Thursday, September 26, 2013

Day 318

Here's an update on Tumblr related stuff. My Princess Bubblegum post is still getting liked and reblogged. It now has 55,000 notes and counting. It gets a few dozen notes an hour. It dips pretty low in the middle of the night down to just a handful but it always come back to life the next day. Occasionally there are spikes of a few hundred an hour. A few days ago there was spike of a few thousand for some reason. My other crayons haven't been quite as successful. Most of the other Adventure Time crayons have about 200 notes each. All the rest have much less.

I haven't made any new crayons but I still wanted to post stuff on my Tumblr (for my fans of course). During my research of Princess Bubblegum, I found out that a lot of people ship her with Marceline. Shipping is when fans desire two usual fictional characters to be in a relationship with each other. An example would be like people wanting Harry Potter and Hermione to hook up. So Princess Bubblegum and Marceline have a couple name which is Bubbline. People think that they're just cute together. One is a Goth rocker loner and the other is a brainy prim and proper princess. They're opposites so they complement each other. The fact that they're both girls is irrelevant. Anyway because of this, I decided to post a picture of both of them together and tagged it "Bubbline" along with the usual tags. The first day it did well and got hundreds of notes. Then it died off but not completely. Every now and then it'd get a note, maybe one or two an hour and this went on for a week. Recently though it's taken off and is more active than the Bubblegum solo post at times. It's sitting at 4,000 notes right now.

I finally got around to submitting my Game of Thrones crayons to the official Game of Thrones Tumblr account which was my original goal awhile ago. It took about week before it was cleared and eventually posted on the site. Most posts there get a few hundred notes. It's been just a few days and mine has over three thousand. I wasn't surprised just because the crayons are different than what's usually on there. It's mainly paintings (digital and analog) and drawings usually of the main characters so even though some of them are really awesome, it's kind of repetitive. Unfortunately, none of the notes appear on my account so it's harder to keep track. I did add in a link back to my Tumblr and Etsy shop. I've gotten more new followers recently so I think it was due to this (and maybe some from the Bubbline post). I currently have 139 followers. Unfortunately, I don't have any crayons to post to entertain them. One of the new followers is the Tumblr account for Tor Books. It's a big (maybe biggest?) publisher of fantasy and sci-fi books so I thought that was cool. 

Day 317

I haven't talked much about my Etsy shop mainly because there really wasn't much to say. For the longest time, I didn't sell anything. But finally a few days ago, I made my first sale. Someone bought my R2D2 crayon which is funny cuz it's probably my least favorite one. I'm kind of nervous about what they say when/if they write a review. I hope they like it. R2 wasn't perfect which is why I'm not a fan of it but hopefully the customer isn't as picky as I am.

While I've just had one sale so far, it seems like people like what they see. They're just not willing to pay for it. I've priced most of my crayons at $25. Some more complex ones are $30, some simpler ones are $20. If I were a customer, I think $30 is a little high. $20 sounds reasonable if I really liked the crayon. $25 might be a stretch. I know if I lower the price, more would sell. However, each crayon takes two hours or longer to do so I would like to get at least $10 an hour for my work. If I lower the price, I'd be hitting minimum wage territory. Then there's the fact that the well known crayon carving artist charges $250 for one crayon so my ego can't allow myself to go down any lower. 

Each item in my shop has been viewed about 100 to 200 times. My items have been favorited 120 times which means the item is noted in a person's profile so they can see it later or share it with other people. Fifty-five people have favorited my shop which means they get updated whenever I post a new item. So the ratio of views to followers is pretty good especially compared to Tumblr. My most popular item is the Game of Thrones set which has over 1000 views and 40 favorites. Unfortunately, it's also the most expensive so I don't know if it'll ever get sold. 

I've also been hit with a copyright infringement warning for my Futurama crayons and those listings had to be taken down. I don't disagree with the infringement but I was surprised that it happened since copyright infringement is all over Etsy. Apparently some companies care more than others. A search for Futurama stuff on Etsy comes up with 200 items compared to 4000 for the Simpsons so I guess some Futurama person patrols the site every now and then and tells Etsy to shut things down. I understand but I am disappointed. Hopefully it doesn't happen again or Etsy might shut down my whole shop for being a repeat offender. Though it's not like I'm making big bucks or anything.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Day 313

I carved all the crayons I had planned to do, but then I saw the "What does the fox say?" video and got inspired to make a fox. It didn't turn out quite like how I envisioned. I was aiming for a more realistic version. I wanted the head to be big so you could more easily see it. This lead to the head being too big for the body. I didn't want to shrink down the head so I left it as is so then a more cartoony look seemed more appropriate for the big headed fox.

I'll be moving back to modeling now. I think I'll still carve a crayon every now and then when I need a break from modeling. Or when I'm watching TV which I do a lot. I've mainly been using large crayons so I still have lots and lots of untouched normal sized crayons. I'll switch to those so a smaller crayon should mean I'll finish each carving more quickly. I don't think I'll be trying to copy as many pop culture characters though. I'll just do random things like the fox and other animals or whatever the color inspires me to do. Before that though, I would like to do C3P0 in a gold crayon and Totoro in gray. I keep getting ideas and then forgetting them. If only I had something to help me remember...

