Hedgefield Quarterly Review 2021.2

Hedgefield quarterly review

Hey there! In the Hedgefield Quarterly Review I look back at the work I did in the past three months, both as a diary for myself and a way to consistently update you on what I’m up to. I talk project details, achievements, and the highs and lows of self-employment. Come follow along!

You can find older entries here.

At the start of the month I wrapped up work on the second book from The Recharge Company. They’ve been a longtime client, and this time they bundled all their wisdom to help you get the most out of life. I drew a series of more abstract illustrations and mental models to make the book more visually pleasing to read through.

https://worksmartplaysmart.nl

I was also asked to make another animation for Contronics Dry Misting, which you may remember I created an elaborate animation for last year. This year was their 40th anniversary, and this time they commissioned a motion-graphics-esque video to celebrate their accomplishments.

It wasn’t a style I had worked a lot in before, and the deadline was tight, so I was a little worried, but in the end I managed to bang this thing out in about three or four days, surprising even myself. Pretty pleased with the result!

And for the final project in the work-for-hire category, a local marketing agency asked me to create some comic pages to promote a shoe brand. The scripts were prepared for me, so I could do what I do best and create some cool page layouts and linework. At least, I thought so, turns out the client was too smitten with the tight vector style of the concept mockup made by the agency, and that’s not a style that suits me particularly well. So unfortunately after trying a bunch of designs I had to pass on that one, but hey, that also happens sometimes. I knew drawing honest-to-god comic pages for an ad agency was too good to be true 😉

And of course work for app startup Immer continued as well. We shipped an update that adds reminders, and next quarter there will be a long-awaited update that adds discovery and search, along with a bunch more books, something I’m personally very excited about.

So I think it’s safe to say business is good. And while all of that is fantastic, it was also eating time away from the further development of my game idea that I mentioned last time. And from what time I could put in, I started to get the idea that this was going to be a big undertaking. Like applying-for-funding-and-assembling-a-team big. And then there’s my part-time day job too! So I had to make a decision that I’ve been considering, pondering, and putting off for quite some time now.

I quit my job.

I’ve spent more than five great years doing UX design and branding for Yoast, and it’s been a wonderful safe haven, but faced with all the possibilities in front of me currently, I had to admit that SEO just isn’t where my passion lies. I enjoyed solving the design puzzles it threw at me, and it taught me a ton, but I have no ambition to dive further into that world and master that product or domain. So it was time to move on.

That was a scary decision! And I’m going to miss having my co-designers to bounce around ideas with, but getting to spend more time with the projects I love is already giving me much renewed energy. I look forward to the months to come, getting settled into this crazy new routine, and I’ll take you along for the ride!

Canals of Venice

I’ve yet to visit Venice in person, but it has always held my interest and imagination, so when I could draw a classic Venice canal as a Yoast illustration I jumped at the chance.

And just the background:

Week 119 – penultimate

This is a weekly recap of what has been going on in my professional life. It’s to keep track of what I’m up to and to give you a peek at what it’s like being an independent creator.

Last week I drew more artwork for Yoast. It’s a change of pace from game development where you’re focused on one project and draw lots of assets for it, while here each blogpost is a little project and has a turnaround time of a few days, so there’s lots of small moments of completion and release, which is nice.

I also drew some assets for Embodied Games and made a few mockups for some new interface elements in Vrije Vogels, the Hubbub museum game. It should be appearing in the App Store in the coming months so I can finally show you what we’ve been working on.

Doing the work was hampered by the fact that I don’t yet have internet in our new apartment, so I went down to the restaurant around the corner to mooch off of their free wifi. Staying connected proved to be a real challenge though, and when it was finally stable and I was doing a pull from a Git repo my laptop crashed with a BSOD. Sigh. Getting a photoshop file from the Creative Cloud account I use at Yoast proved to be an equally cumbersome process. But eventually I got everything done.

Then came Moving Day at the end of the week. It took the better part of the day but we managed to squeeze everything into our new apartment. Incredible how much stuff we had amassed. Now one more week until the girlfriend is done with her job and we can start putting everything together again.

Next week: home improvement and the launch of the newsletter.

Week 118 – orchestrated chaos

This is a weekly recap of what has been going on in my professional life. It’s to keep track of what I’m up to and to give you a peek at what it’s like being an independent creator.

As M-Day (moving day) draws nearer, it occupies more and more of my thoughtspace. I didn’t really accomplish much between working my last two days at my side job (hooray!) working two days at my new job, and cleaning the new apartment. We received the key on thursday and I slept there overnight. Going to work and especially coming back from work to this new place definitely feels good. All the shops are closeby, so it’s easy to grab whatever I need and forgot at home (which is a lot, turns out).

