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Some helpful tips - The art of Thornwolf — LiveJournal
Some helpful tips
I know that someone somewhere wrote a big list of tips for commissioning an artist. I figured I'd add to the list some things I've observed this last convention. (Please note, this is not intended as mean or tongue in cheek, this is seriously just intended to be helpful, cuz, a lot of folks don't know what it's like to be on the other side of the table!) :)

1. If an artist offers sketchbook commissions, this means that you have your own sketchbook, which might have a theme or not, for the artist to draw in. You leave your book with the artist, they draw in it, then contact you to come pick it up. Asking an artist for a sketchbook commission when you do not have a sketchbook can cause a little bit of confusion, but no worries, most artists tend to bring back up bristol with them for just such emergencies. However, since bristol isn't exactly cheap, and it is way thicker than the paper you tend to get in a regular sketchbook and it is using some of the artist's personal materials, be prepared to pay an extra fee for using a loose leaf sheet of bristol. I tend to charge $5 extra for the sketch/drawing if I use my own bristol because it's way bigger, way thicker, and I really am bringing it as back up supplies for conbadges so its in very limited supply at cons. The folks who did this were very awesome and understanding, you guys rock! But I figured I'd just remind everyone what a "sketchbook commission" usually entails, as this con probably set a record for how many loose-leaf drawings I did on my own bristol (probably about 6?). Glad I brought the full pad! I usually only bring one or two sheets!

2. When offering an artist a character description, I will note a personal opinion that roleplaying descriptions rarely do me any good. This is mostly because most roleplaying descriptions describe the character's motion, what they are doing at that moment, what their voice sounds like, your initial impression of them as you walk into the room, all things that can't be translated onto paper. Several times this weekend I found myself knowing that a character walked with a slight limp and had a voice as smooth as black velvet, but I had no idea what color their hair/eyes/fur was supposed to be. If you provide a role playing description, please be sure to edit it beforehand to include such key items, otherwise you might end up with a text message during party hours asking if your character is a white tiger or a regular orange tiger.

3. Please understand I am not deaf, it hurts my feelings when you say things like "Uber badge? More like Uber PRICE!" right in front of me. I work hard to make art for your enjoyment and already charge less than half of what I earn at my day job to keep in touch with the furry market, please be considerate of this and we'll all get along swimmingly. Besides, I have a lot to offer of differing price ranges and am really eager to work with people on payment plans post-con :)

That's it!
24 comments or Leave a comment
westly_roanoke From: westly_roanoke Date: June 10th, 2009 03:57 am (UTC) (Link)
Someone DID number three?

What kind of person pulls that kind of crap?

I'm guilty of number two though. But I actually describe my character in my desc's...
thornwolf From: thornwolf Date: June 10th, 2009 04:01 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeah they did. They were talking to their friend but, I'm like...right there. Doing nothing. I heard /and/ read their lips ;P It wasn't a major thing, I actually forgot about it until I started working on another post-con uber badge, I just figured I'd mention it so people realize that they're not completely inaudible just because they're not talking directly to the dealer.

And number 2, I understand the point of the descriptions written that way but generally I like to get to the meat of it. Like today I got an email where all the attributes were bulletpointed, like "Species: Blah, Eyecolor: blah blah, Haircolor: blah blah blah, Things to note: She really likes this and that but hates the other thing". It was so...refreshing!
foxfeather From: foxfeather Date: June 10th, 2009 01:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
I got that all the time at cons, it's a big reason I've pulled back from going. Sorry, but $40 for a completely handmade/designed art pendant necklace is not expensive. :P
There were plenty of people who were fine, but a ridiculous amount where were rude and hearing it over and over again is depressing. I know furry isn't my venue but I enjoy the people and friends there, it's sad this is such an issue.
Some people have no sense of reality :P
gatcat From: gatcat Date: June 10th, 2009 03:33 pm (UTC) (Link)
>Some people have no sense of reality...

Bing bing bing bing bing bing bing

likeshine From: likeshine Date: June 10th, 2009 04:46 pm (UTC) (Link)

man you would be surprised at just how many people do #3 ;_; no manners
feralityillust From: feralityillust Date: June 10th, 2009 04:01 am (UTC) (Link)
Very good advice! I overhead some people hassling you, Vantid, and even Keovi about prices and I was shocked. I hope these people are just ignorant of their rudeness and were not meaning to offend.

In my opinion, though, if someone is complaining about my prices, chances are that they are not the most ideal commissioner for me anyway. If my prices can scare them away then that leaves more room for people that will be thankful and appreciative for the work I do for them. =)

In spite of the few problems, I hope you had great success selling at this con. I'm determined to grab a sketchbook commission from you at FC if you're offering them. ;D
thornwolf From: thornwolf Date: June 10th, 2009 04:07 am (UTC) (Link)
I'll be offering them certainly!

And honestly there weren't /that/ many people bothering me about prices, just people trying to figure out the best way to get the most art for their buck, which i can appreciate. I'm not really in a position to be negotiated down, but I WILL tell people what's included with their options and if they have X amount of money what their best deal is (say for example they have $30 to spend, for $25 they can either get an inked badge or a full body pencil sketch in their book, some prefer one over the other). Overall the folks who were serious enough to buy my art thought my prices were very reasonable. Even that friend of yours that sat next to you and came with us to Shabu (didn't catch their name, I think Easel?) thought I should raise my prices.

