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Conjuring the creative process onchain

Where it starts in your mind is rarely where it ends up when its finished

One thing I want to embrace onchain is sharing alternate pieces I created prior to settling on its final output. In my case, it ranges from entirely different visions, to subtle changes. Rather than wonder "What if I went this way instead?" I figure I'd put them out there & let the mints represent what people like better. My intention with this article is to let you in on my creative process and provide some clarity around what it's like to mint and curate work on Zora.

Keeping track of my journey along the way

The process

Part of the creative process for me is working through ideas until I arrive at a point where what I've done accurately represents a feeling or image in my mind. Steven King interprets the process as excavating ideas as if they're fossil. Even though his advice was aimed at writers, it resonated with me and can apply to all creators.

From the mind of Steven King...

Sometimes things evolve in a direction thats more interesting than the original vision that spurred me on, so I'll build towards that. Other ideas start blindingly bright, only to fizzle in the process. There are times when I feel things are coalescing & I'll narrow the idea down to two paths. Sometimes I travel down one path only to discover it doesn't have what I'm looking for, which allows me to transition to the other one with more conviction.

Experiments and lessons learned from minting (so far)

Here are some of the ways I considered going with my /channels series and previous mints, as well as some lessons I picked up while experimenting:

1) /wufs
Mid way through making this piece I paused at this moment and considered using it as the final. I was masking an area, which resulted in the / wiggling. Its hypnotic, but ultimately not what I was envisioning. It now lives as a live draft:

2) /july

This was a path I went down for a while before ultimately switching it up entirely. My initial idea was to incorporate an ancient Roman like city entirely out of marble, which was centred around the channel name. Ultimately I felt it didn't represent the rich community aspect I was aiming to highlight, so I ditched it for a different direction.

4) /techacrchive

This is an alternative, animated version of the /techarchive piece, which I shared at the same time as the free, static one. I was hoping it would gain traction because I thought it was better. Ultimately it was overshadowed by the main version.

Since I put more time into it than other mints up until that point, I experimented with this as a paid mint as opposed to free. I might have aimed too high with the price, but if I didn't try I'd never know. Also, who knows what the future holds? If it resonates with someone it's still mintable ✨

My takeaway from this experience is that Zora has gained dominance for its free mints. As such it has established certain behaviour from its audience. Unless you're a well known artist, your best bet is to mint on a different platform if you want to charge for your work.

Another thing I realized after the fact was to space mints out. Have the focus be on a single piece or a collection, not two versions of a singular piece. In my experience 10 times out of 10, people will opt for the free and ignore the paid.

If you want to experiment with paid mints, set your mint up so someone can make an offer for what they think your piece is worth.

5/ Pardolia on Base

This was the first series I made on @base prior to starting the /channel series. The goal was to simply experience minting a series onchain. Whatever I'd learn from this I'd be able to refine subsequently. This experience exposed what wasn't clear from a UX/UI perspective. It's not that it's hard to batch mint a series, it just that there are a bunch of other options you don't know if you should interact with.
For instance:

  • What are the pros and cons of minting something with a set number over keeping it open?

  • Should you set a time window for when your work is mintable before it can only be purchased via second hand, or is it better to have people make you an offer, letting them ascribe its value rather than you setting the price? (Something I should have considered with the /techarchive mint)

These questioned might be answered in Zora's documentation, but a more effective way would have been for Zora to make a video, or have an interactive onboarding experience that clarifies these and other questions prior to minting. This is a visual medium. Zora should educate people using their platform that way as well.

Things I learned during this experience:
- Make sure to name your pictures properly, or edit them prior to minting as its annoying to do this after the fact
- Check for duplicates. Zora doesn't currently allow you to burn/erase a mistake. Zora only allows you to hide duplicates or pieces you don't want to be seen publicly. However, this is only on your main page and not within the collection. It an an annoying and costly mistake, so go over what you've uploaded before minting a collection
-If you share a collection URL, it will show up differently than a direct mint URL. It also crops an image from the collection in the preview and that might not be how you want it to be seen

6/Remember to request a higher salary 💰

For this piece I ended up going with a version that types the words on screen. I considered this version which kept the text static and had the scan lines and blinking curser.

Things I learned during this experience:

-This is currently the only time I've done a 1/1 mint. If I could go back, I'd tell myself to make it open. 1/1 mints only make sense if you set a price or set it as 'make an offer'

-Don't mint things in wide aspect ratios. Incorporate it in a 4:3 frame otherwise it will show up cropped when being shared over social platforms. (Of course it shows up fine in newsletter embeds. Go figure )

If you're thinking of minting on Zora then I hope these experiences help bring your some clarity around the process. If you're interested in keeping up with my drafts series you can follow and mint these, as well as future drafts here:

Feel free to reach out to me on Warpcast if you have any further questions.

Happy minting.

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