Monday, 20 May 2019

When collectors don't pay for commissions.


There are a few groups on Facebook and other social media sites that name and shame artists who don't produce the goods. People commission art, pay for it, either in cash at a convention or through Pay pal online, and then the artist doesn't do the work, or they do it and never send it. Sometimes they promise it for a while in correspondence but then they disappear, never answering messages again. They keep the money and shaft the fan. Sometimes the money involved is a lot, say $800, $1000. Yes, it's out of order and is basically theft. So collectors call them out and rightly so.


Black Cat A3 watercolour. For sale at NICE in September

But, let's take a moment to look at it from the other side, when someone commissions art from an artist and then never pays, doesn't answer messages and ignores the artist. It's not theft, but the artist has worked hours or days on the art and then gets shafted. They're out of pocket. As freelancers, as self-employed people, that's a problem.

Well, you may say, why not take payment up front? A few reasons. One: It takes away the impetus to do the work. Two: Deadlines crop up, and commissions with no deadlines take a back seat, which means the wait for the art is longer than intended. That irks the commissioner and creates unneeded stress for both parties. Three: I like to complete the transaction when everyone's happy with the finished product, me with the work and, well, the person who commissioned the work with the work too! Fourth: I line up work for a few months in advance, I have a family, so I don't live week to week. If the commissioner hasn't paid any money, it makes it easier waiting for the art to be done, which sometimes takes me a lot longer to get to than I intended. I think those reasons are valid.

With oil paintings, as they're very time consuming and there's a fair bit of cash involved, I do take a deposit when I've done the prelim and I've started work on the finished piece. But, I'm working on the finished art already, so we're talking a couple of weeks until the finished piece is completed.

It used to be rare thing, someone ordering a pre-con commission to be picked up and paid for, at a con and then not turn up or answer messages ever again. But, it was only the odd person, one in fifty or so. Often I could sell the piece to someone else if that was the case.

The past year or so, it's started to become more frequent. It happens in a few ways. Here's an exchange...
Commissioner messages, bloke who's bought stuff off me previously although he did take a long while to pay...
'Hey, have you managed to start my piece yet?'
'Sorry for the wait, I should be able to get the piece done over the next week or so.'
'Ok, great.'
I draw the piece, in the case I'm re-enacting here, it was on a Superman blank. The next week I send a jpeg.
'I love it, but I didn't think you'd do it so soon, can I pay you at the end of the month?'
'Sure.'
Irritating as he knew I was going to do the piece over the next week. And then the guy disappears and never answers another message. Is it a case that he didn't see the message? Well, no. He just decided to not pay for it. Be honest and at least get in touch...Thankfully, I sold that one several months later.


One guy (another, have you done my piece yet bloke) was going to pay me at the end of January this year. It passed, so I messaged a reminder in early March, followed up with another message asking if he still wanted the art at the end of March. Early May, messaged again. Nothing. Three times, there's intent. I figure its over. That particular sketchcover I'm going to sell at NICE for half price, out of spite. Petty? Perhaps. At least it's a popular character. At least half the people who disappear have commissioned something a little esoteric (or weird) that I basically have no chance of selling.



Julie Newmar sketchcover

This year being shafted is happening with about 20% of commissions, which is alarming. I get it, situations change, people have something happen in their life where suddenly they can't find the money and they send a message. That's fine. Communication! I don't mind waiting for payment, if I know what's happening. And, those people who let me know before I start the piece that they can no longer go ahead with the commission, thank you! But, the majority of people just never reply. They read the message then go dark.
Are they dead? No, they still post pics and comments on Facebook. And, it's not just first time commissioners who are doing this, it's people I've met, people who I've done work for before. If there's an issue, send a message, 'sorry, been a nightmare, situation's changed, can no longer afford commission.' Ok. But ignoring the artist? No.

Is it a case of the collector not being happy with the piece? Well, no. sometimes people aren't happy with what I do and I either make changes, or we work something out. No, this is a case of people asking me to provide art for them and then reneging on the payment. It's not something that happens to only me, it's happening more often to other artists too. It's an issue. It takes time to draw and I rely on commissions for a decent part of my income. It's becoming an issue.

