We wanted to create a platform for visual artists to share wips (work in progress). Most platforms, including those designed for artists, are focused on the "final" work. Though you can share wips with them, they are not designed for it. One day an artist might want to share a wip for an illustration, the next day a wip for a different illustration and so on. This makes for a very messy instagram profile.
A better platform for sharing wips is needed and so we built it. On https://wips.art/ it’s easy for artists to share wips in context, making their profile understandable for new fans. The platform also gives them the ability to monetize their work with Web Monetization!
We’re using the second half of the grant period for gathering feedback from users and creating initial content. We commissioned several artists to create personal, meaningful illustrations for the website. This was a huge win! A number of amazing artists posted their wips on wips.art as they made progress. We, the founders, also shared our art on the site which you can check out yourself!
Each artist has a different process, and our website format highlights how much time and care goes into each stage of the artistic process. We are proud of what we have achieved and hope other artists love it too! Too often, art is seen as this magical, unachievable talent, but in reality a lot of critical thinking, problem solving, and hard work happens behind the scenes of the artistic process. Our goal for the site is to showcase the effort and time that it takes to take a piece of art from an idea to final completion.
We also planned to track artist WM earnings but we are not able to do that yet since there aren’t many WM viewers. Our target users are artists and are not in the Web Monetization ecosystem yet. The initial content is to attract more artists and we are still in the process of doing that.
These are the sketches, find out how they currently look by clicking on the link!
The plan was to track our artists’ earnings by having them use a payment pointer we provide for a duration. But since we don’t have many users, we can’t do that yet. When there are a good number of users, we can start to have founding artists create monetized posts using their assigned payment pointer and subscribe to coil as well. They can change their payment pointers after a month of tracking their earnings.
We are in the process of asking feedback from the users about how they are experiencing the website. Wips.art is far from finished and we plan to continue building it with the community of artist. We have no experience building a community and it is challenging to get people excited as we are on what we’re building. It gets even more challenging when we explain Web Monetization and it’s potential benefits.
The advantages are not very clear when compared to patreon. People don’t gaze at art for hours, so it’s better for artists to sell access to content via websites like Patreon versus charging for the time spent looking at it. With wips.art, we are selling the process of the art but we can’t do that without giving access to the art! To attract users, we need more interesting features that’s only available to coil subscribers. This way the selling point is the features around art and not the art itself. We need to position and brand wips.art better.
Our key activity has been sharing wips.art to art discord servers. We make art then share them to the communities we are in and somehow have our project link be visible. We don’t spam since we are part of those communities as artists and we don’t want to get banned! There’s only two of us doing this so it has been a slow process.
It’s hard to track how many have seen our project, but there are currently 10 unique signups and 5 who have posted. 4 of which are the artists we commissioned. We are off our goal of 50 artists actively posting. We didn’t imagine it would be so challenging to achieve that. At the time of writing the goal, 50 seemed like a really low number.
As discussed before, we are sharing our project to art discord servers. We are not using ads yet but we might be right after the grant period. We want to get users organically but maybe ads would be good to start. We will need more content on the website before we do that so we are not showing people an empty website.
Commissioning artists is part of our content creation. We commissioned yuming, leondraws, karun_noru, and arimir. Only yuming’s post is monetized for now, since we don’t have enough content for visitors to enjoy yet. We will encourage them to create monetized posts when we have a good amount of free content.
We plan to keep building and sharing the platform with our peers, creating art and posting progress on wips.art. We want to explore what other features could be built using web monetization. Polish the functionality and focus more on the design more because currently it's very basic. We might need to hire a UI/UX designer to help.
We also need to figure out how to get more users. Artists want eyes on their work so posting on wips.art doesn’t make much sense yet since not a lot of people will see them. It’s not a unique problem, all social media platforms always start from 0 users. So we will learn from successful platforms how they did it.
For the next grant opportunity, here are some of our ideas:
- organize a contest and have artists post their wips on wips.art, requiring participants to monetize their posts
- create art educational videos/content and a different section on the website for them to be available for Web Monetized users
- implement a 'critique' feature where artists could have their work critiqued by peers. This would make the website more collaborative and perfect use case for revenue sharing
We need help with creating community and/or marketing to have more users. If you have resources that helped you with branding, it would be great if you could share it with us! Thanks!
Please do explore https://wips.art/ and give us feedback on whatever you think could be better!
There is a known bug, which we caught early thanks to one of our founding artists, yuming. Monetized posts are not working as expected. When showing the later updates, it repeats the second update.
We are trying to implement exclusive content with payment verification within wips.art because we want our users' content to be secure. The "post" feature is where a good amount of the development time has been spent and it still needs more work.
Notion Doc with relevant project details.