Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Boogervampire: Regarding Custom Orders

Hey Blog Buddies!  So I was required to grow a pair and make an announcement on all my social media platforms today.  As the Screen Cap states, I will no longer be doing customs.  After a year of flakey clients, and realizing how little time I have when I get home from work, I realized I'd much rather spend that time expressing my ideas rather than making someone else's "vision" become a reality.  That's what I spend my entire day doing.  I'm not whining about it.  I love my day job and what I do.  I wouldn't change it for the world.

I've chosen to explain here on the blog exactly how much work goes into some of the things I make, not to mention how much money, and in the end it will hopefully explain why I price some of my items the way I do AND why I get so angry/hurt/frustrated when people flake out of their promises to buy stuff.

If you follow me on Instagram I'm sure you've seen some of my "Work in Progress" posts.  (I even do them here from time to time.)  All of my paintings start with a thumbnail of my idea.  The idea can take anywhere from an hour to a month to figure out before I put pencil to paper.  After finding a thumb nail I'm happy with I do a blown up, final sketch which can take anywhere from an hour to 24+ hours to complete depending on the level of detail.  I then do color comps on my computer to try to figure out what colors will express the desired mood as well as making the characters pop off the page.  This step takes quite a while because I also try to push myself to try new color schemes and learn better color theory stuff.  This can also take anywhere from an hour to 12 hours to complete.  Once that's done then the painting starts.  Up until this point I usually don't spend very much money on supplies as I've already paid for my computer and photoshop and I have a surplus of left over animation paper from college and my sketch books, BUT when the painting starts I usually use Arches paper, which is not cheap, and occasionally have to replace brushes because of all the tiny details I do, not to mention if I run out of one of my primary colors (I actually mix my own paints instead of using strait out of the tube colors) and I wind up having to buy a new tube of gouache in order to finish the painting, then the money can start to add up quickly.  (Pad of watercolor paper $25-45 which works out to be $2.50-$4.50 per sheet of paper; brushes $6-$18, gouache $8-12 a tube.  Just incase you wanted to see the monetary break down.)  The physical process of painting (for the big ones) can take between 36 and 48 CONSECUTIVE hours to complete, sometimes more.  That's one full work week spread out over God knows how long.  Once finished I mat and frame my own paintings, but frames usually cost me about $30 and mat board costs me about $10 once you do the math and figure out how many paintings I can usually frame with one or two sheets of board.  On average I usually ask for about $300 for a super detailed 8x10 painting.  Believe me, I'd love to ask for more because I know that my time and work is worth it, but  most of the time I follow this rule of thumb.  I like to try to ask for enough to cover the cost of the painting's supplies plus give myself an hourly wage.  I know the audience that my work appeals to so I TRY to keep it somewhat affordable to them.  After deducting the money spent on supplies from the asking price and dividing that by the amount of time I spend working on the piece, do do you know what my 'hourly wage' works out to?  $3.50/hour.  Most of the time the paintings don't sell for $300 because I'm too nice or someone haggles with me to the point I get tired of them so I mark it down.  When that happens I usually wind up only making $2.50 an hour and that's IF the painting sells at all. So, non-artistic people, would you work for $2.50 an hour?  This is the reason why they call people 'starving artists' and also one of the many reasons I'm so grateful for my day job.

All the work I put into what I make, in addition to the love and care I put into it is why it's so crushing to have someone flake on a custom order.  I'm not 'internet famous' or 'real life' famous and I'm cool with that.  I have my own style and I paint things that aren't popular/trendy.  I don't do fan art and when I'm required to for a show I try really, REALLY hard to make it look different and avoid popular themes.  Does that mean my stuff is original?  Hell no.  I know that.  Which is why when someone enjoys it and asks for me to make special things for them I get soooo excited!!  I make those things with EXTRA love.

To wrap this up, if you've made it to the end:  NO CUSTOM ORDERS.  No custom paintings, no custom jewelry, no custom orders that require me spending money to have made over seas.  Maybe someday I'll change my mind, but for now. . . call me Grumpy Cat.  NO!!!

I hope to post art next week.  Give you all some teasers of what will be available at the Spook Show in a week and to show you the progress of my Sushi Monster painting.  I also hope that this came across as educational and enlightening as opposed to the typical "just another artist whining about how no one appreciates what we do" post.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

2nd Annual Spook Show and a Little Demon

2nd Annual Spook Show; February 8th, 2014;  Halloween Club La Mirada, CA; 7-10pm
For 2014 I made a resolution to try to get out in public with my art work more often.  As many of my friends and family already know, I'm exceptionally shy and am happiest at home hiding from the world.  Unfortunately I think that over 60% of being successful as an artist now-a-days is getting out and being seen with your art, so, my days of hiding and hoping that my art will do all the work for me are now numbered.  (I know.  That's a little snarky and my math is off, but I'm also a cynical introvert with a mean sense of humor . . . so yeah.)  I did okay last year at Bats Day, emotionally.  I discovered that if I have a table between me and strangers I can be more relaxed and friendly (and the midori sour my non-drinking butt had didn't hurt either).  At the end, Bats Day 2014 was a very rewarding experience and I hope to do it again this year, BUT while I'm waiting for that, I am also making myself go out and do at least 3, if not 4, OTHER events this year.  One for every season.  :)

