The end of the year and the beginning of a new year is always an introspective time for me. It's that time where I look back and take stock of where I've gone and look forward to where I'm going! I wanted to take you all on a tour of this year's greatest hits. It's been a pretty prolific year for me, artistically!
JANUARY - Anko's Determination
Anko, my Warlock Tiefling who loves to bake, came onto the scene a few years ago for my husband's Dungeons & Dragons campaign and I've loved watching her grow from meek young girl to a strong capable mage. This image represented a pivotal moment in her development where she and the party faced off with an enemy that had no regard for innocent lives. Anko learned to fight for what she thought was right and that she was more capable than she realized! The resulting drawing of this moment flowed out of my pencil without much effort and remains my favorite drawing of Anko.
FEBRUARY - Lady of October Thumbnail Sketches
The next few months were consumed with research and study for the Lady of October, starting with her thumbnail sketches. This Lady was a bit different from her sisters in that she was much more mystical. I agonized for a long time making a composition that was different enough from Lady of November, who also had a similar holiday theme in the Day of the Dead, while this Lady is more Samhain.
MARCH - Lady of October Fashion Design
More Lady of October! She was a unique challenge with her billowing sheer outfit and I deliberated a long time trying to nail down her look.
APRIL - Lady of October
The Lady of October finally arrived! I experimented with gray inks for the first time with this piece trying to find a way to create mist and subtlety with pen and ink. She also marked the completion of the Ladies of the Months main series of paintings, one of my major accomplishments for this year!
MAY - Ladies of the Months Headers
May was a prolific month! I Kickstarted the Ladies of the Months coloring book while feverishly creating all twelve header images to boost the campaign. It felt good to take the completed designs for the Ladies that I had agonized over for years and just have good fun with them! Lady of December's header was my favorite from the bunch, but you can see all twelve here.
JUNE - The Lady of Slaughter
Created for a Patreon request, this sketch allowed me to draw on an old love for Egyptian mythology that I had never really expressed in art before. It felt good to return to these beloved stories from my childhood and indulge in that old love!
JULY - The One Who is Above
The Egyptian sketch requests from my Patreon Patron continued resulting in some of my unexpected favorites from this year! You can see the whole triptych of Egyptian gods here.
AUGUST - The Rose Seelie
This month saw the creation of the Rose Faeries, my pair of cards for the Olde Fae card game based on Old Maid. It also marked a glorious return to creating more fantastical images, which I had been sorely missing!
SEPTEMBER - Fury of the River Goddess
Sometimes those quick sketches just work out! This request for a Patreon Patron's river goddess made me realize this is the kind of thing I want more of in my RPG/Game portfolio and also showed me what strong shapes and contrast can do in a composition. The rest of this month was spent converting the Ladies headers from the previous month into line art for the coloring books extra pages.
OCTOBER - The Little Ladies of the Months
October was another flurry of productivity creating extra art for the coloring book! Lady of September here was my favorite of the bunch as I felt had the best balance of a dynamic pose and filling up the space of the medallion in an interesting way. You can see the whole set of twelve Little Ladies I created during this month here.
NOVEMBER - Anko's Determination (Colored)
I realized during this month that I had fallen into a slump. I was really burnt out after working on so much material for the book and it had been a very long stressful year with my husband's cancer diagnosis in August and hospitalization for heart problems in February. Whenever my morale is low, I turn to games and original characters who always lift my mood. After spending several months ignored, Anko finally got her first ever colored portrait!
DECEMBER - Exalted Secret Santa
The burnout slump continued and I've been trying to take it easy this month to enjoy life and family! Doing the Exalted Secret Santa every year has been such a fun way to connect with one of my favorite fan communities and cool tabletop universes. It's always exciting to see how my partner interprets my characters, as well! You can see what my Secret Santa partner did for me here.
It's funny that while I was very productive this year, I still feel like I didn't do enough! There were a lot of days spent forcing myself past those mental slumps feeling like everything was a disaster because it was supposed to be easier or finished long before it was or I wasn't 'strong' enough to work past my mental blocks and tiredness to make more than I did.
I have to remind myself that I am not a machine and that sometimes life is going to get you down. It's ok to spend your time with loved ones instead or work on a personal piece to make yourself feel better. In the end, well-being is more precious! A hard lesson for this workaholic who was always taught that my self-worth lies in my productivity levels.
Next year, I'm very much looking forward to exploring the more conceptual paintings I have planned for the Ladies and diving deep into that fantastical element I've been hankering for in my work! I also want to get back to studying more, as I feel I've really let my fundamental skills languish.
I have a lot of exciting art goals for 2019, but I'm going to save those for a New Years post!
I hope you enjoyed the tour of this year's work! What was your favorite piece of mine this year? Did you create any favorite pieces of your own? Let me know in comments!
Much love and inspiration!