This is work I've done, taken time over so, I'm out of pocket when people don't pay. It's not like I spend 5 minutes doing these things. When I work my way through my list of commissions, I message people before I plan to start the work, give them a heads up. Sometimes people tell me not to go ahead, for different reasons. Fine, I've not put pencil or brush to paper, not a problem. Sometimes people never reply, again, no problem outside of having to change my schedule. But when I've done the work? Bang out of order.

Maybe there's a group on FB that names and shames non-paying fans and collectors?

I don't want to take money upfront and then have people moan because they've had to wait for 2 months (ok, it's likely going to be longer) before I can get to their piece. But, it's probably something I'm going to have to do if the number of shafters continues to grow.

Should I charge double to make up for being shafted? No, because that punishes the people who do pay and are honest.

If you're reading this and have disappeared on an artist, reneged on payment, then think about it, get in touch with the artist, tell them what the problem is. Do the right thing.

And to any artists who've taken money upfront and then never done or sent the art to the commissioner, don't be a thief, do what you've been paid to do, or at least contact the client and explain what's happening.


 West and Ward, communicating. You know it's the right thing to do

Monday, 15 April 2019

NICE 7/8 September 2019

I'm now taking commission requests for NICE 2019, which takes place on 7/8 September this year. I'll be at the con all weekend sketching and signing. I'll probably be sketching on the Saturday night after the con too. 
As always, I'll be sketching for free at the convention. These won't be as finished as the commissions I do but they look pretty good.
I'll also have a folder of pieces to sell, sketchcovers, watercolours, the usual stuff. 

For those interested in a commission for the con, here are the details!


SKETCH COVERS

These are still £50 for a b/w Copic sketch like the examples below, a single figure bust, a close up etc, even a single full figure or basic background. For a wrap that'd be £100. Colour (Copics and ink with watercolour wash) will be £60, £120 for a wrap. For anything like multiple figures, detailed background, complicated compositions etc then it'll be on a per job basis. We're not talking hundreds of pounds or anything, but they will be more money than the base price!




Newmar and West, £70



Tom Holland Spider-Man, watercolour, £60



West Batman, £50. I still have this one for sale, sometimes you just can't get rid of a bomb.


Newmar Catwoman, £50


West Batman, £50




Boba Fett, watercolour over Copics, £60


Billy Dee Williams, Lando, £50


Another Adam West Batman, £50


Spidey v Hobgoblin, watercolour, £70


Watercolour over Copics, £60


Gustin Flash, watercolour over Copics, £60


Frank Gorshin, Riddler, £50

Note:The quality of blank variant titles varies greatly depending on the publisher. For example, DC generally have the best surface to draw on, it's a decent surface. Except Adventures of Supergirl which has a surface like 1970's school toilet paper and has my vote as the worst blank variant ever made. 

Marvel tend to be hit and miss, some are fine, some are ink, Copic, paint and even pencil repellent. The most recent ones are the best but they do have a tendency to soak up the colour from paint. Also, be mindful that some Marvel blanks have a massive logo plastered across them that inhibits greatly where they can be drawn on. Why? No idea, it's inane. Consider that when considering those blanks for commissions!

Dynamite...every tool I use skates across the almost plastic surface and coagulates in a pool of frustration. So, not all art options that I do will be available for every blank variant. We can always talk about it beforehand. 

I can also do the above style of detailed sketches on regular paper, either A4 £50 (£60 for colour)or A3 £100 (£120 for colour), if you don't want them on blank variant covers. Again, it's a similar situation regarding detailed backgrounds and multiple figures. They'll be priced on a per job basis. 
One thing I no longer offer, on any surface, is likenesses of people who aren't celebrities, by that I mean family members, friends etc. It's just a load of hassle. Sorry.



Emma Frost, Copics with watercolour that I did for the con last year. A3, £120


Tom Wilson as Biff Tannen, A4 £50


Cover recreations on blanks start at £70. They're pretty tricky to do although they do look nice!



WATERCOLOURS 


 These aren't to be confused with the Copic pieces with a colour wash, these are true watercolours, no ink or marker involved. There are a few of them amongst the sketchcovers above.



Prices start at £200 for a watercolour piece A3 in size. That'd be with a fully rendered figure, or two if it's simple, with a basic background. For a more detailed background, for example with rendered buildings, it'd be more money, say £250. For multiple figures, a battle, then it'd go up in price again. See examples below with listed prices for an idea of the different prices.

