2019 Highlights

Happy new year, my lovelies! 2019 is over, so brace yourselves for many bad jokes involving 2020 vision for the next few months.

January is generally thought to be named for the Roman god, and my namesake, Janus. Associated with thresholds and transitions, Janus is usually depicted as a two-faced god, with each face looking in a different direction, the past and the future. So January was thought to have been a time of reflection upon the past and the future in ancient times, as a threshold between the two. While New Year’s day was certainly sacred to Janus, it is more likely that January was named for Juno, but I like the imagery of Janus, and of reflecting upon past and future, as something very much a part of January.

2019 was a busy year for me in the background, but not so much on the art front, a theme that has carried forward from the last few years and that I am aiming to change this year. I’m not going to try, and likely fail, to make any enormous changes, but some slow and steady ones that will hopefully mean posting more blogs for you to enjoy. And with that little bit of reflection on the future out of the way, let’s have a look at 2019:

Demon Tales

Book cover for Demon Tales by Bruce W. Johnson. © Janice Duke

In 2019 I had the pleasure and privilege to start working with new and talented author, Bruce W. Johnson, on his first book of short stories, Demon Tales. The first in his Demons series, Demon Tales is a well paced and diverse selection of stories that makes for a very entertaining read, and I can tell you now that the next two books are even better! I am already working on more covers for Bruce and looking forward to reading what he’s working on next! Watch this space.

Daimonic Essence

It has been in the works for quite some time, but the artwork and draft for Daimonic Essence were completed in 2019. Fully illustrated by yours truly for Dana Varahi, the book is now on the final straight to a completed proof to be approved by the author and publisher and then will be released later this year. A book about essential oils, incense and plant mythology, it is a labour of love by both the author and myself and we really hope it is enjoyed.

Actually participating in Inktober

I have been trying, and failing, to get my arse in gear and be involved in Inktober for a few years now. Last year was my best attempt so far and has inspired me to do and show more sketches here. I can be a bit too perfectionist and this is a creativity nightmare, but I found Inktober forced me to show work I otherwise wouldn’t have and this made me feel less anxious about letting you all see more of the rough work-in-progressy stuff. We’ll see how I do this year.

Leaving Social Media

Impress Yourself

Probably the biggest highlight of 2019 for me was finally leaving social media. I’m not going to preach it at you as “the only way to the one true awesome living your best life salvation utopia”, but I feel significantly more calm, content and focussed, and I have no desire to go back there, lose those feelings and start chasing fake validation again. So it’s not that leaving social media is “That One Weird Trick” that will make you happy forever and ever, it’s more that not being on there, for me at least, is a better foundation for building my happiness up from.

Is there anything you feel particularly proud of from 2019 and anything you’re really looking forward to in 2020? Let me know in the comments.

7 comments

  1. Still have to do a highlights of 2019. Just have not had the time. I have a friend whose first husky was called Duke, lovely dog he was. Glad you are getting your art on covers of books. That must feel like quite the accomplishement… Hope you will have an even more successful 2020

    • Thank you, I hope so too! Will you pick a favourite Metal Monday song for your 2019 Highlights? Could be a challenge 😉 Duke seems like a cool name for a husky, they’re gorgeous animals. Hope you have a great 2020 as well!

      • Might do the metal favorite as part of the highlight post yeah. It is gonna be a hard one to do as i saw two bands live that I have followed over the years as well as some of the older bands i love all released albums in 2019… Heavy successful year for metal🤘🏻

  2. I really must read Bruce Johnson’s work, I keep hearing good things about his books. Definitely a New Year’s resolution for me there! Looking forward to seeing Daimonic Essence completed as well, judging by the pictures we’ve seen so far that’s going to be a real work of art. As for leaving social media I can’t agree more, hopefully in five years or so we’ll all look back and say “remember when everyone was on facepuke? That was a weird time in the history of our species wasn’t it!”. Looking forward to seeing what you do in 2020 🙂

    • Cheers!

      Yeah, I’m already looking back on social media and thinking it was a weird time for me, as I can also look back on the days of message boards and… blogs 😋 and they still seem okay, just a way to share, communicate and have a bit of community. I doubt we’ll look back on social media that way.

      Demon Tales is well worth a read, some really good stories, but Bruce’s best story so far, in my opinion, is in the next collection 😉

      Have a great 2020!

  3. I’m waiting for 2021 for my 2020 jokes, ‘cos hindsight is always 2020🤔

    2019 was a big year for me if I’m honest, particularly on the artistic front🤔
    My dayjob shifted to be more design focused with a healthy dose of illustration – a shift that has done strange wonders for my confidence (I keep discovering things I can do that I assumed were beyond me😅).
    And I got some of my artwork in a local exhibition which was surprisingly exciting🤔
    I actually feel like I’ve been hitting my stride a little😅

    Your illustrations look awesome as always and I love your inktober stuff.

    I’ve always found inktober a great way to loosen up a little and just take a little bit of the pressure of being good off. I’m glad you got to experience that aspect of it and I hope this means a few more sketches make it into your journals😉
    Seriously, I love sketches😲

    Anyway, keep up the amazing work and I’m sure 2020 will be everything you hope it will.

    Happy New Year😃

    • Yup, 2021 is when the 2020 jokes will really take off 🤣

      Very glad 2019 was so good for you! That’s great! I hope you continue to discover things that turn out to not actually be beyond you, I know that feeling very well 😊 Onwards and upwards! Looking forward to seeing more from you 😁

      More sketches will be coming. Inktober really got me looking at how much I was worrying about losing likes and followers by posting content that wasn’t “perfect” or thematically consistent, posting “too much” and how much that feeling sucked the creativity out of me. It’s also been stopping me writing more thoughtful posts and being more playful. If people want to stop following me for experimenting and having opinions… well they might want to reconsider following creatives at all 😂 We’re experimental, opinionated weirdos, it’s what we do, damnit 😋

      Happy new year! I hope 2020 is as awesome for you as it can be!

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