Friday, February 18, 2011

Housing notes

When only salinated water is available people have built houses with inverted thatched roofs for collecting water.

Homes in caves will have a tube rising out of the soil above ground for ventilation.

People have dug pits and built their homes in them so that enemies walking the flat desert like ground above cannot see their home from far away.

If the winters are cold the larger side of the building will often face south.

If the summers are exceptionally hot it can help to put house under south facing cliff.

Don't forget to put granaries in villages. They're often on stilts to protect against rats. Sometimes built above pools of water to protect against fire. Some earthen granaries will have stone feet to keep animals out and protect base. Granaries have holes on top for placing crops in. Sometimes a large round stone will be place between the base of a granary and a tall post elevating the granary. This is a guard against rats.

Villages will often have pigeon towers so that the poop can be collected for fertilizer.

When there isn't any flat land around, the land will be terraced for farming.

Compact community living structure if there's danger of enemies attacking. For example all of the homes built to connect and form a circle.

The protruding sticks of wood that begin at head height are there because they were used for scaffolding for placing the uppermost mud bricks.

Low wall about a foot and a half tall for keeping animals out and keeping babies in.

Roofs can be painted white to reflect heat.

Columns extruded next to doorways to shade doorways to improve ventilation via cooler air.

Single entrance and extremely tiny sleeping quarters placed on roof to protect against slaver attacks. Harder to drag out in their sleep. In this situation there will also be holes along the walls so that if a shadow passes in front of them, the people inside will know someone is outside.

Bathrooms elevated because rain evaporates before hitting ground

China- Outside is earth with interior being cedar. 1st floor for cooking and eating. 2nd is for storage. 3rd and 4th for sleeping.

Houses in flood territory are often built on stilts. If the area is also prone to earthquakes, there will be plenty of horizontal or diagonal poles/struts.

Living sod roofs for insulation.

Rope over reed roofs to protect against storm.

Religious buildings tend to be taller than surrounding buildings. Unless god is associated with earth, then building may be nestled into ground.

Remember that most mud structures are molded with the hands giving them a unique looking texture. Mud is often formed into coils and sort of knitted together. Mud can also be rammed into molds though.

Mud often used when other materials are sparse or those other resources are needed for other things. Mud is easy to make, versatile and recyclable. Mud homes are more earthquake resistance that mortared homes.

Homes are often domed with a hole on top for light and ventilation.

Stone foundations tend to have this pattern; rocks laid diagonally to the right,rocks laid flat, and then rocks laid diagonally to the left. This appears to be strictly for decorative purposes.

Bamboo is great for construction since you can use the poles or flatten them and weave them together.

In Aruba fence lines are created by lines of cacti.

Check out Masule, Iran to see adjacent homes with flat mud roofs that double as streets.

When stone-slate rock is used for roofs in windy areas, you'll see smaller rocks on top of each shingle.

Houses with wood roof shingles may have small, eye shaped opening to provide ventilation.

Palm roofs can have hinged windows in the roof.

Thatch and packed earth buildings are labor intensive and therefor not very common in more developed areas.

Thatched roof can sort of be covered with a net in case of severe storms.

Inle Lake, Myanmar people make small floating islands that are sold and traded as plots for growing vegetables.

People living in houses out on the ocean often grow and sell seaweed for a living. Or keep fish and alligators to sell.

On the Lofoten Islands the landscape is dominated by wooden structures for hanging cod.

Pakistan. Some buildings have these structures that look kind of like an outhouse without two walls for the purpose of catching wind and directing it into the home. Wind blows consistently in one direction here.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Private Commissions

So there was a lot of chatter on the ol' Facebook about the evils of private commissions about a month ago. Basically people appear to run into commissioners who needle them to death with revision requests and other nuisances.

I've had the opposite experience with private commissions always going smoothly so far. When reading these comments I initially just thought, "I'm such a lucky bird." I keep thinking about it though and I've realized that the people who I've made commissions for were fans. They approached me, were familiar with my work or had been following it and liked my style.  Fans have respect for you and how you do what you do. Have you noticed that fans never haggle over prices? They actually seem to feel like they should pay you more.

Problem Group A.
I predict that problem commissions come from those who are bargain shoppers. They've got a blank space on their wall that's 20x30, your prices are decent per square foot, and you have a name that may mean the work will increase in value. That last detail may be why I haven't had any of these types approach me.  They're probably only looking at superficial elements to determine whether your work is appropriate for them. You have a lot of details, texture, or the right color palettes for what they're looking for. Beyond that they assume you'll take dictation from them and stop doing exaggerated anatomy or start doing exaggerated anatomy, start using pastel colors or lense flares,etc. Your input isn't needed. They expect their directions to go into your ear, your eyes to glaze over ala Isaac Mendes, and a the image in their mind's eye to come out through your hands.

The bargain shopper might even approach you and they'll throw out an extremely low rate. You can haggle them up in price but be aware of the thought process used to develop that proposed rate they approached you with. That thought process often goes something like this; commissioner's career choice pays X/hour= 5A where A equals what artist deserves per hour because commissioner's education/skills are greater than the artist's. Then they take that process further and think, "it takes me 30 hours to make a website so it should only take them 5 hours to make this art because it's 6 times easier than making a website." I used web design as a random example. If you're approached with a super low rate you probably do find it disrespectful but sometimes I think you can extrapolate from that low rate and see problems down the road with commissioner expecting super fast speeds and that means revisions are practically negligible. If they think it only takes you 5 hours to make your work then they probably think changing the tilt of a head is going to take you 5 minutes.

Problem Group B.
You're the anonymous. Ralph Horsley told me about a nightmare private commission that came through a website set up by a client where their customers could click some buttons and send money for getting a private commission. Again I think this is a recipe for sending people your way who don't necessarily have any respect for what you do. Somebody who finds your work on a google search will likely be the same. Only seeing you as an anonymous artist for carrying out their art needs.  If your private commissioner has obviously sent you an e-mail mysteriously absent of your name or mentions of your work, then you may be lucky enough to be part of a mass mailing to plumb the depths of the art community for a cheap artist. Or maybe they've even been kind enough to tip you off by CC'ing rather than BC'ing. I actually think I've been unconsciously doing some defensive driving when it comes to this because I usually ask people, who approach me about work, how they came across me.

I heart fans.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


So my private commissions are still rolling. Thought I'd post some of the rough sketches. One involves 4 characters so that was kind of an interesting trick. Felt like I needed to give each character equal screen time so that all 4 players would be happy.