News blog 2.0
Hello everybody, it's you know who. This is going to be a long post, but I'll do my best to divide it up and make it easy to read. There's just so much I want to talk about but I also don't want to overwhelm anybody. First things first, and perhaps most important: This blog will be bi-weekly. News will drop on Mondays at 9:00pm which means Mondays just got a bit more interesting. So if I'm counting right, there should be about two posts every month. There might be times when it's more or less, but that is the layout I'm going with. I've been trying to do that for the past couple of months, and if you read this blog regularly, you may have caught on, but now I'm formalizing it. This news section will be about my projects and everything art, animation, film and entertainment related. I'm organizing my 2015 calendar and I definitely should have enough to talk about.
That said I want to take a moment to say that I see this new direction as a means to stay in touch and inform people who are interested in my art and not as a way to spam fruitless updates to increase my web traffic. I think eventually there will be so much unique content on my website that people, both returning and new, will be hooked. I'm doing this because I really do like talking about art with people and making it myself. That said, these blogs will also have a little status blurb at the end about what I'm consuming (entertainment and stuff of that nature), so if you're interested in what is currently inspiring me, you can check those links out.
100% Inked update
Ok, now for an update on 100% Inked. In total I made about $130 so far. Not bad considering it's my first product ever, especially coming off of a long run of missteps and bad luck. There aren't as many individual buyers as I would like, but the people who bought it were willing to spend more money on the book than I priced it as, which is good news for me. This tells me that the people who like my work tend to really like it and want to support me. This also tells me I have a long way to go before I can get average Joe consumer interested enough in my art to buy it. This is good because now I have a frame of reference for future products. I strongly believe that if there's consistently good work that inspires or resonates with people, they'll be more willing to support me.
That said, those who have actually purchased it were very happy with it. Some were surprised by the amount of content in it, and others by the quality of the art itself and the design of the book. It really is like night and day between the art you see on my social media and currently on my website and what is in the document. I can't say it enough: The quality of the work in the book is very good. There was so much love and time put into each drawing.
Next in line regarding 100% Inked is the promotion. Promotion is the most important part of being an independent artist I believe. You can make the greatest piece of art, but if nobody knows about it, it doesn't matter. For 100% Inked, I started using Google adwords to advertise the book to a larger audience. I will eventually advertise on facebook as well. I'm starting off small with the advertising budget, because I don't think it makes sense to mindlessly throw away money. These ads will be my first step into promoting my art so I want to learn the ropes before I invest more money into it.
Next on the promotion topic, I printed out two versions of 100% inked in soft cover (premium paper).
One website I used, the book cost about $50 to print and the quality is really great, like almost exact color matching of what you see on screen. The other copy is poop and cost about $10 to make. You get what you pay for right? The only problem is that since the quality for the low-priced version is so poor, I can't in good faith sell that- or even give it away to anybody. I want the book to be accessible to as many people as possible and the quality to be very high. If I sold the premium version, the cost would have to be $60+ which is pretty crazy. This just reaffirms my stance that for 100% inked, digital is the way to go. Maybe one day if I can find an alternative large book printer, I'll do a limited release, but as of now, there will only be the digital version.
You have gum on your shoe
One of the biggest concerns people have about buying my book is that they have privacy concerns. Some others wanted to pay with paypal, but currently I do not take paypal. I will address both these issues.
The first issue, privacy is a valid concern, but Gumroad is a secure website. Here is a link about their security policy.
I have bought plenty of content from it and haven't had a problem. If you have bought something from amazon or walmart online, buying from gumroad is just like that only quicker! If you aren't convinced, here is a video of another person who sells things through gumroad:
Gumroad makes it easy for me to sell, and for you to buy and it's very secure and efficient. I aim to give visitors of my website as pleasant as an experience as possible and gumroad helps me fulfill that mission.
