Little progress shot for Al before I go and start getting ready for work.
Happy “First of Halloween”, everyone. :P HD
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Anonymous:
I have a cute art style and reasonable prices. Why won't people commission meeee... What's te secret??
Me:

undauntra:

joyeuse-noelle:

thefusspot:

Honestly?  I dunno if there’s really too much of a secret to it.  I’m surprised as hell to get responses whenever I do manage to put up an announcement.

I guess the first thing I’d recommend is to make sure you’re posting consistently.  Doesn’t matter too much what it is, as long as you’re staying visible and relevant.  My style hops all over the damned place, and I might not like what I make most times, but I still put it up.  Second thing is, try to make sure your prices aren’t too reasonable, if you get my drift.  I see a few folks from time to time posting commissions that might literally earn them a buck an hour, depending on how long it takes them to finish, and there’s definitely some merit to the old adage, “People value those who value themselves”.  I thought my stuff was too expensive at first, but I stuck with it and I’m not doing too terrible for myself when I do open up.

Sorry that I can’t really provide a magical answer.  I’m still kind of in that limbo where I wonder consistently “Will they bite?  Won’t they?”  It’s nerve-wracking, for sure, and it’s often pretty hard to tell just what it is you’re supposed to do.  But keep at it.

(I’ll toss in another little suggestion that might get me some backlash, but whatever:  If you’re hurting for eyeballs?  Fanart.  A little fanart goes a long way, especially if it’s relevant, and it’s something you’re super into.  Don’t do it purely for the sake of getting an audience, do it because it’s something you like.  Your chances are higher of doing it well, and it can act as a draw for folks who might not have seen your work otherwise.)

This is hypothetical - I haven’t done any tests or anything - but I suspect that fan art is the best thing you can do to get commissions.

On his podcast, Adam Savage mentioned something an old boss had told him about portfolios. I can’t place it exactly (the episode was probably something like a year and a half ago), but the gist was this:

"If you come to me, as a potential employee, with a portfolio full of original work, it’s not very useful to me, because I don’t know how close it came to what you intended it to be. If you come to me with a ‘57 Chevy that you built by yourself from scratch, that’s useful, because I know what a ‘57 Chevy is supposed to look like and I can tell how close you got to the original car."

I have a feeling that the same thing is going to apply to fan art. If you’ve got a portfolio full of original art and your own characters, a potential commissioner isn’t going to have any idea how close they come to the vision of the character you have in your head. But your potential commissioners know what Buffy looks like, or Aang, or Dean and Sam, or Amy Pond. They can compare your fan art to the conception in their head, and they can say, “yes, this person is able to render someone else’s character well”, which is really the key insight a potential commissioner needs.

Also consider publicity and professionalism. Publicity is simple: if people don’t know that you exist, they can’t commission your art. You aren’t doing yourself any favors by asking this anonymously, for instance. Now I know that there’s some anon out there with a cute art style and reasonable prices, but even if that’s exactly up my alley, I still don’t know how to reach you. 

Professionalism is another competitive advantage, and a lot of amateur artists don’t really think about it. As a buyer, I want to know exactly what I’m getting for my money, and I want confidence that the artist will deliver what they say they will. I want to see past commissions and reviews from your previous customers. Ideally, I want a referral from someone I know and trust. I also look for a well-defined price list with examples, an estimated production time, and licensing and payment terms.

Let me expand on that. When I commission art, I want to know if I’m buying work for hire, or some sort of license. I don’t necessarily expect amateur artists to fully advertise everything on their commission page, but if a customer asks, you should have your answers ready.

For example, say that I want to commission a logo for my company. I want to own the intellectual property so that I can replicate it freely, sell it on my merchandise, license it to others if I want, etc. All the rights would belong to me, not the artist. This would be considered work-for-hire. You don’t have to do work for hire if you don’t want to! Many artists refuse to, and the ones who do charge lots more for it. But if I ask if you do work-for-hire, you should be able to give me a quick, simple answer - and if you do, tell me what your prices are. It’d be even better if your price list included the information up front.

Or maybe I just want art for my favorite original D&D character! I want to know which rights you are selling me to that art. One copy for personal use is the bare minimum, but can I do more with it? Can I put it up on my campaign website? Can I make copies to hand out at Gen Con if I reuse the character two years later as a pregen in the module that I’m running? Do I get the original art (if it’s a traditional medium) or just a digital copy? Do you retain the right to use the art as part of your portfolio? Do you retain the right to sell coffee mugs with that art on? It’s nice to know the answers to these questions, and to have appropriate boilerplate drawn up in case the buyer needs a contract.

You also want well-defined payment and approval processes. You don’t want to put a lot of time and effort into your art, only for me to refuse to pay you. I don’t want to pay you up front, only to get completely the wrong art. The usual compromise is to arrange for payment in installments. The minimal example would be: I pay a half up front, you do the art, then I pay the rest. It doesn’t have to be half and half, though and you can add more steps at different points in the production process. Maybe I pay 1/3, you send me the line art for approval, I pay another 1/3, you send me the final art, I pay the last 1/3. There are a lot of ways to do this, but the important part is that you have put some thought into this and know how you want to do it, and how much you are willing to compromise with what the buyer wants. (There is one artist who asks for cash up front whom I am seriously considering offering her usual rate up front, plus a bonus on completion simply because that incentivizes her to complete the art in a timely manner.)

