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Prototyping and Developing

The Drawing Lab is a project I started in March which has grown and developed over the last couple months as a passion and university project. Through prototyping The Drawing Lab within the last couple weeks, I have been met with multiple struggles and success.

Fast, Inexpensive, Simple, Tiny

Since creating my Pitch I have uploaded 2 additional digitally created mandalas to my Instagram page with positive feedback. Making art digitally takes significantly less time than drawing on paper, so I’m beginning to incorporate this more into my feed as my project becomes closer to the fast, inexpensive, simple, and tiny principle.

Below are two examples of digital mandala creation from accounts I follow. The mandala niche has a vast community of both traditional artists and digital artists. The first account shown has made me consider filming myself digitally drawing to continue to create both photo and video content for my social platforms.

Alongside my digital and weekly mandalas, I’ve been posting older drawings I’ve created multiple times on my platforms in different photographic positions to maximise content production whilst minimising the drawing workload and time taken. This also enables new followers to see some of my older works they may not have previously seen.

Collaboration/Features

CHÀE MEDIA

After being featured in Chàe Media’s magazine issue last semester, I asked if I could contribute anything this semester, so we decided I would make a mandala which could be used as a colouring in for the ‘time to unwind’ section of their newest issue. The magazine was released on September 7, and I enjoyed contributing my artwork.

UOW CREATIVE

Shortly after the launch of Chàe’s magazine and a few new posts on my Instagram I was approached by UOW Creative asking to feature some of my artworks and a bio on their Instagram, to which I obliged.

I gained an increase in followers after these two collaborations compared to previous stats which, whilst follower counts aren’t as important as active engagement, was a confidence boost. My future goal is to continue collaborating with other accounts and those passionate in the arts outside my own (eg. poetry, music, writing).

One example is this poet’s Instagram account that I follow, who I collaborated with last semester. Another example would be using the sheet music or lyrics of any small songwriter or famous musician (like Harry Styles for example) which would be displayed alongside my drawings.

Maintaining Platforms and Engagement

One subject reading stated that you should only run as many social media accounts for your business or project as you can manage. I often forget about Pinterest as I don’t use it as much as Instagram/Facebook, but I know that it is popular for art and my niche mandala community. Moving forward my goal is to focus on producing content on Instagram and Pinterest predominately.

From just searching up mandala drawing you can see the vast content from this niche on Pinterest, Click for source

ENGAGING MY AUDIENCE

Despite a high number of impressions which corresponds to the number of accounts following The Drawing Lab, audience engagement through commenting and likes is significantly lower (disregarding the top 3 impression posts which were promoted and are outliers).

I’ve begun commenting on posts of those in my niche which has increased engagement with my account. For example, I left a comment on this accounts time-lapse video and followed her, and received a follow back shortly after. When I actively engage with users in my niche, I am met with kind responses, likes, and occasionally follows.

I regularly post polls asking my audience about my content, as well as leaving questions at the end of my posts for them to engage, comment, and start conversations. Additionally, I share my progress and content on social media platforms not associated with The Drawing Lab directly like my twitter account, and my personal Instagram account, which from what I have observed have been met with positive feedback.

Whilst one of my Pitch utilities was to combine sheet music and other creative arts with mandalas, a recent Instagram poll has demonstrated that my audience prefer my current weekly colour mandalas over pairing them with other artistic forms.

My audience of fellow niche artists and those who admire my work are continually the most engaged with polls like this that are involved around the creative decision-making process of choosing art colours, styles, and backgrounds. I shall continue to create content I find my audience to be actively engaged in.

I also continue to be challenged by connecting with my niche and audience, as mandalas originate from eastern cultures, and I’m met with a language barrier with many mandala artists coming from eastern backgrounds such as the Indian art community.

What’s Next?

My goals are to:

  • Observe my audience, their content preferences, and maintain a feedback loop
  • Collaborate with other creatives
  • Aim to increase audience engagement with posts
  • Continue engagement with my niche: some of my favourite accounts on Instagram that inspire me and I’m regularly engaged with are lunarandsoul_designs, bellaroseart__, and mgemart_.

THE DRAWING LAB LINKS

Instagram

Pinterest

Facebook

YouTube

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7 Replies to “Prototyping and Developing”

  1. I am very impressed with your account and as a creative I can relate to you in many aspects. I have been struggling to find the time to paint and have also turned to graphic design for convenience. Do you suggest any good programs for creating content? I heard canva was quite good but I am skeptical!? I also noticed you use so many interesting techniques to create mandalas, have you considered Hanna tattoo? You could even do Hanna tattoo time lapse videos? I have also seen many cool mandala designs on old skateboards!

