Pretty boring stuff I know, but the last server we had couldn’t handle the amount of traffic the site gets. It was a VPS with nice specs and should have been fine but, to put things simply, it was not. After moving again load times are much faster and pages are reported to load at about 2 seconds average which is much better. More updates soon!
We have taken a long, hard look at the site recently and have some fairly major changes planned as well as some smaller tweaks and fixes. There’s plenty for us to do, but as always, we want the members to have their say on any new features. So, if you have any ideas for things that would make the site better for you, leave message on the forum, or send us an email. The changes which we are working on will be ready in around 3 weeks if everything goes to plan. Watch this space!
Due to spiralling costs we will be moving the site to its own server as of Monday 16th December. The site will most likely be down for a couple of days, I’m sorry there isn’t much we can do about this due to the sheer size of the site and the number of images. The good news is there should be significant performance improvements. We will keep you updated.
That’s right, going Pro is now possible without paying a penny. All you have to do is earn 5 chilli’s and you will automatically be given Pro Membership along with all of the benefits that entails. We have tweaked the algorithm slightly, so please take a look here for more information.
With most of the critical bugs now fixed we now have time to focus on IOTM. Expect to see some big changes this week!
It’s been almost 2 weeks since we launched the site, as a beta. We have been working furiously, trying to get everything done, and iron out all of the kinks, and finally, we are almost there.There quite a few problems at the start, so thank you everyone who took the time to email us your problems and help us find solutions to them.
Right now we are currently working on the artwork gallery store so that artists can sell their artwork online, and then I think we are done. Hurrah! But of course, it never stops! There will be more changes as time goes on, more themes developed and features added as we continually listen to your feedback. Talking of which, I better get back to it!
This just in – we have an awesome new feature for the site – brand-less portfolios. What does this mean? Basically you can strip away all of the Voodoochilli menus and what not and have your very own website.
This feature has just been developed and is still in beta. We expect a few bugs while we get everything right. Soon we hope also to offer domain names so you can have your own web address as well.
Here is an example of a brand-less portfolio.
To remove the branding, login to your account and select branding. This is a Pro Artist feature only.
In preparation for the new site design that will be revealed soon, we are making one of our Pro Themes free to all. Simply login to your account and go to themes to activate it.
We recently discovered that Voodoochilli Pro Member, Erik von Karl Agduma, is working on a brand new graphic novel project, with the working-title POST WW3. Erik is a US based artist who, besides his artistic talents, has a long-standing passion for screenwriting, and his current project draws all of these skills together. Erik took some time out from his work to give Voodoochilli the low-down on the project and share his experiences with other aspiring graphic-novelists.
V: When and how did you start making your art?
E: I started drawing at a young age. Probably as young as I could grasp crayons, growing up in the Philippines. I can vividly remember watching some WW2 black and white movie, fascinated with that. I wanted to recreate it, and the only way of doing that was by drawing. I created art because of war and death. So clichéd, I know.
V: You’re working on a graphic novel. Can you tell us about it?
E: Ah, my graphic novel. It’s called POST WW3 (working title), a post-apocalyptic story with a sci-fi angle. The project is actually a product of failure pruned from another passion of mine – screenwriting. I abandoned drawing and the whole scene entirely for a period of time in my early twenties, and just wanted to do focus screenwriting. But alas, with that not having panned out (and at an age where I felt I should be doing something I love) I decided, instead of going through the rigorously insane process of having your story (soul!) sold in the ‘biz’, to do it myself without the fear of my work being butchered by other people. So here I am again, drawing – my first passion.
V: Are you writing too, or collaborating with anybody?
