You may or may not have heard me mention recently that I was adding a Terms of Service agreement to CardCastlesInTheSky early in the year.
This has been my plan for some time. Though I’ve been busy, and my personal life (& physical health) has gotten in the way since about November, I was able to go through all of the steps of writing these up.
They will be amended at times I’m sure, but I promise, these were mostly put in place to protect my rights and yours. I don’t want to see anyone within my community here harassed or belittled. These are not some stuffy rules. They are simple legal steps to protect my artistic properties and your well-being/internet safety.
There will be an updated Terms of Service added to CardCastles within the next few days.
I’ve seen the need for this in recent years more rather than less so I decided to finally write up a legitimate, legally-binding document.
These changes are mainly being put in place not only to protect my individual/intellectual property rights as an artist, but to protect this community of loyals (Daydreamers, as you’ve been affectionately referred to. Credit to Maddie at @1EarthUnited for that pretty pearl.)
I’m aware that there may come a time where a troll may harass you, or another user may make you feel uncomfortable. Sometimes there may be an argument that takes place in the comments section when no one is here to see it.
That is precisely the kind of incident this Grief Report system was designed for.
Then one of my biggest influences passed away, and my life took a turn to carry on old paths and forgotten dreams…
These are the moments that made, (and almost broke, but ultimately…well, you’ll see) CardCastles in 2015.
CardCastles 2015 Highlights
We started off small and quietly. I shared about fears in Ashes over at Stories That Must Not Die, and reposted it here since the story tied in to some past thoughts shared.
There was a l o v e theme.
Then, I was blindsided by change. The future of CardCastlesInTheSky hung in the balance. A former large part and driving force of my site used to be the gallery. By clicking on the gallery you used to be taken to my Twenty20 Store where my designs could be purchased in many forms. Just shy of three years I decided to part ways with this company due to a shift in ideals.
That new variation of an old design brought some more attention to my artwork than ever before. It started to shock me, really. It brought in a lot of art lovers and new followers and readers to the site. By the end of the month, we even had some celebrity readers and fans in the music industry.
I felt like I was in some strange dream.
We spread acceptance.
My dear friend and Stories family member Matticus shared an important discussion topic over at Stories and we shared it here as well. You can read that post here~> in the end, it’s just an opinion
There was a photo journal of a trip to NY and you all loved it. Those were among some of the most popular posts that month.
Soon after the stats jumped even more.
This was only mirrored in other posts throughout the months. We shared more at Stories and I passed it on here. Now it was just a matter of waiting for our friend to return home and join the rest of her friends.
New readers poured in all finding me through common interests. I started to make detailed reports combining the Statistics here with the CardCastles Twitter and Google Analytics. The results gave me insight on what people came here for and how to plan for the future of things here.
Then some hurtles started to show themselves, and it was almost like something could be felt in the air.
We had lost somebody dear to us, and for a while, it all didn’t make sense.
Friends along with the Stories team mourned this loss and gathered together.
We wore blue to stand with our friend in some form. I wrote about my own experience the day of the funeral in Sleepy Sundays: Old Friend. The piece remains one of the most complemented renderings this year.
I lent my artwork over to Stories so Matticus could vent his feelings of grief. He was the mouthpiece for the rest of us that only echoed his feelings.
Then something happened through that grief.
A family was solidified. A community rallied around that family, and they slowly lifted us up.
The request for this piece set into motion the beginning of self-employment. My first steps out on my own as an artist, free from any former companies. You can read the story behind that here. ~>Paint On the Walls
From that point I was fully and officially out on my own with this art business. This freelance thing has been uphill (and stressful, but mostly uphill) ever since.
I started getting more interest and emails asking about features and guests, so we set plans in motion for July.
Myself and guests shared horror-inspired works in honor of film legend, Wes Craven.
New York Comic Con
I took a trip to see friends and ended up with one of the greatest experiences of a lifetime. This group of buddies that have become some strange family, all knew each other for close to five years. There’s a few crazy stories how we all got to know one another and they all involve gaming, of which we are avid fans.
The stars must have aligned because the one year I was able to go, the developers of one of our favorite games were hosting a panel.
The entire time blew my mind. Warframe liked our tweets about it too!
October was liberating and therapeutic any many ways. 31 Nightmares brought in so many new people I’m planning on resurrecting it next year. Here’s how crazy it went with numbers:
October yielded 11.7 thousand impressions. I’d say we left quite a mark!
Out of nowhere I started getting requests for my services. Book illustration, logo design, book covers, animation, intro videos, website design, you name it. I was so excited and overwhelmed by it all I may have said yes to too many things.
This was all, however, a blessing in disguise. It’s teaching me to plan better & manage anxiety.
I got to joke around with one of the stars of one of my favorite shows.
It’s rare we are afforded the pleasure in life to be able to do exactly what we want and be paid for it. Back earlier in the year I was faced with a decision.
Go on with the company I was working for and be paid little to nothing while my rights were basically given away and other third parties sell my work for their own personal use
Take a stand and go out on my own, with an uncertain direction, future, or purpose.
I chose the latter—and boy am I glad I did.
The course was foggy. Doubt and fear threatened to take all I had strived years for. Through all of this there was a force backing my every move. It was a powerful force I was new to, but welcomed anyway.
That force was made of up friends, new and old, that supported me through the entire year.
You sent words of encouragement. You gave advice and pushed positivity. You motivated me.
Connections I had made over the past three years doing this blogging thing started to show their strength. Friends in high places passed my name around to their friends. Before you knew it, I had requests for my services pouring in like a busy restaurant taking orders.
All of it kind of shocked and overwhelmed me.
I spent the first day simply trying to process it all.
Then from some long-forgotten inner place, I lit a creative fire under myself.
Some of you here have even requested my services. You love the artsy world I create. Nothing can describe what a gift you have given me.
Yes, I have stayed up long nights.
Yes, I’ve had to juggle this with many other endeavors.