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Goals and Achievements This Year and Into the Future

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It's coming towards the end of the year where traditionally people will set New Years Resolutions, which ultimately dooms them into failing and feeling bad and we become envious and joyful of those rare few who managed to keep them.

In today's article, we're getting nosey and finding out what people have achieved in 2011 and what they want to do in 2012. Seeing other vector artists goals inspires us to look at what we want to achieve ourselves next year.

Goals and Achievements

Even though "tomorrow" is just another day, we do see the New Year as being a time for fresh starts and the beginning of a year where we like to set ourselves goals to aim for. So let's see what our fellow creatives have achieved in 2011 and see what they plan to do in 2012.

Kate McInnes aka LoungeKat

Q Did you set any goals to achieve in 2011? If so what were they? Did you achieve them? How did you go about this?

My goals were fairly public so I guess they were doomed from the start. I wrote them down here. I did carry business cards around, that one was easy, I just put cards into every bag I ever use. I never had my eyes checked.

Q What would you say has been your favorite achievement of 2011? Why?

Writing my book - Rockstar Icon Design - was a big achievement for me, especially since I never considered myself to be the book writing type. I spent many sleepless nights and and long days working on it, I'm especially proud since I was able to work on three fairly big commercial projects, get my illustration onto a snowboard and work for Tuts+ and GraphicRiver at the same time. I didn't see any of my friends for a while, but I'll get around to that during the holidays. Personally my favorite achievement would be my vegetable garden.

Q Do you have any objectives for 2012? If so what are they? How are you going to go about achieving them?

Not really, this year I have learned that in the world of Illustration and working for Envato anything can happen at any time and usually my plans are replaced with better ones ;)

Iaroslav Lazunov

Q Did you set any goals to achieve in 2011? If so what were they? Did you achieve them? How did you go about this?

My main goal in 2011 was to create a personal web-site dedicated to vector graphics. In May 2011, I created it myself without any professional help.
Vectorboom.com is my web-site (ru.vectorboom.com for Russian-speaking users), there you can find my new tutorials on vector graphics, designing articles, download free vectors and the Gradient Mesh Tormentor(free plug-in to use with Gradient Mesh). There you can also get on-line advice on my tutorials, on working with Adobe Illustrator and plug-ins to it in the Consultation Forum.

Q What would you say has been your favorite achievement of 2011? Why?

My favorite achievement of 2011 is that I became an Astute Graphics Blog contributor. You probably heard about this company, didn't you? It has become world famous due to its plug-ins for Adobe Illustrator. It is Phantasm CS and VectorScribe. For me, this is a unique opportunity to explore new technologies in vector graphics and describe them in my tutorials.

Q Do you have any objectives for 2012? If so what are they? How are you going to go about achieving them?

In 2012, I'll be promoting my website and Astute Graphics products. Work hard, learn new technologies in vector graphics and, of course, share my knowledge with you. I believe that dedicated work will always lead you to set goals, even if these goals will have to be adjusted in the flow of reasons and consequences which we call life.

Jared Nickerson aka J3Concepts

Q Did you set any goals to achieve in 2011? If so what were they? Did you achieve them? How did you go about this?

I wanted to do a lot more personal work for my own sanity. I found that commercial work had been taking almost all my time. Although I enjoy commercial work, I find that personal work is a better way to flex your creative muscle.
I absolutely did NOT achieve my goal. I think for the entire year, I only did about 4 personal pieces.

Q What would you say has been your favorite achievement of 2011? Why?

My favorite achievement of 2011 has to be that I've been able to spend a lot more time on each of my personal pieces that I have finished. I've been able to obtain the high level of detail that I've always been after.
Other achievements from this year include being able to expand my studio space and working with some amazing artists that I've been wanting to collaborate with for a long time.

Q Do you have any objectives for 2012? If so what are they? How are you going to go about achieving them?

My goal for 2011 still stands for 2012. I've also set several goals for other projects I have going, some design-related, some not. I have to mention my music project, as both design related (I've created custom branding for it) and unrelated.

As with most goals, it's more based on taking the time to complete them. That's where I've been struggling. I guess my ultimate goal, then, is to find the time to complete my goals.

