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Here we are again, on the threshold of a new year.
This past year has been pretty darn rough for me personally. The year started with three months of watching one of our cats rapidly fade away due to kidney failure and a scramble to make what time she had left as painless and comfortable as possible which was brutal and absolutely heart breaking. And halfway through the year someone I was very close with growing up died from suicide and while we weren’t close anymore, but it still hit me pretty hard.
Yet, in between all of this there have been some really nice highlights; I’ve started reconnecting with my love for art, me and my partner were exclusively invited to perform with another drag group during Pride week, I finally finished editing and uploaded the last of my Dreamfall Chapters Let’s Play, I’ve met some amazing people from the queer community and reconnected with friends I hadn’t talked with for years.
In short, it’s been quite the roller coaster with some absolutely brutal downs and exciting highs, but it has also been formative in many subtle ways.
As mentioned, I started to reconnect with my art this year, partly thanks to my friend Matt who keeps pushing projects and ideas my way (and gently bullying me to step outside my comfort zone 💜) and partly because of Sorie Kim’s “Daily Sketching for Creative Inspiration” course.
I think this is the first year in gods knows how long where I can actually fill out one of these art summaries.
And this is just with what I have saved digitally, I have more in my sketchbooks that I haven’t scanned or edited properly yet.
I’ve spent so many years trying to make art for others/to please others and it’s been dragging me deeper and deeper into dreading making art. The pressure that I’ve been putting on myself and the end product has been insane.
And it still is to some extent, I still haven’t been able to shake the whole “it’s gotta be good and pleasing to others” mindset, but I’m working on it. And I’m working on finding my way back to experimentation and letting things be messy and just playing with paint because it’s fun and without a clear goal in mind.
One of the biggest hurdles in art is my need to have a goal, an end product in mind whenever I sit down to sketch, I can’t just let myself free roam on the page. So now I’m trying, ever so slowly, to find my way back there. To find my way back to drawing just for me and just to play.
I have been having a lot of fun with the Twitch emote commissions that I’ve been getting this year though, it’s such a different format than I’m used to and has pushed me to expand and evolve!
Shoutout to Matt, Erlend and Tommy for their support and trust in letting me make their emotes!
And speaking of commissions, I’ve also been getting crochet and miniature painting commissions which have been a very pleasant surprise!
I have somehow gotten more commissions (and commissions better suited to my mental health) this year than I ever got when I actively tried to get them which has been bonkers to me and I’m super grateful.
Overall, this year has been one that’s led to a lot of introspection and reconnecting with a lot of things that I had kind of just… Stopped doing?
Art being a big one, but I’ve also found a group of friends who I paint minis with now, I’ve been dipping my toes back into board games, I’ve tentatively started streaming and playing more games…
And I’ve started reading again.
You know when you read a book and it just feels like it’s come to you at the perfect time in your life?
That’s been The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern (author of The Night Circus which I also highly recommend) for me.
This book just hit me squarely in my love for narratives, fairy tales and myths. Right in the feels. It reminded me why I used to love reading so much and it painted such pretty pictures in my head in a way that I haven’t had for quite a while.
Last time I devoured a book was when I read Assassin’s Fate by Robin Hobb almost four years ago, and that kind of feels like cheating since I’ve been invested in Fitz’s story since my teenage years.
Though, I would be remiss if I didn’t give a shoutout to Corey/8bitcyborg (beware, verily NSFW!), their fanfics are always so well written and gives me the most delicious images in my head. 💜
The Starless Sea also reminded me to reconnect with my spirituality, as one of the characters described his religion as “held-breath story listening and late-night-concert ear-ringing rapture, and perfect-boss-fight button pressing. That his religion is buried in the silence of freshly fallen snow, in a carefully crafted cocktail, in between the pages of a book, somewhere after the beginning but before the ending.”
This resonated very deeply with me and the way I’ve always read, immersed myself in stories (be they in games or other media), connected with art etc.
Always with reverence, love and a deep curiosity. It’s weird how easily one can disconnect from art and forget to engage on a deeper level. Time to reconnect!
So, here at the end of this year that started on heartbreak and pain, I want to take a moment and allow myself to breathe, slow down and reconnect to what’s important to me.
So, I’ve been taking my time, slowly sussing out what I want to focus on with the coming year and I have plans forming but I’ll elaborate on those in the next letter when I’ve had a chance to get the ball rolling. ;)
In the meantime, thank you, from the bottom of my heart for reading, engaging and supporting me as I figure this out and learn as I go along. It means the world to me. 💜
I’ll leave you with these two pieces that were done as Christmas gifts, and a hope that you’ve had a lovely holiday season and that the new year will treat you well!