Rita Farr of the Doom Patrol as the 50ft Woman. A3 watercolour, £250


Universo v The Legion, A3 watercolour, £275




Recreation of DareDevil #8 cover, £200


Deathbird, A3 watercolour, £200


Batman v Poison Ivy, A3 watercolour, £200


Hawkman #19 recreation, A3 watercolour, £200


Black Canary on Triumph bike, A3 watercolour, £200


Poison Ivy v Batman, A3 watercolour, £200


Wolverine bust, A4 watercolour, £60

Green Arrow #1 recreation with Willa Holland as Speedy, A5, £50


Elektra, A4 watercolour, £60


Wolverine #1 recreation with Hugh Jackman, A4 watercolour, £60


Poison Ivy v Batman. Oversized, A2 watercolour. A2 watercolours start at £450.

COVER RECREATIONS/RE-IMAGININGS

Cover recreations are £200 for linework, £275 for tonal pieces. 



Tonal piece, £275



Tonal piece, £275



 I also do cover style pieces that aren't based on existing covers but that can be drawn in the style of other artist's work. Same price as the recreations.




I also offer digital colours on commissions (you'd get an A3 sized print along with the original) the colouring costs an extra £80





OIL PAINTINGS 
I paint in oil on canvas board. I can work to specific size requirements but the usual size is approx 18" by 13". I used to paint on stretched canvas but various postal services seem to enjoy bending the art and trying their best to damage it. 


Below are a some examples. I'll talk about pricing underneath each image! I price each piece according to the size and subject matter. It's easier that way!



This was $2000/£1500. 18" by 13", lots of detail. Spidey in oils, background in acrylic.



Lots of figures, 18 by 13, oil. This would be about $2000/£1500



An older piece, but useful for price comparison. This would be about £1000


Oversized oil. 24" in height. This would be $2750/£2000


Another oversized oil, 24" in height. This also would be $2750/£2000



Around £1250, more detail than the Batman v Scarecrow 



Lots of detail, multiple figures, $2000/£1500

So, if you're interested in anything then get in touch via watson904@btinternet.com or send me a message via Facebook!

Friday, 14 December 2018

COMMISSION PRICES 2019

There'll be a slight increase in prices for some kinds of commissions starting in 2019. Nothing massive, but I do need to tweak a few prices, mainly on multiple figure pieces that take an age. My prices are, I have to say, pretty reasonable and I do think I offer value for money. There, that's the extent of me advertising myself, onto business.


I accept postal commissions all year round. So, if you can't make it to one of the very few comic cons I attend then no problem, we can sort it out online! 
Because of the cost to send a blank sketch cover in a mailer to the US, almost doubling for some reason, (seriously, gone from £4+ to £7+ since my last trip to the PO) I'll have to start charging for postage to places outside the UK. It'll be £5. For postal commissions within the UK, postage is free, unless it's a massive piece or there's some other one off situation involved.

How to pay: First, I take payment upon completion of the job, it makes the wait easier and also gives me incentive to get the commission finished. If the piece is for collection at one of the comic cons I attend, then cash on collection is fine. Also, if you have a phone, Paypal is obviously possible at cons too. Cheques are ok, at least until the last bank within several miles of where I live closes. 


Here's the full rundown of what I do with examples and prices.

SKETCH COVERS


These are still £50 for a b/w Copic sketch like the examples below, a single figure bust, a close up etc, even a single full figure or basic background. For a wrap that'd be £100. Colour (Copics and ink with watercolour wash) will be £60, £120 for a wrap. For anything like multiple figures, detailed background, complicated compositions etc then it'll be on a per job basis. We're not talking hundreds of pounds or anything, but they will be more money than the base price!

Also, I must point out, that the quality of blank variant titles varies greatly depending on the publisher. For example, DC generally have the best surface to draw on, it's a decent surface. Except Adventures of Supergirl which has a surface like 1970's school toilet paper and has my vote as the worst blank variant ever made. 

Marvel tend to be hit and miss, some are fine, some are ink, Copic, paint and even pencil repellent. The most recent ones are the best but they do have a tendency to soak up the colour from paint. Also, be mindful that some Marvel blanks have a massive logo plastered across them that inhibits greatly where they can be drawn on. Why? No idea, it's inane. Consider that when considering those blanks for commissions!

