Survey Results Are In! Curious About What Others Said?

Happy New Year!!! A big thank you for being a subscriber – it wouldn’t be nearly as rewarding without you! I was delighted that so many participated in the year end survey (360 responses!). The survey results will give me guidance going into 2017.

Generally it seems like I’m on the right track. I received all sorts of comments and suggestions, many of which I am still reading through. Many of the results are what I’d expected (based on earlier feedback from readers) but there were a few surprises too. So let’s have a look at the survey results.


First I asked you to rate each of nine blog categories on a scale of 1-5 (1 being not interested, 5 being must read). The most surprising (and gratifying!) was the overwhelming number of 5s given to my own work – progression and videos.

I was surprised that so many of you liked the ‘Tools of The Trade’ category – it seems I should do more blogs there. A few people suggested Book Reviews too so I’ll be looking into that as well.

I was also startled that there is so much interest in the ‘Business of Art’ (I had expected the graph to start high at the 1s and taper off as it moved to the 5s when in fact it’s the opposite way around.)


Take a look:

Survey results

Survey results

Survey results

Survey results

Survey results

Survey results

Survey results

Survey results

Survey results


I asked, “Is there anything I write about that you’d like to see more of?” (203 responses) and “What topic am I not writing about that you’d like to see me cover?” (188 responses) LOTS of ideas here – I’ll never run out of blog ideas that’s for sure!

I then asked: “What do you value most about the blog? What’s the main thing that keeps you coming back?” (204 responses) I asked this so I could find out in a more general way, why you subscribe to my blog. The answers are very gratifying and will motivate me on those slow slog days!! The same goes for all the various answers (206 of them) to “What do you see as my strengths?”


92% liked the frequency of the blog

56% liked the Tuesday publishing schedule (I try to stick to that, I really do! But sometimes, like this one, well, it doesn’t quite get done that day… One person said “Whenever it works for you Gail” – thanks!)

80% said you opened the email because it came from HowToPastel (that oh so made me beam!!)

34% read the blog on tablet, 34% on laptop. Only 9% read it on smartphone.


More than 50% like to read the blog in the morning:

surevy results


It was interesting to see the length of time readers have been subscribers. The purple slice, ie, subscribers from Day 1, represents only 1.9%!

survey results


I wasn’t surprised that 86% of my subscribers are female and delighted that as many as 14% are male.

I also wasn’t surprised that the main age group is 61-80 with 67% of you fitting this group. 28% are in the 45-60 age group. (There are no subscribers under 30 on my blog!)

When it came to interests, art workshops and reading were tops with cooking, travel, and the environment coming in second.

71% enjoy using Facebook – way and above everything else. Pinterest was second at 32.5% and third was Instagram at 16.5%.


I asked about general artistic level, years using pastels, and level of proficiency with pastels. I was actually surprised by the answers as I thought there were a greater number of beginners among my readers.

survey results

survey results

survey results

When I posed the question, “Why do you use pastels?” most chose ‘colours’ or ‘combination of drawing and painting’. A number of people also chose ‘Other’ and it was interesting to read what these were. Mostly, it was the great enthusiasm for pastels that came through. Here’s an example: “I am so crazy for pastels!!!!!!!!!!! Color, texture, definitely wild about them.”


58% of you said it was Very Important for you to create. There were many reasons given, most of them moving to me. For example:

Takes me to my quiet peaceful place, restores my spirit, lets me capture the landscape which I fear we may lose in light of current state of affairs in the world

It’s the clearest expression of myself ….so very personal

It’s as natural as breathing and as calming and centreing as meditation. (There were many comments about creating being like meditation.)

It is in my blood and soul and heart and pulse.


I then asked a series of questions about my upcoming online courses – both the Beginners Course – Pastels 101 that I’m still editing, and some ideas for others.

For Pastels 101, 82% were interested in the self-study plan, 15% in the VIP level, and the remaining 3% in the one-on-one coaching level. That’s about the numbers I expected and hoped for.


In answer to the idea of a Live Bootcamp – All About Values, here were the responses:

survey results

When I asked if the topic was done as pre-recorded videos and presented in three options (similar to the Pastels 101 course) rather than live, the answer changed fairly significantly.

survey results


I had a bit of a surprise when I asked about the preferred length of a course:

survey results

There was LOTS of great feedback on the type of things to cover in courses. I will be reviewing that section carefully!!


