It's the end of New Year's Day, so I thought this might be as good an opportunity as any to reminisce over and reflect upon the past year's events! 2011 was fairly great for me, even though it involved a lot of challenges and personal struggles.
At the beginning of last year I felt very unhappy with myself. I was halfway through my fourth and final year of a degree in physics and applied maths. I found the course interesting, but it wasn't something I felt hugely inspired to pursue as a career. What's worse is that I had known for several years what I did feel enthusiastic and passionate about - drawing, and art! I know I have so much to learn and so much practise to do, but I really feel it's something I can get good at. Unfortunately, my mum feels that art is a second-class career choice, and her opinions had a weighty influence on the decisions I made after completing secondary school. I resented her stupid, hateful ideas about the "prestige" associated with particular career choices, but she didn't mean any harm, really... still, I didn't have the courage to assert my own will strongly enough at the time.
Over the course of my four years studying physics, I felt more and more like I was wasting my time with a subject that I wasn't particularly motivated by or talented at while letting my underdeveloped abilities at art wither. I felt like a total failure! I also felt like I had left my secondary school art teacher down... she had always been so supportive, and kept encouraging me to consider art school. I couldn't take it any longer - I really, really wanted to focus on drawing. Unfortunately, if I neglected physics (which I already found so difficult!) I could risk failing a year, which would waste even more time. I had no option but to keep at it.
Studying for the final exams was a painful, harrowing experience because all of these thoughts kept swirling around in my head. I often felt there was no way I could pass some of the exams, and the thought of having to repeat the year despite trying so hard put me into a dark reverie, further hindering my chances of passing. It was horrible, but I kept reminding myself that I could do whatever I wanted with my life after the summer if I just pushed myself a bit harder. Somehow, I managed to do it! I had to have a second attempt at a few of the exams, but I eventually passed everything and graduated in the winter! Woo!
So, with that out of the way, I spent the last two months of the year settling into drawing regularly. I felt (and still feel) really rusty, and horribly behind the pack in terms of ability, but it's already making me feel much more content and fulfilled - I know this is what I want to do with myself. I've been trying to improve and put a portfolio of stuff together, with the aim of showing it to some guys from an animation studio in Dublin. Hopefully they'll give me some feedback on how to improve, whether or not art college would be helpful for me, and so on. I think I would love to attend an art college, but affording it would be a big problem... I'll have to start saving up! Plus, I'm not sure where I would go, it doesn't seem like the Irish art colleges I investigated have any specific illustration courses, particularly ones with a digital aspect. I may need to look overseas too, which could be a very fun experience... anyway, I have a lot of research, consideration and accumulation to do.
2011 was hectic, but I feel happy with the experiences I had and changes I made during it. Hopefully 2012 will be even better - I'm going to keep drawing, keep trying to improve, and keep trying to have fun. It's a time for new beginnings, and we'll see how things go! Hope you all have a fantastic year too!