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thornwolf From: thornwolf Date: May 12th, 2010 04:08 am (UTC) (Link)
I used to get a lot of comments on that too. What forced me to start doing them was the fact that I felt my stuff looked really boring without them and that I was using color washes as a crutch. Fortunately with this program (Painter) I can do a quick background effect without too much nitpicking detail because it's intended to look painterly in this style, but what has been helping me is looking at reference images on flickr to get the colors and some elements of what I like, and then slowly breaking free and adding my own elements as I feel more comfortable. Kind of like training wheels I guess.

For example, on my painter style autumn icons, I would look at images on flickr for the backgrounds and copy parts from the stock/non-copyrighted images, but then add a tree here and there using what I learned from copying. Pretty soon I had so much practice with that style (all autumn themed, I did a LOT of them) and by then all I had to do was look at a color scheme I liked and I was so comfortable I could just make up my own elements entirely.

If you wanna get practice with something, take commissions for it. You get paid while you learn, and you get a lot of practice!
beerhorse From: beerhorse Date: May 12th, 2010 04:14 am (UTC) (Link)
I don't have a lot of luck with commissions. My rates are probably too high, but it's what I used to get when people knew who I was. That's the other thing, I'm not posting a lot, except for school and comic stuff, and that's not really anthro.

I'm getting a laptop this summer and I'll finally be able to run Painter (and Maya!). I will definitely give it a shot!

Oh, and interesting note on copying, apparently pro comic artists do it all the time! It's so weird! They'll even trace photos! All the things I consider cheating are just tools of the trade. I guess folks aren't so picky when they have to pump out a full page a day!
thornwolf From: thornwolf Date: May 12th, 2010 04:52 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeah tracing and copying are merely shortcuts if you do it wisely and don't outright steal. I sometimes trace things to "train" my hand to do it and then I attempt to do it myself on my own, just for practice.

Regarding commissions, if you've been out of the fandom as long as you have been it's probably best to start off a bit lower and raise them from there. Also, the market's not so great right now. It's getting better, but it's still likely a lot worse compared to when you were "in the fandom" as it were. I'd focus on getting the word out, pimping your examples, and offering more options. It's all about supply and demand, but not just for the customer, for you as well. If you're desperate, naturally your prices will be lower than if you had a comfortable job and you're just doing this on the side. Try to find a balance in your prices where more people bite but you're not selling yourself too short. It's hard, but you'll find it.
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