reflections + a new year

   For me, 2016 has been incredibly fast, demanding, and full of accomplishments I could only dream of the year before. If you read my reflection post last year, I had mentioned that I made the decision to fully pursue art, despite my "rational" (over)thinking and many hesitations. And last January, I began illustrating for Local Wolves. In October (of 2015), I opened an Etsy shop, without really any intent of it being around long-term. I managed to run my business while juggling being in school and this October, I was celebrating its one-year anniversary and my 100th sale, which quickly turned into my 200th in December. I made t-shirts, stickers, and even crazier, I designed an enamel pin! I experimented with mediums I strayed from in past years. I acquired the ability to come up with ideas quickly and to push myself out of my comfort zone. In my shop's early stages, I was featured on Hello Giggles in an article called "9 Talented Illustrators on Etsy You Need to Know About", alongside one of my favorite illustrators, Ashley Percival (still in absolute shock over that). I did a few collaborations with a few wonderful businesses and was featured in some amazing small publications. And just recently, my custom portrait was in a Huffington Post article! It still seems surreal. I never thought any of these things would (or could) happen within a mere year. It's at this point I feel comfortable in saying I made all the right decisions in committing so much of my time to creating. All of the hours of sleep I lost, the times I decided to stay home, the days I spent at my desk throughout my life and 2016 were absolutely worth it.

   Coupled with this joy, there were, of course, tough times. An unfortunate amount of turmoil plagued the world. I often felt left overwhelmed and wishing I could change everything after watching the news or scrolling through my twitter feed, maybe even guilty that here I am drawing, while others are living in uncertainty and suffering. But, I realized that there's always something you can do. I realized that what I create can make people feel something, maybe even comfort or love--the very reason I love doing what I do so much. I realized more than ever how important it is to spread kindness and how much value a few words hold. And even if what you're doing feels insignificant, it is awfully important.

   Like I said before, I don't make resolutions, but I always create a set of goals. And this year they aren't going to change much. I'm going to happily continue running my Etsy shop (I've got some new/exciting projects planned), hopefully make more time for blogging, and keep pushing ahead. Cheers to a new (and hopefully much better) year full of growth, being softer, and loving each other. xx

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