This year has not been an easy one. As it comes to a close, I find myself wishing to reflect upon what I have accomplished and experienced throughout 2020, just like I practice every year around this time. This year, much more than others, it’s a difficult thought. I remember standing on my parent’s balcony with my partner by my side, watching the fireworks just as the the clock struck midnight at the end of 2019.
We were both very sure of one thing: 2019 had been a year of major accomplishment for us, and we would carry this momentum forward to make 2020 even better.
2020 was going to be our year.
It’s a little, grim joke between us that nothing my partner looks forward to ever comes to fruition, and in this case, that certainly hit harder than usually.
Where in 2019 we had been in a wonderful place with our social lives and big life accomplishments, the global Pandemic soon put a halt to most of our plans for travel, friendship and simply feeling alive.
But as those cold winter nights prepare to get shorter again, as the mild English weather reveals golden winter days, and as our first Christmas Tree glows and shines in the corner of our new home, I like to reflect on everything that went right for me this year. The truth is, that with so much misery in the world, I can count myself very, very lucky. So here’s to everyone that had to struggle this year. I hope things will turn out alright. I, for one, can consider myself very blessed.
So if you’re wondering what I’ve been up to this year, here’s a quick review.
Postcards do work – my first published work in 2020
I had sent out my first 150 postcards to publishers around the globe, and then lockdown hit shortly after. Postcards were a new experiment for me. I had been working on a whole new portfolio ever since summer 2019. The Society of Visual Storytelling was formative in this endeavour, and postcards were one marketing strategy the teachers repeatedly recommended.
So I decided o invest some money and send these mailers out. A few months later, I had a single response from the Loewe Publisher in Germany, and over the next few months I got to work on the absolutely magnificent book “The last human” by Lee bacon.
The German edition of this book will be published in Germany in January 2021. I illustrated the cover, as well as black and white interior vignettes. So much credit goes to the editor I had the pleasure of collaborating with!
Working with new authors…
Of course, working with Loewe was an absolute highlight for me and marked the first official recognition my work has received in the publishing Industry. I am now much more optimistic that after a slow first year, I am in a place to pick up more projects and build a career in the field of children’s illustration.
In fact, I have been working with private clients on a number of charming books since the start of August. One great project has just followed the next, and I am so pleased to share one of my favourites with you.
I illustrated “Lukey Dave and the Tower to the Moon” for first time author Jeremy Zaborowski. More information on the project can be found at www.LukeyDaveBooks.com. There, you’ll also find an amazing professional recording of the text and some more sneak-peaks. The book is fantastically written and became a complete passion project for me, and I am very excited to say that Jeremy has had interest from a publisher! Stay tuned for news on that, as I can’t recommend picking this story up for your kids enough.
Some of my Illustrations for Jeremy Zaborowski’s “Lukey Dave and the Tower to the Moon”
Whilst I can only share this project currently, there are three others that are in various stages of completion and I am really thrilled about.
Enjoying the little things
Those are the bulk of my professional accomplishments this year. Whilst not numerous, perhaps, this is the first year I have been able to pay my mortgage and living costs with illustration alone for several months in a row. For a new Freelance Illustrator, I consider that a massive success and am so excited to have found something I can pursue so passionately. I cannot put into words the excitement and joy of hearing about a new project, and the sheer thrill of holding a hardcover version with my own illustrations in hand!
Illustrating for young readers feels like a meaningful contribution to the world, and I have no doubt the stories that brought me joy will also bring joy to many more families and children.
Besides what I may celebrate about my career, it might have been a lonely year. But in reflection, I can say I made new friends, albeit online. I grew my own little vegetable garden in our absolute mess of a backyard, I celebrated Halloween with pumpkin pies and carvings. We put up our first Christmas tree and crafted our own decorations.
The future is uncertain. But I am so grateful for our home full of soft light, my partner that can always be counted on, my family, and my wonderful friends.
I am full of hope for 2021! Most of all, because we can do nothing else but hope. I hope you’ve survived this year and are ready to survive another. Ready to take things one day at a time and shift perspective where necessary to derive more joy than usual from those little things we so easily oversee. Once spring comes around, the flowers will bloom, the sun will shine, and maybe the world will look a little brighter.
I wish you all a merry Christmas and a happy new year!