Monday, January 25, 2016

2015 Reflection / 2016 Goals

This blogpost will be in 3 parts.
1) Overall Review of 2015 - Positive, Negative and What did I Learn?
2) Goal Review of 2015 - Did I accomplish what you set out to do?
3) Goal Setting of 2016 - Where am I, What are my Obstacles, and What is my Strategy?

Overall Review of 2015

1) Year of Career Growth

+ First INSTALL at Discovery Cube as “set dresser” for BaAm Productions!

+ First in-house position at Rhetroactive. Got inside look at project process. Learned a lot!
+ Raised my day rate to $400! (was $300 back 2013)
+ Was able to make enough money to give my parents $1500 almost every month (paying back college loans).

- Worked in an office 9-5 was mentally and physically exhausting. I had trouble getting along with my co-workers. 3 hour commute to LA felt like torture. Worked hard but burned out. Quit my job in October for a vacation.

L - At the end of everyday - I would always ask myself, did I produce $400 worth of artwork today?  This behavior pushed myself to deliver as much as I could - sometimes driving myself towards exhaustion. However, I learned that you have to pace yourself when working in an office environment. Think longer term. Not a sprint.

L - Long term strategy is to create my own style of art and focusing on doing what I love. Prior to this, my strategy was to just... (2013) get my foot in the door. (2014) - get as much experience as possible. (2015) work in-house to understand project flow. And for 2016 - it will be about creating a niche market and specialization for myself. Big goal is to be happy and to enjoy my work! :)

2) Year of Project Lifecoach Explosion

+ Fanbase ERUPTED with KonMari videos. (Went from 18 to 3700+ Subscribers)
+ Introduced Unfiltered + Monthly reflection videos. Good response. 
+ “How to Get Art Job” video (January) - Great response!

- More subscribers means more exposure and negative comments.
- Too much time making videos (like 40 min travel vlog) - it's becoming not fun.
- Not hanging out with actual friends

L - Unfiltered videos had some of the BEST engagement with fans, even though the videos had shitty lighting, poor sound quality and NO editing. Sometimes, people just need you to be real and authentic - not shiny and perfect. By being truly yourself and letting your own light shine, you are unconsciously encouraging others to do the same.

L - Just have fun with Project Lifecoach. Keep it simple.Live life outside of youtube!

3) Year of Professional Photography and Videography

+ Got PAID to do videography and photos for THEA event. 
+ Created SATE and Gib Gab video for Themed Entertainment Association.
+ Created Next Gen Skill Codex! TEA sent to entire email list! Great response!
+ My videos were shown at an INTERNATIONAL conference.

L - It is possible to just do something for fun and when you get good at it - people will pay you to do that for them!!

4) Year of Expansive Travel

- Went to San Francisco, Princeton + New York with Chris Nguyen in February
- Went to SATE conference in Pittsburgh - did a talk at Carnegie Mellon in August
- Went to Shanghai + Taiwan trip in August

-  CMU talk was not that great. Talk could’ve been better with a DEMO! C'mon man!

L - Traveling alone can get lonely after a while. But traveling with lots of people can cause headache after a while. Traveling sounds awesome - but it can be exhausting.

L - Very enjoyable living with few possessions! You need less than you think. Simplicity.

5) Year of Lifestyle Design

+ Was living a dream life! Health, Wealth, Career, Family, Friends, Dating and Travel
+ 3 days workweeks: Exercise 1-2 hours in morning. Work 8-10 hour days. Hang out with new friends from hostel for 1-2 hours at night. Stay at hostels located in Hollywood, Korea town, Venice Beach etc... Go see local tourist destinations. Sleep at 10pm. 
+ 4 Day weekends: Go home. Spend time with family. Hang out with friends. Work on my business, sleep and recover.

- Driving to LA was sucked. Woke up 5am and drove 3 hours.
- Spending upwards of $400/ month on food, $200/ month on gas, lots of mileage on car.
- Hostel life was very fun at first, it got less fun after a while.
- Stressful work environment.
- Mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausting.

L - It's possible to live your dream without knowing whether or not it is even possible. Just sent the intention and figure it out as you go. It's about the execution and always adjusting.

L - Imagine/ manifest a type of client/ project - You are an expert at what you do - you spend minimal effort and client is very happy with the results. The clients respects you immensely and pays you on time. You get paid A LOT!  Each project is interesting, fun, great for your career growth. You get to put your work in your portfolio to attract more projects and clients. The work you produce is excellent - your peers respect you. Doing this type of work makes you happy, healthy and wealthy.

6) Year of the New Home

- Moved to a new house. Super stressed out because had 3 big events simultaneously going on in July: moving, Anime Expo Convention, and my new job. So stressful!!

L  - Still adjusting to new home in Tustin. Learning that it's okay to move forward.

7) Year of Closing Legendbrush's Store

+ Started the year off great. Had a interview at Wondercon, did Anime Expo.
+ Lots of name painting and caricature parties. First wedding event!

- Closed Etsy store in July. Too busy with new job and Project Lifecoach. Name painting no longer sparked joy. 

L - Online classes? Re-open Etsy store in 2016.

