Wednesday, 17 October 2018

25 Before 26 List - RECAP

When I made this list last year, I'm sure I was excited about the contents. But, as usual, I didn't expect life to take a great turn. Technically, nothing particularly life-changing happened, but a little surprise came knocking on my door a few months afterwards: Firu came home! It got me rearranging my priorities. To be honest, these lists, for the past few years have felt a whole lot like stalling and keeping myself busy so my mind won't wander to dangerous territory. However, when Firu came and we hashed out so many things and blew everything out in the open, it reshaped my mind and my heart in a way that I haven't felt in such a long time. Long story short, my priorities have been rearranged and it suddenly became clear that there were a lot more important things to accomplish outside of this list, so my will to complete the list fades almost instantly. That being said, I managed to tick a few things off it. Here they are.

1. Read all the Harry Potter series

Probably the first thing on this list I checked off. It was done quicker than I thought and not as painfully insufferable as I had anticipated. To be honest, it didn't intrigue me so much that I couldn't put the book down and needed to race through the series. It wasn't bad, sure, but it was, frankly, not one of the best series I've ever read. However, I did get a much deeper understanding and appreciation for the story as originally written—although I do believe reading the books and watching the movies bring the story together nicely. You can read the full review here, if you want.

3. Design merchandise and start selling them online

I think I mentioned this before, but I actually have a Tictail and Tokopedia store. You can order stuff that I made on either of those stores—one for international orders, one for local orders. To be honest, it's not successful at all. It wasn't until I attended Comic Frontier XI did I manage to sell anything—and, yes, only on the spot. It was a sudden decision on my part too, but a lot more fun than the previous time so I was happy. Afterwards, although I updated my stores, nothing sold at all. The only thing that has ever sold on my Tictail was the commission—and only once. So, if you like my work, please take a look around.

4. Come up with a consistent workout regime

For the past year or so, I've been re-joining my Stepmom's aerobics class across the street from my house. It is the first thing I do on Wednesday morning—and, yes, only meets once a week. Probably not the most optimal of workout regime, but it's as comfortable as I want to do at the moment. And, even then, I still sometimes skip it, with various excuses on the tip of my tongue. However, I've stopped doing that for the past month, so I'm looking for a fresh, new way to work out.

5. Set a monthly budget

This is a tough one. At first, I wanted to do it to manage my money better. Unfortunately, I should've reminded myself that freelancing is hardly financially stable—especially at my level of expertise. But I went with it anyway. I determined the size of the budget and how much would that amount to per month, if I were to meet all my needs. At first, I went easy on myself and added in entertainment budget—for eating out and other luxurious needs—but it turns out to swell up the monthly budget. It was still doable, though I went over it a few times. Later on, as work starts to trickle and money becomes scarce, I ended up not even making enough to fulfil my budget. But at least I did it.

6. Set aside time to work on personal projects

The silver lining to the disaster I brush on above is that I've got plenty of time to do this. In fact, I feel like I've managed to create the most personal work—most of which I end up being quite proud of—in such a long time. After creating a separate instagram account for my illustrations, I became a whole lot more driven to draw and make art. There were various art-specific hashtag challenges that attracted me, including #betterthangold_sketch, #drawinyourstyle and #komik10tahun. They have inspired me to draw and invest my time in my personal projects a lot more. Also, in August I opened a booth at Comic Frontier XI with a few friends, and that really fired me up to create worthwhile work—more on that on no. 14!

7. Create a weekly schedule (and stick to it!)

One of those things that works only at first. I was so excited to do this one, made a template, printed it out and stuck it on my whiteboard behind my desk. Then, unfortunately, it quickly became tedious to change the accounts every week. It probably would've worked better if I had used the whiteboard in itself, but it was already full with numerous illustrations and magnets on it. In the end, I made daily to-do lists instead and it works so much better, although it may not be a good time-management exercise.

8. Take time to take care of my tool and space

This was the year I started to actually take a look at my tools—specifically my laptop and camera. Although, unfortunately, I haven't been able to set aside money to take the camera for a service or buy kits to take care of the lens, I've been really letting my laptop take a break from time to time. For instance, when I know I'll be out of the house for a while or after working it like a horse, I often let shut down my laptop—while I unplug completely and/or go to sleep. It definitely help my tools work better and, especially after organising my desk, it really helps me keep my peace of mind too.

9. Only buy books from my to-read list

I would say this is the most successful one, except for two loopholes. One, if I buy a book that I swear was on my to-read list—and due to some issues, I couldn't check—I would just put it there afterwards, if I couldn't find it on the list. Two, I never say anything about books that I borrow or being given to me by some means. Fortunately, a lot of the books on both these categories have been sitting in my to-read list for a while now. It almost seems like fate! Also, super proud of myself this year for only buying less than 10 books this year. A whole year of only 6 books bought? That is surely unheard of from a bookworm.

