Road to Success: Before Opening for Commissions

Artist’s Notes

**First off! I made this specifically for DeviantArt, and then realized that it really applies to every artist who is looking to get into the market of freelance work. I apologize that this journal references that site specifically quite a bit, but the information is still solid.

Commissions. Commissions. Commissions!
It’s all anyone on here seems to talk about. It’s like a measure of popularity.
But there’s a lot of danger in opening for commissions before you’re prepared, and that’s what this particular journal is about. Let’s avoid the common commission pitfalls (a journal for another day  ) and get a healthy, fully prepared start!

Build Your Fanbase

I’ve seen some people join deviantArt (or other sites) and instantly expect to get commissions. We’re talking the same day that they sign up.
Sorry, that’s just not how it works. Actually, you’ll be lucky to get commissions on deviantArt at all. DeviantArt is a community of artists. Sure, there are some buyers on here as well, but very rarely will you find regular work on this site. I like deviantArt because it’s a social network with other artists. It’s a place where I can come to make friends and learn. Sure, I can advertise myself on here, but most of my work comes from my Twitter, Tumblr, and own legwork.
I’d recommend establishing yourself with the same username in as many places as you comfortably can. When you’re narrowing down the prospects, I’d say to avoid small, start-up art communities (you know the ones I’m talking about, those “exclusive”, “by invite only” art sites. Who is going to buy your work there?). Make yourself known on established websites where there is already a user base to be a part of. Twitter, Tumblr, Art Station, Behance, deviantArt, LinkedIn, ConceptCookie and even FurAffinity (if you’re into that kind of thing) are all fantastic options.

Understand Pricing and it’s Consequences 

First off, don’t sell for points. Points is quite literally the equivalent of pocket change. 80 points is $1.
That means that if you’re selling a full color image for 500 points (which I see all the time) you’re selling it for $6.25.
$6.25 for a full picture. A full picture that I can promise you’ve spent more than a half an hour on.
I’ll write a full journal on how pricing works, but generally, you should not be selling your work for less than minimum wage per hour.
I’ll go through a lot of other pricing options in the other journal, but keep in mind that you are working on artwork. This is your time and you should be paid for it. Yes, you might absolutely LOVE doing artwork (so do I!) but you should still be paid for creating images for other people.
If you choose not to be paid now, or to be paid in pocket change now, or to be paid for $5/hr now, you’ll likely regret it later. Your “target market” for lower pricing will not be the same as your target market for average pay. People who pay in dA points likely won’t be returning for more work later, and if they do, it’ll be for the same price. People who are willing to pay what your work is worth are more likely to be repeat customers, are likely to talk more about your work if you do a good job, and are, of course, willing to give you the amount that you deserve so that you’re doing less work for the appropriate amount of money. If you spend most of your time targeting the lower-range market you won’t be able to raise your prices later. (For the record, I’m not talking about general watchers and followers, some people just can’t afford to buy art or don’t need it, but they’re no less valuable in terms of having an awesome fan base. We’re strictly talking about clientele here).

Create a Strong Terms of Service Agreement

Do your research!
Don’t just look at other ToS Agreements on deviantArt, many of them are not strong. If you can’t afford to hire an attorney, do some serious Google searching. There are a ton of really good samples of what your ToS should include.
Again, I’m planning a full journal for this as well, but a few points I could make right now are to include;
A) That you own all rights to your work. Make sure that this is a part of your Terms of Service. Yes, it goes without saying that you own what you make, but many times customers have the misinformed idea that because they’ve paid you they automatically own the artwork and can sell it, make prints of it, etc.
B) A clause about what happens if you become ill. I know it’s likely not something you’re thinking about now, but what if you take a commission and suddenly become ill or are involved in an accident of some kind? You’ll want to detail out what happens. Does the customer get a full refund? Do you require an extension on the work deadline? Do you retain their deposit or the payment for the work that’s been completed, but refund the rest? Think about this now, not later.
C) Bounced checks and returned payments. What if the client pays you in a check and it bounces? What happens if they do a charge-back with PayPal? Is there a fee that you’ll need covered? Most companies have a Returned Payment Fee because they don’t want to get stuck with the fee from the bank or processing center. It’s a smart fee to have included in your contract. From a consumer point of view, I know we all hate that fee, but from a business perspective, it’s a smart idea to have.
D) Do you have a Rush Fee? If a client contacts you and says “I need this done in three days time!” and your average turn around is a month, will there be an additional charge? Keep in mind that this means you’ll be putting all your other clients on the back burner, working longer hours than usual and possibly even weekends or holidays - maybe both. Most artists do have an additional charge for this. Think of it as over time.

