Advice, please.

LewieP's MummyLewieP's Mummy Registered User regular
edited February 2011 in Artist's Corner
I've always had amazing advice from people in AC, something I value greatly, and that I know has helped me improve over the last 3 years.

I now have a problem, that I would really appreciate your views on, as I know I can rely on you to be honest and constructively critical. LewieP's Daddy has just been made redundant, and the economic climate in the UK is pretty tough, and is onlygetting tougher, with job losses in their thousands in most councils (I work for one). His next job (when he gets one) will probably pay £15k, $22.5k less than he currently earns, and I'm notwell enough to work longer hours.

Do you think I've improved enough to either sell some of my paintings through my website, or to offer to paint to commission there? It wouldn't ever change my painting for Oxfam and Child's Play, but if it worked, it would help our family budget.

Tell me straight, guys, I know I can rely on your advice.

Thank you.

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Posts

  • Jake!Jake! Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    I think you'd find it very difficult to make a decent amount of money that way to be honest; but then that doesn't mean it isn't worth a try. I put a lot of effort into selling prints of my work online, but mostly what it does is feed back into my exposure rather than getting me anything directly.

    Jake! on
  • amateurhouramateurhour One day I'll be professionalhour The woods somewhere in TennesseeRegistered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Would you have the startup capital to rent a small shop or kiosk somewhere in a shopping center where you could sell artwork? That would be a lot easier than online distribution alone in my opinion, but that's just my .02.


    Also, I was mostly a lurker, but I've seen your paintings over the last few years and they're simply great. I think there's definitely a market for your artwork somewhere, regardless of how much it could bring in.

    Furthermore, you've helped raise a lot of money for charity over the last few years for several different groups. There's no need to have a disclaimer that working for profit during hard times would change the amount of charity work you provide. Times are hard, and everyone understands that.

    In the US at a local mega mall in my town there's a guy who has a kiosk on the main floor where he sells his paintings and does everything from custom portraits to caricatures. He's there year round and not just on the holidays and it's his only location so I seem to think he does well enough. That would be my only advice.

    Good luck!

    amateurhour on

    Arch wrote: »

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  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    You'd be doing a lot of artwork probably. I could see you marketing for things like painted pictures of people's warcraft characters or something. Unfortunately that art is usually expensive. How much do you sell your art for on average? I love your art, and it is a marketable product with enough gumption. How long does it take you to do it?

    It all depends on how much you can do and how much you would charge, and where the market is.

    bowen on
    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
  • ScosglenScosglen Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    I'll be frank, since you come here for honesty.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but virtually every single one of your charity paintings thus far have been rote reproductions of official videogame artwork, originally done by other artists. This is to say your portfolio consists of almost nothing but direct plagiarism.

    The fact that you've so far been doing it for charity makes it easy to overlook this fact and generally give you a pass, since you're not profiting from it, it's for a good cause and you're making nerds happy with handcrafted reproductions.

    If you start doing the same kind of direct copies for personal profit though, regardless of how dire your finanical situation is, then it pretty quickly becomes legally and morally questionable.

    You would have to start producing original work. It could probably still be in the vein of fan-art for games and comics and such (might be legally murky, but given the small scale, It's not that big of an issue), but the compositions need to be your own. I have some concerns about whether you're capable of producing original works that are good enough to sell outside of your built-in fanbase of people who are familiar with your charity work. The hand-painted geek paraphernalia niche might be a significant mitigating factor, it's tough to say. You would probably at the same time have to increase your price in order to justify the time spent per painting, as compared to a minimum wage job or something.

    Scosglen on
  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    edited February 2011
    Just out of curiosity, do you so work that isn't directly referenced from game artwork? I worry that if you started to make any significant amount of money, you'd start to run into legal troubles. People do make money by making art of game characters and selling them, but they usually do it as cons for a little bit of money. Painting peoples MMO characters, I think, is probably the easiest market to go for within the games realm.

    Can you do portrait work or anything like that?

