Category: artbusiness

Posts discussing what it’s like to work as a creative professional. This might include lots of rants, but also tips.

Hiatus, Problems with “Samples”

It’s quite evident that I have not been posting for several months. My excuse this time is major video projects and because I got upgraded into a French writing course, which meant I had some 2-7 hours of writing homework. I just couldn’t get myself to sit down, think about this blog, and write in English. When studying a language intensively, it sometimes becomes hard to think, write, read, or speak in your primary language. Usually, it’s the opposite, where I just can’t formulate anything in French out of sheer mental exhaustion in that part of my brain. Anyways, I am lucky I can spend most of my days right now learning. I really don’t look forward to taking that day job to pay the bills and being back in that monotony. It depends on the job, of course.

I want to let everyone know that whoever finds us a returning client for video gets a percentage kicked their way for a year on projects. We’re not really decided on the percentage, but it’ll be something we’ll deem worth your time. So, if you know someone who needs video work, motion design, colour grading done and has money to pay for it, send them our way: stereokroma.com

Since this has been an issue for us lately, we don’t do spec. work. Here’s some informative links my partner found on this subject. Link 1, link 2, link 3.

There’s very few projects we’d genuinely say we’d work for free, and there’s very few excuses you can give us for why we should work for free. It most often comes up that a “sample” is requested. In the most recent and serious case, it was during a second job interview, where all portfolios and demoreels had already been reviewed, so there would be no other reason for this other than to collect free ideas. It was not a 30-90 minute test either, it was something that would’ve required several hours of work. Let me be clear: this is incredibly unprofessional and insulting.

I believe I talked about this before, but it’s so obvious someone is trying to shop around and clearly has no idea what the job entitles or what they want if they need to ask for a sample. There are cases where a sample is asked for as a proposal, which in my books is fine because it is usually a write up or a simple sketch and it’s for a several thousand dollar large project that requires a lot of commitment from both parties. Most of the time, when I am personally asked for a sample, it’s for a client that is not going to pay more than $500, $200, or even $100, so it is a pure waste of my time to do a sample. Often, they also want a sample that’s going to look like the finished product. What? So you basically want me to do the whole project, call it a “sample”, then decide whether or not you want to pay for it? That’s shady and shitty of you. I pretty much always say no and let them roll off my back, unless the person agrees to pay for the sample itself. In my experience (ohh some 10 years or more of freelancing), the clients who waffle and who ask for ridiculous things like this cause the most problems. They’re the ones who want the most changes, who ask for impossible changes too late in the process, who just can’t make up their mind or don’t pay in a timely fashion. Everyone I ever worked with who looked at my portfolio and hired me on the spot was always great to work with: they understood the process, they understood why it costs why it costs, they didn’t try get me to give them discounts or held out my payments for months; they were just timely, understanding, and a pleasure to work with.

I think in the future, I will write several articles talking about different things like the process of creative work so everyone understands why we do things the way we do them. I know I ramble in here about it, but I really need something I can point people to.

Anyway, I have several art events I want to post about and tonnes of updates, so stay tuned. I will slowly start rolling things out and catching up. You can always keep track on my website or one of my many other social media pages that are unfortunately easier to update (I really prefer having a blog). I’ll also be posting some of my French writing, if it’s of interest to anyone.

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Gamer Commission WIP5

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I made the grid pink. It’s supposed to have an 80s feel. I kind of took the inspiration from Robot Unicorn 2, which has a similar style in the menu (the art for the game is pretty good). Darkened up somethings, adding a few accent colours. Next, I do a quick inking and scan – done.

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Gamer Commission WIP3

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I had a pretty limited amount of time to do this commission – the amount of time is always proportionate to the budget because I don’t want to be working on a loss. I plan things out to be as efficient as possible in my head. Here, with a couple salty watercolour layers, I create a background.

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Gamer Commission WIP2

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Laying down some colours and masking out what I need to keep white for the bright I will be adding. As I didn’t know anything about this, the mascot the player uses for themselves is the Dominos mascot, Noid. I didn’t even know Dominos had a mascot. I had to make him look less goofy.

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Tips on Commissions

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As I’m uploading these, I am realizing how destroyed my laptop is. I can’t see the watermark I placed on this image because the lighter values in my screen bleed out to white. Anyway, today I’d like to talk about COMMISSIONS (again)! This is a new commission I recently finished, and I will be putting it up on my site soon with more WIP updates. It was for an individual into gaming to use on a profile. I get a lot of individual commissions by average people (as in, not institutions or corporations) and I’m pretty average myself – I know where everyone is coming from.

