6 new projects for 2010 that won’t make me any money

January marks the three-year-anniversary of the day I told my employer to “take this job and shove it” (in all seriousness, HB Studios was a fantastic place to work, but Office Space was what gave me my moment of epiphany required to take the leap). Three years seems like forever ago, and I’ve learned so much since then, but it’s always good to look back and figure out what I could be doing better.

So, where my major issue has always been burnout (both of the creative sort and the plain old good lord, am I ever exhausted! variety), I’m looking to add more work-play balance to my life. Over the past year, I’ve become better at adding play to my life, and, just in the end of December, I found myself unexpectedly doing things I’ve always meant to do while running my business, but have somehow managed to evade quite consistently: eating and sleeping on a daily basis, working less than sixteen hours a day, and playing with creative projects that take me away from The Machine.

Learning Calligraphy
My poor kitchen table. It is utterly COVERED in ink stains now.

What I’m excited about for the new year, not surprisingly, are also the things that I’m passionate about in my life.

  1. Ink! Loomis DeSerres had these lovely inks on sale when I was there in December, and I liked the first set I picked up so much that I went back for another. Pen and ink has always been one of my favourite mediums. I’ve been teaching myself calligraphy, albeit in a rather loose and unstructured manner, and hopefully I’ll find a creative application for it other than writing overly flourished notes to the postman. The Roberts Street Social Centre hosts screenprinting workshops from time to time, and I’m crossing my fingers that the next one happens soon. I’m hoping, too, that I’ll be able to buckle down this year and create the designs for my sardonic Valentine’s cards in time to send them to all my friends (and possibly also my nemeses).
  2. Shoes!
    Clearly, my shoe collection needs expansion.

    While I will be spending my Valentine’s composing snarky cards, my love affair with footwear just keeps getting hotter and hotter. I figure it’s about time I put it to creative use. Hand-painting shoes sounds like fun—I have a test pair that’s just a half-size too small for me (with a heel that’s just a touch too short for my liking) and I’d like to see if I can make designs that will last. (As a bonus, if this works, I’ll have an excellent excuse to purchase more shoes!)

  3. Books! I’ve been reading Indie Publishing: How to design & publish your own book, and it’s inspired me to make my own. (I have a number of topics in mind, but I’m leaning towards a purse-sized illustrated shoe bible and a guide to fashionable travel, along with some more personal endeavours). When I was much younger, I used to make zines, and though I cringe to read them now, I loved the process of creating something entirely from scratch. I’ve been interested in book design for some time now, but I’ve yet to land a book-design gig. I figure if I write my own, then I’ll have one to design.
  4. Travel! In the last year, I’ve visited sixteen different foreign cities in eight different countries, and my appetite for travel has only increased. One of the most delightful aspects of this job is that I’m able to do all this traveling, and I’ve had an opportunity to meet all sorts of new people and experience all kinds of amazing things—without depleting my bank account too severely. This year, I’d like to see more (I’m hoping for a Death Valley/San Felipe combo, a stint from London through to Morocco, and maybe an abridged tour of South America) while honing my travel-work methods.
  5. Business! I like my work best when I’m doing projects that excite me, so obviously, I’ll be looking for more of these. I’m also looking to do fewer projects at a time, so that projects have a shorter turnaround time, which is generally how I prefer to work anyway.

Got an exciting new project, tips on shoe-painting, or a book you need designed? You know I want to hear from you!