October 2022 wrap-up: Vulgate Cycle and other projects, Armenia, and thoughts on the future for all digital artists

October 2022 wrap-up: Vulgate Cycle and other projects, Armenia, and thoughts on the future for all digital artists

Hey guys! I’m going to try out posting a large update post at the end of each month, instead of the weekly updates I was trying to do.

I obviously fell off on weekly posting once I got sick, and found it pretty hard to get back on that horse. Besides, sometimes I’d push myself to write a quick post when I didn’t have much time, resulting in a bunch of shallow posts, which I don’t think you guys really want from me.

So we’ll see how this goes. I’ll be able to pack a bunch more into these bigger posts and hopefully let you in on my life more. Here’s what I’m going to cover:

  • The Nidean Legacy and mythology sites
  • The Vulgate Cycle
  • New collaboration site
  • Other things: Armenia, AI and the Great Simplification

Lets start with something a bunch of you probably associate with me:

The Nidean Legacy

The Nidean Legacy is having to go on a hiatus while I work on other things.

Many of you probably aren't aware that about a year ago I made the decision to chop my Nidean Legacy worldbuilding project in two. Mentally, the project already had 2 distinct parts in my mind:

The first part was noble houses fighting against each other for dominance of a decaying empire, while ignoring the real threats of demonic forces corrupting their morality from within, and enemies outside of their empire.

The second part was a storm-racked, dead world filled with dangerous monsters, abandoned by the gods, in which a small collection of demigod survivors of various races are forced to overcome their hatred for each other, in order to survive such a deadly world.

While working on Legacy on my twitch stream was awesome fun, I could tell that it wasn’t going to be enough to launch a whole IP, and wasn’t a sustainable lifestyle for me. After creating selfemployedartist.com and seeing how well SEO was bringing in traffic and income, I saw that I might be able to use SEO to really launch my personal project.

Hesperus, Greek God of the Evening Star

After experimenting a bunch with the different ways I might be able to bring the project SEO traffic, I concluded that I’d be better off chopping Legacy into those 2 seperate settings for a pretty SEO reasons.

The first setting is derivative of Arthurian and Christian legends. Knights and noble families fighting each other, the empire of Camelot collapsing after Arthurs death, a deep concern with morality, virtue and sin, and the threat of demons. I could write about Arthurian legends and then build my stories on top of it!

The second setting is fairly derivative of greek mythology. Most of the monsters, gods and races were loosely based on those in Greek myth, and a storm-racked world is pretty much what the great monster Typhon would do to the world if he was to free himself from Tartarus. I could write about Greek mythology and build upon it with other stories.

I decided to keep the name ‘The Nidean Legacy’ for the Greek myth setting, as it fits very well with Greek myth for a few reasons. I’m currently using VulgateCycle.com as the url for the Arthurian setting, which is the name for the Sir Lancelot/Holy Grail era of Arthurian legends that many of us are familiar with.
I started NideanLegacy.com as a greek myth site to see if I could grow SEO traffic for the project. At the same time, through doing my research I had noticed that there were very few Norse mythology sites, so I decided to also start a Norse myth site to see if SEO traffic might grow faster there, and I started making plans for VulgateCycle.com to see how fast that might grow.

Long story short, they both did get traffic, and the Norse one was indeed doing much better for much less work, but I could tell that to actually grow into traffic that could make any money, I’d have to write a hell of a lot more for them. More than I can do by myself.

I decided to take them off their hosting for now to save on costs, while I concentrate on VulgateCycle.com which is where my heart really lies.

Of the 3 mythologies it’s the least googled, but I can tell from my research that I’ll be able to get traffic faster. On top of that, knights and demons are just what I paint when I don’t know what to paint, so in that way it’s a better match for me.

Once I have VulgateCycle.com profitable, I hope to be able to hire or collaborate on the Greek and Norse myth sites.

I know a Norse site is a brilliant opportunity, with pretty low competition and growing interest among the general public, and I really want to explore the Nidean Legacy again via a Greek myth lens, but the Arthurian site is the smartest opportunity for me right now.

The Vulgate Cycle

All the art in the carousel gallery at the top of the post is for the Vulgate Cycle project, the website for which is now live at VulgateCycle.com

The VulgateCycle.com will have educational content about Arthurian legends, Christian stories, Demons and also the medieval period. I’ll introduce my own new characters and stories to wrap these different mythos together. The educational content will bring in SEO traffic, which will be guided towards my own stories.

I’m working on re-purposing older unfinished art for VulgateCycle.com, also also producing portraits for established Arthurian characters.

My own stories will be set after the death of King Arthur at the Battle of Camlann, and the subsequent decay and collapse of Camelot. It’s generally said that Camelot fractured into many minor kingdoms and Britain entered a sort of dark age, which fits my setting perfectly.

Something I will be considering is the name of my setting/Arthurian period. Since ‘Vulgate Cycle’ is actually the name of the Lancelot-Grail period of Arthurian myth, I can’t really use it to describe my setting. ‘Post-Vulgate’ is also already a term, for the stories that were added later to the original Vulgate Cycle.

