Looking back at 2016

2016 was an intense year for me. Actually, every year is intense since I work too much. In case you don't know, on top of blogging and making videos almost everyday, I actually have a full-time job (at night). Thankfully, I really enjoy blogging and making videos so it doesn't feel like a job to me. It's just a hobby I spend too much time on.

I'm proud to say that 2016 is another productive year. I added close to 200 book reviews to the blog, including a handful reviewed by my friends. I've also written 67 art product reviews. And with my recent fascination to create videos, I've made 318 videos this year.

As a result of spending so much time growing the blog and my Youtube channel, I did not get to spend much time sketching, except at the occasional cafe sessions and the monthly sketchwalks.

Urban Sketchers Symposium in Manchester, UK
The only time when I was able to sketch to my heart's content was during the Urban Sketchers Symposium in Manchester that happened in July. It was a last minute decision to go. I'm glad I did go because it's was so fun to catch up with other sketchers from around the world.

The main motivation for me wanting to travel to Manchester was so that I can make the daily symposium videos to share them with those who were not able to go for whatever reasons. These are the types of videos I wish someone else had made so that I can watch in the comfort of my home. I'm glad that the videos were well received.

Making those videos was the most tiring thing I've done this year. I had to start my day early and film/sketch until evening time when I head back to the hotel to edit. I would often edit close to midnight. There were days when I was so tired, eyelids so heavy, that I had to render the video, set my alarm for an hour, sleep for an hour only to wake up later to upload the rendered video. I wasn't able to get the video to upload directly to Youtube from Adobe Premiere which was why I have to use this render-sleep-upload workflow. I did that for 2 weeks in UK. That was incredibly intense.

When I came back to Singapore, I was so mentally exhausted I did not write my usual all-my-sketches-from-my-trip post.

Unfortunately I don't think I will be going to next year's symposium in Chicago even though I know I'm going to enjoy it a lot. It's going to take me a total of more than 48 hours just to travel from Singapore and back. The thought of the flight time makes me dread.

Then I got married in September
Thankfully, my wedding wasn't a large scale hotel wedding with hundreds of guests. There were only 8 tables at the restaurant. I invited only my relatives. It wasn't too difficult to plan because most of the arrangement were handled by Ban Heng restaurant. That really saved me a lot of time! It was a simple wedding and I like it that way.

I've been putting a lot of effort to make videos this year. And the reason for that is because I want to grow my Youtube channel into another source of income. I've written many posts on building a successful Youtube channel and I'm just following what I preach.

The other reason is to see how far I can push myself to grow the channel.

Last year, I talked about wanting to create video courses to sell. I did create a few online sketching courses. However, because I enjoy making Youtube videos so much, I did not spend as much time producing the new courses. It's weird. Even though the online courses are supposed to make money, I wasn't as motivated to create them compared to creating free Youtube videos for everyone.

Going forward, I hope I can create another 300 videos in 2017, and get another 36500 subscribers.

The growth potential on Youtube is amazing. Unfortunately, there's no such thing as an overnight success.

The number of patrons supporting my Patreon page is growing very slowly.

I would like to thank every patron of mine. Your monetary support is what helps fund this blog.

More specifically, the Patreon money pays for the pricey VPS web server that hosts the blog. It also pays for some of the art product reviews, such as the ones for Surface Pro 4, Macbook 12-inch and Acer Switch Alpha 12. Unlike other big name tech reviewers, I don't get many freebies to review. In order to review expensive items, sometimes I have to buy them to review. To save money, I always buy secondhand, so that when I sell them after the review, I don't incur a huge loss.

When it does not sense for me to buy items for review purposes, such as the Wacom MobileStudio Pro or Microsoft Surface Studio, I have to invite and pay guest artists to review them. I do that because I want the reviews to be authentic, to come from someone who actually use and understand the product.

The money also helped paid for my hotel stay in Manchester. It took a huge weight off my shoulders because I was saving for my wedding while I had to spend money in UK. And I lost SGD $300 because Brexit caused the UK pound to drop in value and I had bought the expensive £ before the drop. Argh!

I also got some LED lights to allow me to make videos at anytime of the day or whatever weather. Before I bought the lights, I was only able to make video during bright sunny days. I can't make any videos when it's cloudy or raining. My room lights are not strong enough. With the new LED lights, I can now make videos regardless of outdoor lighting conditions. And I have to upgrade my monitor soon because it now takes more than 30 minutes for my Dell monitor to warm up before I can see the screen working.

So that's how I spend the money from Patreon.

I appreciate any amount that you pledge. Just think of it as sponsoring my bus/train trip to go out to draw and make videos. You're also helping me create more content to help other artists.

Support me at https://www.patreon.com/parkablogs

Looking forward
My goal in 2017 is to stay productive, sketch more and make more content.

How about you? How has your 2016 been? Let me know in the comment section. :-)


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