I know I’m a few days late with this, but I wanted to hop in the Wayback Machine and have a look at the year that was, and what I may (or may not) have accomplished in it. Regardless of what I was able to pull off, I still see the year as a success, as I made a number of new friends in the art community, and in turn was introduced to their amazing work.
But enough about them. Let’s find out what I was up to in 2011:
1. I self-published a book!
Some years ago, I was the mildly-successful webcomic author of a strip called “Dog Complex,” and even managed to land a syndication deal that I ultimately had to turn down. I sat on the strips from that comic of years until every person who ever cared about them had forgotten about them totally, and then figured that was the perfect time to collect them into book form and put them up for sale. I’d give you my sales rank on Amazon, but Mathematicians haven’t invented a number that large yet.
2. I enrolled at iAnimate.net!
I’ve always hung on every word that Jason Ryan has recorded in regards to Animation, so when I found out he was starting his own school, I wasted little time in enrolling. The result has been a huge improvement in my animating skills, and another positive step in my progression as an Animator. Not only that, but it led to me landing a position as Animator on the “Lucy” project. Speaking of that…
3. I landed a position as Animator on the “Lucy” project!
I wasn’t exactly sure what I was getting myself into when Dreamworks Animation’s Ben Rush asked me if I wanted to be a part of this “intern project” through iAnimate, but I sure am happy I accepted. Our team has been working on the short for a few months now, and I can’t wait for you all to see it in it’s final form. For more information, hit up Ben’s official blog for the project. I feel so fortunate to have been asked to be a part of ”Lucy,” as well as quite intimidated by the amount of talent on that team.
4. I attended both Siggraph 2011 and CTN Animation Expo 2011.
I was given the opportunity to attend both Siggraph in Vancouver, and CTN in Burbank this year. Both events were top-notch, short of the fact that they both had some logistical issues around the venues, and the absolute best part is that I got to make a ton of new friends via the events. I highly recommend attending either one in 2012 if you haven’t done so yet!
5. I kicked out around 2 chip games per month.
My freelance gig kept me more than a bit busy this year, but I got to work on some super-fun concepts along the way. I LOVE working with the company that makes these games, as it’s family-owned and operated, and they’re all amazingly nice to a hack of an Artist like me.
6. I managed to finish up the illustration for my Daughter’s 1st Birthday.
This sucker wound up being around 4-5 feet wide and is now framed and proudly displayed in my Daughter’s room. Each butterfly has a unique pattern made of things like unicorns, trains, bears, and ladybugs. It’s something I know she’ll enjoy for many years to come, then claim to hate once she becomes a teenager, and then hopefully give it to her own Daughter at some point down the road. I also hope she doesn’t still hate me by that point.
7. I logged 1268 hours of animation, outside of work!
At the start of the year, I thought it would be a fun experiment to log my outside-of-work animation hours, as I knew I’d be taking on a lot with iAnimate (and later Lucy). I had no idea I would break the 1,000 hour mark, let alone hit almost 1,300 hours. As you can see by the above image, I am now a part of my computer. My fingers slowly grew into my keyboard, and I became at one with my system, just like in a cheesy 80s sci-fi flick.
8. I scribbled and colored.
I hesitate to refer to what you see above as “Illustrations,” as I’m nowhere near the skill level of some of the folks I work with, but I will call them “colored scribbles.” Speaking of the folks I work with…
9. I held down a “day job.”
I actually do have a job as well, but luckily it’s a fun one that I don’t mind going to. I work as an Animator and Associate Art Director at Microsoft Game Studios, and was fortunate enough to be involved in some super-cool (and mostly top-secret) projects this year. Each day I feel like a monkey who figured out how to wear clothes and accidentally got hired by a team of ninjas, but I’ll keep showing up and learning from my amazing co-workers as long as I can before they wise up and figure out my scam.
10. Oh yeah… I actually had a life.
You’re probably sitting there and picturing me as a morbidly obese, stained white tank top-wearing, single man in a basement of one of my elder relatives, but I actually did get out and see the sun a time or two. Luckily my family was the driving force behind this, and I like them for that quite a bit. As a result I got to spend time camping at a cabin, side walk chalking, playing in the turtle pool in the backyard, hiking, going to Christmas tree lightning ceremonies, miniature golfing, watching movies with my Son, and in general just recharging my batteries every chance I got. I also managed to do a decent amount of adult golfing (though I still stink), and even hit the gym a few times a week.
So there you have it. My 2011 in a nutshell. It’s hard to create a post like this without it coming across as bragging, and if it does come across that way, I apologize. What I won’t apologize for is a feeling of accomplishment, as I busted my hump this year to better myself as an Artist and Animator, and I believe I’ve reached those goals.
2012 is going to be another great year, and I’m not letting up anytime soon. It took me a few years of floundering before I managed to find my path in this industry, and now that I have, I’m nose-down until I’m face-down.
All the best in 2012!