‘Shattered Crown’ has a nice ring to it, to my ear, but I’m not full sold on it.

New collaboration website

A few of you already know, but I’m also starting a joint site with a bunch of the long time members of the SEA discord.

This site will be pretty similar to SelfEmployedArtist.com, about art education, but using everyones combined knowledge to create a much bigger and richer resource. Open to other people collaborating.

The site will be monetised, and each contributor will own their own contributions and the profits they generate.

My personal plan is to create educational content for this site, that I can also post on SelfEmployedArtist.com, and create more personal thought-posts I can also post on ChristopherCant.com.

If this collaboration site goes well enough and some of the collaborators like the process, and VulgateCycle.com proves itself profitable, some of us could further co-operate on mythology sites.

If you think you might want to contribute, let me know, especially if you’ve taken part in the SEA discord for a significant amount of time.

 

 

What else is going on?

I’m also going to try out also updating you guys on other stuff in my life:

Armenia

A couple of weeks ago we arrived in Yerevan, Armenia! To sum up my impressions, Yerevan has beautiful european-esque architecture and an amazing traditional atmosphere in the city centre, but is pretty run down and neglected outside of it.

They seem a stoic and proud culture, with blocky statues of historical figures throughout the city and big eagle icons emblazoned on the sides of many buildings. I'm not in the habit of taking photos, so I don't have much proof, but just trust me that national and military symbols are pretty common!

The monument at Victory Park in Yerevan - it’s enormous and can be seen from miles away.

Unfortunately, I don't think I could really recommend Yerevan long term; it's very expensive for the standard of living, and compared to surrounding countries. Rent is pretty high compared to where I was in Turkey, and a lot of the food is expensive due to only being able to import many things through Georgia. I feel sorry for the Armenians, as I just don't know how they get by on their $500 salaries with this cost of living.

To top it off, the weather in both Georgia and Turkey is warmer, so I just don't think Yerevan can compete. I like it here, but we'll only be staying til mid November, before moving on to Batumi, Georgia to spend Christmas by the sea.
Speaking of "we":

I have a travel buddy

We met in Izmir a few months ago, and plan to continue travelling together. Unfortunately her passport is much more limited than mine, so there will be more hoops to jump through and some stays will have to be shorter than I planned. I'll never take my British passport for granted again, after seeing how much more she has to do to get many visas.

After Georgia, we’ll likely be heading generally westward, first to Azerbaijan, then over the Caspian sea to India and Nepal.

Concerns over our futures, as digital artists and content creators

Two things in particular have me thinking recently about how stable my future, and my friends futures, as a digital artist is.

One of those things, I’m sure you can guess, is AI. You can find opinions everywhere on whether AI art is actually art, whether it will take artists jobs etc. everywhere, so I’ll not go into any of that.

AI is undoubtedly going to impact art and writing in some way. I’m pretty sure that even more so than it is today, video is going to be very, very important to differentiate artists who paint and draw all of their work. People who value human-made art will seek digital artists who show their process, and who can speak about their work and share their insights, and video will probably be the easiest way to do that.

I’ve always known that I should be putting out videos, and it was on the agenda for ‘someday’, but now with AI appearing I’m going to have to make it a priority, and I think other digital artists would be smart to do something similar.

Also, the value of decent art and writing will drop, and eventually video too as AI gets more capable in that domain, as the supply goes up. Because of this, I think the value of creatives will more and more notlie in their skills, but their projects. The difference between a normal consumer who creates their own media for personal consumption, and those who do it for a living, will be in the scope and appeal of the projects they use that media in. Making individual pieces of media isnt going to cut it anymore, we have to think much larger.

My strategy will be interactive and educational sites around mythology and fantasy, and I’ve already started moving toward that in the last year or so with VulgateCycle.com, and my experiments with Norse and Greek myth.

Perhaps legislation and stricter regulations around AI will stop this from happening, but I’m not willing to bet my future on it.

The second thing that has me thinking recently is a podcast called The Great Simplification, by Nate Hagens. I had sort of assumed that humanity would continue on its path of growth: greater consumption and greater reliance on technology until we eventually managed to either transcend beyond that, or destroyed ourselves. The Great Simplification has me more convinced of a third option.


The basic premise is that human civilization is burning through it’s limited pool of fossil fuels and rare minerals at such a rate that we will begin to see a ‘simplification’ in our lifetimes. Oil and other materials will become more and more expensive as we use it all up, forcing normal people to learn to survive with less of it. Less iPhones, less cars, less fuel, less electricity, less of a lot of things. He was expecting to see a significant simplification within the next 20 - 50 years, and even expecting that we might see signs of it this decade, which is partially confirmed by the current european energy situation.

There was even an episode with an expert on AI talking about where it will probably push our lives.

This has me thinking that I really need to make this decade count. Make the digital things I want to make, see the places I want to see, but also plan how to live a life that relies on the digital less. Figure out where I’m going to live before flights get so expensive I can’t afford them, and make sure the things I make are put into physical products like books. And then, probably learn traditional media.
Alright! This was a big post that covered a lot of things, but I hope it wasnt unwelcome.

Speak again soon;

Chris

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