**Have a Terms of Service before you open for commissions. Not after. Don’t wait for something to happen where you wish you’d had one.** 

Have Samples of Your Work

Weirdly enough, I felt the need to add this in here. I’ve seen a few people open for commissions that they don’t even have examples for. I’ve been contacted by people who have seriously told me “I don’t have any samples of animation, but I’m a really good animator. I work for $50/30 seconds. When do I start?”.
Don’t be that person. If you’re offering character design commissions, have some samples. If you’re offering storyboard commissions, have some samples. Illustration? Have some samples. Badges? Make some samples. Animation? You guessed it. Samples.
By doing this you’re not only showing your potential customers that you can provide the work you’re claiming you can and giving an example of quality, you’re doing yourself a favor by knowing an approximate of how long it’s going to take you to finish the work so you’re not overcharging your customer or short changing yourself.

In Closing

Remember! These steps aren’t just to help you get more commissions, they’re there for your protection. You don’t want to be involved in an all-too-common horror story scenario where a client can take advantage of you, and you don’t want to give your client a horror story about yourself (that they’ll undoubtedly share with every one of their friends and followers).

Protect your client, protect yourself, and protect your business.

anonymous asked:

hi Faebelina! I want to ask how does one get better at drawing? ;_; i know you may say 'practice' but I dont know what to practice. any tips? btw huge fan of your overwatch art! <3

Hey, Anon!

(Everything I’m about to say is personal opinion and the particular way I have been tackling learning.) 

1.So in the beginning, it’s much more important that you are drawing often rather than drawing “correctly”. Your muscles need to adapt to certain movements. You will see a lot of improvement just by doing. 

2.Once you’ve done that for a while you’ll naturally notice areas you need to work on. For example, you might not be great at faces. So you study faces– drawing from reference. As you draw, study why the features of the face sit the way they do. But most importantly, draw iterations. Instead of focusing hours on one good face, spend that time making iterations of several types of faces.This video can explain more about why that is beneficial and how to do it:

3.If you’re noticing your drawings look stiff, work on gestures. These are quick (30sec-2min) doodles that push you to understand the point of a pose or movement rather than focusing on the edges.

4.When you get around to coloring and you feel frustrated you can study color theory. Some people just naturally have a feel for good colors and others need to work a bit more, so whichever you are is okay.

5.I don’t recommend doing a lot of finished pieces early on. I think it’s great to push yourself to the extent of your knowledge but I also think your time is better spent on fundamentals rather than polishing. This is something I wish I could do over. 

Lastly I will leave you with some of my favorite resources for learning:

Hopefully this helps you get started! It’s a really exciting journey to be on, I wish you lots of luck :) 

anonymous asked:

Hey Faeb, I've been following you ever since you came into Sparty's stream way back when. Your art is awesome, and it's really inspired me to try picking up drawing, I would always try to draw and get discouraged so i would stop trying but i really want to try this time. Do you have any reccomendations of videos/books literally anything on how to help me become better at drawing, from specific body parts to landscapes! Thank you so much, and thank you for all your art, it's all so amazing. <3

Hi, Anon! Huge disclaimer that I like to leave when I can: take all my recommendations with a grain of salt. I’m not the greatest artist, but these are my favorite things: 

Keep reading


The Color Course: Understanding Color

Instructor: Tim Von Rueden (vonn)

Expert Input: Mel Herring (PurpleKecleon) or more recently GlitchedPuppet

This first half of the color course focuses on understanding color from the terms associated with color, how lights project color, choosing color schemes, and much more. We go into different discussions like why Red and Cyan are considered true complimentary colors instead of red and green.

