Well, I managed to hang on for another year. This was my twenty third year in business, and the recession was still taking its toll, although it was a definite improvement over 2011. The trend in clientele seems to be drifting away from magazines and newspapers with quick turnaround assignments and a semi-regular schedule, and more towards larger ‘projects’ with deadlines that can stretch from a month to six months, with long dry spells inbetween, which is taking some getting used to on my part.
An exciting year in music, although hardly profitable yet. Our band ‘The Jukejoint Handmedowns’ released their first CD, added a fourth band-mate, and we had several exciting gigs and opportunities thoughout the year, a casino show, opened for several national touring acts (including two shirt-tail relations to Nashville royalty), had a live radio interview, and ended the year with their CD receiving 4 ‘Jammie’ nominations (a local music annual award). The profit margin on the band income would have been substantially better this year had I not purchased a new bass on a spring trip to Arizona, and several stage monitors a few months later. The band is getting ready to start work on a follow up CD to release in the spring of 2013.
On the personal front, my son Keenan graduated from college and is still living and working in Chicago. My wife continues to work at a local travel agency as a graphic artist, and also works off an on in the local theater community as a stage manager, and volunteers at our local community radio station. We managed to get a little more sailing in this summer than in the previous year, and moved to a new marina on Muskegon Lake. My father had a difficult health year, which threw a monkey wrench into much of the fall and winter, and which may continue to complicate matters into the new year.
In the spring and summer of this year, I found myself again dealing with a ‘slow period’, so set myself a challenge to draw a portrait of each and every ‘facebook friend’ (one a day, and using the opportunity to stretch myself with regards to style and technique). An interesting experiment, and kept me busy and occupied, and most importantly, sane. In addition to the extracurricular ‘portraits’ work in the summer, I also contributed several entries to the ‘Blown Covers’ blog (the first three samples are some of my favorites from this contest).
Here’s what I consider my best work of the 2012 calendar year (some pieces have not yet been posted due to confidentiality requests from clients):
Approximately 275 (plus 210 extracurricular pieces) illustrations completed this year (up from the past two years) bringing the grand total up to approximately 12,961 illustrations since 1989.