what you feel hopeful about—things are admittedly bleak out there, and there’s a lot of stuff that’s probably going to get worse this year before it gets better—but that’s why I’m more curious than ever where people are finding space for optimism. Fingers crossed we all accomplish at least some of what we’re striving for in the new year!