We begin first breaking down what is Color? Why is there confusion when figuring out what is considered Red? As we continue throughout this course we will constantly refer back to the three terms that better explain what color is.

From there we dive into working digitally and the differences that brings when working with color projected with light rather than pigments. Once you begin understanding working in RGB (Red, Green, Blue) then it becomes easier understanding how colors mix in this digital format.

Working with color, we need to understand the color wheels associated with art and the difference between the traditional and modern color wheels. We will then show you how to choose these colors accurately from within Photoshop.

Then we take the time to look at the terms associated with color such as tint, tone, shade, monochromatic, greyscale, analogous, complimentary, and warm/cool. There are a lot of color terms but they are quite simple once you know the meaning of each.

The last section in our understanding color course looks at creating basic color schemes and we have a guest appearance from one of our favorite color artists, Mel Herring giving her insights on working with color as well!

yoongi-obsessed  asked:

Before I ask my question, I want to say that your art is beautiful and you're inspiring me to learn how to draw! So thanks for that! (Your Natsu is really sexy, tbh XD) My question is.... How long did it take you to get as good as you are today?

Woaaaa! Thank you!! Gosh, I feel so honored! o///o
It’s hard to tell exactly how long it takes to learn something, depends a little on how much you’ve been doing it in the past and genetics.. Yeah you just read genetics! It’s a really unfair thing but some people have a lot easier to learn how to draw than others due to that they have it “in their blood”.  

As for me, I’ve been drawing since I was little (mostly animals though), so I knew the basics when I got myself in to fanart 3 years ago. But I wouldn’t say that drawing itself is the hard part, what’s hard is finding “your style”. A way of drawing that you feel most comfortable with (anime, cartoon, realistic and so on). And to be honest, I didn’t find my own style until recently, when I realized that I would never be able to draw like Mashima, but instead learned how to combine anime and western style in to one. 

My best tip is to study anatomy and watch A LOT of video tutorials and speedpaintings on youtube, I highly recommend Cubebrush and Conceptcookie there.

Doodeling tips:

Good luck my friend and keep on drawing!! 



Starts at 2PM CST (-5GMT) HERE:

Today we are continuing from last week as we show how the ENTIRE process of taking a traditional piece and converting it into a digital format whether that be through picture or scanning. Join in today and have some fun while learning something in the process! 

CG Cookie Livestream - Styled Hair - 9.23.15

Artist: Tim Von Rueden (vonn)

Today’s livestream may get a bit hairy. We will be going through the entire process of creating a styled hair look on a character. This technique is something I’ve been experimenting with lately and wanted to show how I go about drawing it step by step for you guys! Stay tuned and looking forward to streaming some long locks today!

Stream starts at 2PM CDT (-5GMT) HERE:

CG Cookie Livestream - Live Critique - 9.30.15

Artist: Tim Von Rueden (vonn)

Today is the first live critique livestream we’ve done as it has not only been heavily requested but I believe it could be incredibly beneficial to know how to give critique that is constructive. We have 9 pieces we choose to be the subject matters today with each receiving around 10 minutes each. Come join in, ask questions, and be apart of our first live critique stream of what may be a more regular thing we do here every so often.

Stream starts at 2PM CDT (-5GMT) HERE:

CG Cookie Livestream - Blending 101 - 4.29.15

Streams Starts at 2PM CST (-5GMT) HERE!

We are back from C2E2! We met several viewers of the livestream and it was our pleasure to get to talk to all of you! After discussing with several users and viewers we decided that we are going to help show how to blend effectively and efficiently! Sometimes our objects can look extremely pillow shaded or the colors just don’t look “natural”. So this week Tim will be showing how to blend smoothly to help convey a higher quality of rendering and answer questions you guys have. We will see you guys in the stream!