Best of 2017

 

So. 2017, hey?

So much shitty shit shit happened around the world that I kind of didn't realise the (somewhat) fruitful and fun year I had until looking back on it now.

There have been ups and downs to be sure, and I don't feel that I managed to achieve all that I set out to do at the start of last year, but all up I think it was a pretty good one, obviously if you don't count everything that was ever reported in the news in 2017 ever.

On a personal level, the biggest thing that probably happened for me this year was that I moved back to my hometown.

At the start of March, my husband and I made the well-trodden journey over the Nullabor from Melbourne to back to Perth. It's the fourth time we've moved across the country together, and the eighth time I've done it in my life. And it's a move I'm still coming to terms with—it's not one I would have made independently, and it's one I argued against, but here I am.

Not to suggest I was forced into it, at all. Ultimately, the decision to come back seemed to make the most sense financially and we reached it together, but that doesn't make it any less painful. I've spent my whole adult life up to this point searching for a place that really feels like home, and the irony is I found it just before I had to leave it. I left behind the one neighbourhood I ever really felt a part of (ILY, Flemington!), a city that inspires me, a creative scene unlike any other in the country, and a lot of people I love, including all of my family.

I still hang onto the hope that one day we'll move back (honey, you listening?), but for now we're in Perth. We went from renting a teeny little two-bed built in the 1800s that I loved despite its many drawbacks, to buying a 1930s-built home I love despite it, well, not being in Melbourne.

OLD HOUSE: Flemington, Victoria.

OLD HOUSE: Flemington, Victoria.

NEW HOUSE: Maylands, WA.

NEW HOUSE: Maylands, WA.

Before we left Melbourne, I took a bunch of photos of my 'hood (also wrote a post about it for Outlier) that I still wistfully look back on. 3031 4eva!

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2017 is also the year I started making ceramics. It started as a one-off workshop gifted to me by my husband on my birthday and then progressed to a TAFE course and now a little set-up at home.

It's not something I ever really envisioned myself doing. But I'm finding myself trawling Gumtree for kilns and looking into wheels and researching glaze recipes and buying respirators and discussing wax resist with the woman at the pottery store, and it's ... fun?

Don't let the science degree fool you: I am not inclined towards chemistry or maths in any way whatsoever; I had to use my calculator to add up 29 and 12 the other day just in case I got it wrong. And pottery—glazing, in particular—def requires some basic grasp on this stuff lest your work explodes in the kiln due to a dud glaze recipe. So for me to have an interest in this stuff is indicative of how swept up I've become in the whole thing.

Anyway, I'm still working on my first release of ceramics, which I'll hopefully begin selling from this very website soon, so watch this space!

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Unfortuntely I didn't get a chance to travel overseas in 2017 (something that will be rectified in 2018!), but I did manage to get to a few different spots around the country. I went to Sydney for the first time in a few years and spent a few days hanging out with my sister who lives in Coogee, and also attended the Make Nice Unconference, which was so great.

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In September, my husband Brett and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary, which rolled around wayyyy faster than expected. We spent it down in the south west of WA in Margaret River, thanks to my former boss in Melbourne who bade me farewell with a voucher for a two-night chalet stay in Margs.

At the time, Brett and I were in the midst of a six-week paleo challenge so there wasn't much drinking or indulging, unless you count the pizza we ate and the visit to Colonial brewery we made. But hey, you only celebrate your first wedding anniversary once.

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I met a LOT of amazing people in 2017. Many of them were women, and many of them I met through Outlier. It's so outside of my comfort zone to approach people cold and then sit down with them to ask intimate questions and photograph them, but I sometimes forget that because I've been doing it so much lately. It seems like a small thing but it's something I'm proud of myself for doing. I hope to meet a lot more incredible women in 2018.

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I also drew a lot this year. It was sometimes for work, mostly for pleasure (a ratio I hope to tip more in favour of 'work' in 2018). I also plan to draw a hell of a lot more for pleasure, too, as there were definitely times this year that it felt like a massive chore due to my mental state. While we're on the topic, def need to work on my mental health in 2018, too.

One of my fav commissions this year was to create a promotional poster and album cover for a Melbourne band called Lava Lakes. It was a really fun process to bring their ideas to life and I can't wait to see some of the merch I designed out in the real world soon!

 
 
 
 

I also participated in this year's World Vision 40 Hour Famine campaign. I created an artwork alongside 39 other artists on the theme of refugees and displacement, which is something I'm very passionate about. The whole thing was kind of a 'pinch me' moment—many of the other artists who also worked on the campaign are people I consider almost like my creative heroes, and it was weird and exciting to be part of a campaign that so many people saw and were hopefully moved by.

