For many years I was an avid collector of comic books. I love the stories, but I especially loved the art. After many years, the cost of paper books was just too much and took up too much room, so I sold them all away. Nowadays, I collect art. Specifically, I love meeting the artists that are out there creating. I spend most of my time in “artist” alley at the comicons which have as much or more space than the tradition vendors. I don’t limit myself to just comic creators either. I love talent in all forms.
I recently had a piece done that has taken almost a year to complete. I wanted to have a piece done using the Chinese Zodiac creatures for each of my girls. Originally, it was going to be a tattoo, but the size and complexity changed it to wall art. I originally approached an artist, who will remain nameless because I have lost their name. This was the piece he eventually sent me:
After trying to communicate with the artist for a couple of months, I gave up. Later I took the final sketch he had sent, since I liked it so much, and passed it to a new artist I had met and started following on Facebook. David Faught is an extremely talented artist with a wide range including the human form, animals and fantasy. I sent the piece to him and asked if he could ink and color it. He did more than I ever expected. He redrew the piece to make it his own and even made adjustments I wanted, specifically the placement of the dog and dragon. He spent many hours inking and finally giving me two color versions, one digital and one watercolor, mostly because of a miscommunication. Here are the stages of the piece:
Adjustment to switch dragon and dog
While I have been doing this for a while, this piece taught me some valuable lessons about expectations and being clear with the artist what you expect.
- Be clear about what you want. Even if you are going this is an “artists choice” be clear what you are hoping for.
- Communicate clearly what you want. The worst that can happen is the artist will tell you no or they cannot do as you ask.
- Get the money talk out of the way early.
- Be patient. The creative process is much different than a regular day job. It requires being in the right frame of mind and having the time to work their magic. If you want it done right, wait for it.
- Keep the communication open. I like to see a rough then a semi-finished before they are completed. The rough helps you and the artist get the concept down and the semi-finished gives you a clear picture of what it should look like before it’s completed and any adjustments are still relatively easy to make.
- Money will need to exchange hands.
Here are some questions you may want to think about to define your project.
- What medium does the artist work in?
- What character do you want?
- Is it a head shot, torso or full body?
- Will it be pencil only, inked or colored? If colored, do you want it digital, watercolor, ink, other?
- How much will it cost?
- About how long will it take?