BRIEF UPDATE, JUNE 2021

I am working on a lot of different things, but the unavoidable result of that is that each individual effort progresses more slowly. That said, here’s a breakdown of where things stand:

  1. Microtasks. These have become higher-priority as I’ve found some work [off and on] that pays more, as in an average of $7.20/hour. And it’s work that’s available about half the time, each week so… I’ve made $400+ so far this year doing that, most of it since mid-May. I wouldn’t go so far as to call it earth-shattering, or life-changing, but rather pathetically this – minimum-wage part-time work – has a better pay rate than anything I’ve ever really landed in my life before.
  2. Miniature papercraft. I’m updating it a bit in the next couple days with a modest amount of new material tacked onto existing listings. You’ll see more soon. And best part is I do actually have a large-format printer with fantastic print quality, it can go up to 13″ by 19″ poster size. This means my papercraft will be available in TT and HO scales soon and not just the smaller scales (T, Z, N).
Nigel’s Pub, with an optional ‘outdoor seating’ addition. One of several new structures being tacked onto the British papercraft set in the next few days, across multiple scales of printable papercraft. Is there any name more stereotypically British than Nigel? Certainly not a name that is at all common in the USA!

3. Blood… the blood particle effects I have for free on Itch.IO just got an update. And it’s one of a number of updates showing up over the next week there. Watch for about 30-40 more assets to be added across some of my texture and 3d asset packs before the July 4th sale. WHICH IS ONLY ACTIVE FOR ONE DAY – JULY 4, 2021! DON’T FORGET IT!

Blood. For all the horror fans on Itch.IO.

Speaking of July 4 – I absolutely am working towards a gigantic sale on Etsy that will coincide with the Itch one and it’ll be good too. And though promotional efforts have been sort of modest this past month, they’re likely to be substantial starting a couple of days from now.

As in, I’ll be spending approx. $55 on ad campaigns, just between now and the end of the July 4 sale. That is, $35 over the two weeks leading up to that date and $20 on the day itself. It’s extremely likely to produce massive results based on past test runs.

Recall that in the past three years, between Etsy and Itch.IO, I’ve made over 60 individual sales worth over $500 total… almost all of them the direct result of active ad campaigns that were about $150 in all. So given that track record, I figure making over a dozen sales across these two venues in one day… July 4th… is fairly likely. This also means that some of the popular oft-viewed, oft-favorited listings on Etsy should finally sell by the end of that day. If you want them, but have been holding off… seriously, grab them now before someone else does! (Or take a chance on that, and wait until the morning of July 4th, and get the item you want then at 20% off if it happens to still be there.).

In preparation for the new sale I’ll be increasing the total listing count on Etsy to over 20 total listings, 20 different listed items. Granted, some of the new listings will be print stuff – the model railroading stuff appearing in a couple of larger scales they have not yet appeared in. But there will also be some new paintings showing up by the start of the sale.

Final notes: I am still working on both “Miniature Multiverse” and “Panoramic Worlds HD”. As for the latter – in the past month I’ve scrapped the old scene load/unload system and set up a new one with nicer loading screens, I implemented ad and ad-free versions of that loading-screen transition, did some playtesting, identified some situational bugs and fixed most of them, did a bit more graphics polishing in various spots, and in another few days will be doing further playtesting with a handful of other people (mostly close family) and will note any glitches/bugs they find, or any places that are confusing or that get them stuck. I’ll try to fix whatever issues they find, and also will post some trailer and video material on the web (Youtube, Vimeo, the PWHD website, the Itch.IO page, etc.)

Despite numerous failed deadlines, many delays and numerous bugs found and quashed, now I am still very optimistic that it’ll be out there by the time the sale hits. As in, during the week leading into the sale. Keep an eye out for that! It shouldn’t be more than 12 days off now!

Also, I’m working on a MAJOR update for HornbostelVideos.com to go live after that sale, some time in early July. Just know that that is still in the works. I want a lot more of my archived video content accessible but… still, not everything. There are basically going to be several tiers/categories of stuff for legal and other reasons.

Art supply sets being resold at a loss on eBay soon!

About $120 worth of brand new, unused art supply items, are going to be listed at prices that are only 55-65% of the amount I paid for the items, and with free shipping.

I’m trying to get my eBay shop to new heights, and most of my recent ratings are as a buyer, not as a seller. I’ve got over 200 ratings by now on eBay, 100% of them positive, but only about a third of them have been as an actual vendor/seller. I’m hoping to draw in about a dozen new ratings on eBay *as a seller* this week and ideally also one or two on Etsy soon as well.

To that end, I’ll be advertising heavily, for both my art shops and my near-release game ‘Miniature Multiverse‘ and I’m expecting a torrent of web traffic during the next 12 days as I post:

-a bunch of art-supply listings at excellently low prices.

-a handful of auctions for substantial original made-to-order personalized artworks.

-a couple of new artworks on Etsy as well.

-a final batch of articles filling the ‘articles page’ on TriumphantArtists.com – the last incomplete section is currently being written, that is, the one on ‘game design/development’.

-Chapter One of ‘Another Road Taken’ as well as early parts of the ‘Troop 4Uncensored, pt. 4’ comic book, filling out the fairly weak comics section of TriumphantArtists.com and in the process also further improving the Troop 4 site.

-House Trek episode 6 posted on HornbostelVideos.com, and also a Miniature Multiverse video trailer shortly before launch.

-Revision/update of my still art gallery on TriumphantArtists.com.

-And actually launch ‘Miniature Multiverse‘ on major digital gaming shops!

eBay adjustment [new cheaper sale prices!]

