tgentry


quality posts: 111 Private Messages tgentry

Staff

Hey guys,

I'm interested in what you think the most common hiccups, trip ups, traps, and snafus new Derby participants face -- from your own experience as well as from watching others attempting to join in the fun. What are the biggest obstacles? The most common misconceptions? Is it the same experience for a design pro vs. an art newb? What could Woot, the experienced artists, and the incoming talent all do to help newcomers make a smoother leap to salty veteran status?

I'd love to hear what you have to say and, if anything comes out of it, maybe compile them for a future Design Tips entry (with you given credit for your words of course). Be critical of us if you need to be, just try to keep it specific, on topic, and friendly.

jewelwing


quality posts: 13 Private Messages jewelwing

Patience is important. I've seen a lot of decent artists start entering the derby, maybe even get some designs with high votes, (but not actually print) get discouraged and quit before anything comes of it. Sometimes it takes time to get that first print, but if you stick with it you're probably going to get it eventually. All the tips and tutorials are great, but for a lot of artists it just takes practice to put all of that together into something that works around here.

So when you want to quit, just DON'T.

no1


quality posts: 7 Private Messages no1
tgentry wrote:What could Woot, the experienced artists, and the incoming talent all do to help newcomers make a smoother leap to salty veteran status?



those tips linked in your sig are grate, but a newbie wouldn't know to look for tgentry's posts. how about getting the code monkeys to implement a "sticky" note to the forum software and stickify those linked pages to the top of the forum?

no1


quality posts: 7 Private Messages no1
tgentry wrote:What are the biggest obstacles? The most common misconceptions? Is it the same experience for a design pro vs. an art newb? What could Woot, the experienced artists, and the incoming talent all do to help newcomers make a smoother leap to salty veteran status?



one question i see posted sometimes from newbies in the forum is "how do i get the template into my software program? the photoshop template is huge and my computer crashed!" invariably someone will point them to one of the "real shirt" templates floating around, but that depends on there being someone helpful around. how about making the official woot photoshop template a wee bit smaller in size? it's just a simple cartoon anyway; is there some reason it has to be at such a high resolution?

no1


quality posts: 7 Private Messages no1
tgentry wrote:What could Woot, the experienced artists, and the incoming talent all do to help newcomers make a smoother leap to salty veteran status?



prolly not practical with so much $$$ at stake and angry bees in the forums, but in a more benign environment a "mentoring" program mite help. a newbie would collab with a grizzled veteran for a design or two, and the newb would learn the whole process that way.

goldenthorn


quality posts: 38 Private Messages goldenthorn

Volunteer Moderator

no1 wrote:those tips linked in your sig are grate, but a newbie wouldn't know to look for tgentry's posts. how about getting the code monkeys to implement a "sticky" note to the forum software and stickify those linked pages to the top of the forum?



Or, at the very least, every single derby thread--both the ones announcing the weekly topic herein and the mass entry threads in the derbies forum--should have a short paragraph with those links at the end of the Wootbot's post. Rules, guides, templates links should be omnipresent in all official "here's the derby you're entering"-type posts.

no1


quality posts: 7 Private Messages no1
goldenthorn wrote:Or, at the very least, every single derby thread--both the ones announcing the weekly topic herein and the mass entry threads in the derbies forum--should have a short paragraph with those links at the end of the Wootbot's post. Rules, guides, templates links should be omnipresent in all official "here's the derby you're entering"-type posts.



since both the weekly topic thread and the mass entry thread are started by wootbot, how about just mirroring tgentry's sig in wootbot's sig? i guess a new shirtwootbot would have to be used, so as not to clutter the other woot sites. this mite be a short-term alternative to monkeying around with forum software.

chumpmagic


quality posts: 9 Private Messages chumpmagic

Here is what I did when I was fresh. It maybe be helpful (shrug??). For my first couple entries, I didn't go for gold; I didn't do it and expect to win. I did it to get a feel for the competition, and analyzes what design were doing well, seeing what kind of art made this community tick. I also look at how people approached the no gradient and 6 color rule (these two things are unique to screening so if you haven't designed for it, it is tricky at first). I guess what I am saying is to just dive in, using it as a learning experience at first... but to also have fun!



*Note: If it looks like I copied and pasted it from the bestloser website, then you have a good eye. I am lazy, but they are still my words


bassanimation


quality posts: 98 Private Messages bassanimation


These are a few bits of advice I would personally give to new artists here. Please take no offense, this is based on my personal experience.

First, I would like to echo Jewelwing and and say patience, patience, patience. When I first came to Woot as a 'hitchhiker', I had very unrealistic expectations of how long it would take to print. (many of you recall this) It is very easy to get discouraged in such a big pool of competitors, some of whom have major chops and/or big fanbases. Since I have been here, I've seen some hard-working, determined artists break up through the ranks and nab a print. Dont get down on yourself or stop competing. The derby with your name on it will show up!

Secondly, try new things with your art. I often see statements of "I draw what I like, the way I like it", followed by "Why dont people like the way I draw?". This is a tough one. We all have our own tendencies and styles, our own influences. This doesn't mean you have to draw things or styles you dislike, but try to find a middle ground. The Woot audience is your customer, make them want what you've got. Don't stonewall them, or yourself. It's important to try new things to see what they respond to, and to see if it's something you like doing too.

