Time for my annual post looking back at what I’ve done this year! It’s hard to believe it’s the end of 2021 already – it doesn’t seem like long since I made a post for 2020!
This year I’ve continued with my colouring books, but have been focusing more on other art as well.
I published six new colouring books in 2021. These include a second and third volume of Geometric Patterns, and I also created easy versions. These have the same designs but printed larger, for those who have vision or dexterity issues, or who just prefer less detailed pages. My first ever book in 2015 was the first volume of Geometric Patterns, and this year I made an easy version of that one too. So if you like to colour patterns, there’s plenty to choose from 😀
I also chose a new font for my book covers, which I used on the new pattern books, and updated the previous cover for Volume 1 to match. Next year I’ll be updating all my other covers that have the old font too. I must admit I’ve put that off, because it’s pretty tedious work! But I do want my branding to be more consistent, so I’ll get it done.
As well as the new patterns, I also published my first animal book, Very Easy Animal Faces for Toddlers and Young Kids. Animals are my favourite subject to draw, although you wouldn’t know it from looking at my current books! But I’ll be doing more animal titles in the future, with more detailed designs for adults.
I went off track over the summer, getting bogged down in house painting which took much longer than expected! But I did manage to get my third volume of Geometric Patterns out last month, and just published the easy version earlier this week. So I’m happy to have completed those before Christmas, and am ready for a rest now 😴 I also have a fairly detailed abstract drawing book in the works, which I’d hoped to finish this year, but it didn’t happen. That will be my first book next year!
This year’s books are Geometric Patterns (Vol. 2), Geometric Patterns (Vol. 3), Easy Geometric Patterns (Vol. 1), Easy Geometric Patterns (Vol. 2), Easy Geometric Patterns (Vol. 3) and Very Easy Animal Faces. They’re all available on Amazon in paperback.
On the downside, there’s an ongoing issue with some of my books being unavailable on Amazon’s European sites. They say they’re working on fixing it, but it’s been a few weeks now, and this has put a damper on my holiday sales. Still, it’s out of my hands so I’m staying focused on what I can control, which is creating new books and other art.
Next up will be the abstract book mentioned above, plus a positive words book that I outlined in rough a while ago. I want to make some more simple kids books too, although I don’t have firm plans for those yet. One thing I will be doing is slowing down a bit with the colouring books, to maybe two or three books a year depending on the detail level. I love making them, but I want to focus more on my other art too – more on that below!
Painting and Other Art
Last year I started painting again after not doing any for a long time. This year I’ve kept that up, although I’ve mostly been experimenting, doing rough stuff in my sketch books etc, rather than finished pieces to sell. All that is fun, but about halfway through the year I was feeling a bit frustrated with my rather directionless approach. It’s interesting to experiment and try new things, but I kept running up against gaps in my technique and knowledge that I felt were holding me back from making the kind of art I really want to create. So I decided it was time to get some proper training!
I have a lot of art books, and have followed various online tutorials, but I wanted something more comprehensive. A few months earlier I came across the Evolve Artist program, which is an art fundamentals course that’s taught online, using oil paint. It appealed to me right away, but I wasn’t sure about the time commitment, so I put it off for a while. But by the middle of the year I decided to take the plunge, and for the last few months I’ve been spending several hours most weeks working through the course. I’m pretty slow, and it’ll probably take me over a year to get through the four Foundation blocks, but that’s okay. I’m enjoying it a lot, and am happy with my progress even though I’m still on Block 1. You can see all the paintings I’ve made for the course so far here.
I haven’t uploaded much new art to my stores in 2021, although I did add a few new abstracts early in the year, plus some simple painted patterns that I made in watercolour and gouache. These were the first traditional media work I’ve put up, even though I do a lot of it just for fun. I do want to get more finished pieces online; I just tend to put it off because of the extra work involved with scanning, editing etc. So I want to work on streamlining that process next year.
I’ve also made a few new repeat patterns, which I got back into a couple of months ago. I love making patterns, but they’re not my main focus, so I just work on them when I can, and when I feel like it.
My plans for next year are basically to carry on with what I’ve been doing this year. I’m focusing on putting out another couple (or more) colouring books, while finishing the Evolve Foundation course and perhaps beginning the Advanced blocks. I also want to make more finished art and patterns for my stores, while continuing to have fun with my sketchbooks behind the scenes.
I’m going to take a break for a couple of weeks, and I hope everyone has a great holiday 😀