Okay, so you've got your approvals through from the Art Director, and it's time to get painting. In this part though I'm not going to do a specific write up on the painting of the approved sketches because at this stage artists branch out widely in approach and execution, and there's no one surefire way to go about. If you've gotten work out of a games company you must have developed an appealing style of your own, or else you wouldn't have got commissioned in the first place! ☺
(I will post a step by step painting by Dave after I've finished this though).
Here are a few things to consider when you've reached this stage and are cranking up the art program or squirting out the acrylics: -
HAVE YOU WRITTEN OUT YOUR PERSONAL COMMISSION FORM?
Ah, the dull side of the job
When you start out freelancing you'll have to keep up to date records of all the jobs you take on. Now trust me, you don't want to leave it all til the end of the tax year you'll be entering a world of hurt where you trek through piles of bank statements, Art Director's emails and Invoices trying to jigsaw together every job and date of payment you've received over 12 months. Yeah, it's boring but if you take care of it now you'll be in less pain when you come to do your taxes.
Here's the details I have in my standard commission form :-
Date Received: (This is the Day/Month/Year I received the art commission from the AD)
Date Due: (This is the Day/Month/Year the AD requires the finished/approved artwork from me).
Client: (This the name of the company Wizards of the Coast, etc.)
Client's Email: (albert.crocodile@wizards .com yeah, you get the idea
Commission: (This is a brief summary of the job you received. It covers the brand, the product, and the number of illustrations. Eg. Dungeons and Dragons, Attack of the Snooty OwlBear - Module, 6 illustrations.)
Medium: (This is the artistic medium that the AD desires. Eg. Color painting / Black+White Inks / Concepting).
Payment: (This is the total payment you'll receive for the Art Commission)
Payment Due: (This is the Day/Month/Year you're likely to receive the payment into your bank account)
Payment Received: (This is the Day/Month/Year you actually received the payment into your bank account. Results vary )
Okay, so print that out and file it way. Now there's two ways you can go now. One is to get on with your painting, or you could take an hour out and do this: -
HUNT FOR MORE WORK
Sooner or later the work you've just received is going to be completed, approved and invoiced. Ideally you want to have another job lined up that you'll move on to straight after this one's finished. You'll find most companies won't have a job for you the moment you email them, so email them now while you're busy. It gives you time to focus on the job at hand, and for them, time to sort out a new set of art descriptions for you. If you time it out right, you could finish up that last painting and have a brand set of painting briefs waiting for you on another job.
Basically, if you're going to survive as a freelancer you must have a steady stream of work coming through, so you've got to chase the jobs all the time. Email your pool of art directors and tell them the dates you'll be available, hit up new companies and send them your portfolio and be sure to tell them the companies you're already working for. It means you've gotten a proven track record.
Okay, many of rules of the Sketch Phases apply here on the painting. Push yourself to produce excellent paintings and submit the art in a TIMELY MANNER. You want to build a positive reputation as a great artist sure, but you also want the reputation of being reliable. AD's will love you if you submit fantastic illustrations, and you're a week early. You'll undoubtedly get more work.
That said, don't rush the work. If you sit back with a big smile on your face thinking 'check me out, I just did two paintings in one of evening' seriously, something's wrong. Speed paintings is one thing, but there's not a lot companies that'll be impressed with shoddy art, particularly when they know you're capable of better. They're paying for your talent, and they're also paying for your time. Don't short-change them.
Hope this has been helpful, I'll round things up in Part 4.
P.S There is no Albert Crocodile working at WOTC. Do not email that address (because I know someone will try!)