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January 2011

January 2011 -- Creation



  • EMG News:
    January News
  • Ask an Artist:
    Motivation and Inspiration
  • Behind the Art:
  • Artist Spotlight:
    Interview with Angela Sasser


  • Creation


  • Poem: Creator
  • Poem: Emily, Rescue Me from Mediocrity

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  • January News
    EMG News
    by Ellen Million

    Over the last 6 weeks, I've been delving into each project that I run, examining each one for weaknesses, strengths and long-term use, in a project I've been calling 'The Chopping Block.' I needed to do this because I spent a lot of time in 2010 pursuing paths that ultimately were not where I wanted to take my business, and it was difficult to clearly see where I wanted to go, what I wanted to spend my time on, and which projects were healthy.

    Each of the links below go to a complete history and look at the project, and the end evaluation, plus audience discussion. You are welcome to leave your own input on each one, and note that some of them, such as Commission-Control and EMG-Zine, require a benchmark of support to continue. I will address EMG-Zine support requirements in more depth next month!


    These are the projects that have clearly survived the cull. They are strong, active projects with loads of potential, a lot of creative energy, and inspiration. I will continue to work on these things, and invest my energy in them.

    Artist Webpages
    Torn World
    Coloring Books
    Sketch Fest
    Portrait Adoption

    In Danger

    These projects are still under threat of axe... there are some flaws or limitations with them that I still need to address and either fix or declare broken beyond repair.

    Printing Services
    Fantastic Portfolios
    EMG Forums

    Chopped Up:

    These are the projects that are gone completely, or on indefinite back-burner pending a miraculous change of technology or life. They are not feasible for one reason or another, no longer inspiring, or have lived and completed their life cycles. I may revisit them in the future... but not in the near future.

    Custom Tarot/EMG Tarot
    Convention Collective and Conventions in general
    Fantasy Art Shop
    EMG Anthologies

    In Further Detail...

    Artist Webpages: I only work on these when I've got financial motivation to. That's good motivation, and a generally sensible setup!

    Torn World: I'd like to see a membership push with the new year to get some fresh blood involved. I invite ideas on making the project more accessible, and will be spending my most immediate energy on improving the 'jump-in' factor of the site. Your suggestions for achieving this are very welcome - click on the discussion link, or suggest at the forums, or drop me a line privately. My next priorities after that are the language database, and improving character approvals and the review system in general.

    Coloring Books: Our next theme is Arabian Nights! Time to spread the word and start prodding artists to get involved. I have some ideas for making these available to wholesale clients in easy-start bundles, to get them further out in the world. Now that the Fantasy Art Shop is closed for reals, I need to modify the site so that these are available for purchase again, but the other features of that site and the various headache-making intricacies can be purged out. One thing is for sure - browsing will be a lot simpler with twenty options than it was with two thousand...

    Sketch Fest: Our funding drive for last month went quite well, so I've go some goodies on deck to work on! I can't wait to watch this project grow and develop in its second year.

    Portrait Adoption: Although I can think of a number of ways to make this site and process better, it's steaming along quite well under its own power. As I have extra time and energy, I will continue to make improvements, but I'm very happy that it's all functional and not being to clingy with my time. I would still like to make a handful of improvements this year, and work on some better advertising options!

    Printing Services: I list this as 'in danger,' but it's really more a matter of 'no new development or encouragement.' I will continue to do work for the clients I have set up, and not accept any new ones. No plans for expansion or development.

    Commission-Control: In danger of being cut completely, but showing lots of signs of kicking back to life, we are now 54% funded! We have another full month to collect the last 46%, and there's been a lot of interest expressed in the project. If you'd like to see this one happen, step up! Earn some credits to apply to it, if you've got no spare cash, or spread the word to others who may be interested!

    Fantastic Portfolios: This is the one that requires the most thought. The site does what it needs to, and the critics and programmer continue to come through for me, so it may be uncharitable to list it as 'in danger,' when it's more appropriate to say 'static.' I could give this project a good kick in the rear, spend some time integrating it more heavily with the lilypad and credits and karma and such, maybe re-think the funding model so that critics are more tangibly rewarded, bump up the activity level, drum up more interest... but I'm not sure I have the energy to do that. At this point, static is a very appropriate way to describe the project. I don't intend to axe it... and I may be persuaded to inject more into it down the road, but not this year.

    EMG Forums: Likewise, I don't intend to take these down. Quite the opposite, I've already given them a complete dustoff, and begun updating them periodically with relevant information, as well as checking daily and actively replying to posts. Whether or not I keep that up is all on your shoulders at this point. If I find that I get to the point of not finding new posts every week or so within a few months, I'm going to make them read-only and keep them only for general reference. If people post and ask questions and introduce themselves there, I consider that reward enough for my time. Note that the artist group is now open membership, since the close of the Fantasy Art Shop makes those contracts unnecessary. Click on User Control Panel in the upper right, then click on usergroups to join this group.

    EMG-Zine: With 2011, we're going to be aiming at turning this into a self-supporting project. If, by September 2011, we have not attracted enough supporters or in some way turned this into a project that does not eat my money (asking for unpaid submissions? donations? other funding options?), the December issue will be its last. I will be building a donation page, and opening discussion at the forums about creative ways to support it, attract supporters, and quality contributors. I really would like to see this keep going, but not to the point where it can continue to be a financial drain on me personally.

    Ellen Million has always had a passion for projects. Visit her site for prints and embarrassing archives.

    Fantasy coloring books from Ellen Million Graphics Get a pre-made portrait, ready to go! A 48 hour creative jam for artists An e-zine for fantasy artists and writers A shared world adventure

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