Happy Birthday to me! Today is the day I say goodbye to 22 and so I thought I would take a moment to reflect on what magical year it has been. Firstly, I feel like I should make it clear that this post has been pre-scheduled. Don't worry, I'll be spending my Birthday drinking wine and eating cake not writing blog posts.
I'll be looking forward to the year ahead in just a moment but first here are 10 amazing things I experienced whilst I was 22...
illustration by Ashley Le Quere
Holidaying In Malaga
My new age kicked off in the best way possible as a flew out for a week away in Malaga with a group of my oldest friends. The week was spent drinking Sangria, practising synchronised swimming routines, singing karaoke in Scottish pubs, playing with inflatables in the pool, eating all the tapas and baking ourselves in the sun. It was amazing and I am a little sad that I won't be back there with all of them this year.
Moving To Dundee
About a fortnight after getting back from Malaga, I moved in with one of my best friends (who also came on the holiday) in Dundee. Whilst Glasgow will always be my home, I have grown to love Dundee too. Coming from a much bigger city, it does feel small but this isn't always a bad thing. It already has lots to offer and with the new V&A opening soon I am looking forward to moving back. Plus, I am planning a special mini series of blog posts to celebrate the city and mark the V&A's grand opening next month.
Starting at Art School
Of course, I didn't just move up to Dundee for the hell of it - I moved to start studying illustration at DJCAD. And from my very first day I knew it was 100% the right decision. Everything about DJCAD was welcoming from the very start and I very quickly felt at home in my new studio surrounded by my future friends. I wrote a whole article for Inkygoodness on the joys of my first day at Art School which you can read here.
Illustration by Lily Kong
Working With Inkygoodness
During my first year at art school, I was also back writing for Inkygoodness - it's been a busy old year! From articles about graphic-inspired fashion, Instagram trends and illustrated ceramics to more personal pieces about my experiences as an art student and thoughts on mental health, I wrote about all sorts and loved being back where my blogging career began.
My Monthly Favourites Series
The Headless Greg blog has had a funny old year. It lost it's way for a while (so much so that I had to have a rethink that you can read about here) but it's now back on track. With my commitments to Inkygoodness and art school course work taking priority, there were far too many quiet spells over here. One series however which I have continually created and am very proud of is my illustrated monthly favourites. Not only do I generally enjoy recording the things I have been loving recently but the series has also been a great opportunity for me to practise my illustration skills outside of uni too.
Near the beginning of our second semester, I visited Amsterdam for a week with some of my classmates where I met the friendly creature above in one the city's many amazing museums. It was organised through the uni but ended up basically being another holiday with friends. That said, we did soak up lots of culture by visiting the many museums when we weren't at the zoo or eating our body-weight in chips and mayonnaise. Amsterdam is a city you could never really get bored of so I would love to go back again one day!
Seeing Sam Smith In Concert
In March, I saw one of my all time favourite singers and ultimate celebrity crush Sam Smith in concert. The show was filled with dramatic staging, outfit changes, questionable dancing and, of course, unbelievable vocals. My favourite part of the concert was when Sam sang HIM and the entire audience was lit up with rainbow lights, bringing us all together for a glorious moment of pure pride.
Finishing My First Year At Art School
Surprisingly early in the year, I completed my first year at art school. I want to dedicate an entire post to all the things I have loved about to art school along with the many things I have learnt so that'll be on it's way very soon. In short, the projects I was set and the people I met made it an unforgettable year and I can't wait for the next 2!
Showing My Pride
Whilst it was just a drop in the ocean of the amazing amount of pride support shown this year, I was proud of my little Pride themed blog series. With my list of LGBTQ+ Artists and Pride Favourites in particular I aimed to highlight the invaluable creative contributions the LGBT community are adding to society. I didn't delve into my own experiences this time round but there is plenty of time for that in future.
Redesigning Headless Greg
And finally my most recent highlight of being 22 have been redesigning Headless Greg. Everything from the all new portfolio to the altered blog layout makes it feel much more like a site which is in keeping with my current tastes as a designer. Every inch of this shiny new space makes me excited to use it to it's full potential and that's exactly what I intend on doing now I am 23.
As I say goodbye to being 22, I am obviously waving hello to 23. I did a similar post to this last year in which I rounded up my highlights from 21 and set some goals for 22. In some way, I achieved all of the goals in last year's post so I thought I would do the same this year.
Here are 5 things I would like to achieve whilst I am 23...
Open An Online Store
Opening a little online store of my own has been a dream of mine for quite some time now and I am determined to make it a reality this year. Being completely honest, I planned to open a shop earlier in the Summer but some how my many months off of uni have flown by without me doing so. My first collection is now on it's way though and I'll be sharing an update on it's creation very soon.
Think Like An Illustrator
So my second goal for the year ahead isn't so much something I want to achieve and tick off a list as it is a new mindset I want to adopt. Going into my next semester of studying, I want to think of myself as an illustrator who is studying rather than an illustration student. This might seem like a fine line but I think it is an important one. Whilst I am of course still learning, I do have skills which I could be using to get work in the real world. I have friends at uni who already think this way and it has allowed them to win commissions and take part in exhibitions and with the help of a slight adjustment in attitude, I hope to do the same.
Write For New Places
Writing regularly for Inkygoodness and the Headless Greg blog as well as going to art school, didn't really leave much time to seek out new publications to write for. Going forward however, I am going to make the time. If there is one thing I have learnt about freelancing, it is that getting stagnant or overly comfortable is the enemy. I need to keep networking and growing my portfolio by writing for new places and meeting new creative people. I would love to combine my 2 big passions and write more pieces that can be accompanied by my own illustration too!
Stay On Top Of Social Media
This one is something I am always saying but I have never written it in a goals-themed blog post so maybe that will make the difference. I love connecting with other creative through Instagram and Twitter but it is something I have always struggled to work into my routine. I can go weeks without posting and then the longer you leave it the harder it is to go back. I just need to keep in mind how much I do enjoy engaging in the platforms and hopefully that will encourage me to stay on top of things. Plus, I recently start a new Instagram for design work (@headlessdesigns in case you were wondering) so I really need to make it more of a priority - not posting on this many accounts is just silly.
My final goal for the year is something I would ideally like to do a bit of every year - travelling abroad! So many of my best highlights from my 20's so far have been abroad. Between briefly living in Barcelona, travelling around France, holidaying in Spain and visiting Amsterdam, I have made some amazing memories abroad and hope to make some more over the next 12 months. There is still an endless list of places I would like to visit and I hope to tick at least one off before I turn 24!
I love writing (and reading) posts like this! I know they are a little self indulgent but I think it is important to stop every so often, look back, take stock of your achievements and revel in your memories for a moment. I have nothing overly profound to say about being 22 other than it has been the happiest year of my life. I have never felt more confident and content with who I am than I have in the past year. Mindful of this, I go in to 23 hoping it will be even better!