I completed my first illustration at my new job this week, which was published over here. Hooray!

As for the poll from last week, the results so far are unanimously telling me I should go for the newsletter idea, so I will. More on that soon.

Next week: Free birds, alien foods and wifi woes.

Week 117 – new apartment, newsletter?

This is a weekly recap of what has been going on in my professional life. It’s to keep track of what I’m up to and to give you a peek at what it’s like being an independent creator. For illustrated depictions of these events, visit my daily comics page.

Last week was quite eventful. We went to look at a new apartment on monday, claimed it, signed the lease on thursday, and rented out our old apartment to someone new on sunday! Finding a new place is kind of a pain, but sometimes you get lucky and things move really quickly. Now I get to focus on the slew of things to take care of for the move, like internet, parking permits, etc. Fun! It would be nice if moving became more like restoring an iCloud backup.

Other things happened last week too. I did some tweaks to the food icons I made for the Radboud game last week, and I worked another two days at Yoast, getting around to doing some actual artwork. On thursday the staff went for drinks and I got to know them a bit more. They’re very diverse in terms of backgrounds and expertise, but somehow it all works well together.

On a personal level I thought about the future of these weekly work updates. When I start working at Yoast four days a week there won’t be that much to report on probably, so I considered starting a newsletter to keep you guys in the loop on personal projects, once a month or so, whenever there is something to say. Would that be interesting, or should I keep doing round-ups like that on the blog here? Let me know.

[polldaddy poll=9122467]

I also did some groundwork on the Off-Stage website. I plan to (finally) continue updating that strip once I’ve settled into my new work routine.

Next week: Last week at my old side job, finishing up my freelance projects, and moving my ass to a new city.

Week 115 & 116 – Track of time

This is a weekly recap of what has been going on in my professional life. It’s to keep track of what I’m up to and to give you a peek at what it’s like being an independent creator.

So I see I forgot to blog in week 115, oops. That week contained my first workday at Yoast, where I settled in quickly and mostly just spent the time setting up my workstation, adobe creative cloud, checking out the publications backlog and getting a feel for the style I’ll be working in. Compared to getting up at 5:45 for my side job, walking into the office at 9 felt very comfortable (even though it takes me 1h45 to get there), and I had one of those moments where you really feel like an adult.

At the end of the week I looked at a place that was a 5-minute walk away from the office (we’ll be moving too, see aforementioned commute time), but it didn’t really meet our standards so unfortunately I had to pass on it.

This past week was more of the same for that matter. Though on tuesday night I went to INDIGO, the annual dutch games industry expo. I had a great time there, if mostly because of catching up with friends and setting appointments to have drinks with them. It was weird to think that last year I had a booth there myself, but I didn’t envy the exhibitors’ aching feet.

indigo2015

On friday I stopped by the Vechtclub here in Utrecht to have a quick drink with Kars from Hubbub, to kind of cap off our project together. Though it seems it will get a small tail this week. It feels like a weird moment in time, because the project ended perfectly timed with me moving away and starting a new job, and he is moving all the way to Asia! (for half a year). We only worked together on a freelance basis, but I feel more of a connection with Hubbub than any of my other freelance clients. I’ll miss this point in time.

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Soaking up the last of the summer rays at #bierklub

A post shared by Kars Alfrink (@karsalfrink) on

Inbetween it all I lit up Photoshop to finish drawing assets for the game I’m helping out with at Radboud. They were all food items, drawn in a fairly realistic way. I did it that way to match the style of the game without really thinking that much about it, but it was oddly satisfying, and the assets turned out real good.

On saturday I stopped by the birthday party of John Gottschalk, designer on Westerado, and felt invigorated by our shared passion of narrative games. On sunday I saw The Martian, and it was everything I ever asked for in a sci-fi movie. I loved it.

Next week: inktober and a new apartment.

Week 114 – A new job

This is a weekly recap of what has been going on in my professional life. It’s to keep track of what I’m up to and to give you a peek at what it’s like being an independent creator. For illustrated depictions of these events, visit my daily comics page.

After finishing the crunch for Vrije Vogels last week, I spent the first few days of last week embroiled in Metal Gear Solid V. It’s a wonderful and weird game, I dig it.

On wednesday I visited the Yoast offices again for my second interview, and I was practically hired on the spot! So starting soon I’ll be illustrating their blogposts and ebooks four days a week. It’s fun that I’ve been using their wordpress SEO plugin on the Off-Stage site for a while before I even knew they were dutch.

The next day, after my (soon to be ex-)side job in the morning and a sprint retrospective at Hubbub, I went by Radboud again, where I spent most of the afternoon in a meeting to sort out the work I have to do. The deadline for it is the day I start working at Yoast, so that schedules together really nicely.

Next week: First day on the job.