When I asked about the idea of a membership site, the answers looked like this:

survey results

There were tons of ideas about what might be included in a membership – hugely helpful and again, lots for me to digest! When I posed the question as to what might be a monthly charge (in US$), most answers sat between $10 and $20. I was surprised though to see quite a few that suggested quite a bit more.


And then there are the testimonials, so many and such lovely things said, I blush. The warm outpouring wrapped me up and spun me smiling into the universe – know that feeling? Nothing quite like it. One could be cynical and say it’s the result of a good ego stroke but as artists our egos are often fragile and a sweet boost can accelerate and motivate us. I shall be taking time to read and savour each one.



A couple things related to the survey results:

If you are waiting to get into HowToPastel FB group (ie. you have already made a request to join and it says”pending”) please send me an email. There are currently 663 people waiting to get in. I screen requests as I know there are a lot of spammers out there but it takes a long time. If I have your name, I can quickly make sure I accept you.


Almost forgot to announce the three WINNERS!! Each has won a small pastel I did during the 31 in 31 challenge. I went to to generate random numbers for the winners so it would be totally fair.

And here they are:

~ Tiffany Lane

~ Chris Williams

~ Debra Shapiro




One of my New Year resolutions (actually the only one I’ve made) is to be in my studio more this year.

Last year I spent a LOT of time at my computer – working on my blog, editing my upcoming beginners course, spending time in the HowToPastel Facebook group, plus answering emails and all the usual online stuff we all need to take care of. All well and good but somehow, I seemed to be working at my own art less. Not good! (Thank heavens for the 31 paintings in 31 days challenge we did last October!)

I have a big painting project to work on this January that I’m pretty excited about. (Can’t tell you what it is yet, sorry!) But it means giving up something to make some time for it. So what I’ve decided is I’ll need to blog less this month which includes skipping the monthly picks for December. I know, I can hear you moaning, but that post usually takes me about three days to create (never mind the time that goes into collecting images over the month). So I ask for your understanding. And know, the round-up will be back in February!! I do have a super guest lined up for mid-January so look out for that.


That’s all for now. I’d love to hear your thoughts about the survey results.


Thank you always for being here on this pastel journey.

Until next time,

~ Gail


12 thoughts on “Survey Results Are In! Curious About What Others Said?

  1. Jymme

    Interesting and amazing. I really don’t know how you do it all, Gail. I’m glad you are doing some things to take care of yourself and have time for your own work. Yes, I will miss your December picks but I’m okay with that! Happy New Year.

  2. sean murphy

    Gail ,I am a subscriber and under 30 hahahah I am 29 just wanted to share since u seemed upset you didn’t have any subscribers under 30 hahha ps I really enjoy your blog

  3. Laurel

    Gail, I didn’t get around to completing your survey, sorry but found the outcome very interesting. Do you have many of your blogees (not sure if that is a word) from out side the USA. I am in Australia so of course cant ge to any F2F workshops but love your demonstrations.

    1. Gail Sibley Post author

      Hi Laurel, Glad you enjoyed seeing the outcome of the survey. And yes, I have a lot of readers outside of the USA! Subscribers are from all over the world! One of these days I’ll be invited to do a workshop in Australia and then hope to see you there!

  4. David Wells

    A fascinating set of results, which probably reflects a carefully constructed questionnaire. I imagine that it will be very helpful in guiding your future steps.
    Happy New Year!
    David W.

    1. Gail Sibley Post author

      Yes, the answers from the survey will certainly guide my path with regard to HowToPastel. It took me quite a while to create the survey and of course, there are now questions I wish I’d thought of asking. Another time!

  5. Noemi

    Dear Gail, Happy New Year! This is my first comment on your blog. Based on the survey results I’m in the youngest 5% of your readers. 🙂 I’m a total beginner in pastel, I touched a pastel for the first time last year. Created a few very ugly landscapes, practicing on fruit and vegetables now, will start practicing on flowers soon… In any case I LOVE it! Was happy to find your blog last year to give me guidance and tips. Good luck with your resolution! I know a blog and online life in general can be a time drain so don’t worry if sometimes you just post a few images of a pastel you created and a few sentences, it will still help people tremendously. 🙂

    1. Gail Sibley Post author

      Hello Noemi, I’m so happy you discovered pastels (you know how passionate I am about the medium!) and that you found my blog. Yes, my resolution….it will be tricky to follow but I am determined. I do appreciate your words suggesting a simpler at times blog to make room for my own work.
      Thanks again for commenting and look forward to more!


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