Shop Mobile More Submit  Join Login
×

How to Write a Job Offer

Journal Entry: Sun Jul 17, 2016, 6:22 PM



After making a lot of journals
to help out freelance artists,
here's one to help
the people who hire them.




Hey folks! Been a while since I've done a journal post, but over the last few months I have been getting notes and Emails from several people who want to include me on their various projects. I appreciate all of these offers, and really am flattered that a few of you feel inclined to even want me to make a lot of art for them.

However, I can tell that a lot of these people are also fairly new at starting their projects, and don't really know what kind of information they need to include in these offers. Sure, I have developed long-standing relationships with a number of my clients, and we kinda just...ya know...get one another. We consistently make great work together just doing what we normally do, no special sauce needed.

This is more for new clients. This is for people whom I haven't worked with before.

Back when I was in college and didn't really know much, I was more than happy to jump into a project, take a gamble, and didn't know the right questions to ask, and while it worked out fine most of the time, my own lack of experience did bite me in the butt a couple times. But now that I do know better, I find myself asking the same questions over and over again before accepting an offer.

And after four long-winded paragraphs, some entertaining irony...


First off. Get straight to the point.

Right:

"Hello, my name is Brick Kapootsby, I am the project coordinator of the action comic series Steroids Explodinoids by TestosterZone Entertainment. I would like to offer you a colorist job on the next book."

Wrong (for the love of God don't read all of it):

"Hey man. I have been a long time fan of yours for the last several months. I really like your art, it makes my biceps sing inspired praises of glorious euphoria. If it wouldn't be too much of a hassle, I know you're a busy guy and you have a lot on your plate, and I think your work on the last TestosterZone book was pretty awesome and would really be honored if you could grace us with the pleasure of contributing to our little book, would you happen to have time open in your extremely busy schedule to maybe..."

In the "right" example, the offer gives me the person's name, which project he's on, which company he represents, and what job position I am being offered. This is really all the information that I need, all in the first two sentences. Sure it doesn't have the same flowery feel-good compliments of the wrong example, but of all the praise you can give an artist, "I seriously want to give you a job and support more art from you" is as best a compliment we can receive!


Secondly. I don't need your Project Bible.


Right:
"Steroids Explodinoids is a neon vintage sci-fi series about guns, explosions, and heterosexual-challenging quantities of sweaty male on machine gun action."

Wrong:

"Steroids Explodinoids is the story of a man versus a half demon temptress who is also his sister but they had a falling out over a competition of who could throw a Buick the furthest, and their battle is at hand, but first must collect the sanctified artifacts of the great ancestral watchers of the great Barbell gate that seals the portal between the world of the glitter dragons...and our own. Now in the last chapter, chapter 17..."

Again, just get straight to the point. I just need to know what kind of work I'll be doing, and what mood I, as a colorist, will be implementing. In the "Right" example, I get all the cues I'll need. Neon vintage. Got it. Lots of explosions and manly men being amazing. Check. I can do these things.

However, I do not need to know the whole backstory, and when given to me from a narrative description instead of a directorial description, I have to speculate on what the intended mood is. Maybe I read the description, and instead of getting a neon vintage theme, they want me to do a sepia noir type of style instead.

Ever hear those stories of people working for weeks on an image, and then on review, "Eh, it isn't really what I envisioned." Sure that could be blamed on the director for not giving direction, but it's equally the fault of the artist for going off assumptions. Getting the intended mood for a project is pivotal to a smooth production process.


Thirdly. Actually compensate.


Right:
"This job pays at a rate of $5,000 USD per page."

Wrong:
Literally anything else.

Okay, so the numbers in the "Right" category are obviously a bit inflated (just don't want to give the impression artists should work on the cheap). The rate is given very plainly, and specifies that it's in the artist's currency.

Compensation is compensation, and needs to work in the same way you would pay for any other services.

