Sunday, December 31, 2023

2023 Wrap Up

Welcome to my 2023 wrap up, and what a year it's been! First, the opportunity for people to make a living doing commercial art for the entertainment industry took a real hit this year. From 10% of videogames jobs being eliminated to the strikes that caused VFX and animation artists to be laid off, it's been a sucky year. While it would be nice to define a single silver bullet that's causing all this turmoil, it's likely a half dozen factors, from high interest rates to company consolidation to genAI to good old greed. I suspect it will be years for a new normal to emerge.

All that being said, I've had to remind myself that no matter what happens to my industry, I can't let it affect my love of making artwork. It would be horrible for my creative spirit to be crushed by a world in chaos. So in 2024, it's going to be all about making projects that matter to me, and finding more ways to get it out to my audience.

2023 included 2 conventions, a bunch of speaking engagements (Lightbox being particularly awesome), teaching a college class, & a major focus on my ink sketches, culminating in the release of my third book: "Neil Blevins Sketchbook: Vol 1: Spaceships". I think a lot of this analog drawing was a reaction to the worry about genAI, it was nice to return to my traditional roots and create some tangible art. I will continue to sketch, but other projects are going to take priority in 2024. Finally 2023 saw my first job in the Tech Industry, working at Duality Robotics, where I've been helping create virtual environments in unreal engine to train real life robot brains. It's been a fascinating challenge, and I'm working with a great group of people.

So what's coming in 2024? First, my most popular project by far has been the book "Megastructures: The Visual Encyclopedia", sold out for almost a year. I've received 100s of emails asking when it might be reprinted. So in early 2024 I'll be doing a brand new Kickstarter to see if I can get enough presales (you can't print just a few, they need to be printed in bulk) for a 2nd printing.

My second focus is figuring out how best to engage with my audience. Social Media has eroded over the past several years, the days of organic reach and even paid reach for art are now pretty much over. It is so frustrating knowing there are people who have asked to follow my art, but they don't see my posts because the algorithm isn't interested. 2024 will include some experiments in how best to get my work out there, along with of course a bunch of new art to show.

Thanks again for all of you following along in 2023, thanks to everyone who bought my sketchbook, thanks for all your comments, every positive interaction is a gift I cherish. And to all those of you out there who are professional artists and have been laid off & are looking for work, may you be swiftly re-employed, and may we all find that spark that let's us make 2024 a comeback year! Love you all!

My top 9 most liked images from 2023:

Saturday, December 30, 2023

Favorite Spaceship Sketches of 2023

Continuing my favorites of 2023, here's my personal favorite spaceship doodles. Which are yours? Check out my spaceship sketchbook for more:

Friday, December 29, 2023

Favorite Robot Head Sketches of 2023

As another year comes to a close, have some "favorites of 2023" to post over the next few days. Up first are my favorite robot head sketches of 2023.

Monday, December 18, 2023

December Doodle Roundup

My December doodling. Next week will be a best of the year roundup.

Friday, December 8, 2023

CCA Class

Yesterday was the last class of the semester at CCA where I've been teaching adjunct, the students presented their capstone projects which were virtual experiences made in Unreal. All the projects were fantastic, the students did a great job. Congrats to all, you learned so much in such a short period of time! A few pics!

Saturday, December 2, 2023

French Megastructure book is here!

Growing up in Montreal, I was surrounded by French media, so I'm pleased the first translation of my Megastructure book is into French. Got my copy today, they did a fantastic job. Some art here from myself, Col Price, Andy Proctor, and Ken Fairclough