One sure way to Watch Yourself Grow

On September 28, 2010 I made my first Adobe Illustrator image. It was a fishbowl, and I painfully followed an online tutorial. It probably took me two hours to make the fishbowl. It was a pretty sad fish bowl with two indistinct blobs representing goldfish swimming around. I was proud of that fish bowl, and I suppose you could say I was "hooked" on the software. (Yes, that pun was definitely intended....)


Within a month I had figured out enough of how the software works to make a convincing diagram of a manometer for my department at work. An introductory class at college followed, and the rest you can say is history.

An illustrated boy with flame colored wings and flame colored hair tips gives a thumbs up signal and a wink
Phoenix-Inspired Chibi Character

Fast-forwarding to 2021: I just finished this phoenix-inspired character for a friend of mine. And looking back, I'm so very glad that I saved the fish bowl file. It reminds me how far I've come on this journey toward freelancing, and how much farther I can go. There is so much more that this powerful software can do, and I love to experiment with new tools and new illustrative styles.


It is so important, especially if you are the type of person who gets caught in a rut, to hold on to reminders of your progress. Give it a try! Start documenting your triumphs (and defeats) in your creative work. For me that means holding on to old digital files and revisiting them occasionally, or even snuggling up in the first (ugly!) blanket I crocheted as a gift for someone.


Even if it just keeping a photograph of your sketches or paintings on your cell phone. You don't physically need to hoard pads and pads of artwork you feel is awful... But - the key is to look back every year or two and see how you've grown, and to be encouraged by the forward progress you've made.


Don't obsess and look weekly! Progress takes time! Give yourself the practice over time and you'll be rewarded with the visual proof that consistent practice really does result in marked improvement.


PS - In case you are wondering... here's that fishbowl


Vector image of 2 goldfish in a glass bowl
My first Illustrator project, September 2010

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