--we've finally settled into a work groove that lets us get things done at the pace we've always wanted. Before I even explain what's changed, I just want everyone to stop and consider that we're on pace to have completed a whopping TWENTY FIGURES THIS MONTH. That's insane
. That's like...convention levels of productivity right there. Only minus the convention work hours.
If you don't believe me, here's the list:
Derpy in Muffin
Berry Punch x2
Lab Coat Twi
That's the September completion list. All of those are done or nearly done. I expect the October completion list to be shorter since this month involved finishing up a lot of ancient commissions that had been sitting in limbo for far too long. But I still fully expect a solid 15 figures done next month. And for once I'm not just making unrealistically high expectations for myself like I have in the past.
Now, for the secret as to why:
This month's improvements
-A solid scheduling for once:
In the past I could never figure out how to prioritize my time. What's more dire? A model I haven't even started on, or a fully sanded print that's sat on the paint queue for over a month? I used to drive myself crazy trying to figure this out. Now, the hours of 11-4 are always modeling work, and 8-11 is always print work.
-Better division of labor:
Rabid and I might work better when it's at the same time, but not when it's on the same thing. I used to waste a lot of time sanding things that I just couldn't figure out how to get smooth, and then when it was time to paint I'd sit around being frustrated that I wasn't getting enough help from Rabid, while he was frustrated that I even wanted
him to paint things that he felt like he wasn't doing a good enough job at. Well, from now on all
sanding (and airbrushing) is his job, and all detail painting is mine. Our work blocks have gone far smoother.
But wait, what about border cleanup? That pesky job that takes up far more time than any detail painting ever did? Well...
-Infinitely better print splitting:
Somehow it took me this long to try removing the mane and tail from every single print. I'd tried it before with otherwise impossible prints like Chrysalis and Taopinkie, but it took me a long time to work up the courage to do it to all the prints. Why? Because I was never totally sure if the expansion rates of the plastic would allow a flush enough fit with prints that were supposed to line up along curved surfaces. The answer is that after sanding and painting, it honestly doesn't matter. This means that the body and hair can be airbrushed separately. THAT. IS. HUGE. Do you know how many hours I spent doing multiple coats of paint by hand on the mane and tail, trying to cover up the initial airbrushed base coat? About two hours per figure! And I hated
it! And that task is just gone! Forever! Holy crap.
-A vastly more convenient airbrush setup:
Oh yeah, the airbrush was down since May. I forgot about that. Eesh, no wonder I never wanted to do base coats. But in any case, Rabid made a ton of improvements to his airbrushing station, making the entire process much quicker and easier for him. This means airbrushing can happen more often, and more easily.
And now, a question
Now admittedly all these wonderful new improvements have taken a hit this past week, as I've been sick with bronchitis, which I got from a combination of a drastic weather change and extreme stress. To be honest, these improvements would be more than enough to get rid of all the stress in this job forever, as I myself feel very confident and happy with this rate of progress. The problem is that I spend far too much of my time in a paranoid haze, constantly worrying if I'm getting enough done for people to not hate me. I am in severe need of destressing, so I just want to ask everyone something right now:
Are you guys
confident with this work pace?
I know it's taken a long time to get here. I know we made countless screw ups in the past year, which is the only reason we got ourselves into this mess in the first place. Most of that stress comes from how ashamed we are that there are still so many old commissions on the queue. Does the rate of progress from this last month make everyone more confident? Cause I really need to stop being so paranoid about what everyone thinks.
A long time ago, people used to ask us why we didn't run a kickstarter. And I always answered the same thing--we already have more orders than we can handle; a kickstarter would just make things worse. But lately I've realized that, in a weird way, they were on to something. Think about it: when you buy something on say, Etsy, you're paying money for a cool thing. And that's all there really is to it. You get the cool thing shortly afterward, and that's that. But when you back a kickstarter, you're giving money to someone who doesn't yet have the ability to make the thing, and then in a year or so when they've got everything worked out, you get a cool thing as a reward.I really, really wish I'd had the foresight to tell everyone to treat commissioning us like backing a kickstarter.
I think that would have made a lot of the delays make a lot more sense. If we were just starting out now with a blank commission list, the turnaround time would easily be around two weeks.
And finally the announcement
I'll make this a separate journal entry tomorrow. But for now, I'll say it here. Our current progress blitz has left us dangerously low on supplies. In the interest of keeping production moving, I do not want us to run out
. A standstill happening now
, of all times, would be the worst thing ever.
So to prevent that from happening, I am opening a very limited amount of slots this month.
Besides, I promised I would in July, and you guys have been asking me non-stop to open commissions. x.X So I'm gonna do it. FIVE CUSTOM SLOTS ARE OPEN. FIVE REPRINT SLOTS ARE OPEN. Send all requests in a note and I'll reply with a price quote. I am only taking the best orders for now (ie, the ones that I feel most confident modeling, or that seem the most interesting.) I'm NOT doing that thing where I used to take every order anyone threw my way, only to regret it immediately afterward because it was way too hard.
REMEMBER TO TREAT COMMISSIONING US AS SORT OF LIKE BACKING A KICKSTARTER. We have a lot of things to finish first before production can start on new orders. I'm tired of outright telling new commissioners that it'll be a decent wait, only for them to ask why I haven't started the very next day. What the heck.