2010 Year in Review

Year In Review

This year started out like gangbusters, but somewhere around the middle of the third quarter, business started to fizzle and sputter, culminating in what would turn out to be my lowest grossing December since I started doing this back in 1989. I’m not sure where to lay the blame, whether it be the ‘great recession’, or my own shortcomings and inability to see the ‘writing on the wall’ regarding the changing industry (and adjust accordingly), but I’m certainly hoping that next year takes a turn for the better.

The trend this year seemed to be towards more ‘big projects’ at volume discounts, and much less ‘quick turnaround’ work. Regardless, I continue to enjoy this work, and I still find every new assignment exciting and challenging and a chance to push myself further. I also started selling reprints of my old work online as merchandise through Zazzle, as an experimental way of generating additional income. Only time will tell if this ends up being worthwhile.

Additionally, thanks to the slow December, I started doing some oil painting, something which I haven’t done with any frequency for the past twenty-some years, and I’m planning spending a lot more time at the easel in the coming year, and will be exploring the ‘gallery/fine art’ market as another possible outlet for my work. Interestingly, that would bring me full circle to what I thought I might be doing when I started freelancing back in ’89.

This year, I also found myself becoming a lot more active in my ‘side career’ of making music. Working with a couple regular band projects, various ensembles, pick-up gigs, and solo songwriting, I managed to tease myself with enough income from music this year to actually sit down and itemize it (it ended up being a wash, between income and expenses). It is still not nearly enough to make a living from, and I won’t be quitting my day job anytime soon.

My son is halfway through his junior year at college, and is starting to talk about graduate school opportunities, and my wife and I continue to live and work out of our home in Grand Rapids after 27 years of marriage. Looking forward to what the next decade has in store for us.

Here then, are a collection of what I feel is my ‘best work’ from 2010 (click on the thumbnails to see a larger version):

255 (down by over a hundred from last year) illustrations completed this year, bringing the grand total up to approximately 12,161 illustrations since 1989.