Lastly, try to stay focused on the art. Steer away from negative conflicts or politics on the forums. Above all, people are here to see your skills. Interaction can be a great thing here, but keep it positive and respectful, no matter what. Avoid sticky topics that do not concern you. (goes back in time to drill this into my own head...9_9)

For the Woot staff, an improvement I would personally like to see is 'sticky-ing' posts in the forums. This would help artists find info about halftoning, art programs, or where the nice shirt comp file is, etc. Something else that might be nice is, once a month, ask a Woot artist do a short demonstration or tutorial about a technique they use. Even having an artist talk about their influences can be great to read about. It creates interaction and gives artists some visibility outside of the derby.

no1


quality posts: 7 Private Messages no1
bassanimation wrote:Steer away from negative conflicts or politics on the forums.



in other words, stay away from the forums!

mrwednesday


quality posts: 12 Private Messages mrwednesday

I think stickies are a good idea, but I don't really think just pasting everything to the top of the world of woot forums is. New people looking for design help really shouldn't have to mix in with the, "It's been two days and the smartpost shipping I paid nothing for isn't here yet why is woot such a terrible company?" threads.

As has been mentioned several times before, there really should be a design forum where people can go to talk specifically about design. There you could sticky a lot of the old walkthroughs (like ehalcyon's) and new ones without really disrupting flow and it would be a place that new people would know to get information from in a reasonable way as well as allowing established designers to talk about things as well.

That may have been the intent all long, but if it wasn't I think it really should be.

ressamac


quality posts: 4 Private Messages ressamac

It would be great to have an alternative uploading system that didn't involve Flesh. I would appreciate being able to upload from my iPad.

Lol I did type F l a s h but the filter changed it.

PixelPants


quality posts: 70 Private Messages PixelPants

Increase chances by getting your design in early. Woot central must have stats on this, but most derbys have a fixed fog within the first 24 hours. It seems the majority hold their place in the top ranks because of an early upload combined with an appealing design. It takes an 'established' name or a particularly great design that has benefitted from an extra day or two of work to make it's way to the top on the second or third day.
Do your homework. Read the pre-derby thread to see what ideas others are pursuing and do image and word searches on the internet for your idea to establish it hasn't been done before.
Test your design on people. Do they 'get it' straight away? If people who know you don't appreciate the direction of your design there might be a lot of strangers who quickly overlook it.

megsck


quality posts: 6 Private Messages megsck

i think you need to list all of your unspoken rules on the submit an entry page. when i first submitted here i didnt know or had no way of knowing some of the taboo topics or design no nos. for examples, many of the newcomers have no idea about the no gradients, only halftones thing. you mention what to do with graidients and halftones on the submit page, but you dont make it clear that graidients arnt allowed. as far as the taboos, it would be helpful if you made a list of things that wont be acceptable, like no potty humor, no religious entries, no rated R entries, things like that. having exampes of the comp and detail mockup would be great too, most artists are in the "visual group" if they see it they can understand it better. although i guess they can go to the derby and look but some seem to still not understand it.

VonMonkey


quality posts: 3 Private Messages VonMonkey
goldenthorn wrote:Or, at the very least, every single derby thread--both the ones announcing the weekly topic herein and the mass entry threads in the derbies forum--should have a short paragraph with those links at the end of the Wootbot's post. Rules, guides, templates links should be omnipresent in all official "here's the derby you're entering"-type posts.



This would be really useful, not just to new submitters, but oldies as well- I can never seem to find the templates when I'm looking for them!

ekio


quality posts: 3 Private Messages ekio

As a newer artist in the line of so many who enter I can say that finding things here are a bit....well time intensive.

I'd love to see some thing "stickied" as I know I've spent plenty of time myself hunting things down in the forums and bookmarking them so I don't have to hunt them down again. That or a specific forum for all of those types of info threads as has been mentioned.

The templates were not that hard to find the first time I went after them, but are extremely hard on my comp. Granted, this poor laptop is nearly 5 years old and can't wait to be put up to rest, but it's still something to think about. I realize that you need a certain size to print from, but when it takes photoshop a full min to change the color of the shirt by fill, it's a bit much.

My advice to myself and others just starting out, Keep Trying. Even if you don't get the time to submit, or even if you submit late in the running, if your trying, your learning.

And since everything else I've typed and deleted sounds more like an after school special, I'll stop now. *chuckles*

sTyLeS


quality posts: 9 Private Messages sTyLeS

I've submitted 24 designs so far, but still consider myself the hitchhiker.
One thing I noticed that was really hard when first starting is soliciting real feedback in the pre-derby thread. I still find this difficult.
It seems that there are definite cliques and in-crowds. A regular will simply post a drawing and they'll instantly get a dozen feedback posts. But if a hitchhiker posts a drawing and specifically asks for feedback they may not get any response at all.
The wooters are a tough nut to crack.

sTyLeS


quality posts: 9 Private Messages sTyLeS

Oh, and maybe we could get some tool/software specific threads going.
Might be nice for some beginners that are using Illustrator to post a question to the Illustrator thread. Might get a response much more quickly from those who frequent it. Same for PhotoShop, and Gimp, and Inkscape, etc.

no1


quality posts: 7 Private Messages no1
sTyLeS wrote:Oh, and maybe we could get some tool/software specific threads going.
Might be nice for some beginners that are using Illustrator to post a question to the Illustrator thread. Might get a response much more quickly from those who frequent it. Same for PhotoShop, and Gimp, and Inkscape, etc.



i think this may not work as well as one would hope unless threads get stickied. otherwise they tend to fall down and get trampled by newer threads.

no1


quality posts: 7 Private Messages no1
sTyLeS wrote:The wooters are a tough nut to crack.



plese to not be cracking my nuts.