13 January 2023

2022 December Roundup

It's a fabulously cloudy morning as I begin typing this. My favorite kind of weather (if it's not going to properly rain, snow, or storm!) ☁️ I'm listening to the Disney Goes Classical album that Spotify recommended to me; it starts out with the overture from Mary Poppins, so I've got goosebumps all over, ha ha.

I'm trying something different in 2023 with these roundup posts. (Happy New Year, by the way! 🎆) They've been taking far too long to compose, so I'm limiting how much I write and how many photos I post for each topic. I hope that not only will this allow me to share the same ideas in less time (time that could be spent creating new stories in word and image!) but that you, my readers, will enjoy the faster clip, as well. That said, let's try it out!

Patreon Rewards

I sent the rest of the six Inktober rewards in December 😄 You can read more about it on Patreon. And if you'd like to get my illustrations in your mailbox, you can sign up there, too! You can choose between a monthly postcard, a set of three postcards, a print, or a print AND three postcards. Patrons don't just get rewards, they are directly funding my storytelling work! They are truly members of Studio Mikarts and my most precious audience 🥰


Click here to view and comment on deviantART.

I'm only a year behind on posting to dA now! 😂 I've uploaded several pieces from 2022 recently, but this is my proudest, my birthday gryphon illustration. I'm still sending this one out as a birthday card to friends and family through the first half of this year. I plan to create a new birthday card illustration at around the same time of year as this one was done. Then my people will all receive the new design on their special days 😊 You can buy this as a greeting card, print, or dozens of other things on Fine Art America. Birthday shower curtain, anyone?

Gryphia Progress

It may not seem like much, but I'm actually quite proud of the two days' writing work I managed to squeeze in during December's holiday and birthday madness (I have six birthdays to celebrate! 🥳). To be honest, I was really struggling mentally with everything I had to do. So being able to sit down, two mornings in a row, and make good progress on chapter seven was a huge win! I don't have any major interruptions to my regular schedule until March, so I'm looking forward to finishing up this roundup post and getting back to writing my novel!

Art Livestreaming

This is another area where I was proud of myself for keeping up with it during the end-of-year madness. It would have only been too easy to just give up and take the whole month off. That is to say, it would have been easy if livestreaming was still as disheartening as it was a few months ago. Things had changed by the beginning of December. I have been honored for months now by a dedicated viewer (hello, Exie~!!) who I look forward to chatting with every stream, and I was shocked to be notified that I qualified for Twitch Affiliate status, as well!

Being offered affiliate was not only a boost to my confidence--an affirmation that I've been doing the right things in my off-beat way--but I had two folks subscribe to my channel on my very first affiliate stream 🥰💕 I'm so glad I stuck to it when things were looking so bleak mid-year; now I'm looking forward to growing my channel and sharing my art with more people!

Charity Fundraising

My featured charity in December was The Protego Foundation. I had only recently learned of their work using the power of the Harry Potter fandom to encourage positive change for animals through veganism (from the Harry Potter Vegan Cookbook! which I reviewed in November) and because Harry Potter always comes to my mind during the holiday season, it seemed like a great fit.

My fundraising challenge uses the number of unique viewers per month to determine how much I will donate. I give $0.10 USD per viewer, with a minimum of $10 and a max of $100. I had 15 unique viewers in December, so I made a $10 donation to The Protego Foundation!

Mika's Monthly...

As mentioned at the beginning of this post, I'm trying something new in my presentation of these roundups. I considered cutting this section altogether, but I like giving these recommendations, not only as a way to share what's been going on in my life, but because I think they could inspire and enrich, even lengthen, the creative lives of anyone who decides to try them. One's creative life is not separate from everything else one does, after all! But I want this blog to focus on my creative endeavors, and until now, these recommendations were taking half the time and space--a bit too much. I hope this new presentation will work better all around 😊 

As always, I'm not in any way being compensated for these promotions, they're just honest recommendations from me ❤️

...Workout 🏃‍♀️ I finished the YMCA Christmas Run again this year. Running is such an easy sport to get into, and it's a full-body workout, so you get a lot of bang for your buck. There's nothing so fun as running a themed race with a few hundred (or thousand!) other people!

...Vegan Victuals 🌮 Try the "Taco Bell Cheesy Gordita Crunch" recipe from the Vegan Fast Food cookbook (which I happily received for Christmas). So good my mouth is watering just remembering these amazing tacos 🤤 

Mmm...soft crunchy vegan tacos...

...Book 🐲 The Hobbit audiobook as read by Andy Serkis. This is my favorite book of all time to start, then adding Andy Serkis's excellent narration, let's just say I started his reading of The Fellowship of the Ring immediately after! You can read my full review (which is relatively short) here on The StoryGraph.

...Show 🤶 The Santa Clauses on Disney+ was pleasantly surprising! I grew up watching The Santa Clause, and I still watch it every year, but I have a well-founded distrust of sequels made decades later. This show therefore exceeded my expectations, didn't disappoint in the least; it was hilarious, wacky, and magical. I'll definitely be watching it again next holiday season!

...Game 🤓 My husband had kickstarted this game and received it in October, but it wasn't until December that we finally played it. Um, Actually... The Game of Nerdy Corrections is a hilarious game that we played with my siblings during the holidays and it was enthusiastically requested multiple times. It's a great party game--pure fun, no stress--that I think anyone will enjoy!

...Music 🎄 It's out of season now, but all month I listened almost exclusively to my new Christmas favorites playlist on Spotify. It's full of the Christmas albums and soundtracks that I absolutely love. I recommend listening straight through (not on shuffle) because one album is a reading of How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

Other News: 2023 Goals

Finally, I'd like to share with you the goals I set for myself on January 1st this year (using my Jibun Techo planner, which is new to and absolutely perfect for me~) both as a topic of interest and as a form of accountability! I will check in at the end of the year and report on how things went 😊

  • Career 🎨 I will create 12 new, large, full-color illustrations.
  • Education 💮 I will sit and pass the JLPT N2 exam.
  • Finances 💸 I will make, rather than buy, birthday & holiday gifts.
  • Health 💤 I will go to bed on time on work nights.
  • Hobbies 🎮 I will play Animal Crossing every day.
  • Travel 🛳️ I will cruise around Japan with my husband.
  • Family 👩‍🍳 I will host seasonal family dinners.
  • Relationships 💌 I will send a card or letter every week.
  • Reading 📚 I will read & review at least 26 books.

And that's it for December's roundup! It only took me half the time it usually does, so I'm rather looking forward to checking in again next month, and sharing all the progress I'll be making in my creative career journey. Thank you for reading! 🥰