This con was actually the least amount of drama I've had at any con. I enjoyed myself! :) I just figured I'd write some tips so people either don't find themselves in an embarrassing situation next time or perhaps can prepare better for the future.
xxbalaaxx From: xxbalaaxx Date: June 10th, 2009 04:36 am (UTC) (Link)
"Uber badge? More like Uber PRICE!"

GEEZE! I really can't understand how someone can have so little in the tact department that they would say that in front of you!

I second Ferality and hope the rest of the con was, for the most part, good to you!
thornwolf From: thornwolf Date: June 10th, 2009 04:43 am (UTC) (Link)
It comes with the territory unfortunately I think. This is a very very very small fraction of folks fortunately, but, again, figured I'd make a PSA so folks understand that yes, we can hear them!

And it was very good for me, thank you! :D Wish you were there. Come next time! We shabu :D
keovi From: keovi Date: June 10th, 2009 04:49 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeee-ah.. #3 is definitely annoying. I mean, c'mon, how is saying something that could very well be seen as rude going to help? It's not like I'm going to barter down the price. I find this more amusing that anything else.. but I love it when someone looks at my stuff, gets ready to buy it, then asks how much it is, hears that CDs are $20 or whatever, and then just kinda walks away x)
thornwolf From: thornwolf Date: June 10th, 2009 04:57 am (UTC) (Link)
I lowered the price of my Disqualified Dogs portfolio CD's down to $15 finally this con, and I sold out in the first day, but there's a ridiculous amount of art on that CD so they're getting like..HUGE printable files for their $15 (well, YOU know), I'm not sure if the value has been fully conveyed. I just wanted them out of my possession cuz I've had them for years and I really don't like advertising porn when I won't draw it for commissions :/ So..I priced to sell out, I didn't price for the real value of it, which is a shame because there's a lot of valuable stuff on a CD of art.

(Deleted comment)
thornwolf From: thornwolf Date: June 10th, 2009 04:53 am (UTC) (Link)
The most helpful thing I've ever gotten in my con experiences was the awesome folks who print out several copies of reference sheets that the artists can actually /keep/ so we don't have to worry about ruining them, misplacing them, or outright losing them in the shuffle and we can keep them as long as we want to work at our leisure instead of sketching down quick details on the fly.

I would HIGHLY recommend that folks try this in the future. Not only can you put more art orders in with multiple folks and have it be "right", but you're making it way easier on the artists. Whoever first started that was a genius. I might have to do that myself :3
alexf0x From: alexf0x Date: June 10th, 2009 09:22 am (UTC) (Link)
1: Was something I had to live with at CF, there seems to be something within UK (and even European) fur fandom about not having, or getting a sketchbook for convention commissions. This said though I did factor the cost of materials into the price (and I made sure that I had paper to spare).

Personally while Bristol is expensive I was only ever going to use it for ink based commissions. For sketches I bought a good quality art paper (and frankly that’s better for pencils anyway).

Over all though I am not going to moan about materials though I had free laminates this year (and if I have to buy them they are only £13 for 100 at our works store), and even though Bristol is pricey its still only 0.60p a sheet. I wish people would come armed with sketchbooks, but I am not going widdle in there chips if they don't

2: Keeping "fluff" to a minimum is a good idea. I've tried to cut that to the bone with my own personal character sheets. The only time the extra fluff is ok, is maybe for establishing a pose or situation, but it should be dumped into a separate paragraph section.

However I would like to say that even if someone has a character sheet I always take a verbal description off a commissioner, and make a personal record of in my notes just in case.

Also, and trying not to be offensive here, but furs who have limited skills with the English language do need to get either a character sheet that’s pictorial, or a text one checked over by an fur who can translate. I messed up a conbadge for a guy from Finland this year, because of broken English.

3. That's rude and somewhat out of order, personally I would remind him that while I am making some money at the con, the prices are set for material use and time needed to create.

Also personally good and well known artists get to charge good money, your popular and have skills, then charge acordingly. It will also takes you more time to render stuff and the commission list is longer, all of this means more stress.

Being fair and having been a dealing artist at least 2 cons now, I would be more more offended at an artists price listing if they where "undercharging" for art. But that comes with being at the bottom of the artistic totem pole.

At least I had one person this year who paid double for something in my sketch dump because he "liked it".
thornwolf From: thornwolf Date: June 10th, 2009 02:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
Fortunately I don't think I'll have to deal with the broken English problem again as I doubt I will find myself at Eurofurence ever again. It is frustrating though when I did go there. But I found that the general European furs balked more at my prices than anyone else I've ever met, audibly, rudely, and amazingly didn't take into account the Euro to US Dollar exchange rate they were getting a real bargain. I'm too old to deal with the attitude where furry art is supposed to be given away for free because we're all one big murry purry family. I'd rather not subject myself to that again.