Vincent Rhafael Aseo

Q Did you set any goals to achieve in 2011? If so what were they? Did you achieve them? How did you go about this?

One of the goals I had this year was to launch my official website and produce artworks that I've never done before. I worked on it for three months, and after launch date, the result was amazing. Getting featured on magazines; bigger projects and new connections were made.

Q What would you say has been your favorite achievement of 2011? Why?

That would be getting invited for talks and seminars in the finest colleges and universities in the country. It's a big thing because it's a sign that you are already on the map and that people are considering you the best in your field. Though I'm not after status. I feel so lucky and honored at the same time to be an inspiration for others and it's all because of having passion in vectors.

Q Do you have any objectives for 2012? If so what are they? How are you going to go about achieving them?

My goal for 2012 is to push myself further in my craft. The learning never stops, and so I'm looking forward to break new grounds in my art. I wanted to create more videos to share to get people into vectors and collaborate with artists that I admire, landing dream clients and we'll see how it goes from there.

Helen Huang aka CQCat

Q Did you set any goals to achieve in 2011? If so what were they? Did you achieve them? How did you go about this?

I set two goals for 2011. One was to gain more experience as a commercial illustrator. The other was to participate in an art show. And I was lucky enough to achieve both.

So far this year, I did illustrations for 17 book covers, two fully illustrated children's books, and I participated in two Facebook games as a concept artist.

I was selected as a deviantART sponsored artist at Creative LA Art show in June. It was a great experience communicating face to face with art appreciators and other artists in the community. And I also sold out all my pieces at the show. Furthermore, Dreamcatcher will also be included in the Multiversal Miami Group Art show in the coming December.

Q What would you say has been your favorite achievement of 2011? Why?

My favorite achievement of 2011 is growing as a professional commercial illustrator. I've always dreamed of being a professional illustrator and I still can't believe I made it. The sense of achievements is beyond words when I help clients achieve their goals with my creative, illustration solutions.

Q Do you have any objectives for 2012? If so what are they? How are you going to go about achieving them?

I have two new goals for 2012. My first goal is to keep up the commercial illustration work. For year 2011, I've been represented by a professional illustration agency and they helped me land some great clients and awesome projects. I am hoping to keep my good luck in the coming year.

My second goal is to turn my art into merchandise, so people can buy my art on prints, bags and apparel! I am new in this area, so there is a lot to learn about production and marketing. Hopefully you will see me at 2012 Anime Expo and Comic Con!

Cristiano Siqueira aka CrisVector

Q Did you set any goals to achieve in 2011? If so what were they? Did you achieve them? How did you go about this?

Yeah, actually for each year I set some goals to achieve. I use the new years resolution time to think about real goals to achieve and not just the ephemeral promises that people usually make on these days. Of course it's impossible to plan a whole year, step by step. I think the only right thing about this way to plan is that I will fail, so I got some general goals:

  • Have a good start at the UNI course and take it serious.
  • Have my mind open to learn lots of new things and be patient in case of conflicts. (This was an important goal to achieve.)
  • Try to get more illustration jobs for sports.
  • Get a better design for my website.
  • Try to use my time wisely and not spend it much in gaming.
  • Get my apartment's deed.

I think I had more goals to achieve, but these are the ones I remember.

Well, I could achieve some of them, almost all of them actually. Some were impossible because they are something impossible to get just by myself. The apartment's deed, for example. I think I got this achievement, I have the papers done, but I still didn't have time to get them in hand.

I could get more illustrations for sports, this is very good, I expected more. I love to work for sports. I got a better design for my website, I'm OK with the current one. I stopped spending time on gaming, specially the Facebook ones!

The achievements related to UNI, yeah I think I did well. I think it went better than I expected. I'm studying a new area, editorial production, publishing. I'm learning many new things and trying to reach a new level.

About the patience. I'm still learning, but going back to the studies after 12 years was a good thing to do to learn again how to deal with different people.

Q What would you say has been your favorite achievement of 2011? Why?

I think it was the UNI. Getting back to studies after 12 years is not easy. There's the age difference, the problems to find time to study and keep the works going, learn how to deal with different people, working in groups. I had luck because I found some nice people to work with and now they are close friends.