Doctors don't accept "exposure." Mechanics don't work on "royalties." You can't go to your mall food court, have them all whip you up their finest in an ornate table display, then pay the one you like the most as a "prize" while sending the rest home with the assurance their labor, time, and materials will be cast off as inconsequential waste. If you think artists should work for free on a commercial project, you need to reevaluate your own value as a project coordinator (or a human being).

Besides, if you had "exposure" that actually had any value to me, that would mean you're getting enough traffic to your project where just a wee bit of business finagling would turn your venture into a profitable enterprise. If your "royalties" were enticing enough to satiate a livable wage based on your previous projects, then you should have enough leftover from your previous projects to afford it.

When people say "not accepting royalties is what screwed the creators of Batman and Superman out of millions," they're completely ignoring the untold millions of projects that failed to launch because they didn't have proper financial support that a dependable wage provides. This is my livelihood here. If I was willing to gamble on "royalties" and "exposure," I'll just forego the hard work and opt to spend my time rolling dice at Pechanga Resort and Casino. Because then when I lose all my money there, they'll at least bring me free drinks and poolside towel service.


Lastly. Give a timeline.


Right:
"This is a 24 page book. We will be working at an expected rate of 4-6 pages per week starting in the first week of August. We hope to be finished by mid-September in anticipation of an October release."

Wrong:
*crickets*

I have a schedule to maintain, and I stick by it (as best as I can, physical body limitations pending). And you should too! I'd like to know how long I'll be on the project so I can plan everything else accordingly, especially if I'm working on two projects simultaneously. I know my own limits, and need to leave time open for personal reasons or relaxation.

It's okay if you simply omit the timeline from the job offer, I can always ask for it. However, if your response is "well I haven't made one yet," make one. I'll be more than happy to help you make one. I can look at my own schedule, and give a projected start time and completion time for when it's convenient for me, as I do with my smaller commissions and mini comics. I just don't want to be in a situation where I'm leisurely coasting through my schedule, then getting a frantic Email saying I'm falling far behind on something I wasn't given a deadline for.


All Together Now...


What should a proper job offer note or Email look like? Well, put all the above examples together. Introduction. Mood. Compensation. Timeline. Oh, and one more thing. Intended response, something like "if you're interested here's how to respond to me and what'll happen from there..."

Hello, my name is Brick Kapootsby, I am the project coordinator of the action comic series Steroids Explodinoids by TestosterZone Entertainment. I would like to offer you a colorist job on the next book.
Steroids Explodinoids is a neon vintage sci-fi series about guns, explosions, and heterosexual-challenging quantities of sweaty male on machine gun action.
This job pays at a rate of $5,000 USD per page.
This is a 24 page book. We will be working at an expected rate of 4-6 pages per week starting in the first week of August. We hope to be finished by mid-September in anticipation of an October release.
Please Email me if you are interested and I will send you the necessary work agreement form, contract, and tax forms. Thanks.
Brick Kapootsby
BKapootsby@TestosterZone.com

That contains pretty much all the information that I need, and presents the information in the order of importance. It answers all necessary questions I might have regarding my ability to commit to that project, and gives me the impression that this project is being confidently helmed by people who have done it before.

Back when I was in college, and living off mom and dad while doing art as a hobby, I didn't have questions, I was just so blown away at people wanting my art that compensation and smooth working conditions were secondary to the ideas of royalties, exposure, and building up my portfolio and skills. But honestly, you shouldn't have to do that. Even an artist just starting out is still putting honest effort into their work, and that's what you need to pay them for. Effort. And artists need to demand that their effort doesn't go to waste and is properly appreciated.

And on the other side, project coordinators also all have a starting point, and they also need to make demands on their artists with projected timelines and setting a base compensation model that meets their budget.


Final Thoughts


One very last thing to add, and this is really important! Be ready to handle an independent verification. Freelance artists work with several clients in their life, and will need to send tax forms to every single one of them. They will need to ensure that you're real, not some phishing scam to grab an easy SSN and home address (these scams are frighteningly prominent, especially on DeviantArt and other social media).

