• Elyxandra

2018 in Review

Another New Year's Eve has come and gone. After a busy holiday filled with 2 straight weeks of travel and social activity I was very much in need of some quiet time. This gave me an opportunity to reflect on the year past. April Art Challenge At the end of March, artist ByBun released a list of 30 prompts to serve as inspiration throughout the month. I'm no stranger to month-long challenges having completed Inktober and Huevember in years gone by. I knew it would be a push to get through each day, but I'm glad I did. It gave me an opportunity to stretch my concept development, meet some new art-friends on Instagram, and even create a few new favourite pieces.

New Home, New Studio Moving is a daunting task that can really throw a wrench into a well-established routine, even more so when done slowly over a long period of time. This past Spring I began living with my partner. My stuff was split between two locations for about 6 months until I had the time to rent a trailer and bring the big-stuff. While I had the bare-minimum that allowed me to do my work right from the beginning, it didn't truly feel like my studio until I was surrounded by my books and art supplies.

New Tools This past year I saved up and bought my first iPad and Apple Pencil. I held off for a long time as I didn't see anything the iPad could do for me that I couldn't do with either my laptop/desktop of phone. With the release of Illustrator Draw/Photoshop Sketch and Procreate, that finally began to change and I was ready to make the leap. I love the freedom that the iPad gives me to create on the go, and I swear Procreate is powered by magic! I've fallen in love with a few of the brush sets available at Retro Supply Co. I highly recommend the Mid-Century Brush Pack if you're looking for something with great texture and variety.

Over the holidays my faithful desktop was given a new lease on life with a brand-new hard-drive. It had been slowly dying for the past few months, getting slower and louder with each passing day. It feels amazing to work on projects without crossing my fingers that it won't crash in the middle of a save!

Great People, Great Projects Most of my career has been spent pretty firmly in the realm of "graphic design", but this year a few wonderful people asked me to work with them on projects that lean in the direction of illustration-design. Design is a collaborative process, and I'm pleased to say that each of these people were a delight to work with, and I look forward to future projects together.

Learning Vacation I LOVE to learn. I might just be an eternal student if finances allowed. As being in school full-time isn't an option right now, I make sure to sign up for a few courses of conferences each year. The added benefit, is they get me out of my studio and interacting with other human beings.

In July I packed my car and headed to Detroit for 4 days at the ICON conference. This was my first time attending an illustration-based event. The first 2 days were spent in workshops with Tom Froese learning inky-techniques to illustrate unique city-maps, and Thomas Allen getting hands-on with retro books to create quirky 3D scenes. Days 3 and 4 were packed with presentations from the most diverse group of speakers I have ever seen. I laughed, I applauded, I cried. I was exhausted by the end of day 4, but so ready to come back in 2020 for ICON 11.

3.5 months later I was off to Toronto for RGD's Design Thinkers. I have attended this event almost every year since 2008. It is my "most wonderful time of the year". They always have a roster of incredible speakers, and I always have a hard time choosing which of the concurrent sessions to attend. I'll admit to being a little star-struck sitting less than 8 rows infront of Michael Bierut. Design-heart be still!


I was invited to mentor a team of student/recent graduates for the September edition of the RGD Designathon. It was incredibly inspiring to watch the enthusiasm and dedication they poured into creating a infographic for The Kidney Foundation of Canada. They had less than 12 hours to meet with the client, ideate, research, design, refine and present. They did great work and I believe they all have the chops to on to successful careers in design.

Masterclass I was fortunate to have the opportunity to participate in a Mid-Century Illustration Masterclass presented by Retro Supply Co. and Brave the Woods. The class took place during 2 3+ hour webinars the week before and after American Thanksgiving, with a week inbetween to complete our assignment — a book-cover inspired by the beloved mid-century Golden Books. The class was packed with tons of information and challenged me to create something out of my usual comfort zone. My classmates were incredibly supportive and it was delightful to see everyone's final piece pop-up on instagram. Check out #RSCoGoldenBook to see the projects!

Things that didn't happen Resolutions are made with the best intentions, but they don't always work out. Here are a few that didn't happen in 2018.

  • Blogging on a regular basis

  • Participating in the weekly Illustration Friday prompts

  • Sketch illustration concepts for each movie seen/book read

  • Take my sketchbook everywhere and use it whenever I have a spare moment

  • Taking time for quiet every day

2018 was a year for growth in many areas of my life. I'm still working on my plans for 2019, but I believe it will be an exciting year!

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