Frequently Asked questions...
Sometimes it can get tiring re-writing the same answers to the same questions week after week despite answering on social media so often and the fact they they still come up all the time makes me suspect this post might go noticed also.
I don't want to appear ignorant, so will always courteously reply but I'm sure I'm not the only artist who's bored of answering things like "Can you draw me a picture of X?" and "How much do you charge for art?". I'll answer the questions with the same response I give to those who have asked in the past as well as comment (or perhaps moan is the right word? ha ha) on the question itself in italics.
How much do you charge?
I'm honoured to know you like my work enough to want to commission me. I will need to know exactly what you want created before I'm able to give a price. For example a pencil sketch of a head will take considerably less time and therefore cost less than illustrating an entire book or creating 6 months worth of video game assets. The Hire Me page on this site was created to answer this question and give customers an understanding of how to commission artwork from me.
Please appreciate this question gets handed to me at least once a week so can't help let out a sigh every time! Imagine asking a builder "how much do you charge?" to build a house. It could be inexpensive if you only want it for your kids to play in or dog to lay in, or it could cost tens of millions if it needs dozens bedrooms of and 20 bathrooms! Or what about walking into a restaurant and asking "how much do you charge?". There's going to be a big difference between a side salad and lobster dish, so surely most people would at least ask if they have a menu if not specifying, for example, "how much do you charge for a salad"?
I appreciate it might seem like a genuine query and perhaps wrong of me to expect the potential customer to consider an artist's services don't carry a single value e.g. £100. And, unlike a restaurant, a menu of prices is difficult to create when you're an artist like myself who posts/ advertises/ is able to create a wide range of different types of art. However it has become evident that the vast majority of potential customers asking little more than "how much do you charge?" aren't particularly serious about commissioning work to begin with and/or wouldn't be prepared to pay my prices anyway. The serious ones have already done the sensible thing of researching me on this site (perhaps arriving here via the link in my bio on social media sites) which can answer most preliminary questions before continuing to contact me. When clients write an introduction, a brief and specifics with politeness and etiquette I'll sit up and give the request the attention it deserves :)
What materials do you use?
Mostly Photoshop CC software with a Wacom Cintiq 27QHD graphics tablet. I'll occasionally use pencil, ink and markers for traditional work.
- I've likely already posted #photoshop and #cintiq in the description on social media art posts, yet people still ask on these posts what I use. I do wish people would pay more attention.
- I think a lot of people are looking for expert insider information with this one to help give them the edge, but does it really matter what I use? You can achieve similar results to most things I create with dozens of different software or traditional media, so much of the time it comes down to personal preference and my methods may not suit other people. It's strange that most other artists also list this as a most frequently asked question when there are so many other important or interesting questions that could be asked.
- I've written art tutorial books which discuss tools of the trade in far more depth than I can cover in a reply online, so better just to buy those- they're reasonably priced and not going to break the bank.
Can you draw me a picture for free?
Sorry. I'm too busy with work and commissions.
There's a few reasons why I wont do this:
- I feel it's disrespectful to ask an artist or any professional to work for free. It's like walking into a hairdressers and asking for a free haircut.
- Like most creatives, I have so many ideas for things I'd like to create that I don't have time or want to devote mental energy to focusing on someone else's project (unless compensated). I especially wouldn't have time if I'm spending vast amounts of my life drawing pictures for anyone who asks.
- Giving away freebies would be unfair to customers who have happily paid me to have artwork created for them in the past or will do in the future.
Does anyone ever actually say yes to this request? I would imagine every artist gets asked this question all the time and I'm sure we all face-palm every time.
How long have you been drawing?
I'm in my mid thirties so quite a long time. Read my Backstory for more info.
Can you give me some art tips?
I'd rather aspiring artists buy and read my How to Draw Manga books (in this site's Shop or via Amazon) which gives hundreds of tips. If you've read my books cover to back I guarantee you'll learn something new and anything needs more clarifying, let me know and I'm happy to help as much as I can.
I know everyone's looking for a free education, but sometimes putting your hand in your pocket and investing just a small amount in a tutorial book can be such a time saver. I also think if you've paid for information, you're more likely to take on board what's being said plus I'd feel happier to see people using what I teach in the books than me handing them some general advice on social media which wont stick or be sufficient to make people want to sit down, try a new technique and feel inspired to create.
Can you tell me how to become a pro artist?
I don't have a good answer to this one. Every artist will need to find their own way to success. I'm not deliberately trying to be vague, but it would be impossible for anyone to replicate what I did to established myself. Why? The internet was still in it's infancy when I started out. Opportunities to promote yourself online were quite different than they are today. Plus luck had a lot to do with it. For now I'd advise just working hard on improving your portfolio and skills, start small and work your way up. So far as Social Media goes, I will say, unless you're work is phenomenal, simply creating a Facbook page or other social media account and posting up art once a week isn't going to be enough to secure any work on it's own. You'll need to devote a lot of time and energy to marketing yourself and making others aware that you and your awesome, unique art exists. That might involve interacting with other people's content, liking, following, sharing and being a good online-citizen in hope of reciprocation, or finding a use for your services within communities you're involved with, both on and offline.