June 2003



A few months back, I did some work for a company, a coupla illos, nothing huge. They professed gratitude, paid me promptly and at a reasonable rate, said they’d want to work with me in the future, and all was well. Recently dropped them a line, said “Hey, you guys need anymore art yet?” and so forth. They got back to me, they’ve got a bunch of stuff coming out, and requested a whole slew of work, which ordinarily would be fine by me.

Thing is, they wanna pay me a very…very…small amount. Like, not even half what they’d stated was their usual payment for art, and so little that I could auction off commissions on Furbid and get twice the money for half the time. It’s a much, much lower payscale than what we originally discussed, much lower than what they paid me last time, and I seem to be dealing with an entirely different person than the art directors I was originally dealing with.

Such is the joy of freelancing. I stared at the ceiling a bit (I should put art on the ceiling, for the amount of time I spend staring at it), and then wrote back asking if they could see their way clear to paying me a bit more. (I half suspect it’s a typo or something.) Never having had this scenario come up before, I’m not sure quite how to proceed–I really don’t want to take the project for that pittance, because once people learn you’ll work for dirt, you work for dirt for the rest of your life for them–but at the same time, I don’t want to alienate a client. I suppose all I can do is say “Well, when I first contacted Company, I was told you generally pay $X per page, and under that scale, this would be at bare minimum $4X, and you’re offering me $2X total, and much as I enjoyed working with you in the past, I’m afraid that’s just not enough money for the work involved. If at some point in the future, your budget increases, please contact me again.” Which I’m fairly sure will mean that I’d never work for them again, but what can you do? If you’re gonna starve either way, might as well starve with free time.

Of course, I may luck out, and it’s just a typo, or this person may be new and once I explain the payscale stated by their predecessor, we can work something out, but it was an unpleasant surprise all around.

Ah, well. Still beats flippin’ burgers.

In what is undoubtedly my Fastest Art Sale Of All Time, the original Holstein Frog watercolor sold about three hours after I put it on-line. I’d been planning on taking it to the Cons, but my buddy Kathy showed another mutual acquaintence who decided she needed it for her kitchen, and hey, who am I to deprive people of a much-needed frog udder?

I gotta put Kathy on commission, or something…damn. Note to self: do more frogs for the Cons.

The daily comment mailing from Elfwood sits in my in-box, and I click it with glee.

For those who don’t know, Elfwood is a very large on-line gallery, and the comment mailing is nothing more or less than a compendium of all the comments left by viewers on your artwork over the course of the day, sent out promptly on the stroke of midnight for the artist to pore over without having to go through their gallery image by image.

It’s like crack. I love it.
Wonderfully bad comments

I’m trying to get away from the sodomy discussion, on the principle that someone entering “anal sex, fisting, fish slap” into a search engine might now be directed to my journal, and I just don’t think I’m ready for that kind of traffic.

Lost a big file yesterday, in the way that I had not lost a file for five years–discovered to my horror that when I cropped and shrank the thing down to jpg size to send a sample to the client, I had accidentally saved over my master file. And I had done it three days ago, so there was no retrieving it from the innards of the machine. I walked around the apartment for awhile cursing my stupidity, the cruel universe that would allow this, and the art gods in general. (It was a book cover, too. *sob*) Then I sat down and re-did about four hours of work, because–well, you gotta. *sigh*

Then I had a nightmare that I had blowfly larvae under my skin. This is a recurring nightmare, I think because I find the notion so damn revolting, and way back in the day, one of my iaido senseis told me the most wrenchingly vivid description ever of what it’s like. The weird bit was that when I removed them, they had fortunes wrapped around them, like fortune cookies. Some days, I’d just like to sit my subconscious down and give it a good talking to…

New art! Been working on this one of preening macaws for probably a week and a half now. I saw them at the zoo, and they were gorgeous and ruffled and looked rather haughty and stoned, which I’m told is the expression generally worn by a preening macaw. It was…well, not actually fun, now that I think of it, but I feel better for having slaved over all those feathers. I no longer fear painting the feather, mammal though I be.
The Marine Crested Snogwoggler, best known for its haunting banjo solos. I think. (Look, I don’t know where I get these ideas.)

And now, I’m gonna go paint frog udders.

Lots of discussion, still, about the sodomy law that got kicked down by the Supreme Court.

