Thursday, February 20, 2014

2013 Recap + Reflection

Hey guys. Doing a February recap on 2013.  Late is better than never.

1) Theme Park Design
This year I focused on getting a job at a Theme Park Design company. I worked as a freelance illustrator at three theme park Design firms: Thinkwell Group, Goddard Group and Mousetrappe.

Strategy: I attribute part of my success to being very focused and direct with my portfolio.  I researched dozens of theme park design firms, interviewed people who worked in that industry, and marketed myself effectively by creating industry specific illustrations.

Getting Help:  I only took one art class this year -  with Gary Meyer - an art center  professor who has experience with theme parks illustration. I also sought help from Greg Pro - another theme park professional who was very generous with his time and help. I joined the TEA - a network of theme park professionals - paid $50 in dues. I enrolled in an online class about theme park rides that cost around $75. I paid $700 to attend a theme park design conference in Georgia.

Theme Park Design Conference

Summary: I was strategically investing in my career. I would spend money and time on things that I KNEW would get me one step closer to that job. The decisions I made - such as attending that conference - were very focused and deliberate.

Focus on what's important: I think a lot of students (including myself) waste a lot of time NEEDLESSLY improving their artistic foundation. I think the importance of figure drawing and landscape painting is overvalued in art classes, and overglorified by art instructors. In years prior - I was creating generic concept art that was for games and  movies - which was not relevant for the themed entertainment industry.  I was spending a lot of time with figure drawing, painting, landscape painting, sketching etc… not relevant to the industry.  It's important to focus on the entree, spend less time on side dishes.

2013 Theme Park Portfolio
The last image is for a movie poster illustration. 
**All other images were created specifically to target theme park companies**

2) Legendbrush Name Paintings
Another thing that was a huge part of 2013 was my name painting company. I started the company in Nov 2012, quit my Disneyland job in May 2013 to focus on my own company as well as my Theme Park Illustration portfolio.

As of 2-20-14, I have 82 sales on Etsy, 529 fans on Facebook, and 138 followers on Instagram. I've set up Booth at Orange Country Great Park, Huntington Pier Plaza, Santa Ana Art Walk, Anaheim Art Crawl, Anime Los Angeles, Long Beach Horror and Comic Con + others. I've also did name painting and caricature parties with Party Karacters and Face n Body Art and even Citibank!

I've spent a lot of time growing this company and it's paid off. I no longer regularly set up Booths at Boutiques and farmers markets (while it was really fun, and I got to spend time with friends and family, the income was not predicable and it was physically exhausting). Currently, I almost exclusively sell artwork on Etsy.

My original goal for my company was to go to an Anime/ Comic Con as an artist alley - and I've fulfilled that wish already. I also wanted expand my artistic horizons by familiarizing myself with many different randoms and genres, as well as gain experience in marketing, accounting and running a business.

3) Books
I spent a lot of 2013 reading a LOT of books. It's mostly self-help, psychology, business, and spirituality. My relationship with my ex-girlfriend ended in March, and much of the rest of that year was spent soul searching and understanding life.

Book on Empathy and Love
I Thought It Was Just Me by Brene Brown
The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown
Daring Greatly by Brene Brown
The Heart of Love by Dr John F. Demartini
The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman
A Return to Love by Marianne Williamson

Books on Achievement
The Charge by Brendon Buchard
Life's Golden Ticket by Brendon Buchard
Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain by John J Ratey, MD
Blue Ocean Strategy W. Chan Kim , Renee Mauborgne
Magic of Thinking Big by Dr. David J Schwartz
The Magic by Rhonda Byrne 
4 Hour Workweek by Tim Ferris
4 Hour Body by Tim Ferris
4 Hour Chef by Tim Ferris

Books on Happiness and Contentment
Ruling Your World by Sakyoung Miphram Ripoche
Power of Now by Eckart Tolle
Soul of Money by Lynne Twist

Holy crap! I've read a LOT of books. I post a lot of my notes and reflection on my other blog: Practicing Humility

4) Other Notable Mentions

I co-founded a weekly art blog with Erik Ly called "Every Sunday Post." We currently have 330 posts,  around 5-10 active members and we have been active for almost a year! 

Massive Black Art Workshop 2013 in LA with some dope art instructors.

Ran 10 miles at Tough Mudder with my friend Eder. Lake Tahoe and SF visit. During training I also increased my max bench press by 20 lbs (135lb -> 155lb).

Yeah it's been a very great year!  A lot of people have helped me. It hasn't been all easy, but I've certainly learned a lot. 

For theme park illustration, I want to focus on speed and getting more work. I really hope to work a full-time position at a studio - where I would have fun and really enjoy my job. I would like to create 30-50 new illustration by the end of this year. I will need to develop a plan to get to that level. :)

For Legendbrush, it's been a really successful year. I want to do a line of positive affirmation name paintings because I feel like that could have a big impact on other people's lives. I have Anime Expo coming up in July - which will be fun.  But ultimately, I want my theme park gigs to bring in more money so I don't have to worry about doing so many name paintings. :)

For books, I've read and absorbed so much knowledge. I want to take time to digest and really apply that information into my daily life. I also want to write a book this year, compile, analyze and create meaning connections with the information that will help other people. 


  1. Great post buddy. I'm hoping we could get together in March when we do another sketchout at Taza

    1. thanks man! did you post a 2013 reflection thing? I didn't see it on your blog.
      yeah sure! just text me when you are going do it. :)