EBAY AND ETSY PRICES LOWERED… AGAIN.

Some of my fixed price listings have been sitting for a full year without any orders.  It’s been just over a month since the last sale I made on eBay.

So – all of that considered – I think it’s a good time to lower prices a bit.

So if you’re interested in an original work by Matthew Lyles Hornbostel, now’s a good time to order one.

Most of the custom made-to-order art on my eBay shop is now 10-20% cheaper.  So go take a look!

Also – the Etsy items are also on sale still and cheaper than they were.  An automated Etsy notification was sent to me actually warning me that based on the statistics for similarly sized items in the category, “you may be substantially underpricing your work” and that most other items in my category are priced higher, and therefore able to make a viable profit.

WELL THANKS A LOT ETSY, BUT THERE IS THIS LITTLE THING CALLED A “LOSS LEADER” BUSINESS STRATEGY.

I am well aware of the fact that my prices are low and that I may be losing money on many of the items I make.  That is intentional.  I did that on eBay too for the first three years or so, so I could gain the first batch of ratings from customers and establish my shop as a credible, trustworthy venue with a positive reputation!  After that I could start to incrementally raise prices over time – while still keeping them lower than almost all other vendors’.

Quite frankly, I would rather make under $3-6/hr doing painting or pastel work, or visual effects, video editing/post, game art assets, etc – than make the same level of income doing long strings of tedious tasks like transcription of audio & video recordings for subtitles or other purposes, or repetitively tagging the content of image files on Mturk so people can search and sort through them easily [on various websites, search engines, etc].

And by the way, I HAVE done those things, and they’re a mind-numbing waste of the [creative] talent I have.  But they do pay the bills in times when nothing on my web network is selling, and they do keep the whole thing afloat and inching forward during rough stretches.  I think it needs to be clarified that such income streams, while taxed by the government, are not applicable to [paying actors].  That should have been stated in the actors’ pay post, it was a detail I overlooked… the fraction of my income generated outside of and unconnected to my web network and unrelated to creative work is not considered ‘web network’ revenue and none of that goes to cast members.

ACTORS TAKE NOTE OF THIS FINE PRINT:

This distinction matters; it means that the total revenue generated by the web network I run is the baseline that determines the size of residuals in a given year for each actor on each video or other project.

So while transcription and other similar grinding non-creative ‘in between’ work have generated around $1260/year the past three years, for me, on average… that doesn’t add onto the other income made elsewhere.

The only numbers that count for actors are the other revenue sources that now constitute the majority of my income:

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-eBay sales [avg. $360/year the last 4 years but generally trending upward over time]

-Art sales I make locally at craft fairs, or elsewhere, or on this website shop, including DVD/Blu Ray releases of video collections and video games. [booming like crazy – over $400 the last 12 months locally, but no success on this website shop yet]

-Etsy sales [none yet despite a strong effort to list items and promote them there, at really low prices.]

-third party or affiliate ad revenue if ever applicable [negligible – under $5/year the past 5 years]

-Freelance work involving creative effort; i.e. videography, vfx, 3d game assets, web graphics, previz, etc. [$240/year on average, over the past 3 years.]

-printed swag like T-shirts on Zazzle/CafePress [minimal so far]

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Do keep in mind that most of the art I’ve sold on eBay ‘made to order’ has resulted in enthusiasm, even ecstatic responses, and that if you buy something there you’re likely to be happy with it [judging from past patterns] but that while I am able to do fantastic pet portraits and landscapes, cityscapes, water scenes, still lifes, fantasy/sci-fi work, etc, lots of things I work on turn out well but portraits are a bit of a risky thing to ask of me as the depictions of the people involved will often look a bit ‘off’ from the real people I’m trying to paint/draw, despite my best efforts.

PROBLEMS PAINTING PEOPLE

It’s well known that the human face is generally the hardest image for artists to recreate correctly by hand, due to the enormous portion of our human brains that is wired specifically for the purpose of recognizing who other people are and identifying their emotional states.  Our minds are finely attuned to facial recognition of [humans] and that’s why the phenomenon of pareidolia is so common [seeing faces in randomly patterned things like clouds or wall textures] and why we can tell hundreds of people apart very easily but can’t tell individuals apart anywhere near as well when it comes to other species.  If the image of a non-human subject is very slightly off, nobody will notice.  If it’s an image of a person, though, the image will seem ‘wrong’.

For example, there’s this portrait of my sister Sarah and her new husband (they got married a few days ago – as of early June 2017 – and it was a beautiful wedding.  We jokingly called it the Sarah-mony.).  The portrayal of the couple in pastel looks a little odd and most people will say so but few can say exactly why; it simply doesn’t quite capture the appearance of the two people I was trying to depict.  It’s close but not close enough to break through beyond the uncanny qualities.

Sarah and Sean have gotten married. I recorded the wedding on video and also made this (somewhat botched) oil pastel portrait of the couple.

So yeah – keep all of this in mind.  There are amazing bargains on custom, made to order work on my eBay shop.  However, there is a risk that portraits (in particular) which I make may, despite best intentions and a lot of careful effort, may not look quite like the people I am attempting to draw.  But I’m generally getting better at it over time.

By the way, remember to take a look at my still art section on TriumphantArtists.com for other examples of the amazing affordable art I create!

And to all those of you who want to see my video work, I’ll begin posting it on a little domain I’ve acquired (HornbostelVideos.com) well before the end of summer 2017.  There’s also another new domain – SpiralSkiesGame.com – showcasing the new minigame I’ve been developing, and while nothing’s loaded onto either domain yet the websites will both become active soon enough with a bit of content at first and more posted over time.