Category: commissions

Tentatively Re-Opening 2D Commissions

It’s a bit of an intimidating prospect, but I am tentatively re-opening personal commissions of 2D work.  It’s been rough these days trying to support an artistic business, studying for a new industry, and basically trying to get my head on straight to reach my career goals.  I thought I could accomplish this by snagging a part-time/day job somewhere, but to be quite frank, nobody here is hiring.

I’ve tried retail, art supply stores, and even the academic arena, but there is just nothing for me here to do to close the gap between what I need to make my bills and keeping my own art business going, in addition to getting the continuing education I need to really break into the fields I’m aiming for.  Finding work even semi-related to my passion and educational background has proved even more challenging.

 In the past, I had closed private personal 2D commissions because I did not want to be known as that ‘cheap artist’ who does the ‘low quality cheap work’ and I intend to stick to my guns in this respect.  Time is money, especially when you’re the sole proprietor of a business, and my prices reflect this fact, as well as being what I feel is fair to both artist and client.  You’re getting high quality professional level work for a more than fair price for your personal use.

 I prefer to look at things from the perspective of the great Masters who came before, many of whom worked for the church, the affluent, or in advertising, among other things, to keep food in their bellies.  As idyllic as being an independent artist is, we sometimes have to do the same.  Especially now while I am trying to build a portfolio, I am bringing in less money on my own while I am focusing on my fundamental skills, and therefore need the additional backing, be it through commissions or a day job.  It’s tough, but it’s the way of things, especially during these difficult economic times.

 Opening personal private commissions again also gives me the chance to test my skills in ways I could never have guessed!  I miss being able to work with characters from all walks of life and creating something entirely new from them.  However, if I find myself called to a day job or swamped with orders and events, I will be closing or severely limiting the number of personal private commissions I’ll be taking.  As of right now, there is no limit!

So with all this in mind, I’m trying a new commission process!  Instead of handling commissions via amorphous messaging back and forth, I have posted commission listings in my Etsy shop.  It’s all laid out very simply in the descriptions of each listing.  You pay a flat fee plus shipping.

Custom 8.5×11 in. Ink Drawing – Minimal Background with A Single Detailed Character $35:


 Custom Black and White Artist Trading Card – $20

 Custom Full Color Artist Trading Card – $30

 More commission listings to come once I have more examples.
Stay creative, everyone, and thanks for all of your support!

Commissions, Portfolio Reviews, and Study Sources

So a lot of big changes have been stewing in the pot for me.  With the decision to switch focus to more concept oriented work, I’ve been gathering resources to study not just design and the game industry, but also sources to help me in this challenging transition from traditional to digital media.  I’ve also realized I need to step up my fundamentals, especially anatomy, perspective, and my old enemy – the background environment!

I feel like I’m going back to school again, which is kind of exciting!  I miss studying and learning new things and even considered picking up some classes here at SCAD-Atlanta again with my alumni discount, but I figure I would try the self-study route first and see what happens before getting myself into more student debt than I already have. I learned about student discount squirrel, its an amazing site that has discounts for everything! It definitely helps me since I am on a tight budget.  No doubt this is going to be a willpower-driven endeavor, but I CAN do this!

I feel like I’m shooting myself in the foot here, but due to the amount of time I should be studying instead of toiling into the night on commissions, I am shutting down private commissions UNLESS they have no deadlines whatsoever.  I’m still going to finish the ones in my queue, but from now on, you will only be able to purchase custom work from me based on what is available in the Custom Items section of my Etsy shop (masks, keychains, pendants, earrings, etc. Mainly my crafts).  I am still available for commercial and corporate work, however!  I do need money, but I need my sanity more!

Rather than feel like I’m taking something away from you guys, I figured I’d offer something new – Portfolio Reviews!  If you would like me to look at your work and provide constructive criticism of your strengths and weaknesses, send me an email with a link to 8-10 pieces, your name, a bit about what industry you’re aiming for, and your website link with the SUBJECT: Portfolio Review.  If you don’t know what industry you’re aiming for, let me know and I can always suggest what comes to mind in my humble opinion based on the work you present to me.  It’s a great way to get your work featured here, which I’ll be doing once a week once I have somebody to feature!

Finally, I figured I’d share my list of study sources just in case anyone else is curious or going through this same transition.  I’m on the lookout for more sources also, if anyone has any suggestions!:

Anatomy Books:
ImagineFX Presents: Anatomy – A nice collection of common problem anatomy areas complete with many charts, photos, and contour drawings by top notch artists. I snagged this one digitally for a low cost.

Atlas of Human Anatomy for the Artist – This is a somewhat dated book, but the section on different body types, expressions, and the effect of aging are exceedingly useful! Also, you can’t beat $6 for a used copy.

Figure Drawing: Design and Invention – Breaking down the body into simplified shapes and contours. I love the approach of the gesture method used to establish the energy of a pose first before trying to construct the heavier lines, muscles, and forms. Energy is important and I feel this book is going to help me with my stiff figure problems.

