2020 In Review

2020 In Review


Looking back, I remember setting pretty high expectations for 2020. After all, it was a celebration to an end of a decade, and I had high hopes for what I would accomplish in my day job, lettering gigs, and athletic achievements.

Now that we’ve reached the end of the first year of this new decade (which seemed to be never-ending at some points) I’ve come to realize a few things: 1) never set high expectations for anything, and 2) every year can be unique and special in its own way, so just embrace it.

Nothing turned out the way I expected in 2020. But thankfully I can still pick out moments I’m proud of that are worth highlighting in this year’s Year in Review.

Here’s are my quarterly highlights:

January-March: Attended Outdoor Retailer Winter Snow Show 2020 ✅

April-June: Reignited my love for side projects ✅

July-September: Commissioned work for Lululemon ✅

October-December: Launched SF Bakery Ride and raised $ for Outride ✅

Q1. Outdoor Retailer

The only conferences I’ve attended in the past were design or tech related. So when I got the opportunity to attend the Outdoor Retailer Winter Snow Show in January I was stoked and also terrified.

OR is a huge showcase for outdoor brands to market their latest gear and apparel to buyers around the world. It’s like CES but for the outdoor industry, where business deals are made and experts in the retailer space get together to discuss latest trends and challenges. Not really a place for an illustrator like me to “network” and lock in gigs. But it was an incredible opportunity to get a peek at what some of my dream clients really care about, including sustainability, representation, and equity.

I went there solo, not expecting to know a single person at the entire conference. But luckily I also got to meet a few incredible people in person including Chris Burkard, Corey Rich, and Jen Gurecki. Oh and my work was also blown up and used throughout the event to promote one of their events which was pretty dope. 🤘


Q2. Make Art for Art’s Sake

I mentioned earlier I had set high expectations for 2020. At the beginning of the year I came up with a huge list of all the outdoor brands I wanted to work with. But then came the pandemic, the series of social justice movements, and a ton of other dumpster fires and my motivation to seek client gigs went out the window.

But instead, my motivation for making art for art’s sake was reignited. With my evenings and weekends freed up, I had more time to experiment, sketch out ideas and make work that excites me. I did block printing for the first time and made postcards to send to friends and family. I came up with fake projects to improve my branding skills. I also partnered up with my favorite local ice cream store (@gardencreamery) for a fun sticker project to celebrate National Ice Cream Day.

I also discovered my newfound love for photography. I’m no expert, and all my photos are just taken on my phone. But as I began to spend more time outdoors to clear my head, I also started to notice the beautiful scenery around me and photography became a fun way to capture those moments. 📸

Q3. Dream Clients Do Come True

I remember hearing the phrase “be ready when the big leagues call” on Scotty Russell’s podcast year ago, and it rang true when I landed my client gig this summer with Lululemon.

It had been a year since I rebranded and buckled down on my mission to primarily focus on working with health and fitness brands, and I felt like the stars had aligned when I was asked to work on a project for their annual SeaWheeze Marathon event.


It was an opportunity for me to combine all my skills from project management to digital illustration, with my learnings from past failures of underestimating timelines to miscommunicating expectations, to make this thing work. And needless to say, it was the smoothest and most fulfilling client project I’ve done in my 4 years of freelancing. 🙌

Q4. Ride Bikes. Eat Bread.

My biggest accomplishment of 2020 is launching my passion project, SF Bakery Ride. It was a way for me to combine my love for cycling and supporting small businesses by creating an online guide with fun illustrations that would get more people to ride bikes and discover local bakeries.

When I started the project, I remember telling myself I’d be happy if I could inspire just one person to pick up their bike and visit a local bakery. Instead, within less than 3 months of launching I saw over 150 people complete the 30-mile, 9-stop bakery ride challenge that I created and many more complete shorter rides to visit these stores.

And to top it off, these efforts ended up supporting an awesome cause for Outride, a local nonprofit that’s on a mission to improve youth cycling programs nationwide.

This project helped me realize that amazing things can happen when you combine good food, good exercise, and good company. And I’m excited to continue expanding this work in 2021. ✌️

I’m also trying something new by compiling a list of favorites from this year…

Favorite Moments:

  • Driving under a hot air balloon during my solo road trip from SF -> SEA

  • Completing my first century ride around Marin Country and Tomales Bay

  • Sneaking a shot of the Golden Gate Bridge at the perfect moment when a random cyclist happened to ride by

  • Riding around the perimeter of San Juan Island and saying hello to this adorable and itchy alpaca

Favorite Podcast Interviews:

Favorite Lessons:

  • Give yourself time to be bored. The best ideas come to you when you have time and space to think in your own thoughts.

  • Be in it for the long game. And that game should be constant improvement.

  • Don’t just steal the style. Steal the thinking behind it.

  • Focus on the things you can control.

Grateful for all the people I was supported by this year and the lessons that came from the challenges we faced. Here’s to setting zero expectations for 2021, and hope everyone has a safe and healthy new year! 🥂


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