It's been an interesting year. Well, not really. I've just been playing video games and watching movies and being super lazy. I'm one of those people who needs to work at a frantic pace for a long while, and then do absolutely nothing for a long while.
I'm still in low gear with regard to models, but I'm busy getting ready to move to rural Oregon next month, which will be a big change of scene from the southern California desert. I just know that I'm going to be really inspired by old farms and greenery.
I kind of work in a similar way. In 2009 I drew and posted a drawing a day. In 2010 I was burnt out and just did the Trek minis and played and had fun. Sometimes working on these projects isn't as fun as you'd think and it takes hours and hours for rather little returns. I find I am more interested in making stuff I will actually use in a game and that sustains me more than sales or accolades.
I sort of work best under pressure, but I don't perform on demand. If I know rent is coming due, I tend to get busy making new stuff. But I rarely create anything that's requested, except maybe months or years later, once the idea has tumbled around in my head so long that it becomes virtually effortless to do the work.
It's really hard explaining how that process works, where ideas tumble around in this dark windy desert of my mind, just like tumbleweeds. There are, like, chain-link fences here and there. Some tumbleweeds get caught on those fences, and sometimes lots of tumbleweeds clump together in the same place. When a tumbleweed ball gets so big and covers the whole lattice of a fence, that's when I'm able to do good work. And then it's easy.
There's no way to force the tumbleweeds to go here or there, and I can't predict which fences they're going to get caught on, or even what the final shape of the idea will be.
Game designers ask me about commissioned work once in a while, and I always fall back on my professional graphic design rates -- the rates I would charge a real estate company to design a brochure or something. But it's embarrassing to even ask that, because nobody in the hobby game industry will pay even $20 an hour. My time is actually worth more than that.
The truth is, I would rather watch movies, listen to music, read books and daydream for free than work on something that wasn't close to my heart and fighting to get out of my imagination into the real world. I'm an artist, I say, not a designer.
Game companies just aren't thinking about that sort of thing, and I totally understand where they're coming from. When I hire an illustrator, I want to give them freedom to do their thing, but I'm going to expect some service -- corrections, taking direction, and so on. This industry can't pay me enough to take direction, so I just refuse commissions. It gets awkward when they want to know why.
Well, you see, there's this dark windy desert in my head...
Post by Christopher Roe on Jan 8, 2013 1:23:35 GMT -9
No kidding. I have that exact conversation a few times a year--somebody will ask me if I take requests or do papercraft or game component commission work, but 99% of them aren't serious and freak out when they see the quote. Truth of the matter is, this stuff requires skills that pay significantly more in other fields. The only worthwhile reason to do this is if it's fun.
We must be sending vibes out into the universe, because someone just asked me about a commission. It was a the usual quick inquiry: do I take commissions, and my rates. There were no details about the project.
I'm always curious what people are expecting to spend for my services, so I'm asking them for more information, the scope of the work they have for me, and their budget for my part in it.
At first I felt weird taking that approach, but then I thought about it the way a successful actor would would consider taking acting roles, since they really can afford to pick and choose the work they want to do.
Also, our long-tail sales are almost certainly going to be more profitable than one-time commissions. Cash in hand sure is nice, but every new product we release under our own steam brings exposure to our catalog. Even after our vendors take their cut, in the long run we're going to earn more than anyone will pay for commissions.
Well, my initial response didn't scare them away. My more detailed response probably will. I let them know a realistic timeframe in terms of hours of labor, and explained all of the steps involved -- visual research, photo expeditions to collect textures, actual design time, test assemblies, correspondence, final prints and assembly, final photography, and instruction manual layout.
Still haven't given them a quote. I just let them know how many years of professional experience I have and invited them to research graphic design rates. That way they know how many hours of work it might take, and can multiply that by what my time is worth, and discover for themselves what we've been talking about here.
Post by cowboyleland on Jan 9, 2013 9:51:43 GMT -9
The other factor that may be changing things is the success of the kickstart model. With some high profile gaming projects blowing by their targets some people may decide that they can invest in high end custom pieces or decide that advertising an established designer will help them reach their goals.
edited because I was obviously too tired to be typing when I wrote the original
If i can add my opinion, from the other side of the fence:
people that are not working in the art/design field (like me) tend to have no idea about what your job really is. I think (really, just thinking out loud) that part of this comes from the fact that "drawing" is something that everyone do, while (as example) programming is something you have to specifically study to do. Another part of it is that someone really think that modern tecnology (photoshop etc.) is not an "instrument", a tool, but a way to obtain automagically "art". So, in our mind, asking for a "draw" (being it an illustration, a model, a logo, whatever) is asking for something simple that requires just that bit more of skills that we don't have, but we COULD has if we had trained enough.