Artists should sent an Email to the company the individual is claiming to represent. Don't just confirm that said person works there, you can find out any editor's name by doing a quick Google search, or heck, just reading one of the books they published. Freelance artists should send an inquiry to their contact desk.

"Hello, my name is Itchy FitzBanjo, I was sent an Email by a Brick Kapootsby regarding a job offer, and he is requesting my personal information for the next Steroids Explodinoids issue. Can you please verify that the Brick Kapootsby working in your department sent me this request?"

The nitty gritty around all this goes much, much deeper, and would require encyclopedic anthologies of articles to properly document and explain fully (as I don't understand every single thing on both sides of the freelance market either). It's a very simplified presentation of how it all goes down, and for the most part, I'm blessed to have the clients I have received over the years.

Hope this helps, and to all of you looking for hiring artists to help you in your endeavors, best of luck and thank you all so much for supporting us! It really helps out all of us in the end, and we appreciate all the opportunities you present to all of us.


Practice IS the Reward

Journal Entry: Sun Feb 21, 2016, 9:27 PM





Now that I've gotten my slate cleaned up, I did say at one point I would open myself up for more commissions. Over the last couple weeks, though, I have been taking it very easy, and have realized something about myself.

You see, when you end up doing professional artwork night after night after night, there's a certain pressure that is always over you. It needs to get done in a timely manner. It needs to adhere to a personal standard that the client expects from you. And you need to be ready to field any special requests and fixes they have for it.

None of that exists when you're just practicing.

When you get to just put all that aside and practice, there's a therapeutic aura about the whole thing. You don't have to worry about what other people will say about it. Nobody has to see it. You can try whatever you want. Experiment. You can try replicating another artist's style, you can go wild and do your own style. You can try it with a textured spatter brush, or a pin-point line brush. You can go at it for five minutes, give up, start another one, and do dozens of different pictures in a single night. You can hunker down and blow the whole evening just getting the cheek bones right. You can stream your little aesthetic musings for your friends to check out. Or you can put on a newly-discovered Synthwave mix on YouTube and drop into your own mental pocket beyond the tangible confines of existence. You can draw the same picture, over and over and over again, trying new ideas with each attempt.

In a way, drawing becomes something akin to playing a video game or going to the gym. It's truly your meditation, your escape, and your ability to build yourself, and you get better at it the more you do it.

When you are in practice mode, you don't have clients. You don't have a standard. You don't have to worry about getting it done in time, or even done at all. You won't be given a checklist of tasks to adhere to. You have absolute freedom.

Freedom to explore.

Freedom to give up and move to something else.

Freedom to fail.

You can fail. It's beautiful how, when you're in practice mode, you can fail. You can sit back, chuckle about how awful it looks, and you can be a determined little codger that will keep trying until they're satisfied. Or you can be like me, and say "well, looks like I'm not so good at drawing Cyborg Alpacas. Steampunk Koalas, though...?"

But all the while, nobody cares. Nobody complains. Nobody will pressure you to work harder, draw faster, or be better. There's no reason, there's no point, and without the arbitrary inclusion of "purpose" casting a shadow on the work station, there's no consequence.

And if you're having difficulty churning up the motivation to open a sketchbook and draw something you don't normally draw, it's okay. Don't do it because you want to see how good you are at it. Do it to see how, no matter how badly your attempt is, the world around you is still standing. Because that kind of liberty is something I don't get very often when I draw. When I'm working, I can't suck. I can't give up and do something else. I can't fail.

So go ahead. Treat yourself. You have the time, so award it by sticking it to humanity and proclaiming "I'm going to draw this monstrosity and you jerks can't stop me!"

