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As 2015 Comes to a Close...

It's been longer than a fortnight, hasn't it? It's been a fortmonth, a fortyear, a fortyougetthepoint. I've not updated you, Bloggy Blogsackington. I've not come to you lately, and you've wondered aloud about where I've been. Demanded, even. And I don't blame you. We used to be close, and now, I'm a stranger. And you want to know why.

Short answer, busy. And that's a wonderful thing for a freelance designer/illustrator/director to be. Busy, that is. 

I'm so grateful for the year I've had, and I know that in no small part it's due to focus, hardwork, and luck. Lots of all of those three things.

This year will go down as a big one for us at CLAUS. Teaching, titles, acting, and husbanding!

Here's a quick recap of what we've been up to this year!

-Title sequence, opening sequence, end crawl for LAZER TEAM by Rooster Teeth and Fullscreen and Youtube Red, coming out January 27th nationwide. So excited to post our work from this one and to hear how people like it or not like it! 

-Illustrations for OFFICER DOWNE's 2-minute animated opening sequence. Stoked on this one, as it's the first time my SQUINTS style of drawing will be making their way onto the big screen! Officer Downe's going to be a hard R-rating, so to all you kiddos out there, ya know, I'll just post the sequence on my site once I'm allowed.

-End Title sequence concept and illustration for DEADPOOL by Fox and Marvel and directed by Tim Miller. This was huge. Massive. Never thought I'd get another shot at illustrating an end sequence for a Marvel flick so soon after THOR, and incredibly honored and humbled. Deadpool is one of my all time fav comic characters and drawing for the film's end titles was a dream come true. CAN'T WAIT for Feb 12th!

-Speaking of Deadpool, I got to be him. Like, actually, HIM. I went down to Mexico City and put on the authentic suit and acted like him, Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool, on screen for two commercials over two days. It was insane and typing it out doesn't make it any real-er. Lucky. Very lucky. I've always thought that drawing was my super-power, something that I did that nobody knew about, something that made me different and unique. When I was a kid, anyway. But actually BEING a superhero, donning that suit, it was just an absolute honor that I took it very seriously. Can't wait to post the spots!

-I taught a class at OTIS College of Art and Design. This has been one of the most rewarding and challenging experiences of my life. It's helped me become clearer when I speak to design and aesthetic, purpose and concept. I'm very proud of what my students accomplished this year and am looking forward to continuing our strides in the Spring!

-I designed some keyart concepts for HAP&LEONARD, a Sundance TV Original series and had a total whizz-banger doing so. Coming up with that ONE image that the show could use as a jumping-off point for their marketing is a massive challenge, and one I put everything I had in to. 

-Showed at Comic-Con for the second year in a row and WonderCon for the third. Massive accomplishments for me as an artist and the studio, as we've made so many friends over the years and making more every time we show! I've gotten pitches in with Disney TV, Dreamworks, and Amazon because of these conventions and we're set to take on both of 'em in 2016 again!

-Pitched on numerous films' title sequences, including 'BFG,' 'Alice in Wonderland 2,' 'Ant-Man,' and 'Warcraft.' We didn't land any of those pitches but there's always the next one!

-Had the good fortune to give a lecture at the Design National Student Show in Dallas, Texas. This marked the first time I'd speak in front of college kids and gave me the inspiration to take on a teaching course this past Fall when the opportunity arose. I loved it. Listening to the kids' concerns about the industry, their thoughts coming out of college, it meant a lot for me to share my path and mistakes with them, in hopes to help or guide them down various paths that might lead to success. 

-Came up with a new series of illustrations I've coined 'BARNS,' because, ya know, they're BARNS. I've always been fascinated by them, coming from Texas and all. Actually, that's not true. Yes, I'm from Texas but I rarely saw any barns where I grew up. The barns-obsession came later. But at any rate, I think if I continue to come up with series of things I love, ie; RIDES, SQUINTS, and BARNS, I should be a happy camper. Oooohhhhh....CAMPERS. Is there something there? I think there's something there...

-Finished my first children's book, an original story and concept called 'Finding Happi Ness,' a story about Loch Ness's search for his missing sister Happi. I self-published the book through Blurb in order to get a proof-of-concept in front of publishers, in hopes to get a national printing deal. But, after chatting with peers and various publishing agents, I'm thinking that self-publishing the entire run might be the way to go.

-And lastly, my most majorest accomplishment in 2015 was getting married to my Wonder Woman. She's strong and smart, funny and beautiful. I feel lucky to have such a perfect companion, partner, teammate in life, and I thank God for her constantly. I realize that I don't write as much sarcastic snarkiness anymore and I think it's because I'm in a different place nowadays. I used to comment on society, complain in the form of a snarky blog or tweet, and now I'm just happier, I guess. She's the reason. And she gives me something to steer our studio towards. 

I pray that opportunities will continue to come my way, and your way, and all of our ways, for without HOPE, we have nothing. I'm so grateful for the shots we've taken in 2015 and know that 2016 will bring more looks and I know that we can knock 'em down. 

Take time to look back on your year, dissect it. Did you make progress? I think looking back on your year is as important as looking forward to the next. Baby steps, as they say. 

Wishing you all the best in 2016, all the health and love and wealth and tidings and all that good stuff, just all of it, wrapped up in a big basket plopped on your doorstep, and just unwrap it quick-like and soak it in, rub it on your naked body, devour it, succumb to it, and please, for God's sake, don't let anybody take it from you. 

It's yours. You deserve it. 

Thank You.

Justin 

CLAUS 

Justin HarderComment