2017 was a pretty interesting for me, I think if this year ended in August I would have considered it the worst year so far but it got its shit together all of a sudden and I think it's been one of the best yet. For this reason I thought it was worthwhile sharing a summary of the year.
Trying to make a career out of animation backgrounds has been a goal for a long time and 2017 started having released The Tale Teller a few months earlier. Looking at it as passion project, it did amazing. I'm super proud of it and I still can't believe it's at the top of the portal. But it didn't really lead to any immediate opportunities and my branding was kind of confusing too. I'm either 'zeedox' 'Greg Bartlett' or 'BackgroundArt.net' and BackgroundArt.net is the one I started focusing on with this push to get more into backgrounds (though it wasn't prominent within the Tale Teller). I'd also kept so much of the Tale Teller under wraps and I regretted underestimating the importance of the exposure that comes from making stuff that I share on own channels such as my Twitter and my Newgrounds page. So since then I'd been looking for opportunities to collaborate with animators which also lets me create background art I can share.
Most of the year was pretty bad for background work. Any time it seemed like something was about to come along it just ended up in a disappointment. I began to question if I was was wasting my time focusing on backgrounds and this uncertainty sapped away at motivation. But then around August things changed. The biggest change is that I got a job over in Melbourne at a studio as a background artist for a three month contract working on an animated kids film. And, I feel really confident about how it went (plus the job was amazing, I enjoyed it so much). Even though I was a mid level bg artist, I feel like I got trusted to do plenty of complex, key backgrounds. On top of that, I'm starting to get busy with a few other projects, I'm already pencilling in some awesome stuff for early next year. Here's one thing I'm in the process of working on right now: it's for Jesse J Jones's Totally Tubular Collab piece. Here's a work in progress of the line art and a color concept.
On top of that I set new years resolutions to practise drawing every single day (which I succeeded) and to do 240 thirty minute studies in photoshop (made it to 200...) I'm gonna go into more details in another post soon. I also opened a gumroad store with background packs for sale as an experiment. I fully expected I'd sell zero. To my shock I've somehow sold seven. This is pretty exciting because it makes it a little bit more viable to make more by collaborating on projects on Newgrounds.
Earlier this month some tweets by Tyler and Jazza got me thinking about how much I owe to Newgrounds. And since I'm no longer totally broke, it was time to renew my supporter status. I'm staying in Melbourne right now and everyone I know here and hang out with including my housemates, all Newgrounds. Plus, I even met MarcyVF and TommyVF who visited Australia since they're directing another production that the studio I'm working it is working on. WOOOOOO NEWGROUNDS!!!
I don't yet know exactly what's in store for 2018. My contract for my job is almost over and I'm not sure yet if I'll have more work and end up staying in Melbourne, but either way I'm filled with this optimism and energy right now that I had been missing for a long time, and for this reason I'm so excited to start 2018!