As my freelance schedule starts ramping up again in the next couple weeks, I'm a little saddened that I won't get these nights to myself to just try drawing some human figures. Some referenced. Some attempted off the top of my head. All a little caddywompus, loose, chaotic, and weird looking. But it's a care-free type of art session I don't get very often.

So I'm going to suck while I still can.

Because soon enough, every night will again be defined by standards. Deadlines. Specifications. And consequences to failure.




Corrupted an entire image. What I did wrong.

Journal Entry: Wed Feb 17, 2016, 6:37 PM


Hey all!

In this week's spirit of delivering helpful advice to young aspiring artists by reflecting upon my own failures, last night yielded a pretty good one.

I got a new video card. But...power supply couldn't support it. Which sucks, so the waiting game goes on while I get a new power supply delivered. But since everything was all open and I had a new HDMI cable, I was able to fix the HDMI out on my current video card, and got that all hooked up. So at least I got something done!

New monitor cable, new output resolution, and a Wacom tablet driver that got completely confused by all of this and didn't know where one screen even ended (a major calibration issue that would significantly hinder my ability to draw).

I decided to uninstall the tablet drivers and reinstall them. After all, that's just proper procedure, and something I should reiterate. If you are having trouble with your tablet drivers, and you tried reinstalling the latest drivers over your existing drivers, try uninstalling the drivers first.

Uninstall the drivers, then reinstall them.

BUT!

STOP!

DON'T DO ANYTHING YET!

For the love of freakin' existence! Close. Everything.

Close Photoshop. Close SAI. Close Aftereffects. Close Toonboom. Even close your Internet browsers. Just close down everything. If you uninstall your tablet drivers while you have a program open that is using those tablet drivers, that program may crash. If it happens to crash while it is saving, you run a high risk of corrupting the file you were working on, and having to start from scratch. In some lucky cases, it could set you back a good half our or so.

In my case? Four hours of work. Lost.

The good news is! I get to do them again! Which is fine, because my original plan of "replay Firewatch, this time with a better video card and hopefully more than 20 fps at medium settings" kinda fell apart anyway.


Say it to the face, or don't say it at all.

Journal Entry: Sun Feb 14, 2016, 8:15 PM


It's been a while since I've created a journal dedicated to giving tips and pointers to others in becoming better artists. Usually they come in bunches, touting some click-bait article like "six ways to improve your artistry while cleaning a bathroom" (number four will have you never look at a toilet without shivers!).

But today, it's just one.

If you're going to speak ill of somebody, you have to be specific. Because if you're not comfortable naming names, then it's probably best to say nothing at all.

It comes as no surprise that when you have dozens of different clients a year, all ranging from cartoon enthusiasts, independent animators, and major comic publishers, you'll run into a variety of disputes. For instance, you end up doing a dozen drafts of a background that, in the end, gets replaced by a photograph instead. Sometimes people just disappear off the planet, usually when the art is done and payment is to be collected. And sometimes people try to be funny and begin every Email exchange with "hey Vest-icle!"

Eh.

It's really just a part of the territory. When you do this for a while, stories add up. But to me, it's all just a part of the job, something you have to anticipate and budget for, and most importantly, put on a smile all the while and maintain professionalism.

We live in a tight-knit world now where all our thoughts and diatribes are much more visible to others. While the Internet never really was meant to uphold secret water cooler gossip, some people are really treating it that way, completely forgetting how thoroughly documented all your words are.

They can come back to you. Many years down the line. If everyone was aware of how permanent our little online musings were...I don't know, this would either be the quietest or most nauseatingly friendly place in the world.

What you say sticks, and anyone could end up reading it at some point down the line.

Ironically I have to go against my own advice here, and speak in a broad sense instead of pointing somebody out specifically or addressing them. But I do this because of how common it is, how easy it is to fall into that trap, and when times are really stressful, how often I do this as well. Oh yeah, I'm guilty of this too. Sure, the stories are years old and the clients have long moved on to other things, but in retrospect, this is still something I need to work on regardless. Who knows when one of them will suddenly appear out of the blue, and introduce themselves with "hey remember that guy who you did that comic for back in the Bush years?"

