Insurgent Creative: Selling 3D-printable Files

Insurgent Creative

Insurgent CreativeOne of the most exciting things about this new era of Insurgent Creatives is seeing independent entrepreneurs figure out their own paths to selling creative output online. New business models are popping up every day, and we can learn from all of them.

I find this idea particularly brilliant. Tom Tullis and his company, Fat Dragon Games, have for years been selling printable files for cardstock miniatures and terrain. They’re probably the best in the business in that category, in my opinion.

They’ve decided to take it to the next step, given the home 3D-printing revolution that is only just now beginning. They’re selling ready-for-3D-printing .stl files of 28mm fantasy miniatures:

3D PRINTER MINIATURES ARE HERE! This set features .stl files for five different 28mm scale orc miniatures, all designed to print as-is without additional printing supports and minimal cleanup (each miniature in the photo had less than 1 minute of trimwork done, mainly stringing.) The best part about 3D .stl minis is once you buy the set, you can print massive armies and never run out (average plastic cost per mini is about 5 cents each!)

That’s just a great idea. 5 bucks, and you get 5 professionally-designed files, and you can print as many as you want, for about 5 cents in plastic per figure. I expect that we’re going to see more and more of this as 3D printing becomes more common.

To quote Hamilton, the musical that I’ve been listening to quite a bit recently:

Look around, look around, how lucky we are to be alive right now…


Get to work. You’ve got stuff to create.



Insurgent Creative: The Changing Business of Webcomics.

Insurgent Creative

heykidsI know, I know — it’s been ages since I’ve posted. The realities of life as a Creative: Time gets away from you as you get busy, and things need to be prioritized. The ol’ blog here has been largely ignored, as I’ve concentrated on three things: One, getting the famously-delayed FAR WEST finished. Two, working my side-gig as a Game Design teacher at the Kansas City Art Institute. And Three, EVERYTHING ELSE.

But, I saw this earlier today, and it definitely falls into the sort of information that I’ve provided here as part of the Insurgent Creative series, so here we are again.

Insurgent CreativeOver on The Observer, they’ve done a four-part series about the changing business model of Webcomics — from it’s beginnings in the early days of the internet, through it’s early-2000s advertising-monetized boom, through the days of merch and T-shirts, and now, in the post-merch, social-media era. It’s definitely worth your time to read, not just if you’re interested in webcomics, but if you make a living offering any sort of creative output online. Remember: the biggest problems that various media have had in the internet age has been failure to look outside of their own silos, and learn the lessons of what other media have gone through.

So here are the articles (there are also links to all at the end of each article):

PART ONE: The Webcomics Business Is Moving On From Webcomics.

PART TWO: Patreon, Webcomics, & Getting By.

PART THREE: The Changing Internet Through Webcomics.

PART FOUR: Lessons In Creativity From Successful Webcomic Artists.

There ya go. Read. Absorb. Add the info to your arsenal.

Go forth and create.

Too Many Fans

So Amanda Palmer set up a Patreon.

Patreon, if you don’t already know, is a creative patronage site — an artist can ask their fans to essentially subscribe to their output, offering a certain amount of money (either per month, or per thing, depending on how the artist sets up the Patreon page). The fan can set their amount, set a cap on how much they can be charged per month (in the event that it’s per thing, and the artist has a prolific month, for example), and can cancel their subscription at any time.

Palmer’s Patreon is per-thing — and everything she produces will be released to the internet for free. The fans are just agreeing to be a part of that process by being (literally) her patrons. The things she creates are not going to go just to her patrons.

The Patreon has been incredibly successful (nearing $15,000 per thing, as I write this), which of course has resulted in the usual chorus of bitching — that Palmer is fleecing her fans, that the money she’s getting is undeserved or excessive, that it’s somehow hurting “TRUE” independent artists, etc.Insurgent Creative

The people bitching, though, aren’t doing the math. They’re just seeing the big number.

There are, as of right now, 1686 backers. Each backer is offering an average of $8.68 per thing (music, video, other artistic projects, etc.).

Less than 9 bucks isn’t a big deal. I’ve given more than that to street buskers.

But 1686 fans doing that means she’s approaching $15K per thing total, and for some reason, that’s why people lose their shit…. which, when you get down to it, is really fucking strange, because they’re basically criticizing an artist for having, somehow, TOO MANY fans.

Sorry for the rant, but I’m just really tired of how every creative field ends up with a bunch of folks turning into High School Mean Girls every time somebody does well.