Last February, a former co-worker contacted me about creating an adult coloring book celebrating the centennial of National Parks for Sierra Club. “You do illustration too, right?” Well.. uh.. yes? I’ve always loved to draw and paint but in my adult life I’ve always treated that skill as more of a hobby than a way to make money. To be honest, most drawings I’ve made in my adult life were done on cocktail napkins. As in, I’m pretty good at it, but not good enough for people to pay me to do it.

I decided to give it a try by doing a sample illustration of the Half Dome at Yosemite National Park and it took me at least eight hours. In one drawing I was talking myself into being capable of illustrating professionally, making decisions on how to turn a giant rock into a bunch of little shapes that can be colored in, and how I can use lines and line weight to inform the user where one thing ends and another begins. It was a little intimidating.

The project was approved to move forward. As I progressed with the illustrations, I became faster at choosing the right shapes to represent the varied landscapes. My fastest illustration was done in three hours.

I hope that 2017 will bring illustration into the forefront of my creative endeavors, whether its for personal work or professional. One thing is for sure, drawing is nothing like riding a bike. It’s easy to get rusty and doubt every stroke of your pencil. So I’m making it a goal to draw something (even just a doodle) at least once every week of 2017. And yeah, sometimes that means drawing Minions with crayons while my son sits on my lap watching the Minions movie for the umpteenth time that week.