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One of my other favourite jobs was from the start of 2017 when I was commissioned to create a two-page illustration for Treadlie, a really great cycling magazine that I've loved since its debut issue came out a few years ago. I didn't really like the final piece, but it was the first illustration I did that was printed in a nationally circulated publication, which was really exciting!

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And here's just a small selection of things I drew for myself this year and actually like somewhat:

Shibuya restaurant at night.

Shibuya restaurant at night.

MoMA visitors.

MoMA visitors.

I mean, 2017 was the year of T***p, right?

I mean, 2017 was the year of T***p, right?

Young Japanese skater girl loitering in Harajuku.

Young Japanese skater girl loitering in Harajuku.

Dinner at Spicy Joint in Shanghai.

Dinner at Spicy Joint in Shanghai.

Scrap scribble of me at my wedding.

Scrap scribble of me at my wedding.

Old men playing soccer in Hong Kong.

Old men playing soccer in Hong Kong.

In 2017, I also managed to finally get a (loose) handle on animation, which is something I've been wanting to do for a while now. I hope to look back on these this time next year and cringe at how poor they are (translation: be way better this time next year than I am now).

Animated response to same sex marriage legislation in Australia.

Animated response to same sex marriage legislation in Australia.

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In 2017, I also had a lot of fun doing lots of different things: weddings, parties, doggo playdates, Snapchat filters.

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I have high hopes 2018 will be a great year—so many ideas and goals to get started on once my hangover from last night dissipates lel.

Wishing all three of my readers (lollll) a safe and happy new year!

Gif the shoe fits

 
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If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, you'll have noticed I'm posting a lot of hand-drawn animated gifs lately. I can't seem to stop making them. I haven't illustrated anything destined to just be static since last week when I made my first gif. It's become an obsession.

I first took the plunge into animation a few months ago, via my accidental Skillshare subscription (note to self: remember to cancel free trials before they end and you're automatically billed for a whole year in USD. Before). I took a class in animation using After Effects, except I didn't really take the class properly because I'm impatient and skipped over important information and then got so frustrated with my terrible animation that would. not. work. that I just abandoned the idea of ever getting a handle on it.

Since then, I always kind of figured animation was beyond my reach. And though I love the appearance of scrappy hand-drawn animations, I found the idea of actually making them a little unappealing, since you have to manually draw each frame. From the outside looking in, it seemed like an insurmountable mountain of work to draw frame after frame after frame of identical but slightly different content. Which is why I thought I'd start with After Effects, to just manipulate an existing illustration with anchor points. Which was a terrible idea.

But the other day I saw a simple hand-drawn animation on Instagram and decided to give it another go, this time using Photoshop. I thought I'd keep it super low pressure with something really simple, so that I didn't waste hours of drawing frames if it didn't work, because when I'm burnt by something it's difficult for me to come back to it #notveryresilient, and I didn't want to destroy my interest in animation before it even started.

So I started with a simple gif of my dog, using a clip from my phone that I took of him running in our front yard. I drew 12 simple, scribbly frames that took me about 10 minutes all up. It was a low-risk gamble that paid off, because as soon as I saw the motion worked I was hooked. Though I did accidentally animate the sequence in reverse and posted it on Instagram before I noticed the error. The one below is looped in the correct order.

Gif of Wally running.

Gif of Wally running.

This one was my second ever animation, which was a little harder because I only had a couple of reference images rather than a video to work off. So had to kind of fill the gaps in the movement by making up a couple of the frames. It's a bit jumpy but I'm pretty happy with it!

Daisy Watt at her loom, for  Outlier.

Daisy Watt at her loom, for Outlier.

Last weekend I saw Paul Kelly play live at Kings Park, and it was so excellent it inspired me to create this gif of PK playing the guitar, using a YouTube video as a reference. This one consists of seven individual illustrations, some of which are repeated within the animation to create a total of 10 frames.

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My longest gif so far! This one's a whole 51 frames and five seconds, as opposed to the other looping ones which have from around seven to 12 frames and run for less than a sec. Admittedly, I only drew the hoop eight times, so they loop over and over, while the girl is an original drawing in each frame. I added colour to this one and experimented with drawing a background, which I didn't end up using #toomuchwork. Baby steps!

Nothin' But Net.

Nothin' But Net.

And the walking animation at the top is one I just made now, a kind of lame attempt at a gif to go with the lame title of this blog post (puns are not my strong suit). It's extremely scrappy and the painted colour didn't scan very well, but I really wanted to make an animation with a background and with more colour. It took much longer to make than I thought it would, and while it's really rough and rushed with obvious blurring from my dodgy Photoshop work, I'm mostly happy with it. Though I suspect I will look back on this entire blog post in a few months/years and shudder at my shitty work ¯\_(ツ)_/¯