Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Artists, Artists everywhere....

When we left you last we said we would pick it up next time by talking about the artists.


So, after expelling forth from my brain the sum value of my imagination and having now spoken to a range of people about my idea. It was time to put pen to paper so to speak and start bringing the idea to life!

But where to start?

Where do you find high quality artists loitering with intent, ready to translate your nonsense it reality?

Deviant Art. That’s where.

I literally had no idea what I was doing, which is often the case but a good friend of mine Gareth had commissioned some stunning pieces of art over time from a member of their community. So off I went, into the wild world of Deviant Art. Actually I make it sound like a Mad Max film and whilst some of the art is certainly as unique, it’s truly a very good site. After navigating my way around it I eventually stumbled on a forum where you could commission people, or people were asking to be commissioned. Some for as little as a one dollar.

The one dollar thing appealed to me and actually when you think about it, as a person setting up a small business, it can be likened to the ‘dipping your toe in’ phrase that you often hear. So I gave my brief to the artist and waited. I waited quite a long time actually, a lot longer than I expected but when the art came through, the artist explained that he was still at school. Now that is an entrepreneur!

Now don’t get me wrong, the art was not of the quality to which you have seen, or will see, but then again it was only a dollar. So now I was enthused, thanking my artist, I wandered the halls of Deviant Art. Because people are asking for work, it makes it a very good place to find people that work in the style you are looking for. It gives you a good sense for their strong points, or in fact for where they have a clear enthusiasm for a given subject (females for example). It was here that my first frustrations crept in and if I am brutally honest, I almost walked a different path as a result.

Often in places you will see where people make the statement “no time wasters please”. Yet it was here that I found quite a few, people where I would commission them to hear nothing back, or where token amounts of money $5 or so, never really rematerialized. It became quite frustrating.

One evening, after browsing countless artists, I decided to follow one person’s thread in the looking for artists area. Watching this with interest it was quite clear that if you kept your advert near the top by ‘bumping’ you would receive quite a high level of response, most importantly from a range of artists. Satisfied, I decided to take the plunge.


Here is my original advert:



I'm looking for an artist or maybe a few to work with over the coming months. It will be a slow burn project which will allow for other work to be done.

The art will be to support a kickstarter campaign at some point in the future for a table top range of models and maybe a game.

The theme without giving too much away on here would be biblical with a heaven and hell theme.

The art itself would be pencil initially with a logo design being the primary goal.

If you are interested or intrigued enough, please PM me and we can go from there.




I got over 100 messages! Most of which came via the PM system built into the forum.

The art was a mass variety of styles. Some were very unique and some was instantly recognisable if you had played games such as World of Warcraft during your lifetime. I was quite simply overwhelmed and I truly didn’t know where to start. It think I can honestly say that I spent more than 5-6 full evenings looking at peoples profiles and deciding on what I liked.

The selection criteria came down to a number of things, they had art that I liked, i.e. more than one version. They had a style I liked or that they were cost effective. When you use that criteria you end up with a lot, but obviously a lot falls out of the bottom so to speak. I was quite careful at this point to ensure that I responded to each and every single response or enquiry that I had. As an artist myself I full well know the importance of laying yourself bare. If you put a piece of art out there and nobody comments or responds it is very hard to understand the impact it has had, positive or negative. You end up in the ‘unknown’ zone which just plays on your mind. Art at the end of the day is a form of entertainment, it is designed to please or provoke so with this in mind, I made an effort to respond to each person, not only with a ‘no thank you’ but also explaining why I was not looking to work with them.

Some of the artists had the quality I was looking for, however the style was off. Those people I made a conscious decision to show them a piece of art in the style that I wanted. It was my hope that this would give people some ‘closure’ and remain satisfied that people were responding to their work. This was appreciated as a high volume of people came back to me again and thanked me for the feedback.

I think the thing I find the most challenging however was the price. When you set up a business like this, it’s not like you are cutting down a tree and will get paid for it immediately. There is a huge design phase (unless you are a talented artist yourself) that you have to go through and the expenditure can very easily spiral out of control. In some examples, people were asking for $250 per piece of art, the quality was clearly good but however in my opinion (which of course is subjective) it was not an extra $200 good.

With the added consideration that I am getting married this year, I set myself an initial limit of £75-£100 per month, for 3 months to see what I could come up with. I spoke with the good lady indoors and chatted through what I wanted to achieve.

Having necessary approval from the bank manager (aka the wife to be) I started working my way through the handful of people I had whittled the process down to.

I had a clear goal in my mind, that I wanted to find at least one landscape artist. A person who could help me to bring a feel, style or tone to the background of my world. To recreate scenes, design places or create a series of anchors for what I was setting out to achieve. With anything like this in my experience, it’s the art that draws you to a model. Of course if someone thrusts a high quality model in front of you and you can tell the difference, that might be enough. But often you will see a character in a pose, or against a background and it’s that in which often captures your imagination.

The other artists were to be for character design, where I could have two artists with similar tastes or styles but different enough to offer a subtle difference in the selection process. What one person might take from a brief, another might come up with something completely different. The characters were so important, especially given the project. So I was very careful to balance the cost vs quality aspect of this I and I firmly believe to this day still that I was very lucky with each of the 3 artists that I now work with.

I think, that is enough for today and hopefully this will give you a really good insight in to how I/we went about the process of finding artists in the first place.


In our next update, I will talk about business partners and forming the company.

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