Friday, November 17, 2017

A Blog about the Blog!

Now that the Patreon page has been up and running, and I keep talking about what it takes to keep this content flowing on a daily basis.  So, I thought for the very first time, I would "pull back the curtain" and give a sense of what is involved!

It all starts with determining what could be useful content.  Obviously how to posts are at the top of that list!  However, these can be tricky, as these projects are almost always my regular work, which has its own set of deadlines, etc.  Most of the time, I just have to snap pictures on the fly as I am working, attempting to get all the key moments captured in an image.

This does not always happen, which means that I have to do more writing and descriptions about the process.  When working in something like acrylic paints, every second I spend messing around with the camera is one less that I have to manipulate rapidly drying paint!!

All of those images must be transferred and then processed into useable images for the blog.  They must be a certain size, and you get about 15 images to any one post max.  Beyond 15 images, it takes a long time for it to load, and people tend to tune out before the end of the post.  So, I often have to post involved projects in multiple episodes.

This sounds great, but it can be very difficult to get people to realize that they are only seeing one of several episodes!  Therefore, I never go beyond 3-4 at a time.

To cut down on the number of images needed, I try to make "inserts", like the image below...

The "cover image" is very important, as this is what shows up on every blog roll and website.  A text based title will not capture anyone's interest, but you have to make sure that this image is small enough to show up on the gadgets which allow those links.

If it is a full sized/resolution image, the gadget will default to text only.

I often spend more time creating the cover image that most of the pictures in the post.  You have to have one image that captures the topic, but also have a title that can still be read as a tiny postage stamp.

Choosing what steps to show can be a challenge, because some folks are not as familiar with the approaches that I use for various techniques.  I try not to bog down those who are with too much review.

Now comes the most time consuming bit, and that is writing the article itself.  While many people tend to just "look at the pics and run", I feel that it is absolutely vital to try and convey as much information as I can this way.  

I will also try to link back to previous posts, or to refer back to them for people who might be looking at it for the first time.  Again, new viewers come to the blog every day, so I have to refer to past posts or techniques every so often, or to sections of the blog.

Even here, I try to keep each text block to a certain size.  If there is too much text, people will either gloss right over it or skim through.  I don't know how many times someone has asked a question that was answered 5 times in just one post.  Each block is usually 2-4 sentences tops.

Once all the text is written, it is time to set the size of the images, and then make tags for the subjects.  I realized a while back that it was very important to include multiple subject tags for each posts, so that it would be easier for me to find pertinent posts for answering all the questions that I get on facebook every day.  At least 5-12 come in on a daily basis, and having this "Library of Wappelville" is very handy!!

Now you have a better sense of why I started up the patreon page, as keeping this particular resource going is a 14-20 hour a week investment.  Here's a link to the page.  I am hoping to add some more special things, like Painting Pyramid video 'packages' with brushes and materials, etc.

Many thanks to all who have contributed!!!