It was…. a year.
While posting the above #ArtvsArtist collage to Instagram I already mentioned that for the most part it absolutely sucked. 2022 was absolutely like “You thought the Pandemic sucked? Hold my beer!”. Witnessing my what-I-thought-of-as-my-second-home-country viciously and brutally attack my home country was not something I ever expected to ever experience. My brain had a hard time finding a way to process it. I have barely drawn this year, it felt absolutely pointless to try, and I almost felt like I lost the ability to do it at some point.
BUT… despite the overwhelming shittyness not everything was bad. Some things were even absolutely amazing. That’s why a longer review is due. And now that I have a blog again I have the space to write about this year for as long as I like. I want to celebrate the things I did draw (look, silly brain, what I still CAN do!) and other moments that reminded me how precious everything is.
But first of all:
2022 already started in a bad mental space for me. After 2 years of full-time freelancing I felt like my career was not going where I wanted it to go. And after me and my dear friend Vera (check her out, she’s amazing) had high hopes to make our project “Dressed” come to life with the help of THU Sony Talent League (a contest/mentorship for cool art projects) we lost the last vote and this hope was gone forever, because the age limit for this contest is 35 (and I am now an ancient grandma of 36 and when you’re this old you’re supposed to have life figured out and not need help from mentors and big companies to make your projects come to life, apparently).
Anyways, that did not work out and was exactly that last drop that pushed me over the edge to be absolutely sure that my work is shit and nobody in the world needs it. It sounds silly looking back, but my mind went into very dark places.
Here’s a comic I drew during this time and never shared anywhere because it felt too dark:
Slowly I crawled out a bit and decided that social media is not helping me in any way when I feel this bad. Everyone seems to be so productive and growing and going places career-wise (of course I don’t fucking know if they actually do, but it sure looks like it when you look at it on Instagram from inside a black blob that you are stuck in).
So that was actually the birth moment of this blog. I was thinking about starting blogging again for a while now, but now I finally started to work on it. I worked on the design and started drawing the overambitious header you see on top now.
The long post looking back on my 10+ years of blogging and emo blog designs was also created in this blissful time when I thought my mind being mean to me was the worst that can happen. Haha, how cute I was.
Then February 24th happened and this was the last thing I have drawn for a looooong while:
I spent the first week or two just reloading the news feed on my phone and talking to my family sometimes. Some extended family members and friends were fleeing Ukraine and my parents took them in in their house. My grandma decided to stay, no matter how hard we tried to convince her otherwise. I’m trying to skype with her almost every day, I can’t imagine how lonely she must feel at times. But I am also impressed how brave this woman is.
At some point I stopped reloading the news all day because it did not help me or anybody else. I got involved with helping refugees arriving here in Hamburg, mostly with translating things and German bureaucracy (=FUN!!). Seeing the desperate and exhausted people arriving on trains, carrying all the belongings they could take, clinging to their kids and pets, was absolutely devastating. I stood with some of them in the cold in a line before the “Welcome center” for hours only to hear that the office will not see most of them this day (and probably the next ones) because of their short working hours. But I have also seen how many people volunteered to help with their things, money, time and homes.
After a while I had to step back a bit because it was mentally exhausting and I could not do any work at all. I am still helping out here and there occasionally, but I feel bad for not doing more.
In terms of art looking back I am thankful that there were some projects I agreed to do and they basically forced me to do something. Otherwise the image above would still be the last one and this blog post would be much shorter.
I had a big project I had to work on, which I can not show you anything from yet. But thankfully it was postponed for a bit and it was part of a team, otherwise I would not have made it.
Also I did a live stream for Clip Studio Paint (my favorite art software, I’m not paid to say that) where I started this artwork:
I was also incredibly honored to be a part of “The Field Guide To Witches”, a gorgeous art book with interpretations of legendary witches and magical women by 20 different artists.
Even better: I could pick my absolute favorite witch, even a “role model” somewhat, Baba Yaga.
She is THE witch of eastern European folklore and I grew up with fairytales, movies and cartoons about her. In the stories for kids she was mostly a classic baddie, often silly and ridiculous. But as I am growing older (as we have established I am a grandma now by modern artist standards), my fascination for her also grows and I have learned that she is a much more multi-faceted being with deep symbolism rooted in ancient legends. She is the mother of the forest/the forest itself, the threshold between the world of the living and the dead and she can be deadly or supportive depending on who approaches her.
Basically, Christianity did her dirty… as it did with many other legendary beings of the world’s cultures.
