April 4th, 2011


Sketch Fest at one year...

What is Sketch Fest?

Sketch Fest involves artists from all over the world, working on a pool of prompts and ideas for up to - but no more than! - one hour an any given sketch. For 24 hours, we creatively jam, share our results with each other, and sell our work. Artists can work in any media, for any part of the 24 hours, on any of the prompts, and are welcome to sell or crowdfund their work themselves, or donate them to the Sketch Fest project to fund our website improvements.

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In short? It's been a wild first year, and we've come a long, long way.

Where are we going?

Where are we going for our second year? Already, the site got a bit of a brush up for Sketch Fest #12 - some of it was backend work improving the buying process (so pieces couldn't accidentally be bought more than once, as was starting to happen...), also, artists got a link directly to their claims, and there were some browsing improvements. A new landing page is under review, and a 'quick snag' method of claiming available artwork has been requested.

Other things I'd like to see include comment threading, and links on comments, more options for artists when uploading their work (including being able to flag ACEOs, and add keywords, and add a link to buy off-site), and a way to allow partial donations, where the artist can take a 'cut' of the donation - we're discussing that last feature in my journal here. I'd also like to discuss opening the project to other forms of art, such as writing (still bound by the one-hour limit!).

Spawning out of the partial funding discussion is some talk about a cross-platform credits feature I would very much like to develop across my network of sites. One of the bummers of micro-funding things is that so much gets lost in the transfer - the ones really making out are services like Paypal, who take a big cut from small payments. I would very much like to set it up so that people can sell their artwork done through Sketch Fest, get some percentage of the sale back in credits (up to 90%, they set their rate), and use those credits to tip writers and artists at EMG-Zine or Torn World, or the critics at Fantastic Portfolios, as well as have the option to buy things or cash out their credits.

I've worked on ambitious projects a lot over the years (a LOT *shakes cane*), and often find that I come out at the end with things that are close to what I had in mind, but won't pay off for years and years (if they ever do!). Sketch Fest is vastly different in that it was entirely front-funded - and has exceeded my vision. I was paid professional programming rates at every step of the way to create exactly what was needed and requested. The project itself makes me wildly happy because it's getting people to do art, and love doing it again. I've gotten a lot of feedback from people who rediscovered their muses through Sketch Fest, and that's the very best part of the project.

I welcome input, ideas, and suggestions! Come and play at Sketch Fest #13 (lucky 13!) on April 22-23, noon to noon Alaska time.

ETA: Also, I've got a poll up now looking at new features, timing and other bits and bobs: http://ellenmillion.livejournal.com/1178349.html

Rose & Bay Awards Followup to the Poll

After the 2011 award season, there was a discussion and a poll for ideas about where the Rose & Bay Awards should go next.  A total of 17 people participated in the poll.  Here are the results ...

Rose & Bay Awards voting polls will be non-transparent.  (10 people voted for this.)

A restriction will be added so that a project which wins one year is not eligible in the same category the next year.  After that, it is eligible again.  (13 people voted for a restriction.  12 voted for a one-year trigger.  10 voted for a one-year skip.)

Voting will be popular (with checkboxes) rather than singular (with radio buttons) so that voters can indicate all the projects they like within a given category.

A number of people expressed both interest in and support for a Crowdfunding Hub Site.  Based on the low end of what people said they might donate, that includes between $69 and $165.

Although several people suggested offering prizes, actual support for this was considerably lower.  Nobody volunteered as an overall prize organizer.  (Some did volunteer for contributing prizes, or helping with particular parts of prizes.)  So this proposal is tabled until more people are available to make it happen.  (Only 11 people even voted on this question.)

People slightly favored sponsoring the Crowdfunding Hub Site first, followed by the prizes.  (8 people voted for this version.)  So if both of those come together, we'll try to make that order work out.  A very close second (6 votes) went to just doing them in whatever order works, whether or not that creates an overlap.