Thursday, October 25, 2012


So a few days ago I took delivery of my first commissioned work, by Sarah McConnell of the unupdated Serial Multiplicity. Very talented artist, I took a risk asking her to draw a pheonix, from looking over her shoulder at work and peering into her sketchbook back in the early days where she used to sketch in a sketchbook all the time at work, I knew she was capable of drawing it in a technical sense, but in most of her finished art I'd seen to-date definite forms as subject matter aren't typically what she does.

Anyway, I loaded her up with reference and set all my terms and she did this:
I think I accidentally got a steal of a deal, because I asked for 'drawn and inked at least' but since 99.97% of all the art I look at is by comic book artists in my mind that means 'pencil drawing, then inked with a pen' whereas to Sarah a fine arts graduate from the VCA 'inked' probably meant 'painted with inks'

Anyway this is but the first small step for me towards 'Melberenze' and my first act as patron of the arts myself. The big worry of course was always that I would fulfill the stereotype that 'slaves make the worst masters' when it came to me commissioning artists, so I am overtly self conscious of not doing all the things that have made my own commissions transform from exercises in mutual goodwill to bitter experiences that I now have to somehow translate back into positive experiences.

So I did this by:
1. making clear what I expected, and that my commission was based on my belief in the abilities of her work to date (of course with the exception of what I mean when I say 'inked', but this I think produced a delightful outcome)
2. relaxing the 'personal meaning' of the subject matter. I just asked for a pheonix, and didn't elaborate on what it meant to me.
3. Set a price and translated that price into how many work hours I expected to be spent on it.
4. Set a short deadline.

These sorts of things are what I am, going forward, going to set up for my commission policy, I have one remaining commission that is none of those things, and though I am excited to finally be doing it, this excitement is outweighed by the stress and anxiety of doing it. I have simply accepted that I probably won't be getting paid for it, that is the only thought that relaxes me enough to do it.

It's a lot more fun being on the other side of the equation, I have commissioned Tim Molloy next so expect more artwork on this blog soon.

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