11. Do more volunteer work!

I think I made this goal vague on purpose. Now, since I hardly ever do volunteer work anyway, one would literally count as more. Yep, that is the number of volunteer work I managed to do in the past year—and it came to me by pure chance too. One day my friend Rama suddenly asked me to teach a class for children; a creative activity that can produce a sellable item. That was tough. I'm an illustrator, you know, it takes a lot of time and process to be able to sell what I make. In the end, I decided to teach—or more like encourage—the class to draw on tote bags, pouches and t-shirts using their material of choice. As I understand it, they get to sell the products in the end and keep the money, to teach them money management at such a young age. Does that count as volunteer work?

14. Practice going out of your illustration comfort zone

When I wrote down this goal, I don't think I expected to make something so out of my comfort zone to sell—and it actually becomes quite popular among all my work. It is this set of prints for Comic Frontier XI. They are set in a commuter line train and the city bus respectively, depicting my original characters as the main focus. Not only did I use perspective—which I'm not particularly good at—I also played around with the colour in ways that I've never imagined I would use. To think that they are still my usual colour palette too! Granted, for the perspective, I still used photo references, it was quite an experience to have. I can't say I'm now an expert in perspectives, but I do feel more inclined to use more of them in the future. Ahem, they're still available on my Tictail and Tokopedia, if you're interested.

16. Learn how to blog design from scratch

This one wasn't intentional at all. Well, it was something I've been meaning to do, but never got around to doing. Then this semester—yes, the semester that just started last month—I have a class on web building and designing. It's probably not going to make me really good at it from the get go, but the goal was to start learning and that's what I'm doing. So far, we've only gone so far as to learn html and CSS. I'm already pretty experienced with html—and, apparently, some CSS—through this blog, but the class helped me understand the logic and system behind each code. We've only had like 4-5 meetings so far and I already feel my intelligence level raising. We'll see where this leads.

17. Participate in Fanart Friday at least once a month

21. Create an illustration for every "holiday" of my choosing

Okay, this is where I make an executive decision to cancel this goal. I did try doing this for a while. I was quite pumped to start drawing various fanart and illustrations for—well, not holiday, it turns out—important dates. It was really a lot of fun, I must say. The problem arises when it comes to the temporal limit that I set for myself. You see, drawing a Fanart Friday once a month would require perhaps a week to finish—including sketching, revisions, colouring and finishing. That's just not a viable option for the long-term. The same goes with the greetings illustration, as—it turns out—the number of important dates that intrigue me is quite large and frequent. Keep on going on this track, I feel, will actually keep me from growing as an artist. That being said, I feel like the experience taught me a lot—especially in regards to colour study and composition. It won't be the end of me doing this kind of thing, though, just not as often.

18. Take one photo a day (and organise in a folder!)

This was quite impossible and, frankly, patronising of past-me. I probably do take photos everyday—or, at least, most days—but to spend more time on organising these photos on a folder is just ridiculous. I'm not entirely sure what the point of this task was either. Maybe I should appreciate my days more? Maybe I'd like to look back to this year through these snaps? Well, at the very least, let me show this random photo I took from godknowswhere.

19. Discover new places/events to visit

I went crazy with this goal last year—can't believe the number of places and events I managed to visit. Aside from the usual ventures in Surabaya that my sister and I undertake—we visited the Tugu Pahlawan park, which was new for us, by the way—we also visited a lot of places and events that we've never gone to before. In terms of places, we tend to try new restaurants—which you can just see here—but we also managed to do that, by visiting new events. We visited two film festivals in the past year, including Japanese Film Festival—actually caught one of the screenings on my own near midnight—and European Film Festival. We also paid some good deeds in events, such as book for good's Ruang Buku—where we donated a few of our books—and Eco Market—where we donated our waste to waste4change and bought some low-impact tools from the vendors. Even with very little money, we experienced a lot, huh?

20. Watch all Wes Anderson/Satoshi Kon films

Satoshi Kon and Wes Anderson are among my most favourite film directors—and I think it's fun how different their approach to filmmaking is. The amazing thing is their movies are often regarded as bizarre, with a definite unique touch that makes them distinguishable from the crowd. I haven't managed to watch all of their works yet, unfortunately, but I did catch quite a few titles that I hadn't managed to before. From Satoshi Kon, I watched Perfect Blue—which sent chills down my spine the whole time, it was so unsettling—and Millennium Actress—which got me all emotional throughout. From Wes Anderson, I caught The Darjeeling Limited—ever since my former roommate Adit told me this was his favourite, I became intrigued—The Royal Tenenbaums—watched it in three parts as I caught it by pure chance on separate occasions on TV—and The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou—I don't know whether to laugh or cry at this one. Definitely will watch more!

23. Organise my working space

Don't really know what to say about this one, so I'll let my earlier post just do it for me.

I think it's about time that I change it up a bit on this front. This year, instead of creating a yearly list titled, as usual, "26 Before 27," I think it's about time that I actually make a 30 Before 30 List. It'll allow me more time to really accomplish some of the big goals and tackle some of the major tasks. It'll be filled with the most important things I want to tick off—my bucket list of the decade, if you will. It's been really inspiring to see this list float pretty much everywhere on the internet, and I think you should make one too—even if you're not sure if you can accomplish them all. If you're curious, my list will be up later this month. Watch this space!

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