Week 1 at Weltec.

Unfortunately when I arrived at Weltec on Monday, I found that the animation course had been cancelled due to lack of enrollments! This was very disappointing, but after a chat with the helpful staff I decided to enroll in the drawing class instead which will still be a great help.

Back to School...

I have been doing flash animation since 2003, and have been pretty comfortable learning about how to apply traditional animation skills to the flash platform. However, now I want to learn more about other types of animation, including stop-motion. I took the plunge and enrolled in a summer animation course at Weltec, which covers all kinds of 2d animation, including stop-motion! I am looking forward to brushing up on my skills in this four-week intensive course and hopefully producing some worthwhile samples while being exposed to different skill-sets and software environments! I will be tweeting about my experiences, and am hoping to do a weekly blog-post that sums up what I have learnt each week on the course.

I have been thinking for a while about alternative methods of building a community around Squibbleworld.

One of the options I had not considered previously was setting up a monthly email newsletter. This is because I mainly associate email newsletters with companies that use newsletters to tell you about their latest offers. This is useful if you are looking for a particular item on special, but normally I mark most of these types of email newsletters as read immediately, or at best skim through them quickly.

However there are a few email newsletters that I actually read from beginning to end. The first of these are the Computer Graphics World E- Newsletter and the Animation Mentor newsletter. This is not surprising because they are basically magazine-format newsletters that focus on subjects in which I am particularly interested. More surprising however is the Jbox newsletter. You can see they have also embedded the latest newsletter into the front page of their website. The Jbox website sells all kinds of cute items straight from Japan. Like other commercial email newsletter campaigns, the Jbox newsletter includes a list of its latest products. What is different about the Jbox newsletter is that it always starts with the author's impressions of life in Japan as a foreigner, cultural insights and sometimes interesting tidbits relating to vocabulary and language structure. It's true that when I get to the end of the newsletter, I often skim through the list of latest items just as I do with most other commercial newsletters. On the other hand, I always look forward to those few minutes in my day where I open the Jbox newsletter to read interesting information about a completely different culture.

Why then is this type of newsletter more effective than one in which a company merely lists items that are on sale, or offers its readers coupons? You need to ask yourself: what can I offer our subscribers besides our latest special offers? Your readers will stay subscribed to your newsletter longer if they feel you have something more to offer them than your latest specials or cut-price deals. Put your items or the service you are promoting in context, by providing interesting background information on that topic for your readers.

There is finally a Squibbleworld Newsletter! Sign up here if you want to receive regular updates and news from Squibbleworld delivered to your inbox! The Newsletter is powered by Mailchimp, a service which made the set-up process absolutely stress-less and hassle-free. The first issue will be coming out at the end of October!

Back in 2005 I set up my first proper Cafepress store. At the time I had a choice between setting up with Cafepress or Zazzle. I went with Cafepress because they had been established for a longer period and had a greater range of products.

{rokbox title=|Pirate Pony! :: First in a Series of My Little Pwnage Illustrations | size=|800 521|}images/digitalart/smallpiratepony.jpg{/rokbox}

My latest digital painting! This one was painted entirely in photoshop from a hand-drawn sketch which I then scanned. It is the first in a series of Pwny illustrations, which I will post one by one as they are finished!