Travis Nichols on July 17th, 2014
When Gumroad was founded, there was a conscious decision to not be a marketplace. We believe that direct-to-audience sales is superior to setting up in a packed bazaar and hoping for the best. Ten years ago, one could chuck something at the internet and it’d be found. Each page was like a much-desired service station in the middle of the southwest. Now the internet is an endless Times Square (shudder) and everyone is screaming to be heard.
It’s more important than ever to build an engaged audience and make it as easy as possible to get your work in front of them. Additionally, it’s easier than ever to put oneself in a position to generate income selling creative work; a double-edged sword since it’s not just easier than ever for you, but for everyone. That’s why we’re so interested in helping creators take advantage of and maximize the leverage they now have.
That doesn’t mean we’re all in it alone. There’s power in communities. A group of like-minded creators can band together and, in a unified front, help each other promote to a much larger audience and accomplish much more than any of the individuals on their own. That’s exactly what the founders of Kiwi Juice are doing for professional tutorials in the the concept, illustration, and 3D fields.
We talked to Anthony Jones, who got things rolling on the commerce and gospel-spreading side of Kiwi Juice. Anthony has done work for Activision, Blizzard, Hasbro, Disney, and many more. He personally has almost 30 tutorials on Gumroad ranging from design to painting to Photoshop techniques, and Anthony is just one of dozens of professionals on Kiwi Juice. These videos, brushes, tool presets, and hi-res graphics are packaged and offered affordably to amateurs and pros alike. Their roster and numbers continue to grow, and for good reason. Check out a tutorial and see for yourself.
Who built Kiwi Juice and why?
Gavriil Afanasyev Klimov built the site. He was working with other artists on the structure in which it should be run, but he put it all together himself.
What I did to contribute was start using Gumroad and convince others to use it too. So with our powers combined, we were able to let Kiwijuice.net become what it is now. A place where artists can build their own custom store and create affordable content for their fans and supporters.
Do you consider Kiwi Juice to be a community, a hub, a collective, a marketplace, something else, a combination?
It is all of the above. It is something that is run by the community of artists who put together their own individual stores, and it’s a collective for supporters to browse through and learn from the artists that they care about at an affordable price.
What is your curation process?
Kiwi Juice doesn’t take a commission, but we do review and take into account the quality of the work/instructor and try to ensure that those who we showcase on Kiwi Juice have good information to spread. And all of this is free.
Tell me about one or two of your favorite tutorials.
My personal favorites are definitely the ones done by John Park and Maciej Kuciara. These guys are good friends of mine, but also great instructors. I’d highly recommend both, especially since they created a great place on facebook for people to work together on improving one’s art. It’s called Brainstorm.
-from Mech Rendering by John Park
Is there a lot of overlap between professionals and consumers for the types of work that you are curating tutorials for? Are things already happening fast enough that you have seen new artists become professional artists and teach others?
Like most things, to become a professional takes time and effort. But what I have personally seen is an increase of ability and confidence amongst amateur artists. Also, the fact that there is a sense of light competition amongst the instructors gives us more fuel to create higher-quality content. The better the content, the better the response. I love this model of business, because it keeps everyone honest and hard working and accountable for great products for our fans and supporters.
What has surprised you most in this endeavor?
The amount of positive feedback from the masses. So many people approve of this because of how artists who were radio silent have now become way more engaged and involved with their fanbases. It’s a win-win. But more importantly, it’s allowing some people to actually leave their day jobs and pursue this, making their own content and helping the community get better as a whole, full-time. It’s fantastic and inspiring for everyone.
All these gumroad tutorials!!— jmgallo (@jmgallo)July 17, 2014
Have been going a bit mental with all the recent Gumroad tutorials. http://t.co/2l6mNuLj7b— Craig Paton (@CraigPaton)July 8, 2014
I have always been an advocate for people to pursue their dreams and aspirations. I think the next step is to create a more fluid experience for users of Kiwi Juice.
Also, we have plans on putting together a miniature convention for people who have something to show and something to prove. It will be a place where people can meet their favorite artists and learn from them on the pros and cons on building your own content and things you should do to achieve this. I want people to start realizing that you can make money off your own hard work, and I want to help create strategies towards doing so.
I think it’s time to give more power to the content creators of your favorite movies/games/entertainment and really build a better economy for them. Artists tend to get unfair reimbursement and percentages by going through some third-party distributors. Gumroad/Kiwi Juice provides an opportunity for artists to sell their own content and keep practically all of the profit. And because of this we can sell it for much cheaper. Like I mentioned before, it’s a win-win.
There’s strength in numbers, especially when a team is overflowing with amazing talent. Look around. You might be able to find what can become your community. Join up and work for the common good. We look forward to hearing about it.