(Also readable on my site: darkoverord.info/index.php/201…)
So the end of 2018 has come, and 2019 has started. My last actual update on my website, that wasn't a personal project or plants, was setting up the site and not doing much other than tinker every month or so. However in 2018 I had other sites for "blogging" unlike 2019. But I'm getting ahead of myself.
2018 was a pretty eventful year for me. I quit my old job (as it was basically killing me), turned to art full time and started taking commissions again for the first time in five years.
Whether losing a formally stable form of income to go freelance was successful financially is a question that is probably already answerable by artists everywhere in the same situation: "Eeeeeehhh maybe???". However for my health, physical and mental, has improved massively, so on that front it's def been a success.
Productivity in 2018 was high all things considered, I typically had enough work per month to keep me going so I'm not going to complain!
In late 2018, Tumblr announced that they were changing their Acceptable Use and Terms of Service to no-longer allow explicit content. In the end this is up to those who run a site and I have no objections to a site removing NSFW content, contrary to what some people claimed my complaints about this change were.
No my problem is the implementation of this change. See a site like FA or Weasyl banning such content would be easy: Remove all content with a rating of 18+ or if we're being overzealous, 13+. Tumblr had no such age rating system however, there was no "18+" (although later you could mark your blog as such) and subsequently they had to turn to an algorithmic solution. People will say "Oh but they could've hired people to look at each post and check it's 18+ or not" to which I say "Are you mad?" as there are very few companies out there with the funds to do such a monumental task. Especially when the site had at least one post a second.
No the problem with these algorithmic solutions is they catch more than they intend on. You may say "Hey computer, take this dataset and ban anything that contains porn, then take this second dataset and delete posts that had similar content" and think that's a job well done. Except here's what will happen, a computer will go through that content and not only will it be indiscriminate, it'll also learn incorrectly. Suddenly posts about gay or lesbian health, racism faced by black or various PoC individuals and the resources that go with them or just furry content in general disappears. "Why?" you ask and the computer simply points out that based off the original dataset that contained terms such as "Gay porn, lesbian porn, black porn, Latino porn, furry porn" and so considered all such posts "porn" because of the frequency of these two combined terms.
No matter how much you claim it shouldn't and how the site will still accept artistic nudes (such as Michelangelo's David for example) you can't stop it from flagging up innocent things because they had the audacity to be tagged with something as simple as "furry".
As a result of this, I've made the decision to leave the site. Now in the end it's no skin off my back, for the past two years I've barely used the site as Yahoo, and then Verizon (under the guise of "Oath"), kinda dug the site so in the ground that I feel out of contact with the people who had me over there in the first place. This probably means I'll post more here as twitter and Mastodon are too short for long posts, and now other than "journals" on art sites I don't really have elsewhere to do that.
Art-A-Day 2018 was a success and I believe I didn't miss a single day this year (as in, no catchup days). I'm currently deciding the fate of my 365 blog, I might just port the month images over to this site so they at least exist in some form. The daily posts I'm not so sure of, I might chat to people about that to see what people would think.
However as successful as it was, it wasn't really compatible with commissions, when I'd want to only work on commissions I'd end up having to do an extra sketch just to fill my 365 quote unless I was posting the same day. While most the times this extra work got passed off as "warm-ups" sometimes it was just being done for the sake of adding one to the day tally. As a result I won't be doing this again. I would point out though that I have done the 365 challenge for three of the past four years (2015, 2016 and 2018) and the only reason I picked it up in 2015 was I previously drawing barely once a month.
Three years on and I really don't need that motivation any-more. 2015 got me in the habit of drawing daily because the challenge to myself meant I would post daily with a new sketch (it was sketch-a-day then). The pressure therefore was on to make sure I had something physical to show for, oh I don't know, the 23rd of April of that year. 2016 was to keep up the habit but I made it "art-a-day", meaning two days could be the same piece (E.g. Sketch one day and coloured the next). 2018 was to push back in to the habit after the year break in 2017 where I was drawing a little more infrequently.
In 2019 I don't have the reasons why my art output in 2017 wasn't as high as 2016 or 2018 (commutes, office location changes, and so on), especially now I take commissions, so tl;dr: I won't be doing another 365 challenge this year. I'll try can keep up sketching though.
And that leaves us with THE FUTURE. Unfortunately I'm not psychic (If I was I'd have won the Euromillions at least once by now) so I can only really talk about my intentions for the year.
The first obvious part is Commissions, I still have a couple left from last year (half partly because I've not been paid yet but I digress) so they're the 2018 remnants are the priority once I pick up on work again on the 3rd (or 4th depending on how I deal with the sedation from a medial procedure on 2nd). Once I've either cleared my 2018 commissions or they're stuck at a point I cannot proceed and so need to take on new work, I'll formally be opening again.
I will also be working on sketches to practice and drum up merch ideas for Confuzzled. I'm actually going to be dealing this year and it's only five months away so god I best get my ass in gear about that. My current ideas is to offer badge commissions in advance (probably opening in March to give 2-3 months to sketch, render, print and laminate), commission slots at the con and small sketch doodles. My plan here is between now and Confuzzled I'll be drawing on my surface as I got a surface pen in the Boxing day sales to retrain hand-eye coordination and offer them as Ko-fi doodles. I'll make more noise about that later in the month I'm sure.
I'll be trying to Stream more too. Currently I only stream once I'm out of videos on YouTube to watch and I have something to ink/colour (no really) so it's something that happens once or twice every other month or three. I make no guarantees for January, but I'll certainly be trying later.
In all, 2019 is going to be a very different year for me, and I'll try to make sure you're all along for the ride too