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.
Here’s another one from this year’s archive of unposted stuff. I held off posting this because it’s a sample for a children’s book. I get frequently approached specifically for children’s books. It boggles me. What on my website gallery captures this particular interest? Maybe it’s the choice of style… but you know, just because you wrote a gleeful children’s story and it’s fashionable in our desperate economic time to put on a happy face, it doesn’t mean I am suddenly going to drop everything and draw bright, friendly, optimistic pictures. It’s artistic integrity. I have a firm commitment to the sense of realism to everything I do, whether it’s the anime/cartoon style, or super realistic images. Realism doesn’t mean it looks photo realistic, it refers to the conceptual aspect of a style.
Now this guy didn’t do what typically happens. He had a story that actually fit my style – it was a darker, grittier story, and it was more for boys I’m guessing or girls with that strand of interest.
But what I’ve experienced and seen happen to other illustrators has been that people inexperienced with working with artists treat illustrators like mindless puppets. Let me get this out there…I really don’t give a fuck how good you think your idea or story is. You’re talking to creative people…creative people have ideas all the time. It’s easy to have an idea, but it’s hard to have a truly great idea… and then when you do, that doesn’t make you king of the hill. An idea by itself isn’t worth anything until it’s actualized. You have an idea, but you can’t draw, so you go to an artist. Because you can’t draw, you must treat the artist with respect. For me personally – I’ve been kicking around doing this for 8 years professionally. I think I have some idea of what I’m doing, and I don’t need a condescending tone from a client like I need them to tell me how to move my hands to make the lines. I have a professional demeanor, so it’s not going to show, but I do get really irritated when I deal with this. And you know what? That irritation ends up going into the work, unfortunately. It’s subconscious, and I am human, so it’s hard to let it go sometimes.
I cleaned up the sketch I was drawing in Photoshop of the pose, printed it at about 300%, and traced it onto the paper I was working on by covering the back of the image with graphite. I didn’t want to fiddle around and dirty my paper figuring out anatomy. The paper is Stonehenge paper I bought as a last resort because the art store I went to during a blizzard didn’t really have actual watercolour paper. I already regret this rash decision. This is printmaking paper – it EATS liquids. I was originally planning to use watercolour, but as you’ll see in future posts – I am mixing watercolour and gauche and using it more like an acrylic. The paper was stretched (took several attempts and worked out okay), and then covered in a yellow wash. I have found my drawings lately look too ‘bleached’ because I work straight on white paper, so I thought I’d give washes a try again.