Dynamite...every tool I use skates across the almost plastic surface and coagulates in a pool of frustration. So, not all art options that I do will be available for every blank variant. We can always talk about it beforehand. Time for the art!


Newmar, £50

Boba Fett £60


Chadwick Boseman, £50


Meriwether Catwoman £50


Lando Calrissian £50


Gal Gadot £50


Eartha Kitt Catwoman £50


Alfred £50


Reeve Superman £50


Adam West £50


West and Ward, £75


Stan £50


Hawkman £60


Poison Ivy £60


Poison Ivy £60


Spidey v Hobgoblin £75




Poison Ivy £60 (I get asked to do a fair few Ivy's)


Jessica Jones, £75


Spidey, £60


Gustin, Flash, £60


I can also do the above style of detailed sketches on regular paper, either A4 £50 (£60 for colour)or A3 £100 (£120 for colour), if you don't want them on blank variant covers. Again, it's a similar situation regarding detailed backgrounds and multiple figures. They'll be priced on a per job basis. One thing I no longer offer, on any surface, is likenesses of people who aren't celebrities, by that I mean family members, friends etc. It's just a load of hassle. Sorry.

Cover recreations on blanks start at £70. They're pretty tricky to do although they do look nice!




WATERCOLOURS 


 These aren't to be confused with the Copic pieces with a colour wash, these are true watercolours, no ink or marker involved. There are a few of them amongst the sketchcovers above.



Prices start at £200 for a watercolour piece A3 in size. That'd be with a fully rendered figure, or two if it's simple, with a basic background. For a more detailed background, for example with rendered buildings, it'd be more money, say £250. For multiple figures, a battle, then it'd go up in price again. See examples below with listed prices for an idea of the different prices.

A3 Rita Farr based on attack of the 50ft woman movie poster, £250

A3 Daredevil 8 recreation £200


A3 Deathbird, £200


A3 Hawkman #11 recreation £200


A3 Batman v Ivy, £225



A3 Spidey, £220


A3 cover recreation £200


A3 Teen Titans, £220


A3 JLA defeated, £275


A3 Hawkman 19 recreation £200

Prices for A4 watercolours like the pieces below are £60.








A2 Watercolours. Prices start at £450 
Ok, oversized pieces are something I've been asked about a few times over the last year. I actually got around to doing one recently! It's too big to scan so here's a ropey photo.



COVER RECREATIONS/ RE-IMAGININGS 


I enjoy doing these, for the most part, especially by artists who's work I like. Straight price, $300 (about £200) for the linework ones. That includes me drawing in the logo, price etc. Unless you don't want it on...The full tonal pieces are $400 (£250), they're obviously more time consuming, but they look pretty nice. Cover recreations are approximately regular comic art size 15.5" by 11".

I also do completely original linework commissions and also original tonal pieces done in pencil, ink and Copics. Same pricing as the recreations. See the examples below after the recreations!






Tonal piece, $400/£250


Tonal piece $400/£250










Tonal Hawkgirl piece in my style


Tonal, $400/£250

The following pieces are original compositions but are in the style of another artist








One important note, I'll no longer be doing straight copies of existing covers. There'll have to be something different about the version I'm asked to draw, whether it's a change of characters or different logos etc.




I also offer digital colours on commissions (you'd get an A3 sized print along with the original) the colouring costs an extra $115 (or £80)







OIL PAINTINGS 
I paint in oil on canvas board. I can work to specific size requirements but the usual size is approx 18" by 13". I used to paint on stretched canvas but various postal services seem to enjoy bending the art and trying their best to damage it. 



Below are a some examples. I'll talk about pricing underneath each image! I price each piece according to the size and subject matter. It's easier that way!




This was $2000/£1500. 18" by 13", lots of detail. Spidey in oils, background in acrylic.



Lots of figures, 18 by 13, oil. This would be about $2000/£1500


An older piece, but useful for price comparison. This would be about £1000



Oversized oil. 24" in height. This would be $2750/£2000


Multiple figures, simple background, this would be around £1350


Around £1250, more detail than the Batman v Scarecrow 


Lots of detail, multiple figures, $2000/£1500


So, if you're interested in anything then get in touch via watson904@btinternet.com or send me a message via Facebook!