Saturday, February 27, 2010


Managed to make it to sketch group on Tuesday. The weather has interfered for a couple of weeks. Bit rusty. David Mack was there and it was fun to meet him and goof off. So here are two sketches from that. Plus one of the children's book images. I've also attached two rough sketches I did for a company years ago that they never responded with feedback to. Never got a chance to make them acceptable. Normally I don't make rough sketches this detailed or in color but I was under the impression they needed an insane 30-50 illos done in 60 days. I obviously used Poser for the skeleton sketch. For the first image I was actually handed concept art that my illo was to follow. It was a cyborg zombie covered in mech-like armor except for its weak point,the head, and had a gun for one hand and a flail for the other. Kind of weird illos to deal with since it needed to fade on the left and potentially have room for anthro illos in white lines on the right. Not to mention a very specific lighting and color scheme because they wanted everyone to try to ape the lead artist's style as much as possible. Anyways, I'm not really interested in taking these to finished  since I think they have foundations of super weak concepts (perhaps that's why the client never gave me feedback) but I thought they were pretty nice sketches.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Note to Self:Carve down contracts

Had an artist I know e-mail me about a client I had worked with and it spawned this entry that I wanted to jot down for myself. At the time of the work, I despised this client and that one client is the source of nearly all of my complaints about how bad clients can be. Looking back at it now, I still despise and think the client was awful, but I'm better able to see how to prevent the horrible situation from happening again.

Contracts can be TOO big. I think it's easy to get over excited by the contract that says 50 illustrations for a zillion dollars. Especially if you feel like you're on the cusp of really paying all of the bills with illustration. It's tempting to just jump on signing that contract with dreams of never going back to merely doing illustration part-time.

Unless you're planning on doing a horrible job, it's to your advantage to talk them into maybe making the contract for 10 pieces. This way, if they're a terrible client and have various issues you can call it done soon. Or you can offer to do more but at a higher cost citing that the project is more difficult than expected,etc. When I signed this ridiculous contract years ago it was right after GenCon and I cleared my plate for this client and turned down some other work because I was going to have my hands full completing 30-50 illustrations in 60 days. So only taking 10 pieces would have allowed me to have a more diverse group of clients and not have any down time.

 Some time after this incident I thought I could make another similar agreement with a different company and it would work out if I demanded to have all of the briefs at the start of the project. Didn't work. Briefs still only came in a trickle over a long time past the deadline of the project. I've found that clients believe contracts are there simply to protect them and guarantee the artist nothing.

So, Joe, DO NOT SIGN any contracts with large art orders!If you do 5 wonderful pieces well before the original deadline, I'm sure they'll come back for getting you to do some of those other pieces. I don't know if this will be much of an issue for a while because right now I'm only doing a few illustrations at a time and not worrying about making a living off of it. So I'm being pretty picky about what work I'll take on.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Short One

A post to let you know I'm not dead. Working on children's book stuff. I'm done with 15 of 24 illustrations for it. Should be 18 of 24 tomorrow. Crazy amounts of snow have kept the babysitter from visiting and my wife was stranded away from the house for two nights so I've been watching my little one a lot. I believe Aberrant is about to finally release some artwork I did so I may have some new stuff to show soon. Plus I plan on returning to the dragonborn oil painting and trying to increase the realism.

I was super flattered recently to be invited to join a private peer critique group. Hopefully I'll be able to start taking advantage of that when I get back into hunting down RPG work. Just focusing on the children's book at the moment and I have to admit I was a bit disheartened by the game industry when some great potential clients told me at GenCon they were going to send me work and they never did and never responded to my follow up e-mails. Another one of those things that has me leaning towards striking out into the field of zbrush for which I've already purchased several training vids and have been watching regularly.

Registered to attend Illuxcon and registered for a table again at GenCon. Hope to have more oil paintings this time around. I made the last 7 children's book illustrations in oils and think I'm getting really comfortable with the idea of switching completely to oils now.
My time as AD at Dark Skull Studios has finally ended. I just have so little time to work this days (about 20hrs/week) that I'm just not willing to spend any of that time not creating artwork. I don't know if Richard is looking for a new AD but you can always e-mail him. He'll probably ask me what I think of ya though so if you're one of those freelancers that gave me late work I'd forget about it.

Anyways, I was putting together the CD's of all of the files to send to Richard and I'm really happy with the products I put together. I got to work with some great artists and I think we put together a great body of work. A lot of people really surprised me. Mark Facey was an unknown to me and had VERY little work to show me and was a bit of a gamble for me but turned out amazing. I could say the same about Alan Lathwell. Then there was also Pat Loboyko whom was practically the reason I pushed for raising the rates on the last book and he didn't disappoint at all. I don't know if I can claim any responsibility in the high quality of the art since I rarely asked for changes (although I gave Mark some direction) but I think I made the right choices in artists except for two people who only accounted for 3 pieces. Looking through the files just suddenly made me very glad I did that work even though at the time I felt a bit like it was keeping me from making more artwork.