It was a very good year…

I’m not exactly a Sinatra fan, but I thougth this would make a striking title to my yearly retrospection post, haha! It has hardly been a very good year in many aspects, but I feel happy and humbled that the pandemic hasn’t hurt me or my business financially!

I started this year trying to get a foot between the door in the board game industry, I contacted a lot of companies during January and February. I was even asked for a quote for Christmas themed puzzles. I attended OBJECT with fellow BNO members and had my first and last convention on March 7th and 8th.

Don’t look at my sleepy head, I was a bit nervous tabling by myself again! Too bad the convention itself was not too exciting either; there were very little visitors.

And then everything closed down in this year’s first lockdown on March 17th.

Right then I was in the middle of starting to work on a game prototype with Roofkat – I had visited him in Zaandam in February, a good two-hour trip from my house. The lockdown forced us to work via Skype, but it would probably been the same without it.

A lot of my fellow convention artists weren’t as lucky as I was; they depended on the income of events like Comic Con Rotterdam. And one by one they were all cancelled. Some set up a online equivalent: Stay Home Comic Con. People could join the Discord channel, watch streams and there was a website with links to everyone’s webshops. I participated in the stream too (woo, first time!) and I had 60 watchers at one moment! I enjoyed doing it, so I considered streaming on a regular basis, but I haven’t really picked it up yet. Maybe because I’m secretly too nervous for it!

Spring passed and the first holiday I was going to spend with my boyfriend was cancelled. I spend the summer mostly working, trying to enjoy the ridiculous warm weather whenever I could. But with everything live going online, I was able to attend conventions and events I never would have attended live, being too far for me to travel too. I made a lot more international contacts, which might help me in the future. That’s definitely a good thing that this pandemic has brought me!

Some other highlights of this weird year:

  • I made a mural with friends of Draw Club Rotterdam at a local culture centre! We were almost finished halfway March but didn’t get the chance to add the final touches until August. It has become a Frankenstein’s monster of different styles, but I’m quite happy with my dragon’s head!
  • I was asked to jump in and create some map illustrations and icons right before Godhood’s launch. It was great to work on that game again after a few years, so much has changed since then.
  • The game VR Giants, where I did level concept art for, had a very succesful Kickstarter campaign! I was able to share some things I made for it, hopefully more soon!
  • I participated in three zines this year: A Pokémon Snap zine, one focused on character design and a monster girl zine. The two last ones had very similar timelines which made meeting the deadlines quite stressful. I hadn’t expected to get in them both! Can you guess which one I rushed?
  • I also participated in the Artstation Keyframe challenge, but should have made more time for it; I was unable to finish it before the deadline. :/
  • And other cool things I’m not allowed to share yet, unfortunately!

Looking back, I definitely want to have another go at trying to get into board games. I think I’m limiting my options too much only trying to do video games. After all, there are plenty of board games in need of fantasy art too and in the end I just want to paint and draw fantastic creatures.

About my graduation project

Almost three months in, I am high due telling you guys more about my graduation project, don’t you think? I like sharing my progress, especially my thoughts behind the creative decisions I make. The problem is that writing blogs like these take time, time I rather use to actually work on the project. :/

Luckily, I found a way to deal with this!

Normally fourth year students start on their graduation project in February and finish around the end of June. Then there is a degree show in the first week of July and the school closes for the summer. I decided last year I didn’t want to graduate yet and do an internship instead (best decision ever), and start graduating in September. There are many cons to this: you still have to pay tuition for a full academic year, teachers have less time for you and you have a few weeks less time in general. There is no degree show in February, but you have the opportunity to join in July. Fortunately, there are pros too, and one of them is that you actually have time promoting and preparing your degree show! Instead of stressing until the end of June about making the deadline and putting all ends together, I will have time to plan this thing months ahead!

That is, if I graduate at all! XD

So this is the plan: I am gonna share visual progress, sketches and finished drawings, and photos of the finished project when it’s done. From February onwards, I will write a series of blogposts about the more theoretical part of my project, the why’s and how’s basically.  It’s a bit like the postmortem articles about game design found on Gamasutra: reflecting on the progress of creating something while the project is already round up.

Or perhaps I’m so devastately tired that I just sleep until half March.

On another note, I am slightly ashamed to admit I’m hardly making any progress on the CenturyARkStorm-OCT audition comic. During Autumn Break I made around as much progress as the rest of October and November combined! The deadline being postponed January 12th is nice, though I think it would be best if I tried not to make it. Sounds weird, but as a spectator I can still join in during Round 1, and the final deadline for my graduation project will be around January 21th. So I better not try to get my graduation project in the best shape possible and try to finish these bloody ten pages I have unfinished on my desktop for three months already.  I have said from the beginning that it’s gonna be hard to juggle, but it’s just too much fun to give up, especially when I’m so far into this already!

But, let’s end this blog on a happy note! There’s the new gameplay trailer of Godhood, the game I worked on during my internship! It was published a few days ago already but I’m terrible with keeping up with those things! I’m glad to see my trees are still in the game, as well as the shrine I worked on at 0:16-0:25! I made the leopard statue at 0:48 in the battle too!