And of course appearances are a part of professionalism too. Your website/commission page should have high-quality sample of your art style, and your spelling and grammar should be perfect! Sure, some buyers won’t care if you can spell… but why limit your potential market that way? Even if it’s not your strong point, have someone else look it over. The same applies to your professional communications. Keep a mature, reasonable tone, and use a spell-checker.

(Also, note that I am probably not representative of your average buyer. I want licensing rights to be made very, very clear up front, and I am willing to pay a premium to get the specific rights that I want. This is not the case for all buyers.)

Some advice from both sides of the fence, both artist and buyer.

Anonymous:
I have a cute art style and reasonable prices. Why won't people commission meeee... What's te secret??
Me:

Honestly?  I dunno if there’s really too much of a secret to it.  I’m surprised as hell to get responses whenever I do manage to put up an announcement.

I guess the first thing I’d recommend is to make sure you’re posting consistently.  Doesn’t matter too much what it is, as long as you’re staying visible and relevant.  My style hops all over the damned place, and I might not like what I make most times, but I still put it up.  Second thing is, try to make sure your prices aren’t too reasonable, if you get my drift.  I see a few folks from time to time posting commissions that might literally earn them a buck an hour, depending on how long it takes them to finish, and there’s definitely some merit to the old adage, “People value those who value themselves”.  I thought my stuff was too expensive at first, but I stuck with it and I’m not doing too terrible for myself when I do open up.

Sorry that I can’t really provide a magical answer.  I’m still kind of in that limbo where I wonder consistently “Will they bite?  Won’t they?”  It’s nerve-wracking, for sure, and it’s often pretty hard to tell just what it is you’re supposed to do.  But keep at it.

(I’ll toss in another little suggestion that might get me some backlash, but whatever:  If you’re hurting for eyeballs?  Fanart.  A little fanart goes a long way, especially if it’s relevant, and it’s something you’re super into.  Don’t do it purely for the sake of getting an audience, do it because it’s something you like.  Your chances are higher of doing it well, and it can act as a draw for folks who might not have seen your work otherwise.)

revolegnever:

Give-away time! 3 lucky fans will win this awesome #WildstarOnline slap pack! Comment, like, or repost this image to enter.
Winners will be picked Wednesday, October 1st, at 12PM PST.
#rockinstickers #wildstar #slaps #stickers #illustrator #illustration #contest #exile #dominion #videogames #gamer

OH GOD, come here you beautiful things! HD
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Trying again.  I like it much better this time. HD
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WIP of a paintsketch commission that’s turning into more of a painting than a sketch.  Many things are bothering me about it, such as the lack of good structure, so I intend to restart it tomorrow afternoon provided I’m not too grouchy after work.
Sorry, Al.  I’ll get this done ASAP. HD
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Hey all,
I know I’ve been doing a fair bit of griping about frustration and money issues on this blog lately, but I wanted to take a moment out to let you guys know that I’ll be participating this year in the Extra Life gaming marathon.  For 24 hours, starting at 8am on October 25th, I’m going to be streaming on my Twitch channel to raise money for the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago.  I’ve known a number of people who have benefited from treatment at that hospital, and I’d like very much to be able to give a little bit back, if I can.
During that time I’ll mostly be playing WildStar, though I’m going to take one or two hours out to stream Blade Kitten on my team’s channel.  It’s still a month out, but in the meantime, if you’d like to make a pledge toward my campaign, I’d be supremely grateful.  You can click on the image to get to my participant page, or you can click here.  I’ve set a goal of $300, toward my team’s combined goal of $1000.  We’re steadily getting there, but every little bit helps!
Even if you can’t donate, feel free to reblog and spread the word!
Thanks, guys! HD
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Yeah, due to some stuff that happened, they’ve pretty much been forced to part ways.
I dunno.  Maybe I’ll make some ‘what if’ doodles on down the road. :) HD
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Today (well, yesterday by now) was kinda miserable, so I made a selfish doodle.  No idea where his limbs are coming from.  v°v
More RP-related junk.  Gonna miss drawin’ these two as a pair. HD
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wildstaronline:

Are you sad you weren’t able to attend gamescom last month? Are you distraught you couldn’t grab those sweet gamescom items? Well cheer up!
Simply Follow WildStar Online on Tumblr and Reblog this post to be entered into a random drawing for these awesome in-game rewards! We’ll be choosing 40 of you lucky people to receive:
Fancy Pants Top Hat & Monocle
Unique gamescom Dye
Housing Décor Item (Table)
A unique in-game title; “Showstopper”
Follow and Reblog this post between now and September 19th for your chance to win!
It’s time to get fancy on Nexus!
Official Rules:
You must be following WildStar Online on Tumblr to participate.  Giveaway open until September 19th.
1. You can reblog once per day, each day will be counted as a chance to win!
2. Likes count as 1 additional entry, but only if they accompany a reblog.
3. Open to NA residents only (Sorry EU, we will get you next time)
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*Complete rules and prize info here.

Sorry guys, but that dye must be mine. HD
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