Day 312

Out of my pack of 150 crayons, I had only one single white crayon. I felt that I needed more than that so I ordered a box of large white crayons. That's what I used for the R2D2s and Stormtrooper. I was thinking of what else I could do with white crayons and after seeing a bunch of wedding posts on Facebook, I thought I could carve a bride. I also thought that people getting married would potentially want to buy wedding related crayons especially if they're made to look like them. So I carved a generic bride above. I decided not to carve a face so the customer would more easily imagine their own face on there. Nah, I was just lazy. The bouquet looks good from the front but obviously flat from the side.

Next was to make the groom. I didn't want to use a black crayon because it would be harder to see the details so I used a gray crayon instead. It was tougher than I thought it would be. All the humanoid characters I've done before had dresses or something to obscure the legs. Here I had to show the whole body, arms and legs, so getting the right proportions within the crayon was challenging. It turned out ok. He looks a little stiff though. I also couldn't do much of a neck because I didn't want it to break there.

Day 311

Here's Flame Princess. She's one of my favorite crayons I've done so far. I like how it doesn't look like I was constrained by the dimensions of the crayon. Probably has the cleanest lines I've done. The bangs are a little too big and the face could be rounder. However since she's a relatively new character to Adventure Time, her image isn't burned into my mind yet so I don't notice the flaws too much.

Marceline changes her outfit on the show a lot but I settled with her basic tank top and jeans look. That outfit isn't very visually interesting though so I decided to add in her ax guitar. The guitar made it more difficult since I had to carve everything else around it. I made her legs bend to give the idea that she's floating which she does a lot on the show. Didn't quite work though since you can't see her feet.  

Day 310

One last Star Wars crayon. I used a normal sized crayon since I needed to get the right shade of green for Boba Fett. Compared to the Stormtrooper and Vader, Boba Fett was easier to carve even with using the smaller crayon. The antenna/targetting thing was harder. With Bender, it was easy to stick the wire straight down the center. Because Boba's is on the side, I had to bend the wire first and then insert it in at an angle which was a little destructive to the adjacent wax. So that's it for Star Wars. In the future, I might make a C3PO out of a metallic gold crayon I have. I also want to do an Ewok but I don't have the right shade large crayon.

Next is Jake the Dog from Adventure Time. I held off on doing him because I wanted to carve him with a large crayon but didn't have the right shade. He's slightly more orange but I settled with this yellow. He turned out alright. He doesn't have the exact right look to me. Since he has thin legs, I made him sitting down or else it'd be really narrow in that area. 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Day 306

I wanted to carve R2D2 and I thought I could make it without the legs and just focus on the body since that's already crayon shaped. The result is above. I'm not happy with it. There was a lot of engraving which I said before I don't like to do. There are a lot of slanted lines which should be straight. Most of the time I work really late after midnight. The lamp in my room isn't very bright so sometimes it's hard to see what I'm doing. So often I go to bed tired and not sure what I actually carved. Then I wake up in the morning crossing my fingers and hoping it's better than what I remembered. Most of the time, it is; this time it wasn't. 

So I decided to do an R2 with legs because even if I did the body perfectly, I still didn't like how it looked. This R2D2 turned out better. It still had a fair amount of engraving and I had to figure out how to simplify what details should appear or not. I'm not super enthused with the end result. I think if I add in some blue, it would really pop more. It's kind of boring right now. Here's a side by side comparison below. You can see how much smaller he ends up being by just adding in legs. I posted the second R2 on my Tumblr yesterday. It only got 2 notes. Sad.

Day 305

This blog has been looking a little bland and text heavy lately. I have more crayons to show but I want to post them here and on Tumblr around the same time. I just want to avoid someone seeing them here and posting them on Tumblr before me. That's pretty paranoid since no one really goes to this blog. However, I have seen people repost my Princess Bubblegum crayon on Tumblr as a new post instead of reblogging it so it isn't linked to me at all. I also did some investigating and found out that some people posted the image onto another similar site I've never heard of called We Heart It. Seems to be a mix of Tumblr and Pinterest. Anyone, they posted it there (with no link back to me) and it was liked by a few hundred people. Some of those people saw it for the first time there and then posted that back onto Tumblr. It's not too big of a deal now but it is annoying for an artist not to get credit for their work.

Anyway, I said I was just going to spend a week carving crayons but now it's stretched to two weeks. I had to house sit for my sister while she was away on a trip. She's getting some renovation done on her house so she needed someone to let the workers in and keep an eye on things. So I spent a few days there but wasn't very productive. It was hard to work with loud construction noise going on and random guys going in and out the house. I've also been helping a friend with some art stuff for her wedding. So I've been a bit distracted lately. I'm also sick right now. There are still two more things I want to carve before stopping and getting back to modelling. Hopefully, I'll get that done soon before I forget how to model.