I want to use this person as an example of a great commissioner: They came to me with a clear idea of what they needed, what dimensions, they had a reasonable range of how much they were willing to pay,  they even had references on hand, and overall were co-operative and respectful. They paid immediately. Beautiful.

I have a lot of problematic inquiries.

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Newest Concept Art

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Well, I’d be lying once again to pretend this is not finished. It’s up on the News in website, & there isn’t too many shots for WIP. This is a piece of concept art based on a 3D base provided to me by Daniel Kvasznicza. Some of you may be hearing his name a lot because of the new Batman game. I am taking a technical course with him at Syn Studio, and this is one of my projects.

Also, if my readers would be so kind – here is a link to my current Concept Art Porfolio. Please share it for me! I know it’s still not much, but I’d really like to get some solid projects started, hopefully paid because I’m really broke. (UPDATE: If this link is not working, it means it has been taken down or moved to my website: www.artkarolina.com)

WIP Drowning Panel EP1 – Quality of Watercolours (See link for Reviews)

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More shading, washes, and layered colours. I’m not really happy with how the watercolour is interacting on the hand. My perfectionist, OCD inner asshole tells me, “Shoulda thought of that! So obvious blue is not going to sit well on skin tone and look like water.”

Well, fuck you. It’s actually not entirely true because the way watercolours interact heavily depends on their make up. The amount of binding agents, the type, whether it’s natural or synthetic pigment, how much and what pigment is used to make the colour, the quality of the materials, the amount of water… Technology is aiming to formulate more consistent, colour accurate, and lightfast paints, but each tube will always be different. If I used a different brand with a different formula, the end result and colour may be very different. I feel like I’m saying this as if “you all should know this”, but I only recently learned this myself after using watercolours for years. I was watching a Japanese watercolourist paint, and the way his paints were interacting was just baffling me. Apparently, I own very shitty (and cheap) watercolours and have been making-do with them.

Make a coffee, get comfortable, and check out the awesome in-depth resources found on Handprint.com!

NSCAD Short Film: Smoulder(2011)

I’d like to take a chance to show everyone my first film, which I’ve recently released to the Internet, as I was unable to get distribution for it and it’s about a year old now. That’s alright, because this film has screened in 3 film festivals: The 31st Atlantic Film Festival, the 35th Montreal Film Festival, and the 1st OUTeast Film Festival.

Update(several years later): This film has broadcast on Sky MyChannel during a short film program in Europe, and on 16mm.tv.

This film was made as a part of my second year film class with Solomon Nagler. It was one of three films selected by the exterior jury from the class pitches. This film was made on a $1000 budget, with plenty of help from the local talent in Halifax, NS. It was shot on-location in Head of Jeddore, NS, thanks to the generous Spalding family, who let us use their home as a location and base camp.

I wrote the script based on my own personal experience as a teenager, which made it extremely hard to work from. I went on a journey making this film, because at first, I was ashamed and afraid. My pitch to the journey was a self-conscious mess of nerves, but I am glad they were able to see through it.

If you like this film, please share – it depends on you to make it’s way around the World Wide Web!

Notable names of people who have worked on this film: Emily Jewer, Leslie Appleton, Stephane Sinclair-Fortin, Justin Tomchuk, Christian MacDonald.

This film is also available on Vimeo at: https://vimeo.com/28485468

Official page

WIP & Comments on Blogger/WordPress/Tumblr

Here is a pretty decent review of the raging battle of Blogger vs. Tumblr. I’ve been reading a lot of these reviews lately because I am trying to decide which to invest my energy in, and how much, and I’ve decided the way to go is to reblog my images with a watermark on Tumblr but keep the original content on Blogger. Best of both worlds.

UPDATE (several years later): Look at me moving over to WordPress! Blogger is clearly a forgotten project by Google – it lacks so many basic features. When I first started this blog, it was still competitive with WordPress has it lacked some features (ie. Adsense integration). But now, I find with the new, modernized templates for Blogger, Adsense doesn’t work half the time anyway. Also, why is there no social media intergration/auto-posting at this point? Tumblr is a piece of garbage as well, ever since it’s been acquired by Yahoo!. I find, with Tumblr, you will not build a following unless you invest all your time into connecting with others, posting, sharing your blog. I don’t have the time/resources to spend all day on Tumblr – which is just one website of many I am part of as an artist.

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So, remember the wet watercolour from a few posts back? Here it is again, dry, with some ink roads drawn onto wet paper.