Happy Birthday MAD Blog

June 26th, 2007 | Posted in General

bday.jpg

We laughed, we cried… mostly we yawned.

Yes, today is the one year anniversary of the MAD blog. They said it wouldn’t last.

I visit a number of blogs regularly, but few every day. I always hate visiting a blog to find it hasn’t had an update in weeks. I promised myself on the outset of doing this blog that I would try and write something every day unless a serious deadline of some kind made that impossible, and on those days I would at least acknowledge readers with some kind of apology or excuse. I wanted the blog to be part entertainment, part educational, part sharing of information and opinions, and part a glimpse into the world of caricatures and freelance illustration. I didn’t want this to be just another “looky here, see what I drew on this napkin at the bar!” art blog, or another self-validating effort of vanity that some blogs seem to be. Of course the very idea that anyone out in cyberspace should give enough of a crap about me and my thoughts/ art/ opinions that I should have a blog in the first place is more than a bit of an exercise in vanity when you think about it. Mostly I just wanted to do some writing, whether it was read or not.

Mission accomplished. 365 days, 365+ posts. Sure, the Dreaded Deadline Demon made an appearance or three, some days the posts were little more than links to something someone else wrote on some other site or blog, and some were not very interesting. Some (I hope) were educational or at least entertaining. A few were long efforts of time and energy (i.e. the tutorials), but most required just some thought and a little effort. I knew the main challenge to be coming up with worthwhile or at least interesting topics on a daily basis. That proved true, but life would be very boring without some challenges.

When my blog comes up in conversation with colleagues or friends, it always ends up with them asking me the following: “how” and “why”?

The “how” is always “how do you find the time to write that often and that much in your blog?”. The answer is that it takes me less time that one might think, and that I just do it instead of watching TV or bowling or playing video games. You make the time to do something that is either important to you, something you are committed to, or that you like to do. If one of those three things applies, it’s not so hard… except for the part about me being a two finger typist. That’s a little hard, but I never got around to learning to type correctly. I am, however, the fastest two fingered typist you will ever see.

The “why” is also easy. It’s therapy. There was a short time in my life I considered scrapping the whole art thing for a career in writing. A very short time. I’ve always enjoyed writing but outside of a bunch of articles for the National Caricaturist Network’s newsletter I never got much of a chance to do it. When I found out about blogs, I saw an opportunity to scratch the writing itch on my own terms. It’s therapy because it allows me to express ideas, humor and tell stories without using visuals, and that takes a whole different set of creative muscles. I think the commitment to this blog has helped me in my art by strengthening my brainstorming skills, keeping me focused on daily routines and in general taking my mind off drawing and illustration jobs for a little time each day and exercising a different area of my brain.

In short (whoops, too late for that…AGAIN), I’ve enjoyed doing the blog and consider the experiment a success. Not all of it worked, of course. I quickly realized my “Sketch of the Day” idea was impossible… I think a “Sketch of the Week” is very doable, though. The “Sunday Mailbag” feature has been working well, but I imagine eventually I’ll run out of questions people may have for me… how many questions can anyone have about illustration, MAD or caricature? Some of my tech-geek-gadget posts are a little off topic, as well as some of my fitness posts, but you write abut what interests you. The “Dreaded Deadline Demon” is used as little as possible, I assure you. When he’s on the prowl, you know it’s getting ugly in the studio. The tutorials have been very well received but they require extraordinary effort and will be few and far between. There will be more eventually, however.

Yes, I have enjoyed doing the blog and the process involved. I hope those of you who are still reading found some enjoyment as well, maybe learned something, or at least didn’t feel the visit wasted.

Thanks for reading.

Comments

  1. cedricstudio says:

    Happy birthday Tom! You’ve got a terrific blog and I enjoy reading it every day. Its great that you can post so frequently and still keep things consistently interesting. Puts my blogging efforts to shame. Keep it up!

  2. Trevour says:

    This is one of the very few blogs I make sure to visit on a daily basis, because I always learn something new (plus it’s just downright FUN to read). And I thank you for everything thus far, Tom! I guess I never realized it until you said so yourself – but yes, you post something nearly every day! Even when the Dreaded Deadline Demon pops up, I know there will be something new when I come back 24 hours later. Congrats on a whole year (already?!?)!

  3. SteveH says:

    Reading your blog is great, keep up the excellent work!

  4. hutch says:

    I love reading your blog for lots of reasons Tom. Because you write something every day, I visit every day and find it both informative, entertaining and interesting. I’m sure there are lots of us who read reguarly who are very grateful that you devote your time to it.

    Happy First Birthday!

    Many thanks as always
    Hutch

  5. mengblom says:

    Happy “Blogiversary”, Tom! It’s a daily destination for me, and I’ve enjoyed the variety of stuff you cover. I know first hand how it kind of takes on a life of its own, and (for me and probably for you) it’s turned into a nice outlet for expression and creativity. In other words, time well spent.

    Keep up the great work!

  6. Tom congrates on the blog. It is something I look forward to every morning while drinking coffee. Your talent is something I strive for even at my age. It motivates me to push myself to be a better caricature artist. Keep up the good work, Barry

  7. cirnick says:

    Tom,

    It’s been a great year (even though I have been “with” you only for the last half) Many more to come I hope. Thanks for the effort of keeping us clods informed and entertained.
    If you get a hit count on your site, it would be interesting to know how many hits you do get daily (should be thousands!!).

    Thanks again.

  8. pagmatic says:

    I appreciate that you’ve managed to keep your blog freshly updated. Happy Birthday Blog!

  9. Philbert says:

    Great job, Tom! I know how hard it is to keep it fresh (yeah, I blog for my local newspaper/employer.) Yours is one of the most informative, useful and entertaining blogs out there, period. I’ve managed to rip-off, er, utilize several of your tips (especially those involving coloring) and I hope you’ll continue with the tutorials.
    Basically, rest assured that people are reading (and enjoying) the blog. So, keep on bloggin’, dude!

  10. opsman says:

    Happy Blirthday (Blog Birthday)!!! I wish you and your blog many, many more years to come!

  11. Tom says:

    Thanks, everybody.

    I do have a stat page on my website control panel. I never did understand what a “hit” was compared to a “visit”, but the stats currently shown are:

    Total hits since inception: 10,319,079
    Total visits since inception: 270,092

    Average hits per day: 31,457.89
    Average visits per day: 973.31

    Those last two are just for the month of June.

  12. A “hit” is when you take the marijuana… oh wait, wrong definition. A “hit”, in web terms, is an individual file request. A single visitor can hit your site several times in a single visit. Even a graphic can be counted as a hit, so a single page view can be counted as several hits, depending on how many images are on that page. Some counters can even count page views, that is, only counting hits made on html files. If you use an off-site counter service, like Google Analytics, a hit can be assumed to be a page view, since they probably can’t detect image requests, being on a different server. If your counter is built into WordPress, I’m not sure if that would count images.
    The “visits” is the important figure, though. Apparently you got almost 1000 visitors each day in the month of June, although if someone spaces their visits far enough apart in a single day, generally a space of 2 hours or more, that can be counted as a separate visit. “Visits” is basically how many times your site was browsed.

    Hope that helps! Also, here’s to another great year of blogging. *raises an empty Taco Bell cup as a toast*

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