I can do it all with you by my side

Happy New Year! It’s time for my annual year-in-review post! (2011) (2010) (2009) This post became massive, so I added pictures.

My 2012 goals were:

1) Be more proactive about getting work. Go after what I want, versus sifting through what comes my way. (Check job listings at PIXAR and LAIKA every week.)
I applied to four animation studio jobs this year.  No dice, but nothing ventured nothing gained.  Thinking this way made me more outgoing in general, and I now have relationships with three more publishers than last year, and invitations to pitch material at more companies than I could have hoped for.

2) Be good about saying NO.
I was a lot better about this in 2012 than in 2011.  I made a list of minimum requirements for jobs, and subsequently was available to take storyboarding work pretty much every time it came in.  I used to think that I needed a pile-up of jobs to be secure, but it actually benefits me more to wait for the really juicy jobs, even if that means having some weeks in between with no paying work.  Life is short and there are a lot of my own stories I want to get out on paper–I need to save as much of myself as possible for them.

3) Keep up karate and French. Get my green belt and plan my 2013 France trip.
I stopped going to karate at the beginning of the year. u_u But I’ve kept up my French studies and will go to France in September with my mom as we’ve been planning for almost 3 years! I found the podcast Coffee Break French extreeemely helpful in getting me to practice between lessons.

4) Draw Over the Surface 1 start to finish! :D Script book 2.
Nnnnno.  I drew chapter one (of six), and then better paying work started rolling in.  Over the Surface suffered a lot this year. :(

5) Get Adobe Flash and a Lynda.com subscription, and make 3 minutes’ worth of practice animations by the end of the year.
I did not do this at all. :( It always felt like there was something more pressing I should do instead.

6) Be active and creative about marketing Between Gears and my other two books when the time comes.
Yes, and on that note: did you know that Wrapped Up in You was chosen as one of Kirkus’s Best Teen Books of 2012?


So, 2012 was great.  My first and second books came out.  I went to four conventions for the first time, including TCAF and SPX.  I visited my friend Mary in D.C. for the first time.  I survived the apocalypse and turned 25.  I started running and swimming (I’m up to running 4 miles!  Even in-shape, middle school Natalie could only run 3!).  I got over 150 hours of freelance storyboarding (compared to 30-ish hours in 2011).  I worked with Dark Horse and BOOM! Studios for the first time.  I moved house and I LOVE my new situation.  I cleared out a lot of my possessions (mostly books and clothing).  I was involved in two successful Kickstarter campaigns (1, 2).  I dated some awesome people.  I started meeting with two of my peers; we share our successes, shortcomings, and goals each month and it’s lovely and balancing.  I started an IRA account and made enough money to donate some to charities I care about.  I started doing silly review comics after watching blockbusters, and I was pleasantly surprised by the response.  I learned how to ink digitally.  I went to Hawai’i with my family.  I spent an amazing day at the river with my friends.  (It was just a day trip to the river but it was the. Best. Day.)

 And I drew things.  So very many things.  Here is an incomplete list of what I drew in 2012:
+60 pages of Wrapped Up in You
+16 pages of Over the Surface
+22 pages for Meet Your Mind
+12 pages for Husbands: the Comic
+24 pages for Cabin
+2 pages for Box
+12 pages of an unannounced project
+24 pages of an unannounced project
+8 comic movie reviews
= about 180 pages, compared to 292 last year, but still.

Now, it wasn’t all good in 2012.  I also spent my entire summer inside, working.  And Portland only has about 3 golden months of nice weather; I really should have been out enjoying it every week.  I overworked my hand and couldn’t draw for most of September.  My entire self-worth is wrapped up in producing artwork; I’ve never felt so worthless as I did the month I couldn’t draw.  I spent a lot of money going to conventions and didn’t earn it back.  I had issues with mental burn-out, S.A.D., and lack of motivation.  There was relationship drama and heartbreak.  I missed a lot of the goals I set.  But that’s life, you know?  I would still say it was an amazing year.  I just have things to work on, and even if I did everything right, shit would still happen.

