This feels a bit self indulgent but I can't resist attempting to place 2008 in some sort of narrative context. That's one of the reasons I have a blog, I guess, along with a place to hang my art publicly.
The year started off terribly. I feel like I stumbled into 2008 after being forcibly removed from 2007 by a number of disappointments. I was set to do a book with Canadian publisher Raincoast. My contract said 2 possible books so I felt like my year was set ; I'd be working with Canada's biggest publisher with some of it's biggest names. I was working away on these contracts when I got word that Raincoast was shutting down it's domestic publishing department and concentrating on it's international licensing, like Harry Potter for instance. I felt like I was set back 2 years. It was terribly depressing.
And then I was nominated and lost a local illustration award. This stung far worse then it should have because of the lost contract. At this point I wasn't sure what to do. 2007 had been a very good year and it seemed like everything was unravelling. Pretty melodramatic, I know, but that's how it felt at the time.
And then in February we found out that Julie was pregnant. This added some pressure and a whole lot of uncertainty. Of course we were very happy. But we headed into very unknown territory.
Much of early 2008 was spent working on my portfolio and contacting publishers. A commissioned book cover from Canadian publisher Orca books improved matters somewhat. Other commissions came along and I slowly started to shake off the dreary beginning of the year.
Much of 2008 was devoted to developing my ideas for graphic novels. I really hope this work and exploration pays off over the next couple of years. Robot Museum, Cecily Briggs etc..
Despite the commissions things were tough and the baby was hurtling at as pretty fast So it was a big relief when Scholastic Education commissioned a short Robot Museum piece. This was a huge help.It took most of the Summer to get this done. There was also my first attempt at telling a story on my blog with the Fogg Academy.
It was around around the middle of the Scholastic project when Dice Tsutsumi, Pixar animator, contacted me about the Totoro Forest Project. This was exciting. My first international exposure and an opportunity for my work to be seen with some of my favorite artists from around the world. I'm still thrilled about this. And grateful. This also led to my piece being on dispay at the Cartoon Art Museum in Fransisco.
Then, late in the Summer there was a big move and next came the Earth shattering arrival of Henry. I find there's little I can say about Henry's birth. It was an amazing time and I'm not over it yet and it feels like the world is richer and more magical. I'm in awe of him and he makes me laugh.
Then late in the year I find out I made it into the 51st annual Society Of Illustrators exhibition. If there's a higher honour for illustrators I can't think of one. Plans are underway as I write for my big New York adventure.
Also, I am on the edge of a number of very exciting things. It's too early to talk about but 2009 seems like it's going to be an extraordinary year.
Happy New Year everyone. And thanks so much for your readership and comments this year. They mean a lot to me.