2022 Year-End Wrap-Up, An Existential Crisis, & Future Plans

EDIT: I’ve added a more thorough collage collecting my sketches and WIPs from 2022 as well. Enjoy!

2022 has been quite the ride!  As most of you guys know by now from reading here, I’ve had to take a lot of time off in 2022.  Not only did we go through an intense house move during an interest-rate hike and unfavorable housing market, but I’ve also been recovering from major shoulder surgery for tendon repairs from an old injury and subsequent physical therapy.  My art biz functioned on the bare minimum, mainly bolstered by the kind folks still supporting here on Patreon and my merch sales.

Thankfully, I still managed to draw at least one thing a month and that kept me sane and happy!  Even if my indulgent art resulted in sharing such an odd smattering of character art and writing here.  I hope to get back on task with my Birthstone Goddesses in the new year and keep these more exploratory pieces to sketchbook compilation posts while that project’s going on.

My Personal Favorite Artwork from this Year – The Pirate’s Kiss

This gift art for my good friend, Sam Hogg, was my fave from this year.  I had resigned myself to not making much art and spent a process of several weeks slowly chipping away at this painting in short bursts while just enjoying the painting process and learning new tools in Procreate. I hadn’t slowed down that much in a very long time!  It made me love making art again during a time I was feeling extremely burnt out on it and unsure of my future.  Thankfully surgery turned out okay after this painting was completed!

  • Read more about this piece’s creation here.

My Level Up Artwork from this Year – The Unmerry Band

Created for a Dungeons & Dragons game with friends, I pushed myself out of my comfort zone drawing vastly different looking characters, weapons, and body types.  My Genasi gal from this image also sparked off a whole NaNoWriMo inspiration adventure. 

  • Read more about this piece’s creation here.

An Existential Crisis

Unfortunately, this year has also brought us the wider proliferation of AI generated imagery, which has been a lot for me to process! I’ve written up a resources list of my research, should you want to read more about this topic.  I had played with this tech for a while thinking it could be a fun and useful tool to integrate into my process…until I learned that it functions by stealing artwork from the internet (including my own!) without the consent of artists to make its creations.  

We’ve now seen this tech spreading without much oversight and even a major publisher using it on a book cover. I’m not here to debate the merits of the tech, so please don’t start that debate in the comments.

For me, it’s made me LESS motivated to work on my more decorative art because I don’t feel it can compete with AI imagery in the same vein and MORE motivated to move my work in a direction where the narrative aspect takes priority to convey a message that I hope will make my work stand out from AI generated work.

For this reason, I’ve left longtime platforms I have loved for 20 years (half my life!), including DeviantART and ArtStation, which I’ll be using sparingly because they have allowed unethically sourced AI generated art to drown out human artists on their platforms and are common targets for unethical AI scrapers.  If you Followed me on those sites, be sure to look for me to be primarily sharing new artwork on Inkblot instead, with my presence still the same on IG, Facebook, Twitter, etc. for now.

Future Plans

I’m not giving up on art!  I still take joy in the act of creation, I just have less hope now that art can sustain me in a meaningful way within the illustration industry, which is already being flooded with AI generated competition, especially in the smaller independent arenas and even in some larger ones.  This is more incentive for me to work on what makes my artistic voice unique, to refine my traditional techniques, and to tell the stories only I can tell from my unique perspective.  

Thankfully, my husband and myself are stable enough right now alongside your support so that I can focus on my own personal IPs and stories in a way I never thought possible before now.  The advent of AI generated images has only helped convince me that pursuing my own stories instead of commercial work is less foolish of an endeavor than I used to think it was.

I still may try to pursue some of my dream commercial art jobs (IE. Magic the Gathering, TTRPG art, and pursuing more commercial book/comic cover work), but I want to stay focused on my own ideas rather than feeding an industry that grows more hostile and automated by the day, while continuously devaluing and underpaying artists.

What does this mean for this Patreon?  My plans have remained the same.  I’m moving forward with a re-launch of my Patreon (aiming for February) where I hope to wrap up my Birthstone Goddesses project over the next year or so and then I’ll be switching my Patreon’s focus to more narrative endeavors.  I also plan to shake up how I’m doing business now that I am no longer attending in-person events.  More specifically, I hope to do more online streaming, video content, etc. to invite you all into the process and get some of that face time back.  I really miss your faces and meeting kindred spirits at events!

I want to celebrate my Patreon’s re-launch with flair and am currently working on a line of Patreon-only merch for the occasion.  I’ll share more about the new merch, my evolving biz plans, and my specific Birthstone Goddesses Final Phase plans in a dedicated post soon, so stay tuned!

For now, this post is long enough, so I’m going to stop rambling here and wish you all happy holidays.  Thank you once more for making all the difference with your support this year, despite the fact I haven’t been able to give back as much as I’d like in return!  The downtime has been healing and invigorating for me and I can’t wait to put that energy back into my art and art biz in 2023.

We have a new home and studio to celebrate and a whole new path ahead.  Here’s to a 2023 full of passion and a glorious return to art-making for me!

♥ Ang

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