Day 304

So 30,000 likes and reblogs sounds great but isn't quite all that it seems. All of that is just for the one post I made for Princess Bubblegum. I've posted other crayons since then with less than stellar results. The night after I posted PB, I uploaded BMO which now has about 200 notes. That's not bad but unfortunately the Bubblegum post has forever warped my expectations. Next I uploaded Zoidberg (48 notes), Bender (56), the Stormtrooper (9) and then Darth Vader (34). So those 30,000 notes for Princess Bubblegum aren't translating into many notes for the other crayons. Here's my theory why:

Even though people are reblogging my post onto their own blogs, it still has a source link that someone can click to get back to me. However very little people are doing that. I said before that most users don't upload their own content onto the site. They peruse other popular posts in their feeds, like and reblog things and then move on. They don't click the source link so they don't see the other crayons I've made. I assume this because if they liked the Princess Bubblegum one, then they probably would have liked at least one of the other crayons. There's very little trickle down. For every couple of hundred Bubblegum likes, I may see one like for one of the other dozen crayons that have been uploaded.

Since no one is curious to see the source of the crayon, I've gotten very few followers relatively speaking. This could also be a result of the audience. I think the typical Tumblr user skews young. The audience for Adventure Time also skews young as opposed to say Game of Thrones. After posting the GoT crayons, I had 5 followers from less than 100 total notes. Meanwhile 30,000 Adventure Time notes resulted in just 45 new followers (and maybe some of those came from the other crayons). So I think most of these younger users don't have a long enough attention span to find me and follow me.

I also opened up an Etsy store and put a link to it on the bottom of my Tumblr page which isn't too useful now that I realized people don't actually click through to my page. When Princess Bubblegum got around 6000 notes, I had the bright idea to edit my post to include the Etsy page in the caption. Unfortunately, I found out that most of the time when someone reblogs a post, the original caption gets removed so no one is seeing that link either. I could put the link onto the actual image but that seems a little desperate. Based on Etsy's statistics, the listing for Princess Bubblegum has only been viewed 50 times so all those notes haven't helped me that much.

Now for some random things. When someone reblogs something, they can add their own caption about it. For PB, this happens maybe one in three hundred notes. What people say about it can be generally grouped into cool/wow, how?, i want one, this dude has too much time on his hands, and i thought this was a dildo at first. Funny enough the dildo comments came up a few times. I said before my caption doesn't appear with my post so they can't tell what they're looking at until they click on it.

I noticed that a number of my reblogs and likes were coming from the blog of another person called amazingphil so I looked him up. Apparently he's a popular Youtube guy from the UK who has over a million subscribers to his channel. I'm not sure how many followers he has on Tumblr but I imagine it's a lot. He reblogged my post on Sunday so he didn't cause the huge Saturday explosion but he's definitely helped since. Thanks Phil.

Day 303

Some interesting things have been going on with my Tumblr account. Well at least they're interesting to me so I'm gonna write about it. Tumblr is a microblogging site so entries tend to be bite sized sort of like Twitter, but you can also post pics, videos, audio along with text. It seems to me though that most users don't actually generate their own content. They just post stuff that other people have posted.

If you're a new user like myself, the only way for people see your posts are through tags. You tag keywords to your post and hope someone searches for that keyword and sees your stuff. When you search a tag, all the posts come up chronologically newest first, so after a few hours it's unlikely someone will see your post since it'll be far down the list. If someone does see your post, they can like it or reblog it. Reblogging will take your post and have it appear on their blog. If that person has followers, more people will see the post and they can like or reblog it and that's how things can spread. Tumblr keeps track of all of this so you can see who liked or reblogged even if it's dozens of people down the chain. Likes and reblogs are clumped together and are just called notes in general.

So I started with posting my Game of Thrones crayons, two a day at the beginning. At first, I didn't get any notes. Then one day I got about a dozen. Because the newest stuff comes up first when you search a tag, it's very important what time you post things. I looked this up and apparently the best time to post is at night and on weekends. I tried following this with not much success. The Game of Thrones crayons were getting a few to a dozen notes. I saved posting the group crayon shot for Sunday hoping that it'd get popular. It ended up with like 28 notes which was better but still not that great.

The next night, I posted the Princess Bubblegum crayon. I hit refresh to check that everything looked ok and it immediately had five notes. I kept checking and it kept getting more notes. By midnight it had around 200. Then it started to slow down after that. I checked it one last time at 3 AM when I went to bed, and it was trending up again. People check Tumblr before school or work so that might explain that. The next day I woke up and the post was exploding. I was getting hundreds of notes and hour. By the end of Tuesday, I had over 3000 notes. It slowed down the following days but I was still getting a steady amount of likes and reblogs. By Friday, I had 7000 notes but it was dying. I was getting five notes an hour and I was pretty sure it was done. But it was a wild ride while it lasted.

Then I woke up Saturday morning, and the post blew up even more than before. I got 10,000 more notes just that day. It's slowed down since then but right now I'm getting close to 30,000 total notes. So what does this all mean? This entry is getting long so I'll start another one.