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Horribly unprofessional artist seeks advice.

Started by ejh, March 29, 2010, 02:51:52 PM

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Hey folks.  If you don't know me, I've been hanging around here for a while.  I'm just a guy who has drawn a lot, and has occasionally through some good fortune been given a chance to illustrate a game now and again, particularly indie RPGs.

I'm horribly unprofessional.  Not in the sense that I miss deadlines or flake out -- I've only withdrawn from one project, I think, and it was not a situation with looming deadlines or anything, so there was no flake-out damage to the project.  (Galactic, by Matt Wilson, which I bailed on after delivering about 3 pieces).

Horribly unprofessional in the sense that I don't treat art like a business, even a small part time one. 

I don't have a set of standard rates to offer people when they ask; I've mostly just said "sure, sounds good" to whatever people suggest, which puts an unnecessary burden on the buyer.  They can't just look at my rates and say "yeah, I'll buy that for that price."

I don't have a web site that displays my work in an accessible and attractive manner (I've created and abandoned three or four art websites over time.  None of them "took.")

I don't have a recognizable style (not one that's recognizable to me at least, though the sum total of my habits, virtues, and vices in some way unavoidably constitute a "style").

I don't have any kind of standard working materials or anything.  Just whatever art supplies I happen to have bought and have handy at the moment.

I've also suffered from long periods of just not being able to draw anything I can stand to look at (at least on my own initiative; I can often break through those at least long enough to accomplish the task if somebody asks me to draw something for them, for pay or otherwise).

Never went to art school or anything, as you might guess, though I did do some studio art courses in college, 20+ years ago.

Anyway, just recently I somehow seem to have escaped from a long, ugly one of those "can't draw anything" periods.   I am suddenly drawing all kinds of stuff and enjoying the hell out of it.  It's a dramatic thing; I suspect I've drawn at least as much in the past few weeks as I have in a couple years previous.  I'm kind of hoping it stays this way, and am doing what I can to make sure that happens (drawing every chance I get, to help momentum build.)

I submitted a piece I did just for fun to Calithena for "Fight On!" and he liked it and is going to use it.

So as part of that "building momentum" thing I was tinking it'd be fun to see if I could get some more illustration work again, and I looked at my situation and say "you sir are horribly unprofessional," for the reasons aforementioned.

So more professional illustrator type peoples --

How did you set your rates?  How do you charge, by print size, by media, by level of detail (i.e. charging more for an insanely complex illo)?  How did you decide all that?

How do you market yourself?  Did you design your own web site? Do you participate in any art/illustration communities online like deviantArt?

Are there any particularly good books you'd recommend on the topic of not being horribly unprofessional?

Thanks all.

I *think* this is topically appropriate for this forum, since it's about making connections and its ultimate goal is illustrating games, but if not, I apologize and will try to find another place to ask this.


Hey man! I wrote up this post to help answer many of those questions.
Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
Wild Hunt Studio


Wow, Raven, I could not have asked for a better treatise on pricing (both the original post and the ensuing thread).  Thanks, man!