First of might i say i am very inpresed by your work! the fur is ver exact andfine. just a few things that realy stood out to me and bothered me were the placeing of the lighting. see light bounces and reflects off objects you made it so that light is highlighting certin areas of her face and ears but you didnt realy have it "reflect" for exaple: you have alot of highlights around here eyes so perhaps it will reflect down the center her nose a little makeing certin patters in her fur noticable. anotherthing was that around her nose and ears her fur seems to be randomly placed, this may be because i work with dogs more but for most animals that have fur from the nose it spreads upwards and then fans out along there brow, perhaps looking at some diagrams will help you capture this idea. but over all your work is very impressive and exact, and is trumenously pleasing to the eye because it shows a great amount of motion makein this peice come alive. you are doing very well in your art and should definately keep to it!
I did a step by step with Billy but it's not great. I have to figure out how to make it presentable. My process is all over the place so it's hard for me to stop every so many hours and document what I did. But I love seeing the progress when other artists do it so one of these days I'll figure it out.
Well I haven't sold any yet, I just started doing the big ones around September last year and I haven't tried to find a venue for them yet. I want to have a good size collection first. But, my prices are as follows...the large scratchboards run anywhere between $800 to $1200 depending on the size. I haven't decided whether to frame them or stain the sides. The ampersand panels have a nice wood side and I like how they sit on the wall like a canvas but the downside to not framing is that they are very delicate - the corners can be damages sooooooooo easily. I may end up putting a simple black wooden frame on them which, yes, will be pretty costly because each piece is two inches deep. But I factor my average time to make it, material cost, framing cost (which I cut my own mats when I can and buy standard sized frames off the shelf for most - like my pastel pieces), and then I make sure to put in a little mark up. If these end up going to a gallery they will take half - it hurts but it's standard. They're paying for overhead, advertising and staffing their gsallery so most will take a 50% commission. And you can't have one price on your website and another higher price at the gallery. SO deciding where the majority of your work will eventually be sold will have a lot to do with what prices you set them at.
It's tricky trying to figure out just the right price. Your average art buyer doesn't have a clue how much time goes into one painting versus another. There are some pictures that will take me a week and others the same size I might be able to do in a day but YOU HAVE TO PRICE THEM THE SAME. Every professional in the art world will tell you this - pricing has to consistent across the board. For me, personally, I shoot for an average of thirty dollars an hour. I'm not supporting myself by my art now - it's really a hobby but my goal is to some day do this full time and I have to establish my baseline pricing now. If I had to make a living from my art tomorrow, I need to make at least $30 so that's what I shoot from. And some pieces will make me more and others less - it's a delicate balance but in the end... I think it's a GREAT problem to have, right?
If you go to my website you can see my pricing page. I have things grouped by medium so that the prices can be consistent within each category. And I never sell permanent copywrite to my images, if I sell the original, I'll always have the right to reproduction. If someone wants permanent copywrite then the price goes way up.
Yeah, be warned when you ask me for advice, I tend to ramble and digress. But I have a couple really successful mentors who have drilled the pricing thing into my head. In the end it's about managing your time in such a way that you actually MAKE money and don't work for slave wages. And remeber that you have to set a "perceived value" to your work. If you charge too little then people will think it's not worth anything, a higher price suggests more quality.
What tools are you using? Ampersand has a line of tools that help you get a variety of textures. The best is actually a dental tool- it has five sharp prongs tightly fit together so with every stroke of your hand you get five fine lines. I use it for laying the intitial fur pattern, then I go back with my x-acto blade to scrape out the lighter areas for contrast. The key is to go slow and be precise - as soon as you start to get bored - put the tool down and take it up at a later time. Also I do an extensive pencil sketch beforehand to lay out fur pattern. If you're going to do a detailed fur drawing in scratchboard, the direction has to be accurate because you can't hide the mistakes with shading. There's no fixing an error in this medium, it's tough to cover.
This is very similar to the tool I've used [link] (couldn't find the exact one, it's really old). It's the only thing I've ever tried before, but I'm beginning to see that I've only hit the tip of the iceberg with scratchboard. The only things I know about it are what I learned in high school art class. You're absolutely right, mistakes really can't be hidden. It's a very unforgiving medium...but it's just so much fun!
Yes, that's the tool that comes in the ampersand multi-pack but the tool I was talking about is silver [link] I tend to stay away from the one you sent me a link to because the scrapes you do with those end up being rather wide and deep and I'm a freak for the detail. If you go too deep right off the bat, the whole picture will be roughly the same tone and you lose the contrast. The smaller the intitial scrape, the more control you have to work up different areas. Unfortunately you don't get a real good introduction to quality material in your average highschool art class. I was lucky enough to take graduate courses in science illustration as an undergrad at UCSC and the techniques they taught were SICK. I learned so many cool new techniques and tools, and the calibur of talent in the classes were like nothing I've ever encountered again.
I will definitely have to order those tools! I've always wanted more control over the contrast and detail, but had no idea how to get it with the tool I had. Yes, you're right, you don't really get the best intro to good materials in a typical high school art class. When I started working with scratchboard, no one I talked to other than that art teacher, had any idea what I was talking about, so that's pretty much as far as I went with it. That's why chatting with you has been a great learning experience. I didn't even know you could color scratchboard!