Tag Archives: Business

Happy New Year. Back to Work!

Everyone who does content for the Internet seems to saying what a great year 2011 will be for them and that how they will kick 2010’s ass in some vague way or other. Instead of saying how they’re going to do, they’re making vague statements, metaphors and pronouncements while paving more road to hell with good intentions.

Sure, that’s normal human behavior at this time of year, but I’m going to go one better and give you an actual sneak peek at what’s coming up this year for me, instead of just saying what a swell year it will be.

Comfort Zone the Comic: I did a crappy (really, it was) little webcomic that kind of went way off course last year. I let it go for awhile, but this year, starting in January, I’m going to resolve the “story” of the last comic and bring it into a better storytelling format. It will be twice a week, but instead of three panels twice a week, it will be more of a comic-sized page, or an old time Sunday Comics sized strip, when strips took up 90% of a page. I want to create a comic to show off my real art and storytelling chops.

I don’t want to creatively masturbate three panels a day with week jokes.

Podcasts: Open Mike, Insert Foot is done. Finished. Out with a whimper. I have gotten everything out of that experience that I can get and it is time to move on to bigger and better things. Shows that are better prepared, less reliant on random callers and other people, and stuff that I’m more passionate about.

That Stupid Podcast premieres in January. The first episode sets up the concept and format, and from there, well, it gets stupid.  People are getting dumber and I’ll show you how, with a bit of observation and a pinch of comedy.

Before the Crisis is the working title for my comic book podcast. It will talk mostly about my life in comics, specifically focusing on the years before 1986, comics’ best year (in my lifetime). It will have a strong focus on different types of cultures in comics, the DC multiverse as it was in that time, and many other topics that you don’t hear on Major Spoilers or Word Balloon.  I’m hoping to launch this in the Spring.

Mike the Art Guy: Art, Internet, Business. I’m going to call upon my associates to share with me their experiences in art, Internet, and business. This show will be for working artists and Internet content providers. In between may be episodes that are more journal in nature, where I share my adventures and observations. Still finalizing the format, so look for more announcements about the final launch date in February or March.

I will also be ramping up production on my original artwork, prints, cards, caricatures, and other commission work, or as it’s known, my real job.

I’m not just pulling this stuff out of my butt, mind you. I’ve long ago planned everything out and documented it, so I can focus and keep on schedule with my various projects.

So with that all out in the open, and practically daring myself to fail, I want to take a moment to wish you all a productive and fun year, not just right now in January, but all year long.

Now get back to work.


Dick Blick Deals of the Week, A Lesson in Businessc

Today, class, you’re going to learn a little about business, buying art supplies, and a little something about how websites make money.

In the past, in the right column of this very website, you have seen an orange rectangle-shaped ad that promoted the wonderful online art supply company Dick Blick Art Materials.

www.DickBlick.com - Online Art Supplies

Dick Blick Art Materials carries art supplies and related materials and I have found out them easy to work with and to order from online. Thanks to a gift card given to me during the holidays (Thanks for paying attention, Chris!) I got an opportunity to look around the website, buy some pens that I’ve been contemplating for a bit, kick the tires and such.

I was very happy with the experience. I saved some money on the pens, had them shipped to my home, and they were packaged well with all of the pertinent paperwork included.

So, like I said up front, you used to see their ad on the site, but it went away for awhile. Well, I suppose that’s my fault. The ad was an affiliate program ad. When I lead people to the Dick Blick Art Materials site by getting them to click that link, I get a percentage of the sale. They get customers, I get some pizza money, and you get a lead on the leader in online art supply sales. It’s a simple business model that should have brought in some cash, but I kind of let the website languish. No visitors, no clicks, no sales, no pizza.

Not even on 5 dollar, pick up only Monday pizza day. Sigh.

Eventually, Dick Blick Art Materials said “Blick you” (I’m paraphrasing a bit) and canceled the contract I had with them. No harm, no foul.

