One of the things I love about Patreon as a platform is the sense of community and how different creators continue to leverage it and help to support themselves as creators. There are full-time creators using it as well as part-time creators using it, and I love how it allows communities to spring up and engage with each other.
One of the things that can be difficult for me, however, is to see so many things some creators are doing and go "Oh man! I want to do something like that too!" only to realize there are (unfortunately) only so many hours in the day.
For instance: I enjoy watching streams (I mean, I also work at Blizzard Entertainment, so I'm certainly no stranger to them!), but you'll notice I don't really host many of my own. There are a number of reasons for this:
Now many of these points have potential solutions if I wanted to work around them. I could move Tikka to another room when I'm streaming, for instance. I could wear headphones rather than use speakers. I could buy a more powerful laptop to support streaming (my current laptop can do it marginally, but not well). Etc. Etc. But truly, one of my big takeaways in the last few years is the thought that I should be min-maxing my time and doing more of the things I enjoy doing and less of the things I'm not as keen on.
This is something that I feel like it's taken me a long time to learn and put into practice, and it's felt wonderful! It's meant that I accept that I want to do ALL THE THINGS, but that I just can't do all of them, and certainly not well! I have to pick and choose how I'm using my time, and moreover how I'm trying to grow.
Right now, for example, I'm not trying to grow in the direction of being a Twitch streamer of affiliate. I enjoy streams, and I still plan to do them occasionally, but that just isn't one of my overarching goals.
Similarly, I'm not particularly interested in taking on a lot of additional commission work at this juncture. I still am open to private commissions and certainly take a number throughout the year, but I'm much more selective about them, because I guard my personal "free" time a lot more fiercely, as I sort of view my full-time work as similar to commissions in that I am doing work to fulfill someone else's creative vision.
I also enjoy making tutorials and walkthroughs (you can find many of them on the "walkthroughs" tab of my website), but they take a ton of time to put together good ones, and I am not trying to market myself as an instructor. I enjoy sharing my progress, certainly, and am quite open to sharing my materials and process (as you've seen here), but that's simply not my current thrust for how I want to spend the majority of my very limited free time. I also feel like there are a TON of awesome creators that are also making great "How-To" content, and if you ever have any questions for me or are looking for recommendations or suggestions, I'm always happy to point you in their directions (ex. Are you interested in learning now to mold, and cast? Look no further than my friend EmilySculpts!)
In terms of digital art, I still do a fair bit of it, but it definitely hasn't been a primary focus of mine outside of work in the last year or so. There are a number of reasons for this as it relates to me and my art.
Probably the biggest one is that I'm trying to angle my art business in a way that has some financial boons (who isn't?), and I found digital work to be innately limiting because no originals exists. That meant that any of my earnings were limited to prints and related products, which weren't all that good for me. I also realized that my most lucrative years for digital art were years where I focused on commissions, which is something I'm trying to do less of, but even then, the market for such things has grown quite saturated and diverse.
My personal experience is that I've done a lot better with real media art. Not only do I enjoy it more (I love the tactile nature of it!), but it's allowed me to combine many of my diverse interests into completely new ways, and the end result has been that I can still run prints and produce products with the art, but I also have something tangible and unique when I'm done. Additionally, since I spend a lot of time in front of a computer full-time at Blizzard and at home when I'm working on my novel, I appreciate getting away from it to work on real media art. I've found it to be a nice balance. So will I still do digital art here and there? Certainly! But it's just not my focus at the moment.
Another thing you may have noticed less of are super-complex pieces of art from me. I love pieces of art with complex, immersive settings and characters, and I enjoy indulging in projects like those, but I've realized that spending a ton of hours on one project hasn't felt as fulfilling to me as of late as spending a more reasonable amount of time on many projects.
"Sashah's Song" - Otherwise known as "Help! I'm 200+ Hours In And Still Incomplete"
I still plan do work on some more ambitious projects (including finishing off the above sculpture, so help me!), but I'm trying to be more selective with how I'm spending my time, and to only have ideally one or two "big" projects rolling at any given time.
So now that I've hopefully explained some of the stuff I'm not planning to spend a lot of time on, what DO I want to spend more time on here and behind-the-scenes?
Along these lines, I'm not really planning on any major changes to my Patreon in 2018, but I do have some upgrades planned! I'd like to freshen up the landing page and some of the reward sections, but most of the things I'm considering I think are already in line with my existing tiers:
In any case, it's nearly 8am here and I need to catch a few more winks of sleep, but I wanted thank all of you again for reading this and supporting me doing what I do. Your support has been immeasurably helpful and heartening, especially in such an absolutely crazy year for me. Thank you so much again for everything, and I look forward to putting together my 2017 wrap-up for you to enjoy! <3