I don't usually do commissions, for a variety of reasons, some of which are that:
- I'm not that good, so not many people are interested in paying me to do art.
- Because I'm not that good, I work very slowly. A finished digital piece, like the kind I did for Lady Anne and Level Head, takes me 20-30+ hours to do. If I charged a reasonable amount based on the quality of my work, the money wouldn't justify time I'd put into it.
- I have a limited range of subjects that I'm good at drawing, and if someone wanted me to go outside that range, I'd do an even worse than usual job of it.
However, in the same email where Ocean's Edge asked if I did commissions, she also specified what she wanted done.
She asked for a cheesecake-type pinup of the same lioness I'd done for her before, several times for user icons. She suggested a the main figure be reclining on a blue cloak on a beach at night, with a fire and a loon. (There's a teeny-tiny loon in grey at the top of the picture, right of center. Not that you can tell it's a loon. Though I did Google up a loon photo to use as a reference for it.)
Ever since I bought Olivia's Let Them Eat Cheesecake, I'd had the urge to do some cheesecake. The major elements she requested were all things I'd had some practice drawing, and it was a fairly simple composition, so I agreed. I changed the "night" to "sunset", in large part because my extremely iffy use of lighting would be even more obvious in a night-lit-by-fire-only image.
I gave Ocean's Edge the choice of pastel or digital media, with the caveat that digital media would be smallish (my computer can't handle large than 12x18" or so at 300 dpi) and more expensive, while pastels would be 18"x24" and cheaper. Pastels are cheaper because I work faster with pastels. I'm not entirely sure why this is. Part of it is that I've never mastered the use of "easily flood-filled sketches", so I'm always combing over digital pieces inch-by-inch looking for dots of white in the surface. Another part is that digital lends itself to overworking. I can spend hours futzing with a 99% done image trying to get it just right. With real media, especially something difficult to erase like pastels, I'm forced to declare victory sooner. (For erasability, I rather like pastels. It's not as punishing as watercolors or inks, where the best you can do with your mistakes is try to incorporate them into the picture: "Uh -- I meant to do that. Right!" But it's not the limitless flexibility of oils or digital media, where I can keep tinkering endlessly.)
Anyway, Ocean's Edge picked pastels. At 18x24", the original was actually larger than she would've preferred. However, I don't do pastels in any sizes but "extra large" and "huge". Too hard to do details on a standard-sized piece of paper. Scanning it was fun, and I use that in the most figurative sense of the word. I wound up scanning it in 6 parts, and the composite hi-res version is only 150 dpi, because my computer just gagged on it at any better resolution.
I've digitally edited this piece for general audiences; the original was a tasteful nude.
I'm surprisingly pleased with the way it turned out. Of my 2004 artworks, this is my favorite. I can see things that aren't well-done in it, or that I dislike, but nothing jumps out at me with "How could you do that?" like it usually does in my art.
As I usually do with commissions, I did a batch of preliminary sketches and let the buyer choose the pose she liked best. The pose she picked was one I'd copied from an Olivia painting. Let's see if I can find it online ... ah, here it is: "Crackers in Bed". (Warning: link contains nudity). Ocean's Edge asked that I rotate the camera angle up a bit on the picture, however. So I had Lut take a bunch of photos of me and used one of those as my reference for the final piece.