Monday, January 23, 2017

Year In Review: 2016

(Before the post, here's a little New Year gift: I made my latest sketchbook PDF available as a pay-what-you-want digital download! Check it out here!)

Hello! 2016 is over and this is my annual year-in-review post (see also: 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, and 2009). I admit that this is a self-centric and navel-gazey exercise, but it helps me to keep track of my goals and remember what happened each year, so I want to continue doing it.

2016 Accomplishments / Highlights:
-Celebrated my 1-year anniversary at Disney, storyboarding on feature films. :) I got to work with and meet some amazing people this year!!!! My apprenticeship ended in October and I got extended/promoted to "story assistant"!
-At Disney, I had incredible mentors and I got to do regular figure drawing, attend lectures and screenings, take complimentary film classes, and access a big film/book library. It's like the art school I never had!
-I finished drawing a 96-page graphic novel!!! My last GN came out in 2013, so I am really happy to have a new one this year. The book is for major French publisher Le Lombard, and having a book out in the French market will be a first for me! :D
-Survived my first year in Los Angeles. Made some more friends, found some places I liked going and things I liked doing. It is not my favorite city in the world, and I haven't really found where I fit in here yet...but it is huge and there is a lot of good when I go out and look for it.
-Read 3 novels in French (Anansi Boys, La Passe-Miroir livres 1 &2)
-My French s.o. uprooted his life for 3 months and came to live with me in LA. We packed our weekends with travels and new experiences around LA like the Vasquez Rocks, Malibu, and the Moana wrap party.
-Attended the Annecy International Animated Film Festival! Got to see a lot of French friends and watch amazing animation from all over the world! :)
-Spoke on a Disney panel at San Diego Comic-Con about comics & storyboarding! What an honor to be included in that. A couple of people came up after the talk to say that they used to visit me at comic conventions and still follow my work now even though I'm in an animation studio and not publishing so many comics, was just the nicest thing to hear :,)
-Volunteered at the Disney booth at CTNX
-Attended Comic Arts LA for the first time. Amazing show!!
-Watched 3 of my best friends tie the knot in Oregon this summer (n-not all to each get it)
-Published a digital sketchbook with a ton of life drawings
 -Drove 7 hours up to San Francisco, spent time with Laurel and her lovely family, visited Pixar, hiked in the Muir Woods, and enjoyed the city (it is a very good city)
-Hosted couch surfers for the first time, as well as several friends visiting LA. I used couch surfing a LOT while I was traveling in Europe, and I've wanted to pay it forward ever since, so that felt really good. :) Got to meet some cool people and show them my city!
-I HAVE HEALTH INSURANCE THROUGH MY EMPLOYER FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER *cries* I am really worried about freelance artists insured through the ACA, and feeling very grateful for my own situation this year. :-/

2016 Shortcomings / Unfortunate Events:  
-The US presidential election
-Brock Turner
-...Why am I trying to type it all out? 2016 was an enormous dumpster fire.
On a personal level...
-We lost my Grandma Cay this year.
-I broke up with said French s.o. due to the distance, even though we like each other very much.
-Turned into a smelly hermit in December while rushing to meet my book deadline. Spent most of my weekends and weeknights for the last year working on my second job instead of being social or taking care of myself.
-Had a long dental fillings session without anesthesia (because I arrived late. Don't do that.)

2017 Goals:   
-Do a great job at Disney, hopefully transition from a "story assistant" to a "story artist"
-Use my car to take weekend trips out of LA more often. I've never seen the Grand Canyon, for starters, and it's not that far from here.
-Make a (*secret project*) with Ben & Terry...!
-Move into an apartment with buddies, get more space and pay lower rent per person. Living alone for the first time ever was a good experiment. There are things I like about it, but I find myself missing roommates...!
-Host/organize more shindigs/outings. If I want to do something, plan it, invite people, and make it happen.
-Set up an automatic weekly deposit to a savings account for possibly buying a house someday (!?!?!?). Neeeeever had that thought before this year, but hey what do you know I think I want (at least the option) to buy a house someday.
-Work out 2-3 times/week & stretch every day. Try to walk to the grocery store instead of drive.

-See a counselor for the first time. I've been sad for months for a variety of reasons, and it's time to ask for help. (It's scary to admit that!)
-Turn down work for hire in 2017; save my nights and weekends for decompressing, taking care of myself, seeing friends, discovering LA, and drawing what I WANT to draw
-Learn how to broadcast on Twitch, try live-drawing
-Exhibit at CALA, maybe CTNX with a new minicomic this fall
(-Make a new minicomic)
-Complete Steve Ahn's action/adventure storyboarding online class!
-Take a French class at the AF de LA and do the weekly exercises on TV5monde
-Use my zoo membership
-Attend the Women's March in Los Angeles
-Go to an Animation Guild meeting for the first time
-Attend a city council meeting for the first time
-Find a volunteering opportunity that fits me
-Plan my next big trip and start saving up for it. I don't know when it's going to be possible, or even where I want to go. I've daydreamed about everywhere from Berlin to Madagascar to Havana to Japan to the Camino de Santiago. But travel is important to me and I'd like to have something on the horizon. :)

What did we learn?
-I have to do a lot more than vote, talk to like-minded friends, and retweet articles if leadership / policy in the US matters to me
-Storyboarding full-time and drawing a graphic novel with a hard deadline don't mix well. I think that, going forward, comic projects are going to need to be either A) very short or B) have no deadline
-I prefer living with roommates to having my own place
-I should absolutely live with roommates when I move to a new city, to be around other people in the beginning when I don't have a social life yet
-Don't show up late to the dentist on filling day
Final thoughts / miscellany:
-Fav things I saw this year: The Boy & The World, Stranger Things, Westworld, BoJack Horseman season 3 (that underwater episode!), Keanu, Selma, Luke Cage, Les DissociƩs, Gravity Falls (I was very late to the party), Zootopia, Moana, Arrival, Paper Moon, and The Birds (even later to the party)
-HAMILTONNNNN (I haven't seen it; I just listen the soundtrack on Spotify. But still.)
-Fave podcasts to listen to while I work: This American Life, How Did This Get Made, Alice Isn't Dead, My Favorite Murder, Keepin it 1600

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