After bearing down and getting the site back up, and active, and hopefully interesting, one of the first things I did was to reactivate my connection to Dick Blick Art Materials.

If I’m going to recommend art supplies and such to my students, and if they don’t like the selection at our local art stores, such as Pat Catan’s and Michael’s (despite their fabulous name, I call ’em Meh Killz), I can offer them a choice that I am actively using and can recommend with the utmost confidence.

Want to kick the tires and give it a shot? Here’s their Hot Deals of the Week!. Dick Blick Art Materials offers huge values on a variety of art stuff from a variety of artistic disciplines and media.

I’m not a huge online shopper, so I have no hesitation in recommending this to my more luddite viewers as a method for obtaining art supplies.  Have fun.

The Red Cross Chocolate Festival

I will be here tomorrow. It’s the Lorain County Red Cross Chocolate Festival, which is an annual event where businesses and organizations in Lorain County get a table, give out chocolates and promote their stuff.

I will be promoting my business, doing caricatures and drawings, and giving out chocolate. I will also have a 100 dollar item in the silent auction.

I hope you’ll be there.


Busy Week

Oh man. January… slow. First half of February… slow. Then it all comes at once. This week I will be working on graphics for a lawn care company in Michigan. That will be fun, since it’s all centered around a Silver-Age superhero motif.

I will be starting a series of caricatures for a local production of I Do, I Do that is due very soon.

I will be doing the yearly update for a local plant nursery website (five years running, hurrah).

I will be setting up my “convention table” for the local Red Cross Chocolate Festival in Lorain, which should garner me some 400 potential viewers/buyers. That means I need to finish my banner, finish an original print for the show, and make some new notecards and bookmarks.

I will be doing at least one podcast and one or two video casts.

I will be at the Neal Jenne Gallery today, working on the print.

And I’m waiting to hear back from one of my other website customers about her big event (as in nationally televised level big) and how we’re going to have to update the site to handle that.

Business Thoughts: Fan Clubs, Investors, and Memberships

Joel Watson, the mind behind HijinksEnsue.com, a terrific geeky webcomic, has a special section of his site called “The Vault“. To see this section, filled with lots of extras, you only have to pay a small subscription fee. For your fee you’ll have unlimited access to behind-the-scenes type items, extra podcasts and more. If you just want to dip your toe in the waters for a month, you can make a one-time donation. Right now, Joel’s monthly subscriptions are getting him over 700 dollars a month. And that doesn’t include one-time donations. Not bad.

Many webcomic artists and other online artists are hopping on the Assetbar.com band wagon, starting “fan clubs”, including Starslip, PVP Online, and Octopus Pie. For anywhere from 99 cents to maybe 2.99 a month, you get access to a similar conglomeration of behind-the-scenes material as HijinksEnsue.com offers.

I am looking at what I have here and I’m thinking, Hmmmm… I have celebrity caricatures that I can’t sell, and I have a lot of other stuff that I’m sure people would love to have as screen savers, etc. And maybe people would be curious about this other old art sitting around.

And I’ve always wanted to do a membership/investor type thing where people who support me and my art get special discounts and maybe limited edition collectors prints, etc. Discounts that would apply to stuff here on the site and stuff that I have elsewhere on the web, like at my Etsy.com store.

And in addition, Patti Serrano of Talkshoe, among others, has put a bug in my ear to create subscription video art classes. Which alone would be cool because it gives previous students a place to go for advanced classes.

So, anyway, I’m thinking about starting up a club, investor, or membership thing where you if you pay a fee, you get access to lots more stuff. Stuff like my podcast Open Mike, Insert Foot and my upcoming webcomic would be free, but I would have more stuff only available to subscribers.

Mind you, this isn’t a new idea. I’ve been thinking about some of this for over a year now. With the advent of Assetbar.com and the availability of certain Word Press plugins, I can make it happen on my shoestring budget.

Thoughts? Leave a comment or email me.