Sometimes I get personalized commissions that are still personal, but don’t involve having any likenesses. This will be a two part series, highlighting two different commissions that are personal, but are approached differently. First up is Dev.
Dev and I have known each other for a few years now. I met him at Fan Expo when he was looking for a sketch commission. What set him apart from other people I’ve done sketches for at cons is that he had very specific illustrations he wanted done, and to help the artists, he brought reference. I think he also checked out the style of the artist to make sure it matched the character, because what he gave me, Robot 13, felt right up my alley. It was an incredibly fun illustration to do, so much so, that I did it twice, and he liked both so much that he got both of them! I’ve done sketches for him every year since!
This past year Fan Expo was so crowded that we couldn’t quite get together for our annual sketch. Instead he came out to see me at a comic book signing I did for Concrete Martians at the Comic Book Lounge and Gallery. He again wanted me to do a sketch for him, but he knows that I do personalized illustrations, and after looking at some new samples, decided on investing in one of those instead. I should explain the difference between the two. It really comes down to time and as a result detail. While a con sketch does have some personalized elements in them-a person’s likeness, or elements of familiarity like a location they know- it is done fairly quickly, with fewer details and with very little research. It’s the nature of the beast for me, as I can’t work on a sketch, or multiple sketches for hours while at a convention as it takes away from manning my table and selling my books. I like doing sketches but I like doing a limited amount and make sure they don’t take any longer than an hour.
Personalized illustrations, on the other hand, are much more involved. I put in a lot of time, making sure the likeness of the people involved captures the essence of that person. I also look into researching much more, to make sure all detail is captured correctly. This takes much more time and effort. It also involves the client more, as I’ve broken down the steps of the process to make sure it’s what they are looking for. It takes more time and energy and so I make sure my schedule allows for it
Dev wanted something more involved, with lots more detail, but didn’t necessarily want himself or someone he knew drawn into the illustration. It was personal to him because he had say as to how it would look. Really he found a character that he knew I’d love to draw, and wanted me to take my time on doing it. And for that I’m very appreciative.
He had a character that he thought I’d be perfect to draw. It was a scary monster with a classic element to it, yet modern as well. The idea was that we, the viewer, were looking down on the monster while it was looking down from its perch, ready to attack someone. Thus the story and theme were set up. From that I was able to imagine a scenario of this creature ready to pounce on its victim form an old decrepit, gnarled tree. The victim was actually hunting the monster and so sees him about to attack, so he’s ready to fight him off. It creates more tension for the viewer and also is more visually interesting for me to draw. The background is of an alien landscape, yet it could be on a planet very similar to ours. This gave me the idea of a color scheme, which was a Mars like planet with red hues, and tendril like mist surrounding the two main characters.
This was an illustration that I really enjoyed working on. It gave me the freedom to create an interesting composition, while giving me a character that was fully realized, and really interesting to draw. Dev knew my strengths and helped create an environment for me that would make it a challenge for me to draw, as well as lots of fun! And hopefully, he’d have a new illustration that he really loved. Which thankfully he did when he saw the finished piece! While it’s always great to draw someone’s likeness, as an artist sometimes it’s nice to take a break from the familiar, to do something completely different. I can thank Dev for that!