L - It's okay to move forward. Thank Legendbrush for bringing me so much money and for supporting when I needed it. I can move on to bigger and better things.

8) Year of Struggling Friendships

- Much less social life with friends. Not acclimated to regular 9-5 lifestyle.  
- Running multiple projects was HARD. Project Lifecoach took a lot of mental bandwidth. Legendbrush took up a lot of weekends. Theme park work took up a lot of physical and emotional energy. Not much leftover energy to spend with friends. 

9) Year of Great TV shows
America’s Best Dance Crew
Agents of Shield

10) Favorite Purchases of the Year
- Blue Yeti Microphone ($75 - black friday sale!). So useful! Very reliable and solid. 
- 50mm 1.8g AFS Nikon Lens - Love this lens! I use it so much!

Goal Review of 2015 
These are goals I set for 2015. I evaluate if I accomplish them or not. 

1) I’m grateful and humble
Not really. I complain a lot and I’m still very arrogant. 
2) I’m thoughtful, considerate and kind
Maybe I’m a little bit more thoughtful. I think I’m improving and definitely more aware. But I still look out for myself first. 
3) I’m very generous
Because I’ve been making more money this month, I feel a lot more comfortable shelling out gifts. Been giving my parents $1500/ month which I’m very proud of. But when there is a lack of income, I become stingy again. 
4) Redo Portfolio website - client friendly
Yes definitely! I’m loving the “About Me” video, Pricing, Booth section and Blog that I updated on my website. 
5) Passive Income for Legendbrush
Tried selling prints on Etsy, but wasn’t that popular. I didn’t feel like the product was that good to begin with cuz the prints were so small. Classes?
6) Make Legendbrush parties better
The parties ARE better. The Caricatures now come with a cool plastic bag. My technique is improving. I have these new cardboard things. I still want to do a marketing video for the parties though… 
7) Out of state conventions (fun/travel)
Nope. Stopped doing conventions altogether. No longer that fun/ want to go down that route. Considering going legit and doing “wonder gallery” at downtown disney? 
8) Exercise More
Started playing basketball at my new house! I miss swimming at the swimming pool near my old house. But I guess it’s time to move on. I need to embrace the present and where I am right now. 
9) More effort into family, friends, girlfriend
My girlfriend doesn’t have time for me. lol… I don’t think it’s about “effort” - it’s about compassion, kindness and patience. 
10) Like and accept myself
Gary V. has an interesting take on “self-awareness.” Focus on your strengths and don’t give a fuck about your weaknesses. That is a good and interesting take on self-acceptance. 
11) Put more effort into Fashion
I still kind of suck at fashion. I tried starting a tumblr thinking I would do a fashion blog - but it was a lot harder than I thought. I like girls who are good at fashion - but I just don’t like putting in all that effort / don’t value the outcome I guess. I feel like a lot of fashionable clothes are uncomfortable or I might ruin them.  

Around August… I kind of got bored with my goals because they weren’t very actionable. The main ones being… 1) I’m grateful and humble, 2) I’m thoughtful, considerate and kind, 3) I’m very generous. So I changed them…

1) I am strong
This was a good goal because strength refers to both physical and mental. I AM a strong person, but the problem is that I am often too “rigid.” I strain and injury my neck from sometimes trying TOO hard. I think I need to be more chill, flexible and relaxed. 

2) I am compassionate, understanding and connected
I tried my best, but honestly a lot of times I feel alone, disconnected and isolated. This still needs work. 

3) Life is easy and loving
This is a pretty good goal. I try to just let things unfold and take it easy instead of worrying so much about the final outcome. 

Around September I got bored and revamped my goals AGAIN! This time they were…

1) My artwork for theme parks is as good as Chris Turner; Greg Pro. I draw and paint stuff that I like for fun!
I did couple of Greg Pro/ Chris Turner copies - which was fun and very educational. But I feel like the right step is for me to develop my own style and artistic taste— understanding what my strengths are and capitalizing on that. I think it’s important that I have fun have experience joy when I am creating artwork. When I am having fun, that is when the best work emerges. 

2) I allow myself to have a happy healthy sex life that is fun, enjoyable and responsible. 
I downloaded a bunch of TED talks on sex and tried to immerse myself a little bit more on the topic so it’s not so awkward. I’m making “have sex” a goal for 216. 

3) I allow others to feel. Loved, appreciated, respected, valued, heard, understood, important and cherished. 
I’m working on this - and it’s good that I have this intention. 

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Sketches from 2015

So my sketchblog is in shambles. Haven't really posted much art on it. It's mostly articles and so disorganized. Here are some of my sketches from 2015. Below are some Greg Pro studies - one of my favorite theme park illustrators. 

And after that are a lot of the sketches of pretty girls from my instagram account. Honestly - it's a dream come true to just draw pretty girls. When I was in high school and I saw cute girls on tumblr - I wish I had the time to draw them - but I always too busy with homework. Now - it's nice that I like... get to draw whatever I want. :)

Instagram is nice because it's quick, and you get better engagement with fans with likes and comments. But I still like blogger because I have an Archive that goes back many many years. And it's nice to be able to see some history.