The first event, and we'll call it the 'winter' one is coming up February 8th, 2014 in La Mirada, CA.  I'll have a small table set up at the 2nd Annual Spook Show hosted by the Halloween Club.  Apparently it will be Zombie/Circus themed so feel free to dress up!  Since things at the 'day job' have been INSANE lately I won't have time to make anything new that's Zombie/Circus themed, but I'll be bringing my Bats Day set up with me so I'll have plenty of my sugar skull jewelry, prints, and original artwork with me, plus some of my newer items (cosmetic bags, coin purses and what cell phone cases I have left on hand).    Most importantly, or should I say, what I'm most excited about, is that I will have my last 6 sets of Devious Desserts Classroom Valentine's with me!!  So, if you missed out last year or you want to get another set, swing by and get them before they're gone.

the Boogervampire's Devious Dessert Valentines.  28 cards and envelopes featuring 4 different designs for $10

Check the Halloween Club's event page on Facebook for more details.  I'm sincerely hoping that the hearse car club turns out again this year.  I missed out on this event last year cause I had the awesome opportunity to attend a puppet construction workshop and I REALLY wanted to see all the old hearses.

This little guy will be at the Spook Show in addition to the Mothra Painting.  It's 2"x3" gouache.
In boring, artsy fartsy exploration news, I tried a new brand of gouache out over the weekend.  Well, new to me, anyway.  As I've mentioned in a couple of previous posts, I picked up some neon colored gouaches a couple of years ago.  I don't get to use them very often, but when I do I get SUPER excited.  Well, I noticed that when I'd go to use them with my Windsor Newton gouache and mix them the same way that I was taught to prepare my Windsor Newton gouache, it would get this strange white film at the top.  I tried not to think too much of it, but I noticed it seemed really thinned down and when the palette dried up it looked fine, but it just didn't set well with me.  So a couple months back, when I was at the local art store, I took one of the brand's fliers home with me and found out that this particular brand of gouache (Holbien, if you're curious) is actually an ACRYLIC based gouache.  I didn't need to add the water I'd been taught to add.  In fact, I didn't need to add the Ox Gall either, unless I wanted a higher viscosity!!  So I picked up a basic mixing set and sat down to doodle with them this weekend.  The durpey heart/bat/demon thing you see above was the result of that doodle session.  The paint truly does function like an acrylic.  It's thicker, and if you add ox gall it helps the paint flow, and even though it seems like its going to have crazy brush strokes, once it dries it's pretty darn flat.  Both the texture of the paint and the finish!  Pretty impressed.  Supposedly the color you mix is the color that dries and it's supposed to be a bit more durable with less bleeding than regular gouache.  I'm not sure if I'll be a total convert to the Acrylia Gouache by Holbien, but I'm definitely going to fiddle with it more once I'm on my next break from work.

So, to wrap this wordy and very art thin post up, if you live in Southern Cali, specifically Orange County, come get your dose of Halloween early on February 8th from 12-7pm!  While you're there, if you think of it, come see your pal the Boogervampire.  If you're lucky, I might even be having a panic attack and my husband will be applying Jam to my nose. (Yeah, that's an Alice in Wonderland/Disney reference.  So what!)

Sunday, January 05, 2014

A 'Lil Parisian Mishap

And the first painting of 2014 is here!  Technically this piece started back in December.  We had a charity art auction for the Children's Hospital of Los Angeles at work for the Holidays and I wanted to contribute a piece of non-work related art to the event but a whole bunch of random things happened all at the same time and the painting got shelved.  It was a good thing it did too!

Originally this piece was supposed to be a companion piece to "'Lil 'Zilla's Wish".  It was going to have a similar color scheme as well as a similar theme.  The natural, woodsy color scheme didn't look  as nice though and during my winter vacation I approached the piece from a different angle and I think I'm happier with it.  Below you'll see the original daytime color scheme and the sketch.

Things have gotten a little crazier than usual over at the day job.  Next Season's American Dad episodes are in production and have a little more involved than usual so I've got a heavier work load.  Taking this into account I decided it would be best to close my Etsy Shop, the Crypt of DOOM, for 6 months (until my break between seasons starts).  As with my other shop closure times, if you need any of my more popular prints (Ice-Scream Social, He's So Dreamy and Truly Outrageous to be specific) you can pick them up at Halloween Town in Burbank, CA.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Thanks 2013 and Hello 2014!!

Every year I grow as an artist it's always amazing, and fun, to look back on the things I accomplish in 12 months.  2013 was a VERY productive year.  Above is a collage of all the paintings I was able to create thru the year.  It's honestly amazing to see them all in one image.  A close friend said she thought that 2013 was my most 'comprehensive year'.  I have to say, it definitely was full of stuff.

In addition to the paintings I also did some crochet and TWO different monster girl drawing challenges.  The second round of the drawing challenge was VERY productive and I can't wait to start introducing some of the characters I came up during that into my little monster's world.  This year I'd specifically like to maybe introduce the Boogervampire's older sister and Medusa/a little gorgon.

Here's to hoping we all have a productive, educational and interesting 2014!!  CHEERS!