2019 Recap

A recap of my 2019. Image: A photo study from 2019

Cover Image

Time again for another of these posts. The last one is only 2 or 3 posts down from this one because I've had a hell of a year and just haven't found time to update this blog as much as I'd have liked.

I made that 2018 post about halfway through December and as part of the goals that I set there, I actually rejigged my house around and turned our guest bedroom into a room for art... on Christmas Day (picture after the jump) and it was amazing. Finally having a dedicated space for my art was just awesome.

So, Christmas time came and went, I had this amazing space set up and I started working hard continuing to refine my skills when around mid-January my partner was offered a job. In another state. 1200km away. So this really nice space I'd just put together would need to come apart and be packed up by the end of February. It was the absolute last thing I packed though, I held onto it as long as I could. 

January and February were a haze of stress and packing and stress. We finally moved and arrived in our new rented home in Canberra on 1 March. The weather in Adelaide before we moved had been around 45C for about a week. When we arrived in Canberra, it was blue skies and a sunny 28C... whilst the locals were complaining about the heat, we were loving it. We spent about a week living off the bare essentials and sleeping on an air mattress we bought from a camping store on our drive over before our stuff arrived. The studio was the last to be packed and thus it was the first to be unpacked in the new house. The stress of the move had shaken my confidence quite a bit but I did several photo studies over the month between moving and starting my new job.

Speaking of work, my job on the helpdesk lasted about 3 months in the end due to the move. I stayed on for an extra week over my proposed end date as my boss begged me to stay. I worried a lot about getting another position in Canberra because my helpdesk job had been so hard-won in Adelaide. I needn't have worried as I applied for 3 positions and interviewed for 2. Out of those two positions, I undertook technical testing for one and was offered a position thereafter.

My new job has the highly descriptive title of "Technical Consultant" but I've found that to mean anything from infrastructure, monitoring and logging to networking and application support. In June I took up my ICND2 studies again and passed the exam on 14 December (the last possible day of the year). I scored 948 out of 832 which was, interestingly, the same amount I passed my ICND1 by. 

In terms of my art studies, I feel I've really stagnated this year due to a combination of circumstances and I feel kind of bad that the Cintiq I finally saved up and bought in June has not been used as much as I hoped. If there's one thing I want for the new year, it's to renew my vigour towards improving my art to a standard where I would feel comfortable offering to do it commercially.

It may be a little while before I can start striving towards those goals as, in November, we received notice that we needed to vacate at the end of our lease in February 2020. It was unfortunate timing as we'd just purchased a brand new dining suite and thrown out the last of our moving boxes, only to be told that we had to move again. It was unfortunate but it has hardened my resolve to save enough money for a deposit on a house so that we can own again in Canberra. 

Before I set new goals for 2020, I'm going to recap the goals I had for this year and where I achieved them and where I fell short.

  • Finish the Drawabox course.

I didn't get anywhere near finishing the course, in fact, I reached lesson 5 at the end of last year and never progressed further. I did go back and do lesson 3 again back in September in order to rebuild my confidence, but nothing more has been done on this front since then.

  • Finish my current coding project (task tracker).

I believe I did actually finish this, or at least the second iteration of it. I will go back and make a third iteration at some point but at the moment I'm chasing other coding projects.

  • Resume coding the bookshelf project I put on hold two years ago.

I didn't resume this at all, but I did find an app in January called BookBuddy which works extremely well. It provides ISBN search as well as the option to scan the barcodes on each of your books and automatically look them up. I used this quite extensively when my partner and I were packing up all our books to move.

  • Work on my rendering skills for drawing.

Kind of worked on this one, I guess? There's a few studies I've put up on Instagram that went some way to me trying to improve on this front. The cover image is one such study.

  • Related to the above, but also work on my ability to push a drawing from sketch stage to polished illustration as I’m currently stagnating at the sketch.

I actually feel like I did better with pushing past the sketch stage this year. I found that particularly with cartoons, it was a lot easier to polish them up and they've been received quite well by the people I show them to... yay!

  • Finish some freakin’ games.

Hey, I think I actually managed this one. I finished Detroit: Become Human this year and a couple of other, smaller indie games. 

For 2020, I would like to:

  • Progress in Drawabox - I'm not going to put the pressure on myself to finish, but I would like to progress and at least submit lesson 5.
  • Learn to code properly! My work now provides me with more opportunities to use code to automate many tasks and I'm currently working on automation to keep my network documentation up to date.
  • Save a significant amount of money towards a house deposit. I don't want to put an exact number on it because I'm aware that things do pop up that often take priority.
  • Draw more in general. Currently I'm struggling to manage two days a week and finding it hard to get enthusiastic for it, but I suspect this is more to do with my mental health struggles around moving at the moment so once I've settled again, I can start to work towards building better habits.

Here's looking forward to 2020!