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February 2012

February 2012 -- Steampunk

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Columns

  • Part Time Painter:
    Licensing, Glue for Collage, and Motivation
  • EMG News:
    EMG News for February
  • Behind the Art:
    Dragon Walkthrough

    Features

  • Appreciating Speculative Art Part 3 -- Lines and Colors

    Fiction

  • Fiction: The Wish Machine


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  • Licensing, Glue for Collage, and Motivation
    Part Time Painter
    by Ursula Vernon

    It's time for another episode of "Ask An Artist!" that exciting column where I answer your questions and occasionally go off on random tangents.


    Someone wants to use my artwork for a book cover and I have no idea what to charge or where to start. Do you have any advice?

    Oy. Well, this is a tough one. You have to do the balancing act between what they're willing to pay and what sort of distribution they're looking at. If it's a small press, small band (for album art) or whatever, I usually say "Give me a hundred bucks and we'll call it good." If it's something with a potentially wider distribution, I try to get an estimate of the number of copies they'll be selling. If even they don't know -- and sometimes they don't -- I have occasionally done something like "I'll license this to you for $25 for the first hundred copies. After that, let's reassess the demand." Some of these things are so small that they'll never get past that number, and you don't lose anything, but if it DOES take off, you want the option to get more money down the line.

    Be open to alternative options for small stuff. I once licensed the Biting Pear image to be etched on fluid refills for electronic cigarettes, for $20 and a pack of various fluids. (My boyfriend uses the electronic cigarette. It's possible he'll get eyeball cancer in twenty years, but it's definitely better than the smoking.)

    What kind of glue do you use for your collage pieces?

    I like Liquitex Matte Super Heavy Gel. Sticks it down, dries clear, and no real complaints about it. Most of the heavy Liquitex gels are good, although I usually stick to matte. You can sort of use gesso if you slather it on both sides, but it's not great. Golden's Regular Gel (that's really what it's called) is pretty good too, but the super heavy Liquitex is so sturdy that you can stick nuts and bolts into it if you glom it on thick enough.

    For the weird little assemblage pieces I sometimes do -- which I suppose are collage-esque -- I like Household Goop and E-6000. Both of them will give you cancer, so use in a well-ventilated area and do not snort it, lick it, or stick it to the cat. Alternately, the super heavy gel will hold some stuff together pretty well, but you need it thick and goopy, which can be a problem if you're trying to do a more clean-cut assemblage piece.

    Do not use Gorilla Glue. Gorilla Glue may work great on gorillas -- I've never tried -- but it's not much good for assemblage.

    Are your personal pieces harder to finish or keep working on than things with deadlines? (I find that I stall out on things if I don't have someone else who is keeping me going forward on them...)

    Actually, quite the opposite! I find it much easier to work on my own stuff, because I care much more intensely about it, and I don't run into the wall of "I could finish this in two hours, but I have to send the WIP to the client and wait for three days" fits-and-starts problem. Don't get me wrong, I abandon a fair number of pieces, but I much prefer working on personal work. Of course, at a certain level that does get easier, when you know that if you finish a painting, there is a good chance someone will buy it. This is quite a motivation on its own.

    Ursula Vernon
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