When I was a kid, I used to write a page or two recapping my year and listing a few goals I had for the year to come. As I got older (and lazier) I fell out of the habit and ever since the pandemic I've been completely goal-less. Ah! What a scary way to live.
I love having a list of goals for the year. It gives me something concrete to work towards and keeps me on track amidst all the chaos. Plus, it's just plain fun to look back at past goals and realize how off my life-compass might have been. So, here it goes. The 2023 Schweitzer Studios Goals.
1. Crush it at Arts Festivals!
Measurement: Sell at 5+ Arts Festivals and Average $1000 in in-person sales per show.
Arts Festivals are going to be huge this year! They'll be my main source of income and the most common way to sell commissions. I attended a few shows last year and got to know the ins and outs of selling at a show. In 2023, I'm signed up for five shows right now and hoping to add a couple more to the list. Some of these shows are monstrous, too! We're talking three-day marathons... 40,000+ attendees... hundreds of vendors... sheesh! It'll be a blast.
2. Create with Patience and Ambition!
Measurement: create an illustration that's larger than 24" x 30" and spend more than two weeks on 3 separate illustrations.
Large drawing is awesome. It gives you the freedom to draw more naturally and you don't get bogged down in all the details. I had a blast creating the massive 24" x 30" Leo portrait last year and I want to lean into that larger scale again in 2023. I've found that the larger and longer projects are tough to start but always yield the most satisfying results. Better to create one super cool drawing in a week than seven mediocre sketches!
3. Enjoy the Drawing Process and Embrace Failures!
Measurement: Establish a less product-dependent sense of self-worth
I seriously messed up my hand in 2020 from drawing too much. Last year was the first year where I could really start drawing in long chunks. Its absolutely fascinating to think about the coordination necessary between the eye, mind, and hand to make a single mark. And then consider all the work that goes into a full drawing! That's nothing short of miraculous. I want to stay grateful for my body that lets me create each illustration.
There are a ton of failures along the way. The image above was my first attempt at Han Solo. Yes, that's supposed to be Han Solo. I tried three more times and am finally getting the hang of it on the fourth try (pictured at the end of this post).
They can't all be winners. I used to get so bummed when I'd fail a drawing. Like complete deflation, zero self-worth kind of bummed. I'm getting better about appreciating each failure and recognizing their essential role in improving. I want to continue in that direction in 2023.
4. Sell Oodles of Commissions!
Measurement: Average 5 commissioned works/month beginning in June 2023
Last year I sold about the same number of original drawings as a did custom commissions. This year I want to transition working primarily on commissioned orders. I graduate in May 2023 and will finally be out in the real world! I'll have much more time to focus on Schweitzer Studios and will be attending two ginormous shows over the summer... I'm pumped! I expect to sell about ten commissions per show and that will give me plenty of work for the off months. There's nothing more exciting than learning about someone's beautiful pet and watching it come to life in a drawing!
5. Collaborate with Awesome People!
Measurement: Complete three collaborations with people I admire.
There are so many frickin' cool artists out there! I'm even lucky enough to be dating one. How cool is that. This year I want to branch out from my typical solo comfort zone and create some beautiful work with other artists. There's so much to gain from learning about another artist's process and watching them create. Here's to a year of teaming up and smashing it out of the park. First target: the one and only Fluid Marks. That's her drawing on the right! Penmanship through the roof! Check out her Instagram @fluidmarks!
6. Improve Gesture and Construction Skills
Measurement: practice, practice, practice!
There's no real measurement here. I just need to get better at constructing the figure and capturing the gesture of a subject. I tend to stick pretty close to the reference, which yields an accurate drawing but not a very fun one. I've been inspired by rockstars like Thomas Fluharty and Wouter Tulp who jump off from the reference and really go to town creating something lively and emotional. To do that, though, I need to sharpen my anatomy knowledge and really zero in on focused drawing. Lots of focused anatomy and gesture sessions this year!
Okay... that's all for now. Gotta get back to drawing some funky commissions! A day of drawing is a day well spent. See ya!