Now as far as why I don't take paypal, there are two main reasons. The first one is design. Paypal is very restricted when it comes to the design and the checkout process. I'm not a coder and know very little HTML so I try to do as little meddling in code as possible. That said, I'm not sure if you can tweak the paypal page, but as of now, I think it clashes with the design philosophy of my website. It's cumbersome, long winded and unattractive. The second reason is because paypal just handles the distribution of money. They don't, to my knowledge have a delivery system in place. Gumroad gives me an email list, deliver system and a lot of other automated stuff. Imagine working on your art full time and every time someone purchases something of yours you have to stop, process and email and finish off the transaction. For a large team, that's no problem, but for an individual it's a nightmare (another reason why I'm not doing printed books as well). Perhaps one day I'll add paypal, but for right now, gumroad fulfills all of my needs.
The social networks
Ok, the next half of this blog will deal with the future of my social networks and my approach to updating them. Currently I update Tuesday-Saturday at various times on Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr and Deviantart. I also update my website with all of my social network art on the first of each month. I spend an unholy amount of time updating these other networks every week so starting in December, I will be updating 4 times a week (Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday). The lack of updates does have a silver lining though. I will do my best to upgrade the quality of the art for these updates now. Since I have the same out of time to make less pictures, those images can be of a higher quality. This goes hand in hand with another mission I have: to make a cohesive body of work on social networks. I go over it in my book, but to gloss over it: the art on my social media is too varied and comes off as schizophrenic. I don't like seeing that kind of fluctuation in quality, especially if I'm to convince people to buy my work.
This means that I am switching gears to become a 'series based artist' instead of one who draws whatever. This is for the best because the work will be high quality and consistent. I'm almost done with the December art and I am quite pleased. Series based art also carries with it a risk. If the art isn't liked than I have to take time to reevaluate and redraw content, which pushes the development time of my other projects back. I'm sure there will be missteps, but personally I think this is for the best.
The central pillar for this motion is my comic series 'How to be successful'. Don't worry, there will be variety, but I want this comic to be a corner stone of my artistic development. I have a lot planned for it- to expand its universe and much more, but I think it starts with treating the series properly. That means I am aiming to have higher quality and more clever comics, and fanart in that style will be nicer as well. I will push H2BS very hard in 2015, and if it all works out as planned, I think it will be a nice gateway into my world of art.
Take a break!
So now that we have that established, the last thing is what content will be removed and what content will stay? To make things easier, I have created a list:
- Birthstones will be removed.
- Traditional art including horoscopes, and H2BS style doodles will be removed.
- Magnified cosmos will be removed
- Mixed media will be removed (digital and traditional art).
The reason I am removing these is because I either don't feel inspired to do them anymore, the quality is not where I want it to be, they don't fit in with the new social network style I'm aiming for or I have to retool the series. If you really like any of these series, it's possible that they'll come back as mini, short running series from time to time or even as solo illustrations, but only if I can manage to have the quality and consistency be there.
In place of those who have departed from us are:
o Tuesdays- *New* Woman crush + Weird creatures +Warriors (all long running)
o Wednesdays- Black Christmas
o Fridays- Inked Things +Island Paradise +Sayings
o Saturday- Comics (H2BS + one shot)
Do note, that the monthly load out of artwork can and probably will change to accommodate the more popular series.
The changes to my social media will be for the better. There are more changes that are to come (I need to consider how much effort I need to put into putting work on new social updates and what to do with facebook since their reach has gotten horrible), but this first wave is the most important. These fewer updates will allow me to start working on bigger projects in 2015 like website redesigns, additional pages, animations and so on. I'll go into detail on what some of those projects will be, but this blog is long enough.
There's a lot to look forward to, and I'm hoping the changes I begin to usher in with my art and personal voice can continue to entertain and inspire. Thanks for reading.
Reading- One Piece
Watching- Twilight Zone
Music- All I do- Majid Jordan
Playing- Monument Valley
Other- Moleskin x3 notebook