Being that sort of person, being politically ranty today, and mostly because I’m waiting for watercolor to dry, I’m going to put in my two cents, which is as follows:

I work at home. I get out maybe once a day, usually to buy groceries or art supplies. Most of the people I talk to are on-line. I just moved across the country to a state where I know exactly four people, two of which are my father and stepmother. My idea of a packed, exciting day, is going to the zoo to photograph anteaters. I take naps. I draw a comic about wombats, for god’s sake, and my job mostly consists of drawing bizarre escapist fantasy. I’ve been called a furry artist, for cryin’ out loud.

And even I have enough of a life that I couldn’t care less what orifice somebody else uses during sex. I have a sex life. It is my business. I don’t ask about yours, and I appreciate you not telling me. How, where, and when other people do the wild thing is absolutely, and totally not my problem, as long as they’re not doing it on the hood of my car or on my coffee table, in which case I still don’t care what orifice they’re using, I want ’em gone.

If which particular hole other people are using for whatever is of deep concern to you, then you are A) a voyeur or B) really, really need to get a hobby. Possibly both. I mean, for god’s sake, isn’t there a war somewhere? I coulda sworn there was something about that on the news…

New Digger up!

I had a nightmare last night that I was preparing to take the SAT’s. Since it’s been a decade since I took my SATs (scoring a respectable 1480, which, since no one has ever once asked about them in the entire history of my adult life, I’m gonna take probably the last opportunity ever to brag about) I’m gonna chalk it up to the impending doom feeling of Anthrocon, as I scrabble to produce more art. Looking at some of the other stuff that’ll be in the Anthrocon art show, by people like Kyoht and Darknatasha and Cara Mitten, I feel the usual gnawing inadequacy, but since this is a standard state of affairs for most artists, I’m not worrying about it too much.

I’ve realized something recently about politics. I’ve realized that I miss the Republicans.
Probably inaccurate nostalgia

A new Digger! The layout on this one is sort’ve a tribute to Bone, which will forever have a warm place in my heart for showing me that black and white comics don’t have to suck.

You think I’d’a known that already.

After all the great suggestions, and sleeping on it for awhile, the overarching plot for “Digger” is still pretty vague, but I have a few evil notions…we’ll see if it goes long enough for those to come into play. I’m clear for a few more pages at least, and that’s the important thing.

I picked up a compendium of some Usagi Yojimbo t’other day, and read it. It’s interesting. The plots aren’t half bad, and it has that whole samurai feel goin’ on, which I’m a sucker for. Some of the stylization on the art leaves me bemused, like the gasping skull exclamations whenever anyone dies, but I am too lowly a little trilobyte to presume to judge such a nifty work. I just wish I could figure out what some of those animals are…

In other news, James was attacked by a hummingbird today. He said it came up to about two feet away, and just as he was getting into the communion with nature god-hummingbirds-are-cool groove, it went for his eyes. (I didn’t witness this.) It was probably just confused, or thought his nose was a flower or something, but he surrendered the porch to the attack avian anyway. It was mostly grayish with a yellow throat, he says. For no apparent reason this made me think “How do hummingbirds feed their babies? Do they regurgitate nectar down those long beaks? How do they shove their beaks down the baby’s throat without impaling the spleen?”

Puzzling stuff.

Today was productive. Got a commission finished off, pending approval, got the logo design (which was complicated and scary) for the next Victoriana sourcebook done and approved, and despite my initial misgivings, it looks stylin’, if I do say so myself, although I can’t post it until it’s at least in the vague direction of hitting print.

Now I’m looking forward to an evening of doing the next Digger and maybe finishing this damn painting of preening scarlet macaws that has been chewing on my brain for almost a week now.

I have been thinking more about comics.
Musings on what Ganesh is thinking and whether superhero comics have become a mountain of suck

Today, I mostly worked on Anthrocon stuff…ordered bags, reserved plane tickets, got magnet sheets, etc. I think I’ll concentrate on Chu/Dusty/Gothbat and maybe some Digger magnets, since that was what everybody asked about at Furfest (well, not Digger, but y’never know), and maybe some frogs and other non-nude kinda stuff. The nudes just don’t sell well as magnets, since you can’t put them up on the fridge (unless you’re me, and have the kitchen liberally festooned with nekkid bunny women, ‘cos it’s the only metal surface in the house, and c’mon, who cares?) I hate days spent on practical, art-related, but not making-art stuff, because even though it’s all work that needs very much to be done, I wind up feeling as if I haven’t really accomplished anything concrete. Futzed a bit with a little dragon painting that I mostly hate, and which I am continuing to work on mostly because James likes it. I think I’ll try and do a winged frog watercolor, maybe two, and then call it good for originals–I’m outta juice, and most of the money gets made on prints, anyhow. Bluuurgh. Bluurgh, I say!

Also, new Digger.

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