Digital Coloring Books:

Imagine FX Presents: Fantasy Workshop – I’m a big fan of ImagineFX magazine for its inspiring tutorials and wonderful art from the game industry. This collection gathers many of the artists from their first run of magazines for specific techniques and tricks with screenshots for how the effects were achieved digitally.  Unlike the 2nd book, which just gathers pre-existing workshops.
Digital Painting in Photoshop – Just a basic book on Photoshop tools. I know most of it, but there are some holes in my knowledge as far as file processing and setting up workspace and workflow. Sometimes it’s good to get back to essentials, especially when you’re self-taught and might have some glaring knowledge holes that could come to light in a digital job.
Digital Masters Collection: Volume 1 – Digital Painting Techniques – A straight up digital fantasy and scifi art book with instructions on how each image was made from pros in the industry.
Concept Art Books:
Avatar: The Last Airbender (The Art of the Animated Series) – Admittedly motivated by wanting this for my personal collection, but what better way to learn than to study this series that has inspired me so greatly?  I intend to learn much from the designs which are so similar to the subject matter I’d love to be hired for, with particular attention paid to how they had to simplify the designs to work for television animation.

Game Art: Creation, Direction, and Careers – Also somewhat dated (as they’re still talking about looking forward to nextgen systems like ps3), but the info on what sort of staff makes up a video game development company and what one should expect in their job is golden!

Instructional Videos:
CGMWORKSHOPS – A wonderful channel on YouTube showcasing the videos of various master artists and designers.

FZDSCHOOL – A channel on YouTube featuring videos from an amazing school of design with easy to follow videos on basic design concepts and digital painting techniques. – An offshoot of for their instructional workshops. Amazingly, I just noticed in checking the site this morning that their videos are STILL on sale for $7.99!  Personally, I’ve grabbed their workshops on color, composition, and perspective with a few of Jason Chan’s character videos.
And that’s all for now!  Let the learning begin.  My sponge brain is ready!  Or perhaps it’s just spongy from all those marker fumes…hrmmm…

DragonCon, Important Announcements, & a LOLcat

Well…it’s T-minus 2 months till DragonCon and in that time I have 4 paintings and 18 leather pieces to finish in time to display!  Luckily, this year I don’t have to prep for stocking an entire table, just the gallery panel. 

Have a sneak peek of my layout!
See all those text squares and scribblely thumbnails?
Yeah that’s stuff I need to finish still…

I’m actually looking forward to having the freedom to wander about and schmooze with folks and maybe attend a panel or two this year!  I’ll be hosting a panel on E-Marketing for Artists 101 in the art track, so be sure to keep an eye out for an official schedule so you can come talk shameless plugging with me!

With current workload, I’m pausing commissions till September.  So if you’re currently waiting on work from me, I ask that you please be patient with my slow pace.  If you’re interested in work, never fear, for I will be keeping a waiting list in the meantime!

Now, off to work with me!  You have been warned.  When next we meet, I may look like….this:

You local peeps in the vicinity of Georgia, come on out to my art opening this Friday!  There’ll be books, bookmarks, and an entire meditation room dedicated to showing my original art. Plus the backdrop of a really cool bookstore with jewelry, gemstones, and KITTEHS! Also, free food!

C’moooon…you know you want to come!

Interview at Dark Muse

Hey, all!

Pointing you all towards an interview with me over at the Dark Muse Ezine – a new fantasy art magazine!! Learn about what inspired me to be an illustrator, the struggles of commission work, the rigors of self-employment, and the dangers of ‘big head syndrome’ (amongst other not so secret tidbits)!

The Dark Muse Magazine Issue #1!

My Written Interview (download link)
My Podcast Interview (download link)

Let Jay (the Magazine’s creator) know that you like it by leaving a comment on the magazine first issue page!

It’s a true labor of love on his part so let’s help him continue the tradition!

Odds, Ends, & Commissions

In my last post, I spoke of the many avenues of income I hope to pursue. For as excited as I am about that, such knowledge requires time and research before I can go about making further posts about them.

Meanwhile, I’ve been trying to pass this ‘unproductive’ research time by searching out other opportunities for income. I’m participating in the Devwear Design Battle on DeviantART with a t-shirt design that I’m sure will be to die for. Featuring the return of my favorite psychotic Elf chica, Aurora Adonai (view WIP). Besides earning me a chance at royalties and a $1k advance, it’s been good fun to get back to more personal characters of mine.

I also have my eye on the $50k Hudgen’s Prize for Georgia artists (of which I’m still trying to decide what to enter) and the Discovering a Muse Challenge over at ArtOrder, which offers up a way to participate in charity giving as well as get my work seen by some of the AD’s (art directors) over at Wizard’s of the Coast (the fine folks who create card games and such for Dungeons and Dragons, amongst other things)

Funny to think that contests are oftentimes ignored as opportunities for income, but with everyone on the job hunt, they’re better than none for filling the time!

Completion of my big book project means I’m also opening up my schedule to commissions again! I still offer them at my normal rate and hope to be hitting the fairs and conventions hard once I have all my ducks in a row as far as equipment. I’m so excited to get back into the game! Spring ushers in the convention and fair season, after all!

I’m strangely even more excited to talk to people again. I miss the convention atmosphere, talking to like minds and networking with other artists. After nearly a year and a half of being a social pariah, I’m so ready to get out there!

Till next time! Keep an eye out soon for something super special. My illustration board scraps are begging to be used and you all are my prime targets.