Ornithoblogical Follow-Up

I've decided to periodically check back in with some folks who have completed their 365 projects...

Anna Raff made 365 birds over the course of 2010 in her Ornithoblogical project...

  I like this first one because there actually was a Hurricane Earl that was supposed to slam into the East coast in September. He kind of puttered out, so this probably wound up being funny only to me.

What are the biggest lessons/skills you learned from doing your project? I never thought about how the project would evolve, but that was quite surprising. There was definitely an arc as the year progressed, and the work improved. Somewhere around May (I started Ornithoblogical on January 1, 2010 roughly), I think I hit my stride, and it's real character emerged. It became a blog not just about bird illustrations, but one that involved a lot of word play and puns.

These guys were kind of effortless—meaning, they sort of drew themselves, and I think that shows in the piece. That's often what I'm striving for

In what ways did the project change your life? Probably one of the best skills I gained was in time management. I had made a commitment to do the blog for a year without missing a day, as a way to force myself to draw more. A large part of my time was spent brainstorming to keep ahead of the calendar, and I found I could do that anywhere. I've never been one of those illustrators who regularly keeps a sketchbook, and ideas would interject themselves anywhere—usually somewhere inconvenient—like the shower, which is not a place where I would ever have a sketchbook. I developed some systems. (I also learned about the beauty of the "scheduled post," which made vacations much more plausible.)

This was a complicated idea (for me), and I like it because it pretty much came out the way I saw it in my head.

Now what? Although my initial intention was to finish the blog at the end of 2010, it has continued, but not on a daily basis. I've been on a bit of a hiatus for the last two months, due mostly to the volume of my other work. I guess that makes it a success—I needed a self-promotional tool that included a large body of work to show off my illustration and point of view. And I'm happy to say, it seems to have worked. I'm about to start illustrating a children's book for a publisher who followed my birds for several months.

These last two made it into this year's American Illustration book. Yippee!

See all of Anna's birds HERE.


jasmine said...

Wow these are impressive!

Becca Mulenburg said...

I love your work, Anna. Thank you for sharing your interview.