Goals for 2013:

1) Keep working on my French.  I applied for a teaching position in France with the TAPIF program(!).  I will find out in April whether or not I got in, and if I so I leave for France in October (if I don’t get in, my mom and I are still going on vacation there in September).  It’s a major fork in the road.  I really hope I get in.  In either case, though, I want to be good about my French studies and prep for going to France this fall.

2) Draw my story for the Thrilling Adventure GN, another issue of ** ****, the rest of Over the Surface 1, and *** ********.  I want to deliver on what I have promised people and move closer to my ideal situation in comics.
3) Do great work on storyboarding when it comes my way and build relationships that turn into regular gigs.
4) Attend San Diego Comic-Con for the first time in 3 years!  YES!  My middle brother Nick is going with me and we are going to have a great time.
5) Keep working out in whatever way suits me.  Running and swimming have been great, but I’m learning that I need to mix it up now and then, and if that happens again I’ll just embrace it and find something new that challenges me.
6) Get OUTSIDE this summer.  Daytrips!  The beach, the park, the mountain, the river!

7) Balance and health–don’t overwork your hand, don’t go weeks without exercising, don’t stress too much over work.
8) Artistic improvement is always a goal, but I’ve actually been thinking lately that it would make more of a difference if I focused on writing and acting over technical art skills.  I don’t know how to quantify that…but I’m going to work on it in 2013!

I’ve stopped applying to jobs in animation studios since learning about TAPIF, because even though I want to work in animation, I have some wanderlust I need to put to rest first.  Did you read this comic I drew?  The dream still in there is, “I want to live in another country and for everyone to be OK while I’m gone.”  I’ve lived in Portland my whole life.  It’s great here; I could absolutely see myself settling down here.  But I don’t want this to be the only place I ever live!  That’s what is in my heart right now, and I think it makes sense to address that before trying to land a job that would anchor me anywhere.

I bought myself a book from my childhood as a self- birthday/Christmas present.  It’s called Grasper, and it’s a story by Northwest author Paul Owen Lewis about a crab leaving his home to literally and figuratively grow.  It’s beautiful!  I remember the author visiting my grade school and I remember liking the book, but it must have left more of an impression than I was consciously aware of, because I thought of it more and more as I grew up, especially when I tried to put into words how I felt about big risks like travel and pursuing unlikely dreams.  It was so nice to track down the name of the book, find a used copy on Amazon, and read it again with my age tripled.  It’s still fantastic!

Lastly, lastly, I swear, I’d like to alert you to this Cracked article if you haven’t read it yet: 6 Harsh Truths that will Make You a Better Person.  It contains a lot of insights I needed to hear and I recommend you read it the whole way through.

Wow, you made it to the end! You’re amazing! :D 100 points for you. ♡ I wish you the happiest of New Years and all of the best in 2013!


  • Merci pour ce post. Between Gears était une grande source d’inspiration pour moi cette année, et c’est très encourageant de lire ton bilan de fin d’année. Je croise les doigts pour que tu puisses venir en Europe :)

    January 01, 2013
  • Thank you for continuing to be an inspiration. Per that Cracked article (which I just bookmarked), I think I’m going to learn how to colour with watercolours this year. Not how to make watercolour paintings, but colour theory, shading, brush control, etc. Best of luck to you in 2013, Tally, and can’t wait to read ** **** and *** ********. And whatever else you send our way :)

    January 01, 2013
  • Wow, that’s amazing! It sounds like you had a really productive year; I’m inspired just hearing about it. > w< (I love Coffee Break French, too!) Let’s all work hard in 2013~ あけおめ!

    January 01, 2013
  • Congrats on keeping so many of your resolutions, Tally! I look forward to further awesomeness from this source :) Also, you’ve inspired me to *try to* blog more often/regularly, and make more professional-oriented goals! Happy New Year!

    January 04, 2013
  • I’ve just discovered your gallery on deviantArt and I could not “+watch” you. I love your expressive style, your movie reviews and these huge posts on your blog. Now you have a new fan here!

    February 10, 2013

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