E: I’m not currently working with anybody. I don’t think I will any time soon. I’d gone through too many bodies trying to achieve my projects, and it’s really crazy and sad to think nothing came out of it. I believe it was ego, coupled with the ignorance wrought from levity that we (myself and my many revolving writing/drawing partners) thought we could create something with just the pencil in our hands and the brain we were born with. It didn’t help that I was collaborating with close friends. I don’t think that ever works out; there’s too much subjective, ‘non-business’ flavor to the whole affair that’s just poison to a project. I know brothers and sisters have collaborated and succeeded in the past, but I don’t have any of those. I’m an only child. Uh-oh, I know!
V: What inspires your work?
E: Primarily music, movies, mangas, art books, and art from fellow peers. But you learn that inspiration can get you only so far with a big project like a graphic novel. You need to have a professional determination, and an attitude of not fearing anything – especially failure. I think I’m lacking all of the aforementioned! But I’m learning.
V: Describe one of your creative sessions – for example, do you listen to music, or have a favourite place to work?
E: I write at a coffee shop, and do my designs there also. Anything I can do on a paper, I do it there. But when it comes to drawing/painting, I hunker down in my room in front of my tablet, with a mug of joe, coconut water, and music. Music is the soul of motion, be it dancing, a scene in a movie, or in still art. I have a pretty much eclectic taste in music – be it tribal music from the Philippines, gypsy music, Kuduro music, Baile funk, Trip hop, string music, Norse Icelandic baritone singers, Weird Americana, or dub step. It’s kinda eclectic, see.
V: Any advice you’d give to an aspiring graphic artist / novelist?
E: Don’t die, that’s good advice, right? Don’t die but, if you have to, amass a lot of work first so you’ll have some chance of gaining success posthumously. It’s worked for some people, right? Seriously, though… I don’t usually plug motivational books, but if I had to it would be WAR OF ART by Steven Pressfield. You progress by treating art like a day job that you have to do, or else you and your family will starve. You have to feel the sensation of passion, yet avoid the excess of being some lofty artist; you do it out of necessity rather than by style. I think most of this was drawn from Pressfield’s book.
V: So where do you start?
E: I think one has to start with planting the seed of an idea in one’s head, never neglecting that seedling to the point of wilting. Let it hammer in your head until it wants to be written and brought in this realm of ours. To keep on hammering and not fearing failure is the best way to keep that fuel going, until completion. And distractions – get rid of those. I’m still getting rid of mine.
V: Do you have any favourite graphic novels / artists?
E: Too many to list, so I’ll name my top three, in no particular order: Otomo’s Akira; Gaiman’s Sandman; and Miyazaki’s Nausicaa.
V: What stage is the project at now, and what’s next?
E: My graphic novel is currently at a written-stage. Before, I made the grievous mistake of drawing first, then writing thereafter. Never doing that again, it was a mess. It’s like putting your underwear outside your pants. Other than that, I’m currently designing a clothing line with a few colleagues called ANTI. I hope, because I’m collaborating with other sentients, it won’t crash in a flaming failure like my previous attempt at working with other people!
View Erik von Karl Agduma’s portfolio on the Voodoochilli site.
It’s been a while now since we decided that adverts are not the way to go for a large community website like Voodoochilli. Instead of ruining the site by cluttering it with loads of ads we are focusing our efforts on Pro Member subscriptions and voluntary donations.
To be honest, the site earned a higher revenue with the ads on the site – however we are hoping that in time there will be enough Pro Members and people willing to make a donation that this is no longer the case. We would prefer to keep the content 100% focused on the users that make up the community. Saying that, we haven’t completely ruled out bringing back the ads, and this is certainly something we may have to consider if we don’t get generate more funds in the future. With the site now receiving over 8,000 unique visitors everyday it almost makes sense having adverts on the site, but we are going to hold fire a little longer and see how things go.
We are hoping the redesign will bring a needed boost to subscriptions, but the redesign itself is going to cost a considerable amount of both time and money – kind of a catch 22 situation, however we are very determined and will surely find a way to get it launched soon. The site has never been about profit – it costs us a lot more than it generates, and it will probably always be that way and we really don’t mind.
Watch this space for more developments regarding the new design soon!