    I also can relate to you when you said you enjoy poetry! I have recently begun using sentences from books to make shape, figures and outlines in my graphic design art and perhaps you could do something similar with poetry to design your mandala patterns?

    Any way thanks for inspiring me 🙂.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Aww thanks so much for you’re kind words, and I’m so happy I could be an inspiration.

      I’n regards to graphic design I haven’t used a lot of canva yet but it is pretty easy and fun to use, so I’ve been making Instagram stories with it. I also use a lot of illustrator where I can scan in drawings with my printer and then open them up in adobe illustrator to edit them, change the colour etc. I also have just started using this phone app called MandalaMaker which is a super fun easy way to make mandala artworks.

      I’m trying to keep my DA #FIST so maybe buying a skateboard or Henna tattoo materials would cost a bit but would definitely be fun to try sometime. That poetry idea definitely sounds like something fun to try in the future.

      Thank you for the feedback and suggestions!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hey Bonnie! This is a strong post with great detail of your experience in developing and growing your digital artefact. I appreciate that you have engaged with several weekly lectures readings and this is reflected in your work. Your experimentation with digital mandalas exemplifies the concept of ‘F.I.S.T’, this is also a great way of varying your content on Instagram. With your digital illustrations, I think it would be interesting to see a digital time-lapse or possible colour variations of them. As you’ve stated in your posts, you’ve engaged with other accounts within the art community. I think this is the best way to build connections with other creators, increase engagement and gain followers. Similarily to my digital artefact, I’ve begun to engage with other creators or other accounts similar to mine through liking and commenting on their content as well as following them. As a result, I was able to receive 30+ followers in just a day. You could possibly find larger or more established Instagram accounts that have ‘following threads’ or ‘sprees’ within the art community, this could further increase your engagement! This is what I have done, I have found large handmade jewellery accounts that exist with the purpose of sharing others content and products. Overall, you’ve provided a detailed reflection of your experiences and your progression thus far with reference to several sources. I hope you continue to have great success with your digital artefact.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for the feedback. I definitely have more to explore and experiment with in the digital realm of creating art, and I can definitely make different colour variations etc. I’ll take all your feedback about increasing followers and engagement in mind 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hey Bonnie, I just have to say I have followed your account since last semester and I have absolutely loved it! As someone with anxiety who loves to draw mandalas, I find your page super calming and satisfying. You’re extremely talented and I’m so glad you get to share your talents with everyone as part of this course. It is proven that mandalas are relaxing to an individual’s mind and are actually used as therapeutic methods to treat mental illnesses such as anxiety. “Drawing mandalas as a form of art therapy can reduce anxiety, tension, and overall stress. Drawing stimulates creativity and is a way to release emotional blockages. For those diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), drawing a personal mandala can also be a useful tool to decrease the trauma symptoms”, as stated in this article by Marcia Norton Centers for Children and Families, https://www.mrt.com/news/health_and_wellness/article/Drawing-mandalas-can-help-reduce-stress-11001941.php.

    I have thought about incorporating mandalas into my own DA ‘Calming core’ on Instagram which focuses on coping with anxiety at home. I use this mandala method very often and find it’s one of the most successful strategies that I use. Actually, one of my favourite things to do is watch live mandala drawing lessons on Instagram from a user named @em_carey (https://www.instagram.com/em_carey/) who is amazing at drawing mandalas and even released her own colouring-in book. I thought I would tell you this as I think this is definitely something you could incorporate in your project. I think you could totally do mandala drawing lessons on your live stories where you teach people who, like myself, love mandala drawings but aren’t sure of a design. I believe this would be so beneficial for your audience and would be a lot of fun. I know I have a lot of fun learning new styles and following along with someone else, and who knows…. you could even come out with your own colouring book one day! That would be amazing.

    I love how engaging you are with your audience, and I always make sure when I see your stories to put in my input. You have definitely developed an audience and have done so many collaborations already! Your style and theme are so beautiful and definitely represents your overall vibe. I’m excited to see what you do next with your project. If you’re ever open to collaborating or have any feedback on my DA send me a message 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for your kind words and feedback. I’ll definitely be following Emma Carey right now, her mandalas look amazing! I’d definitely love to release a colouring book one day, if I’m still passionate about drawing. I would also love to collaborate with you and your DA sometime this semester, so I’ll definitely send you a message at some point. Thanks Xx

      Liked by 1 person

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