As for Bristol, I live in an area where we have literally no art stores for miles. The closest art supply store to me is a run down Michael's craft store 45 minutes away and their supplies are incredibly limited. I get all of my materials shipped to me from Blick.com. When people pay $5/sheet to use my spare supplies, they're paying for convenience, because I'm going to have to go through the hassle of reordering and waiting 2-3 weeks for my shipment to arrive. Its a pain in the ass really and if it weren't for school I'd move to a more art-friendly location.

alexf0x From: alexf0x Date: June 11th, 2009 06:08 am (UTC) (Link)
Sadly I got the same treatment at Confuzzled, I had so many people go up take a look at my sketch dump look though, smile (liking something they saw) and walk. I even had one guy Um and ah over a picture in the sketch dump, worth only £4.50. But anyway the problem in Europe in general is that a lot of furs are either students, unemployed or on low income, and some of the rich furs may not even want to spend. This is why there might be a tendency to balk at prices (even if they are stupid good). I could even moan at some plugging at some cons in Europe for a guest or closely associated artists. Now I don't want to seem a downer on fellow artists, and while these guys are good, they do wind up over shadowing everyone else that's trying to show or sell art (EF had heavy Plugging for Tani Da Real, Zen at RBW, Tabbie at conFuzz).

But anyway worst insult (as in "I don't want to buy from you") was, "No thanks, I can draw my own.", A comment that not only showed a little, well disrespect, but showed a lack of care. Hell I draw and sell now, but I still respect the art of others, if I like someone's art I'll buy it or commission them.

But anyway, the subject of art materials. Yeah Bristol board for some reason is as hard to find as hens teeth. I am fairly lucky that I have a art shop in Cambridge that sells not one but two brands. However I have head of one or two artists even over here having to travel 45miles or so to find a shop that will sell them some, or being forced to buy on-line). Personally (being somewhat sa about the cost per sheet at being worst $1) would balk at a $5 surcharge for the use of a Bristol board sheet (although I do have my own book really so I doubt I would be in that situation). Personally I would factor the potential cost of materials into a commission (even if they are not used, hell it's more money in your pocket). As it was, and also in the situation I was in, I had to price up with time and materials as a main factor rather.

Besides considering 3) putting off customers is a still a bad thing, if people are itchy about the price to start with then suddenly get cold feet and walking at the sniff of an extra charge.

However all this talk of art and pricing has made me forget about one thing, I've still got that free request picture, I did for you. I just need to scan and upload.
maggock From: maggock Date: June 10th, 2009 11:59 am (UTC) (Link)
3 made me go D:

And it's not like you don't have cheaper options available! At least you can rest easy knowing the person who said that would probably be a huge pain to draw for anyway, since they already showed they're huge cheapskates who don't appreciate the value of art. XP
loiosh_de_talto From: loiosh_de_talto Date: June 10th, 2009 12:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
Let me just slip this in there.... yup.

Jack Black: Worth it
thornwolf From: thornwolf Date: June 10th, 2009 02:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thank you Loiosh :3
From: rhandimask Date: June 10th, 2009 01:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
It amazes me that there are some who expect everything for nothing. Being rude, whether directly or not, is a good way to get your business refused. Quality costs money, folks. I'm not sure why this is so hard to understand for some.
redcoatcat From: redcoatcat Date: June 10th, 2009 02:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
See I have people insult my prices and typically I've snapped back 'No no too cheap for you, plenty of other people think it's reasonable!'

You should add people insulting your theme or genre to the list. I get a lot of people sneering 'History? Like that sells in furry'
Actually it does, just not to raver skittles kids so much. :P
From: rhandimask Date: June 10th, 2009 02:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
It seems the ones that are complaining are the ones that have no money. Maybe they'd have some to spend if they weren't blowing their paychecks from their part-time jobs at Hot Topic. ;3
spunkywulf From: spunkywulf Date: June 10th, 2009 03:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
I had someone pull a #3 on me over a $20 SKETCH. They came right up to me and asked "How much are your sketches?" and when I said "$20", she VERY loudly turned around and said "NOPE TOO MUCH. MINE ARE $5." I was just like... uhhhh.... good for you? There are some people in this community that are simply devoid of any tact :(
likeshine From: likeshine Date: June 10th, 2009 04:49 pm (UTC) (Link)

re: #3:

dontcha just hate it when people are tactless enough to loudly complain over the pricing ;_; i used to haggle with some. now i won't. if they want to haggle, chances are they'll be overpicky anyway. not the kind of person i feel like dealing with. i'm too old and busted now.
aurorawolf From: aurorawolf Date: June 11th, 2009 01:48 am (UTC) (Link)
Holy crap that was rude of them. I didn't experience anything like that. D: Well, unless you count the guy who was flipping through my originals folders and promptly shut the book as soon as he got to the fatties. I LOLed. Next time I'll have 'em in a separate folder, rather than a separate section.

As far as loose leaf sketches go, I prepared myself for that. Cardstock is cheap and works beautifully, enough so I can throw a couple extra sheets in there to keep it stiff inside the cello envelope. :)

ZOMG I can't wait for FC! This is seriously so much fun. And profitable! And full of life experience! *bounces off*
24 comments or Leave a comment