Santa Hat

One of my latest commissions! It’s of my client’s German Shepard “Kei.” He wanted a photo booth image based off of the “Pitty Kiss” image I did a while ago. I was sent a photobucket full of images of his dog, then I picked through them until I felt like I had a good idea of what the dog looked like. I found two images that were close to the poses I used in this to use as references, then added the hat. I think it’s going to be the front of his X-mas/Holidays card this year =)

Vverevvolf

Once I have better access to printing/shipping I want to offer cards/notebooks/framed images along with commissions like this. Drawing pets is always fun, and it seems to have quite a market too!

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Freelancing: Issue #8503

I really love to brag about my job. As far as desk jobs go, mine’s juuuuust about one of the coolest! I’m basically doing for money what I’d be doing if I had nothing better to do =)
But every job has it’s downsides, right? Freelancing is definitely a “Feast or Famine” type of gig. I always have either WAY too much to get done nownownow… or nuthin’. Zip. Zero. And then back to omgwaytoomuch aaaaaaaaah!… It’s fun though, and it’s all a matter of pacing myself I’ve found, and lots of planning ahead. I try to always have several projects of my own on the back burner; drawings, crafty stuff, new signs or product ideas, etc. That way when those slow times come around I don’t end up just sitting on my hands, I can grab one of those projects and run with it until I get more paid work.

On the flip side, the same goes for the paid work. I never seem to have just one commission at a time; it’s always 5-10 all of a sudden and I need to get ’em done quick! Unfortunately, especially for the work I do in illustration, a lot of the pacing depends on the customer. I often find myself waiting on payments (which I almost always take up front. More on that later…), commission details, references, contact information, yadayadayada. Sometimes I send previews of the work and end up waiting days to weeks, even months before I get a response! So I’ve found it’s really important to be able to switch between commissions and work easily, without getting too hung up on the one I’m working on. Multitasking! Very important.

That said, I do have a “queue”, a sort of commission line that people get on depending both on when they contact me about the commission and when they pay. While I give the current commissions at the top of the queue top priority, I also bounce around the queue line while waiting on any of the many things I talked about above, or sometimes when I hit an art block on a certain piece and need to take a short break to get my groove back.

As for what I said earlier about always taking payments upfront, I’ve been burned before, but more than that a lot of friends of mine in the same field have been burned before. It’s (really unfortunately) not too unusual for people to try to get art for “free” by ordering work, then either disappearing or simply ignoring any payment requests once the work is complete. Luckily this has never happened to me, but I have had clients that procrastinate and procrastinate and make one excuse after another about why they can’t pay yet “but next week for sure!”. Basically it just becomes very unpleasant for everyone involved as I then have to take on the role of Collector and they have to deal with getting hounded about debts. After doing this several times I decided that I had enough of a clean track record with commissions and clients that it wasn’t unreasonable to ask for all payments upfront. Now, I do understand that it’s not always easy to pay for expensive things like art all in one lump sum, so I do offer small payment options for the more expensive works. But again, in order to protect myself, the payment always has to be made in full before work is completed.

I know lots of artists that have very different policies on how they take and work through commissions, and how they accept payments, but this is the method that I’ve settled on for myself and it seems to be working out. In fact, if there are any artists/freelancers reading this, I’d love to hear your methods/thoughts on this process!

Whoops!

The area had a little internet outage today so I didn’t get to post what I was supposed to earlier… This is definitely something that has worried me a lot since being down here. The unreliability of the internet is becoming a pretty serious problem, since my entire business is based around it! Not only that, but I’m pretty limited in technology as a whole. No data or constant wifi can really put a damper on things.

On a brighter note, I may have made a great work connection at my last convention. If all goes well my conventioning may just have just become leaps and bounds easier! My dad always told me, “It’s not what you know, but who you know.” I guess he was right. (queue, “I told you so!”)

Fur Suiting (MFF Day 3)

I really wanted to talk about fur suiting for this post, but I’ve been staring at my laptop screen for a good hour now and all I have is a title. I think I’m officially burnt out from the convention. It went GREAT though. I Did more sketchbooks this con than probably any other before, met some really wonderful people and made some great new connections. I was really unexpectedly surprised by the success of my table as well, considering I had so little compared to previous years.

I promise to do a much more detailed post tomorrow, on both the convention and fur suiting… although I think I may need to split that into two posts… fur suiting is…. yah.

In the mean time, a dollar sketch I did =)

Convention Sketchbooks (MFF Day 2)

One of my best sellers at conventions is sketchbook commissions. Everybody treats these commissions differently, but in general they are simple to somewhat complex sketches. I’ve also seen sketchbook commissions inked, fully colored with markers, or even painted! They can be extremely complex, or simple stick figures; it all depends on the artist and what they’re willing to do.

Con-goers often provide their own sketchbooks for these commissions and treat them as collections. They will go to different artists around the convention, getting artwork from each of their favorites, slowly filling the books. Some people choose to get random work, some people theme their books. I often get book that have a character description in the front and everything that is drawn within has to be based on that. I even got one book that had a random quote on each page and the artist could choose whichever quote they liked best to inspire them.

They’re great! They’re really nice, personalized collections for the people who purchase the sketches, they are (generally) a simple and fast way for artists to make money, and they are great promotions/advertisement for artists too!
I have a stack of about 8 sketchbooks that I need to complete by tomorrow soooo… I really ought to get to that now.

Conventions Badges

I’m leaving this afternoon for Chicago for that convention I keep talking about, and tomorrow it finally begins! The attendees of these conventions often have characters/designs that they like to show off, so a really popular selling item is Badges; small illustrations of the client’s character with their name or pseudonym largely displayed. They are then printed, laminated and cut out to create a tag or badge that can be worn and displayed as people walk around the convention. They’re fun, easy, and great advertisement! What better way to show off your work then have people wear it around? Here’s one that a client ordered in advance of this weekend’s convention, to be picked up in person, of a cute Red Panda girl.

So I already had this image printed yesterday to about the height of a pen. Then I carefully cut it out to a general shape, laminated it, and now all I have to do is attach a badge pin to finish it off. If you’re a little confused by my garbled explanation of what exactly these are, here’s another badge that I did for a convention over the summer, this time with a photo of the completed product.

There’s also this one that I did, where I was hired to take a photo of the client and turn him into a satyr!

Price List

I finally finished the price list I’ve been working on! Or at least mostly, I have a little work to do on the Illustrations section still, but everything else is up. This was long overdue, so it’s a relief to finally have that up. If you’d like to check it out, it’s in the left hand menu just below Contact Info. Or you can just click here if you’re reading this in a feed =)

I separated them out into my most common commission types: Illustration, Portraits and Character Design, plus “What Nots” for the smaller commission types that I only offer every now and then. These are all prices for “personal collectors” of course, not commercial use, so I added a brief info section on that option as well.

I’m also really excited to be working on some new Signage for conventions. In past years I’ve have a nice enough display and done fairly well at conventions, but my signs have been really lacking and I know that that’s hurting my business. I’m ashamed to say they are often last minute scribbled notes torn out of a sketchbook… Well not any more! I’m making a list of everything I need to display and I’m going to design them and mount them on foam board for a really nice look. I’m also getting two big banners for the table front. Hopefully I can step it up a level with this and really kick butt at the next convention!