    Iruka on
  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    That's what I was thinking Iruka. Probably some decent money to be had there, especially hand painted.

    bowen on
    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
  • rtsrts Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    I don't think there is any real legal issue with selling original artwork (meaning something hand made) of whatever the shit you feel like. You just can't reproduce it.

    rts on
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  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    edited February 2011
    I think going into mall kiosk territory there might be a few problems. Its highly unlikely that nintendo would throw the hammer down on her, but just because she painted them by hand doesn't mean shes Scott free, legally. They are trademarked characters, after all. Online you probably could just do an etsy store without much trouble, I see lots of mario earrings and stuff being sold there, I just don't know how many of them are making steady income off of it.

    I know a few people have made brands of themselves, like MissMonster, but she has a range of stuff and a style of her own.

    If you can copy game art, you can probably copy pictures of peoples kids/pets for profit, but If you want to make regular money, I dont think making reproductions of game art with no original spin on it is a good idea.

    Iruka on
  • amateurhouramateurhour One day I'll be professionalhour The woods somewhere in TennesseeRegistered User regular
    edited February 2011
    I was mainly suggesting that she could set up a mall kiosk to sell original artwork and portraits and stuff, or the touristy stuff like putting a persons name on a print of a local sports team. Things like that.

    I'd fully believe Nintendo would drop the hammer. Didn't they send the suicide girls a cease and desist over a metroid tattoo?

    amateurhour on

    Arch wrote: »

    I never expected this burn from captain bushmeat
  • LewieP's MummyLewieP's Mummy Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Thank you, everyone, I knew I could count on you! I was worried about the copyright issue - it's not concerned me with the Oxfam and Child's Play stuff, whenever I've asked permission ( which hasn't been all that often) people have been fine with it cos it's for charity, but I don't fancy being squashed by Nintendo or whoever!

    Faces are my weakest area so far, I need much more practice there, but I quite like the miniature/ miniature picture idea- LewieP's sister's bf plays Warhammer, I could nab one of his unpainted ones and give it a try, and then paint a picture of it!

    You guys are fab, I really appreciate your taking time to advise me. Xxxxx

    Lock, please.

    LewieP's Mummy on
    For all the top UK Gaming Bargains, check out SavyGamer

    For paintings in progress, check out canvas and paints

    "The power of the weirdness compels me."
  • kraz007kraz007 Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    I am a bit partial to Robert Kyosaki's books and his advice is: keep your day job, work on whatever you think is gonna make you successful long term in your evenings and weekends.

    So getting online, getting commissions shouldn't interfere with your day job. You simply pace yourself so that you take only work that's doable in approx. 20 hours per week. That way you don't disappoint clients and you build a professional portfolio.

    Amateurhour advice about a kiosk is worth exploring but again, don't commit to this fulltime. Rather, give the kiosk owner a percentage and ask him to hang your artwork or whatever other arrangement you come up with.

    kraz007 on
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  • XaquinXaquin Right behind you!Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Would you have legal problems with creating artwork from existing characters?

    Did Campbell's sue Warhol?

    (not being sarcastic, I'm actually curious)

    Xaquin on
  • m3nacem3nace Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
  • XaquinXaquin Right behind you!Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    I can see how that could go either way. Her paintings are in a different medium then the originals, different colors, variations of background, line weight, etc.

    I'm no law student, (or artist) but it seems she may be just fine selling what she wants (within reason I guess)

    Xaquin on
  • streeverstreever Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Xaquin wrote: »
    I can see how that could go either way. Her paintings are in a different medium then the originals, different colors, variations of background, line weight, etc.

    I'm no law student, (or artist) but it seems she may be just fine selling what she wants (within reason I guess)

    It all depends on how original it is. Medium alone is often not enough--i.e. if she is copying box art from Super Mario, it may not matter that she is painting and the original was digital. Wildly different styles may justify protected usage, but still, it entirely depends on the company in question. It is good advice that she should not plan her entire income on copied tableau, but instead focus on creating original styles of the iconic characters.

    Warhol is a bad example: copyright concerns were vastly different in the 60s, and he was bigger than big. It would be like Lady Gaga mentioning a vodka company in a song without an agreement now. They'd love it because of the exposure. Bear in mind, the 50s and 60s is when a lot of trademarks became "common usage" due to companies not pursuing litigation, which is why you can say "I'll xerox that", or "May I have a band-aid?" in media. The trademarks no longer can be pursued.