I am beyond proud of the artworks for this book. I enjoyed both the drawing process I chose for them, but also the results. Seeing them printed in such a beautiful book was the perfect cherry on top.
If you want to see some more behind the scenes images, check out this post.
Another great thing was the Superhero Project, a non-profit supporting kids with illnesses and disabilities by gifting them superhero posters of themselves painted by volunteer artists.
I got to make a poster for E.J., a boy with tons of passions and interests and a super cute doggo.
For the look I tried to color it in a way that it could have been from both an anime or Steven Universe, but in my own style. I really like how it turned out.
I also got to make some really cool ticket/poster illustrations:
By that point (we’re somewhere close to the end of the year now in my art timeline) I felt like I wanted to draw again. Unfortunately when I did, I felt rusty AF, but the need was there. And I missed it so much!
So going back to my “therapeutic art” I hated on the omnipresent AI “art”:
Looked at a darker part of my childhood memories:
And remembered the early 2000s:
After feeling like I lost it, it’s good to look back and see all the art I still did. Sure, it could have been more and I wish I had been stronger, seeing how people in much worse life circumstances than mine (like actually LIVING IN A WAR and not just hearing/reading about it from the people involved) are still working and creating.
But I love each and every one of my silly drawings for helping me stay sane and reminding me that I am really an artist. I know, I should not doubt that, but the dark blob inside me sometimes does.
I am especially happy about making some progress on personal projects, like finally publishing this blog, so I can spam you with long ass posts like this one.
I also worked on my baby Crimson Crush (it’s a very long “pregnancy” where I sometimes forget about the baby for months and then have to remember how this whole baby thing works before finally birthing it…. this was not a good analogy, right? XD). Next year you will finally be able to read it, pinky swear! (Disclaimer: I’m saying this optimistically thinking that the end of the world is NOT coming yet in 2023, if I’m wrong I don’t want to be held accountable to draw comics while living in a Mad Max like wasteland and contemplating whether I should eat my cats or not.)
If you’re curious about the progress, before everywhere else I will post it on
(Which means I will also post it here, but with locked content exclusively for Patrons)
Btw. I’ve said it a lot already, but still:
My Patrons, you rock!! Thank you so much for believing in me and my art! You are the bestest! 💖
Now you thought this post was over, right? Haha, nope. We still have:
While making art mostly felt torturous, outside was when I felt best this year. The photo above was taken during a camping weekend with friends where me and my boyfriend went by bike, all the tiny distance 50-something kilometers, which was surprisingly awesome.
A friend invited us for a group hangout in her family’s house in Switzerland and we made a ton of “short hikes” that always turned into ridiculously long hikes. I learned that Dr.Marten’s are NOT hiking shoes, mountains are f*cking awesome and cheese fondue is the best, especially after a “short hike” somewhere on a mountain.
But who needs words when you can have a ton of photos?
After returning to Germany we bought proper hiking boots. So this year we definitely need to plan more “short hikes”! Especially since my mind actually calms down when I’m in awe looking at gorgeous nature, sweating my sunscreen off or freezing, or both.
Speaking of freezing: Last year it suddenly snowed at the end of March.
But it melted almost immediately. Still, it felt surreal.
We also planned (and did) a 4-day long train trip from home to the Trojan Horse Was A Unicorn event in Portugal, going through France and Spain. It was an epic adventure that deserves it’s own blog post! (which I will totally write one day)
Btw. “we” is mostly me and my boyfriend/partner … the first term sounds like I’m 15 and the second like we’re planning to rob a bank, I kinda dislike both, ARGH! Anyways: me and Markus, the sweet human I share an apartment and two cats with. He has been such a great support throughout this year, even when I was surrounded by the black blob of sad, I can’t thank him enough.
But also, speaking of cats…
Who am I kidding trying to type some meaningful text? Here are tons of photos of our adorable fluffy sooth demons Luna & Nubis:
Too many? NEVER.
They have been a good source of both sanity and insanity this year, which are both useful when you need to get out of your head.
Bonus: Some outfits I liked from 2022
And that’s it!
Looking just at the photo feed on my phone it feels like the year was actually pretty great. The time I spent with friends, my partner, my cats and my house plants were amazing, no matter how dark the clouds on my mind were. I am incredibly lucky to have all of that around me, especially now that it became even more painfully obvious how quickly one can lose this beautiful, mundane life.
I hope for 2023 that I can be stronger, give in to my darkness less and appreciate more. ❤
What did you take away from 2022?
If you happened to write some absurdly long year review post, feel free to drop a link in the comments!
onward into the new year!
Asu Rocks ❤