my 2023 goals illustration cover by lu loram-Martin, tattoo artist and illustrator, specialising in blackwork flower designs, based in toronto, canada

Setting my 2023 Art Goals

Setting my 2023 Art Goals

illustration by lu loram-martin, tattoo artist and illustrator based in toronto cananda, shows a human figure walking over a pile of rocks, a mountain, flowers, birds and clouds
I saw a mountain, you know, across the horizon
And I got there, realized it was just a pile of rocks
- Mac Miller // Ascension


So I am one of those people who loves having a re-set each new year. I normally spend the first week of January reviewing the previous year and setting myself some goals and intentions for the year to come. Basic AF, I know. But hell, I like it.

This year I’m a little late coming to this. Somehow January just managed to slip through my fingers. Is this a post-pandemic time shift, or just a ‘time passes quicker as you age’ thing? I’m not sure, but anyway let's get back on track. I thought I’d share with you a couple of my creative goals for this year.

I've been in somewhat of a creative slump lately. I have been making very little art outside of my tattoo design work this winter. Most artists go through periods of high and low creativity and output (I'm sure you guys can relate). I've found I've been spending waaaaay more time comparing myself to other artists, rather than working on my own practice, and that is just never a good thing for me. It's a bit of a downward spiral, so I've decided to stop it in it's tracks.



Before I jump into this years goals I might as well tell you about a few of my art // creative achievements in 2022…

  • It has been my first full year of tattooing since the pandemic, so that feels good!
  • I’ve had amazing clients and tattoo projects. I’ve had a huge amount of returning clients, so I’ve seen a whole bunch of my work healed, which is my actual favourite thing.
  • I’ve been tattooing more flash pieces, which has been suuper fun, and also has meant I’ve met more tattoo collectors, which has been stellar (plus creeping on other artists healed work has been ace).
  • I launched both my Always Dreaming collection and my Eat Shit collection. Plus a few other pieces in the in-between.
  • I’ve seen / experienced a whoooole load of new art, including Miami Art Week.
  • I’ve been taking part in some of London Drawing Groups online seminars, which have been really informative and motivating.
  • Plus I have something else very exciting in the works that’s been a big part of 2022, but I’m not quite ready to share it just yet.

And in terms of my actual practice, hears a few of the ways I feel my work has progressed…

  • I’ve finessed my design process so that my clients are involved as early as possible, I really like to work with my clients and find that having input actually helps to push my creativity.
  • I’ve been quicker in structure drawing and I’m more confident with quickly getting down overall shapes and volumes, so my scrappy sketches are more refined from the get-go (believe it or not).
  • I’ve been working on enhancing the focal points of my designs using composition techniques (TSA’s composition course is really making an impact).
  • I’m using more contrast in my work and working on adding variation in textures, which is something I want to continue exploring.

And some things that I didn’t manage to do:

  • I didn’t get as much time on personal work outside of tattooing as I would have liked.
  • I didn’t get to progress my doll’s house project as much as I wanted.
  • I didn’t start working on the canvases I planned to.



I like to make my goals more process based rather than ‘big achievement’ based. I’m a firm believer that all the big achievements in life are built off the tiny steps we take before the ‘big things’ so I prefer to focus on those (or at least try to). But I do have some intentions for this year:

  • To embrace imperfection - learning to be imperfect in order to learn more - knowing when to let go, change an idea and move on
  • To tell more stories with my art - I would really love to be able to do this in a quick way (which brings in the embracing imperfection)
  • To accept that where I am right now is good enough and put myself out there more in the art world
  • To document my year and my work throughout it (something I didn’t do enough of in the last couple of years and really regret)

How I’m going to do this:

  • Complete a sketchbook session once a month
  • Draw one scene / story once a month
  • Making sure I’m actively working on “non-tattoo” art every month
  • Document my months in my sketchbook

Now I'm secretly planning on doing these way more than once a month, but I want to give myself leeway, and make it super easy to attain. I’m also giving myself a treat every month that I manage to do this!!! Woohoo treats every month.



So what are your creative goals for 2023? You can drop a comment below!

If you’re stuck here’s my advice….

1. Make them specific.

Having a goal like ‘get better at drawing’ is great, but it’s super hard to measure

One way to figure out a measurable goal is to ask yourself how. So ‘get better at drawing’ becomes ‘get better at drawing by doing one specific animal study a month’ (for example)

2. Make them suuuper attainable

I have made my goals ‘every month’ so that I have plenty of time to easily complete them. If I changed this to every week it should theoretically be easy to complete (given my profession) but if I have an off week I will feel like I’ve failed. So I’m keeping my goals super easy and then upping my treat value if I manage to hit more than my targets!

So here’s to 2023, I can’t wait to see where we all are in a year from now!


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