    Companies are terrified of that now, and lawyers have to justify their paychecks, so they search out infringement and then send C&Ds. They may never actually sue you, but they do this to protect their right in future cases.

    In fact, there have been cease and desists filed against restaurants/etc for displaying legal reproductions of Warhol's work, because Campbells is worried that people will "misunderstand" that the display shows Campbells endorses the restaurants.

    So, I'll second the other advice. Make original composition of characters, with your own style, and I think you are fine, but I wouldn't let that make up 100% of your income.

    streever on
  • XaquinXaquin Right behind you!Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    streever wrote: »
    Xaquin wrote: »
    I can see how that could go either way. Her paintings are in a different medium then the originals, different colors, variations of background, line weight, etc.

    I'm no law student, (or artist) but it seems she may be just fine selling what she wants (within reason I guess)

    It all depends on how original it is. Medium alone is often not enough--i.e. if she is copying box art from Super Mario, it may not matter that she is painting and the original was digital. Wildly different styles may justify protected usage, but still, it entirely depends on the company in question. It is good advice that she should not plan her entire income on copied tableau, but instead focus on creating original styles of the iconic characters.

    Warhol is a bad example: copyright concerns were vastly different in the 60s, and he was bigger than big. It would be like Lady Gaga mentioning a vodka company in a song without an agreement now. They'd love it because of the exposure. Bear in mind, the 50s and 60s is when a lot of trademarks became "common usage" due to companies not pursuing litigation, which is why you can say "I'll xerox that", or "May I have a band-aid?" in media. The trademarks no longer can be pursued.

    Companies are terrified of that now, and lawyers have to justify their paychecks, so they search out infringement and then send C&Ds. They may never actually sue you, but they do this to protect their right in future cases.

    In fact, there have been cease and desists filed against restaurants/etc for displaying legal reproductions of Warhol's work, because Campbells is worried that people will "misunderstand" that the display shows Campbells endorses the restaurants.

    So, I'll second the other advice. Make original composition of characters, with your own style, and I think you are fine, but I wouldn't let that make up 100% of your income.

    sounds good to me =)

    Xaquin on
  • amateurhouramateurhour One day I'll be professionalhour The woods somewhere in TennesseeRegistered User regular
    edited February 2011
    kraz007 wrote: »
    I am a bit partial to Robert Kyosaki's books and his advice is: keep your day job, work on whatever you think is gonna make you successful long term in your evenings and weekends.

    So getting online, getting commissions shouldn't interfere with your day job. You simply pace yourself so that you take only work that's doable in approx. 20 hours per week. That way you don't disappoint clients and you build a professional portfolio.

    Amateurhour advice about a kiosk is worth exploring but again, don't commit to this fulltime. Rather, give the kiosk owner a percentage and ask him to hang your artwork or whatever other arrangement you come up with.

    That's a better idea, the thing about just getting space in a kiosk to sell your work through someone else for a percentage until it takes off..

    If you go the miniature route and character portraits, you can also look into comic and gaming/tabletop shops to sell your stuff and maybe putting fliers around a local campus cork board.

    amateurhour on

    Arch wrote: »

    I never expected this burn from captain bushmeat
  • LewieP's MummyLewieP's Mummy Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Wow, you are all amazing, thank you.

    I think I'm going to try a couple of miniatures and tout them over to the local Games Workshop, and see what happens there, there's also a small gallery at my local mall, I might sound them out about some non-gaming related paintings I've got.

    The copyright issue does worry me a bit if I'm selling paintings, it doesn't at all for the ones I do for people here, and the people I've asked for permission have all been very positive once they've known why.

    I won't be giving up my day job at all, this is solely to try to supplement our income, specially while LPD doesn't have a job.

    i know I've said it before, but I really, really appreciate the time you've all taken to give me advice; I knew I would get honest answers, that I could count on you to tell it straigh.

    Thank you xxxx

    LewieP's Mummy on
    For all the top UK Gaming Bargains, check out SavyGamer

    For paintings in progress, check out canvas and paints

    "The power of the weirdness compels me."
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