Oh 2016, what a complicated beast you were. You took away great artists. You exhausted election coverage and then provided devastating results. You delivered heartbreaking news from all over the world. I wanted to avoid repeating the masses by simply stating “you need to end,” but the passing of real life Princess Leia (rebel leader against a fascist regime)—along with her mother merely one day later—may have been my breaking point for throwing in the 2016 towel.
The drawing above illustrates where my head was at right after the election, which was not a good place at all. I’ll keep a lid on politics, but a silver lining is how much I learned this year. I learned a great deal of compassion for myself (which is difficult when you’re super hard on yourself) and a great deal for others. I also worked an enormous amount on my art and illustration, and feel like a different person because of it.
Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering. —Jedi Master Yoda
A new year gives me a renewed sense of hope. The important thing about hope though, is that hope needs a plan. We can’t passively drift down the current from one year to the next and expect anything to change. In the spirit of Star Wars, “do or do not, there is no try.” I am kicking off the new year by asking myself: what can I actively work on? What is within my power to make 2017 a better year for myself and others?
Good things happened too, of course. I covered as Art Director for Tablet Magazine, May through December, and worked with some really stellar folks. I attended Creative Works in Memphis and met great designers. I illustrated the Gender Cards for NARAL, which was not only one of my biggest art projects to date, but they even sold out and are being reprinted again in the new year. People seem to find my Instagram and either follow me or commission my work, for which I am immensely grateful, especially given that I post so little (thank you so much to everyone who reached out this year! I plan to post more in 2017). My MFBA class—led by illustrator & podcaster extraordinaire Andy J. Miller—is coming to a close and it was a total life/art changing experience. I’m excited to share this new project on the complicated topic of ’emotions’. Here’s a sneak peek: