What Are You Working on This Year?


  • SVS OG

    alt text

    Art by Jake Parker

    Our newest episode just dropped, it's all about resolutions and setting goals for the year, click here to listen and to read the show notes. What are YOUR plans for this new year? What are you working on this year? Feel free to comment and share in this thread!

    A new year is a wonderful time to set goals, recommit, and make changes in your life. It’s a great time to decide what you want to get rid of and what you really want to be apart of your life. In this episode we take some time to share some successful resolutions from the year prior and also share some of our plans and goals for the upcoming year. Hopefully something that we share will help spark an interest in working towards your own goals for growth and self improvement.



  • Awesome! I'm behind a couple of episodes but can't wait to get to it XD



  • Happy New Year! Thank you for sharing your thoughts and visions for 2020. My resolution, similar to others here I’m sure, is to carve out more time for the SVS classes and improve drawing skills. I wish everyone (including myself) luck in persuing this goal!

    Today’s podcast was a pleasant surprise (I can’t believe two weeks have passed) and made the daily commute actually enjoyable. Thank you. I do have a question for Lee: In earlier podcasts you didn’t like the gallery business model. Now you’re excited to explore the gallery scene. Would you mind sharing the catalysts for reconsidering gallery art (especially from a business/financial perspective), your current thoughts on the gallery business model and how that might relate to newer artists?



  • @Jake-Parker Happy New Year Jake ! Making as much new content as possible and especially to polish up my illustration portfolio.


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    @Lee-White I feel like when looking for books at the library, the books with beautiful illustrations rarely have a good story, it is so frustrating


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    This was a REALLY interesting podcast on so many levels. I'm startled to the core regarding how similar the illustration field is to the theatre field and the presence of so many gatekeepers. I feel the pain. WOW do I really feel the pain. It is a slippery slope between "collaborating" and "deference." Feeling like you have a lack of agency to do anything is profoundly disheartening.

    Listening to this has really made me step back and examine just exactly what it is that I think I'm doing. Jake's point regarding how much time a person has left to live really made an impact on me. I'm just a couple years younger than Will, and I really have to ponder what I'm putting out there in the world and what I want to do with the time I have left.

    This was a good one, guys. I am going to have to listen to this a couple more times. Because the things that I thought were pipe dreams for the future can't be deferred much longer. And I am so very very tired of my own lack of agency in my own career field. Time to get down to it and just do it.

    I would be very VERY interested in more classes and discussions around a wider variety of illustration fields, as we are all learning it is impossible to simply have one income stream and illustrators are often required to do a number of different tangential endeavors in order to survive in today's world. Lee's art fair and gallery experiences are incredibly interesting to me, and I would love to hear more about them. Will's conventions. Jake's non-children's-book work. These tertiary fields are becoming more and more braided into the central core of the life of a career illustrator (or even part-time hobbyists). I don't think a person can go into illustration anymore without assuming they are going to be a substantive part of their income. Professional actor training, for example, sometimes includes major discussions on the logistics of temp jobs, the ins-and-outs of living a spartan lifestyle, the variety of acting-related opportunities, and so forth. It feels like full-time illustration relying upon one particular thread to weave a tapestry is a thing of the past.

    Thanks for doing all you do! It's really helpful to hear you all hash these things out!! You're really making an impact and a difference. Thank-you!!!


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    @Kawa Thanks for asking this question. I still totally hate the traditional gallery market and think it is not a good business model. BUT, the big thing that changed is the artist now has the ability to sell work without losing the 50% that a gallery still charges. I keep 100% of the profits from an art fair. I keep 100% of the sales from original and print sales from my website too! This is a game changer for me. Artists now have the ability to get their work in front of buyers without losing the big percentage loss they used to have.

    The one area I am exploring that still has a 50/50 income split is selling prints on consignment. I have a few shops around that carry my prints and I basically get half that sale. This still works out as a pretty good net gain because my costs are low and these are sales that I wouldn't have had otherwise.

    In addition to all that, I'm actually negotiating a lease right now to open an artist run gallery here in Nashville where all the artists keep 100% of their sales. They just pay a small rent per month and can sell whatever they want.

    So those are my main points in moving back towards making art and then selling it (vs being commissioned for art as in traditional illustration). Hope that makes sense! let me know if you have more questions. I love talking about this stuff. : )



  • @Lee-White yeah this reflects my experiences selling at various retailers too. I've learned to target the ones who take less than 50/50 commission (like, 40/50 or even less) and the best ones pay me upfront upon receipt of a wholesale order, whether the products sell or not. It seems like book stores and grocery stores (and of course art-specific destinations) sell way better than other types of retailers. Plus it builds a community offline like similar to the art fairs. Also it's a slightly different though overlapping demographic in stores vs on social media which may or may not be beneficial depending on the product, as you probably know, but sharing in case it helps others. I love the podcast and can't wait to listen to this one!



  • This year I'm committing to a 100 Somethings Project called 100 Ravens, and I'm growing my creative bank by going on 50 Artists Dates or outing by myself. I'm also taking classes here on SVS and on creatureartteacher.com with Aaron Blaise.
    This Month I'm working on Anatomy with Aaron Blaises Class, in February. I'll be completing the SVS Perspective Classes and in March I'll be completing the Light and Shadow Class on SVS. I work in 3 Month Blocks. So in the last week of March. I'll be planning more for the next 3 Months.

    Here's a link to my 100 Ravens Thread here in the forum.



  • Cool episode. I really enjoy listening to the goals you guys frequently set for yourselves and how it changes from time to time,

    Edited list thanks to feedback from @Lee-White

    1. Finish 1 comic book script
    2. Improve my watercoloring skills.
    3. Improve my composition and environment design skills
      Not as high a priority but still important to me
    4. Work on my other comic scripts
    5. Start drawing my comic (depends on the script being done)
    6. Do more art studies (perhaps tied in with using water colors and environments)
    7. Put in my best effort into an SVSlearn contest.
    8. Get a paid illustration gig.

    Previous list
    This year as far as art goals go:

    1. Figure out how to do art studies then do art studies
    2. Learn how to paint using watercolor
    3. Improve my environment design and composition skills
    4. Finish my Comic book script for my scifi comic
    5. Finish the Comic book script for my russian fairytale comic
    6. Start drawing my Scifi comic
    7. Get a paid illustration gig.
    8. Win an svslearn art contest

  • SVS Team SVS Instructor Pro SVS OG

    @Aleksey Good goals overall. I'd like to offer a suggestion if I may. Most people who really become productive make "process" goals rather than "outcome" goals. Process goals are goals you can control. Learning to do watercolor is an example of that. Outcome goals are goals that are actually out of your control, such as "Win an svslearn art contest". So I would suggest modifying that to something like "Put in my best effort for each svslearn contest". That is controllable by you and doesn't rely on anyone else to achieve it.

    The next suggestion is that you have a LOT of things going on there. I'd come up with your TOP 3 and go for that. Then list the rest in order of importance as you move through the top 3 goals. More than likely your top 3 goals will take the entire year. Just learning watercolor in a proficient way could take the whole year. So listing all those goals may be setting yourself up for not being able to hit them and feeling like you didn't do enough.

    @Jennyann That seems like a good timeline. Don't be afraid to adjust it as necessary.

    Good luck you guys! Let's kick some butt this year!



  • @Lee-White this is very good insight thanks Lee! I think I deliberately set too many goals and have a “No I WILL do it” attitude sometimes because even if I don’t accomplish everything I accomplish a lot and have something to continue working on. It has worked before, however, having said that I realize that I frequently end up feeling like because I still have things to work on at the end it’s a justification to why people have not hired me for illustration jobs yet. I should rework that list in order to feel like ive accomplished something at the end and give myself the permission to call myself an illustrator regardless of work. Thanks Lee.



  • I have a couple of goals this year:

    1. Complete 2 books dummies (written & illustrated by me) and get them in front of publishers. Writing complete, 2 fully page spreads and the rest of the book fully sketched out.

    2. In the 2nd half of the year establish a school visit business plan and reach out to at least 5 local(ish) schools.

    These are the big things that need to happen this year to position me for my next steps in my long-term goals.


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    My goal for the year is to make images that are just more fun or magical in some way and make them story driven. My favorite pieces on my portfolio site are the oldest ones...the ones that have a sense of story and magic...they are also everyone else's favorite pieces.....this is obviously not a good thing. I would like to have some major turnover on my portfolio site this year. So my goal is to make a few short series of two or three images that go together as a story, make them fun and use color. This seems doable - i'm already having fun starting it with this month's prompt 🙂



  • i'm working on my picture book. i've been working on it on and off for such a long time that i'd love to finally finish it. i'd also really love to seriously work towards a couple of visdev portfolio projects.

    i'd like to make some dev vlogs for my work, but haven't so far.



  • I'm not a resolution type of person, but every so often I start planning things like crazy, make brainstorm sessions, cover everything with post-it notes, ideas, plans and wishlists. Now its that time again, I've been cultivating this mode since the end of november.
    I had 2 jobs (a little bit over full time) + im in an event organizing team and on top of that comes my art&illustration aspiration. This year's leading thought is to 1, Take the Leap 2, give a chance to myself
    For years I've had the solid idea that if I had put in the time and effort to the business side of things, I could do okay in the illustration/art realm. But even with having this firm belief, I never actually put in the work. I always procrastinate with working on the craft. I always have to be better - which is good, I want to hold on to that, but I dont want to allow myself to have that hold me back from actually pursuing making money with it.

    I told a dozen of friends to hold me accountable and not allow me to take on a second job or go full time in the current one. (I have a tendency to get excited about working with people and find myself in situations where I'm surrounded with cool people, work on things, but didnt leave enough art room in my schedule)

    Generally: I want to explore the realm of art licesing (I'm interested in stationery things, cause I always loved greeting cards and such), I want to sell my art prints just as home decor and once I have a bit more work with storytelling and character interactions, want to approach publishers.

    I want to have

    • 1 day a week dedicated purely to learning (high impact things that are relevant to the fields I'm trying to tackle),
    • 1 day/week to marketing (anything from putting together visuals, mockups, portfolio updates, researching how to reach customers, to emailing retailers, agents, publishers)
    • and 3 to just doing work that is geared towards the goals of creating opportunities for myself on the mentioned fields. (or doing the freelance when I have them)

    These "days" are only 3-4 hours, since I do have a job that I don't want to quit, but I think if I'm focused in that time, I can make it work. Beyond these hours I still want to do art, but in a freefall, way, playing around with whatever the heck I want to do. 🙂

    • I keep on doing the event organizing + I enrolled in a french course and from February I want to go do exercise specifically to deal with back issues.

    I'm not sure how long can I keep up with everything, but my plan is to just breathe out in January, have a plan set by February so that I can test it out, evaluate as I go or just do whatever feels right as I lean into things 🙂

    If anyone has a word of wisdom to share, I'm more than happy to hear it!
    http://felerisketches.com/



  • @li-sha
    Those are exciting things!
    How do you think you can make it easier for yourself to stick with them?

    I really like gathering friends I'm regularly checking in with and ask about their progress. Mutually cheering on each other as well as sharing some tough love criticism when that is needed. 🙂

    What held you back from doing the vlog so far?



  • @Lee-White thanks guys for an inspiring podcast as always.
    I also sell my personal art as a side hustle currently, when I have time, and am slowly learning about that side of things. Totally agreed with what you said about the joy of making un-commissioned art where no-one else is telling you what you should create, it's liberating. I'm trying to learn more about ways to sell my art; just posting them on Instagram has so far been pretty successful. I have art in a couple of local galleries in my area and the gallery owners are lovely but yeah once they take their cut of the profits there's often not much profit being made when you work out your hourly rate plus cost of materials and framing. It's tricky to find a good price point where buyers won't find it too expensive and yet profit margin is still good. Hmmm. Anyway, I can't wait to hear more about your artist run gallery. Wish I lived in Nashville!


  • SVS Team SVS Instructor Pro SVS OG

    @MattBaker Good to hear it! Good luck with selling your art.

    I'm actually opening my own gallery right now! Just signed the commercial lease! Best of all I'm letting artists keep almost all the profit. : )


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