As a programmer, i have got some requests about an app, or a database, and got a really surprised reaction when i evaluated the hours needed. They does'nt understand what it runs under "a form, 6 buttons and a dropbox with a list" as much as i dont understand what it needs to create, say, a texture.
People have actually asked me about doing stuff, and I know where you are coming from.
They say that they want this or that, and I try to focus more on things that I want to do, instead of what I am "asked" to do. I find when I get an idea trapped in my head (like your fences), it is like a piece of a popcorn kernal stuck in your teeth. It is there and it is irritating until I can get it out. Many times I wake up at 3:00 in the morning with "inspiration." Just finding time to get it finished is the key.
As far as "fun," I generally do the figures and models that I want or need at a given moment. Since I am putting it in a PDF, why not throw it out there...? SOme things have done well, some... But at any rate, I have the figures I want. ;D
Like Dave's, "I'm an artist, NOT a designer...," when people ask me how I got into designing figures, I tell them, "I am not a figure designer, I am a GAME designer... I just needed figures for my game."
Ok... I now return this conversation to the "Masters of the Craft."
Game Designer, BETA Tester, Model Designer, Figure Designer... HEY! It's what I do...
Post by stevelortz on Feb 26, 2013 21:12:46 GMT -9
Boy! Does your "Field Tents" ever bring back the memories!
Back in the 1950s, when I was a kid, my dad had an army surplus tent, about halfway in size between the small and the large tents in this set. We would go camping with it every summer, and sometimes we would just set it up in the backyard. There were four kids in our family, and we would use it as an "auxillary" house sometimes.
The color, the wrinkles, even the patches! I can even smell it, still! What good times we had with that tent!
cowboyleland: Now I have seen it. It doesn't advance our hobby, but anyone with half a brain who wanted 2nd rate figures could easily figure this out for themselves so I guess he isn't doing any harm.
Mar 19, 2019 17:53:59 GMT -9
berneart76: well, this is fun, (not) transferring all my papercrafting sets into the cloud. The stuff I got from DriveTrhruRPG was simple with their library desktop app,but my other stuff, sometimes with multiple duplicate copies is entertaining.
Mar 1, 2019 15:44:32 GMT -9
berneart76: Vermin King I usually use a mix of drybrush/watercolor/photocopy and occasionally posterizing at different levels of opacity.
Feb 26, 2019 20:46:54 GMT -9
berneart76: Vermin King, that's similar to the enhancing that I do on my texturing. I've found that sometimes I need to scale up or scale down the image (usually by 50 or 25 percent down or 200 or 300 percent up) to make get the enhancements to look "right"
Feb 26, 2019 20:44:53 GMT -9
Vermin King: On the zebras, I did multiple enhancements and cartoon filters and used them at 100%, and they still didn't look that different than the photos
Feb 26, 2019 12:27:26 GMT -9
Vermin King: When I make a figure or terrain piece based on a photo, I clean it up and align things to look 'right', then I create another layer and do enhancing and cartoonizing on it. I then adjust opacity over the photo image until it looks good. On the zebras,
Feb 26, 2019 12:26:35 GMT -9
Vermin King: berneart76, do you mean giving them green or purple manes and tails? and a few piercings? maybe a cig hanging out of their mouths?
Feb 26, 2019 12:24:18 GMT -9
Vermin King: cartoonizing a zebra doesn't do much
Feb 20, 2019 5:59:28 GMT -9
Vermin King: And due to the snow, I'm off tonight. I am going to miss the cash on the paycheck, but I'm glad they want their employees to be safe
Feb 15, 2019 10:52:24 GMT -9
ignatious: Actually I was referring to the two previous posts. I was trying to be subtle in order to sublimate the crassness. Read them again, but in Mel Brooks voice while he is winking, and nudging the person to his right.
Feb 9, 2019 13:38:11 GMT -9
Vermin King: Sure. Euphemize us
Feb 8, 2019 18:40:48 GMT -9
ignatious: would anyone care for a euphemism?
Feb 8, 2019 13:40:27 GMT -9
cowboyleland: We hadn't had snow for a few days. Last night the plow came down my street and did nothing but fill every ones driveways back in. Just for practice, I guess.
Feb 8, 2019 7:48:16 GMT -9
Vermin King: In KC we had an ice storm (with thunder sleet) the other night. Left things drivable, but last night the plow came down my street. They took all the rough edges off. Might as well have ran a Zamboni...
Feb 8, 2019 6:42:32 GMT -9
okumarts: Vermin King... Mind Blown!
Feb 5, 2019 19:32:30 GMT -9