Q Do you have any objectives for 2012? If so what are they? How are you going to go about achieving them?

To be honest I'm still trying to achieve some goals for 2011 and I still didn't think about 2012. Well, maybe I will try to not repeat the same mistakes. I think I still need to learn more of how to use my time wisely. This year, 2011, I had problems to handle all the things and still sleep well, eat well and have a healthy life. I didn't get some goals related to my professional life achieved and I want to try harder in 2012

Setting Personal Goals... Think Corporate

Before I was lucky enough to get into working for myself, I've been in a variety of office jobs and part of this is the culture of having "one to ones". For those who aren't familiar with this practice, it's a monthly/quarterly or even yearly meeting with your line manager, looking over what you've achieved so far in the company and what goals you'd like to set.

One of my last jobs was working in Human Resources and my boss brought out every management cliché in the book; however, one of them has stuck with me and that's "SMART".

SMART is an acronym which stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant/Realistic and Time. By following these you can help plan out a goal. So let's look at this a bit more in depth before I talk about my own goals for an example.

  • Specific: You need to be clear exactly what the goal is. Any sort of confusion could mean deviating and kidding yourself to what the plan would be.
  • Measurable: How is your goal measured? Does your project have a quantity? Is it something you can add a value to measure it or is it actually opinion based? It's often said, if you can't measure it, you can't manage it!
  • Achievable: Can you actually achieve what you've set out to do? It's great to reach for the stars, but realistically some things are out of your reach and failure is set in the cards. As much as I'd love to become the World's Best Gamer, realistically I don't have the time to commit and to be honest, I'm rather bad at first person shooters!
  • Relevant/Realistic: Given the time frame and the resources you have available, is it a realistic challenge to set for yourself? Is the challenge relevant to your master plan? Again, being the World's Best Gamer isn't going to help me improve my workflow or creative skills... actually it would distract me a great deal!
  • Time: This is a very important one, without it the challenge can be open ended and you'd be prone to slacking or putting it off!

After achieving one of the goals I set for myself in 2011 (being represented by an illustration agency), I was advised to expand my portfolio by illustrating objects which we see everyday to show I can do more than pretty portraits. So I set myself a personal project, which was the "Everyday Objects Project".

The plan was to create 26 objects (from A to Z) within a 6 month period. They could be small items by themselves or even parts of an overall illustration... it didn't matter, as long as I created it. So here is what my SMART objectives were for this project:

  • Specific: I'd like to create a selection of "everyday objects" in vector, from a reference image.
  • Measurable: I have a specific project in mind to do an A to Z of objects, which would mean 26 objects in total.
  • Achievable: I can achieve this project. Given it will take a few hours to create on vector, setting it at one per week I will make time to create this. My long term goal is my motivation to keep going.
  • Relevant/Realistic: As it's a non-commercial project and is for my portfolio, I have access to stock on deviantART as well as a camera to take photos of items myself. I also have Adobe Illustrator CS5 at my disposal. I have all the things required for this project. The project would benefit me long term as it would show I am able to vector anything from a stock image.
  • Time: 1 object per week would give me a 26 week time frame. Therefore I aim to finish this project by November 2nd 2011, preferably sooner, but I wont put that pressure on me as it would make it unrealistic.

I posted this on my deviantART journal and even had people suggesting objects to me, the inspirational didn't run dry. However if you look at the list... I managed only 21 out of 26 objects and some of them I was kind of clutching at straws and making them fit into the list. I'm not going to beat myself up about it as I did achieve the majority on the list and even managed to include a lot of them into tutorials you can see here on Vectortuts+.

Conclusion

I asked a variety of people for their goals and achievements to be part of this article. Many people seemed to get distracted by the fact that they don't achieve what they originally set out to do. No one likes to fail but you have to be realistic. We're all human and can be distracted by different things... be it real life throwing us a curve ball or a new opportunity coming our way.

Five years ago my goal for the year was to redesign the workflow for new employees coming in from a sister company. This year it is to redesign my portfolio. It happens. Sometimes goals change as will life.

Over to You

What were your goals in 2011? Did you achieve them? What are you aiming at for 2012?

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