First off, I’ve got two panels arranged at Furry Weekend Atlanta. I’ve never done a panel at a convention before in my life, so I’ll be winging it. O.o Be nice to me, people. I’m not very good at public speaking. One of my panels is supposed to just be a general “Meet The Artist,” thing, and the other is a panel on Artists’ (and Commissioners!!) Etiquette. I’ve yet to actually write some notes down, but recently, some things have been popping up that I feel needs a bit of mentioning.
Now, I’m not trying to be rude, and I’m not pointing any fingers at anyone in specific, because this has happened to me far more than once. O.o It’s just something I felt the need to bring up, as an artist, and I don’t mean any offence to anyone.
Now, I know I’ve already talked about good communication between Artists and Commissioners. I’ve talked about how there are some Commissioners out there who like to take advantage of Artists, and the other way around. Commissioners who decide not to pay for artwork, as well as Artists who make their Commissioners wait a year or more for pre-paid work, while they still have time to get other things done on their own time. Those topics are all in later journal entries. Today, though, I’d like to bring up a matter in the first sketching process.
Now, I’m not perfect. I’m still a learning artist, and I recognize that I still need to work on my proportions, and certain aspects when it comes to specific pieces. This is why I’ll do a few rough sketches for my Commissioners to review. I’ll ask them if they would like any changes, and how I can make their piece better, before I begin the inking process. Normally I’ll edit a piece an average of two to three times. Maybe the person decides they’d like the position of a limb changed… sometimes they’d like a totally new pose. That’s fine. That’s why there are roughs. :-P And my first rough is ALWAYS very rough. Bad proportions, scribbly lines. The main idea in my first sketch is just to get the initial pose/idea down.
Then if they like it, I proceed with retracing it, and fixing proportions, adding any extra details, and cleaning the drawing up. I send them a scan, and ask again, if they’d like anything changed before I ink. I want to make sure that the person is satisfied with the piece, before it gets to the point where I can’t change it (and I HAVE had people find things wrong even AFTER it’s inked, even though I tell them to please make sure everything’s the way they want it BEFORE I start inking). Usually, I don’t get very many more edits. Sometimes I get a few small ones. Again, I don’t mind small edits here and there… but it’s when a person gets VERY, very specific about the TINIEST lines and details, that I start to get just a tad bit annoyed.
Now, here’s the thing about art, folks. Artwork is NOT perfect. Not ever. You can sit there, and fix your proportions as much as you’d like, but eventually, someone will always, ALWAYS find something wrong. Now, I know how the tiniest lines can change the entire appearance of something. When I go over my lines in ink, I try my very best to match them as closely as possible. But sometimes a line or two will change, EVER so slightly. Sometimes something will look a teeny bit bigger, or smaller, or more curvy, or more pointy. Whatever.
I’ve known a few people that were really bothered by “mistakes” that most other people would probably not even notice. And I know there are some people out there who are perfectionists. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to have a nicely made piece of art. Heck, I can be a bit of a perfectionist myself! It drives me nuts when I check and check for any little detailed error, and I think everything is fine… but then once it’s colored, I’ll ALWAYS find something wrong with my piece. So I know how it feels.
But please remember, folks, that when you commission an artist, you’re paying for a piece of work because you LIKE that particular artist’s style, AND imperfections. And if you’re going to ask for a million and a half changes, EXPECT to pay that artist just a tiny bit more for the extra time it takes for them to make your piece picture perfect. It’s certainly fine to want, and expect quality work for your money. But please remember to also be realistic in what you’re asking a person to draw for you.