Because you might have just had a conversation about a silly thing he did that answers his question. Yes, yes you do remember him. And after a cursory glance at a chat log or Tumblr post, now you just lost whatever job opportunity you had.

It sounds so cliche to just say "if you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all." But more importantly, realize that we're all pretty much grown-up (ish) people and can hopefully handle our personal flaws and foibles being reflected back at us. And all too often I hear people on streams and chats talking about various clients from hell, and every time they retell the story, it just gets even more fanciful and ridiculous than the last time.

But here's the problem. Very likely, that client's never going to see the chat, right? Heck, last time he Emailed you, Gmail was still invite only and had a Gigabyte storage cap. But what about the other people in that chat? What about somebody else who could hear it who also commissions you?

This is the problem I have when people speak ill of others without specifying who it is and act all secretive about it. It elicits paranoia. You might not be talking about them, but they'll start piecing things together. "Hey wait a minute," their mind goes, the gears slowly lurching to life. "I commissioned them at one point. I sent an image back with corrections. I asked for them to draw a lady!" Then ultimately. "Oh no! They're talking about me! They hate working with me!"

Congrats. You lost a client.

Really, if you're going to complain about a client, you need to put a name to it. And if you're not comfortable giving out their name, then really there's no purpose to us knowing aside from our own amusement. And while an entertaining conversation is nice, your reputation is worth more than a few minutes of banter. Clients and commissioners are smart. But they'll notice when you speak negatively of another, and if you keep them anonymous, there's always the chance one will interpret it as you talking about them.

So really, it's better just not to.

Again, I'm also guilty of doing this. Especially guilty. Yet I'm blessed that I have friends and supporters that are very appreciative of my work, that follow me with vigorous passion, and do enjoy me giving a piece of my mind from time to time. I'm not as worried as I honestly should be, but it's their goodwill that makes me that way (for funsies, reread that sentence but pretend I have a gun to my head. Oh, context).

But I can't speak for your fans, or the people in your chats and streams that could be considering hiring you again. But people can be very self-conscious. I sure am. If you want to see me lose my mind, start talking vociferously about giraffes while I'm taking a bathroom break at the office. Then when I come back, hush up, wait for me to sit, and then start talking about Deadpool or something. Enjoy my misery as I contemplate why the conversation would suddenly change to something new once I come into view. I'd be checking my body for spots for days, I guarantee it.


Prints Available at Wizard World Portland, Feb 19

Journal Entry: Sat Feb 6, 2016, 11:06 AM


Hey all!

Those of you in the Portland area (or those of you in the Pacific Northwest with a means of transport) can get a book full of the colored works I have done alongside cehnot.



So you can find some pieces like these!





__




So swing by his table and give him a big spontaneous uninvited hug! Remember, him pushing you away is just his way of challenging you to hug him harder.


Major Tumblr Update

Journal Entry: Wed Feb 3, 2016, 10:14 PM




Vest Tumblr is Now 18+


Hey guys!

So, a little courtesy notice to those of you who follow me on Tumblr. I have gone through a selection of my recent artwork from the last few months and have found that I'm not able to share a lot of it. That's because it's simply too risque to be uploaded to DeviantArt, and contains the kind of content that could get uneasy glances or discomforted winces. A couple recent commissions in particular. Which is really kinda sad, because pseudo-bizarro content aside, I'm really quite proud of how they came out.

Those of you who have been in some of my recent unsolicited Picarto streams would know what I'm talking about. Emphasis on "unsolicited." Pretty good reason I don't advertise some of them on Twitter. You know. That thing my Mom follows me on.

Oh! She also follows me here! Hi Mom! (Everybody say hi, she's a splendid gal)

So why all the bother, then? Tumblr allows mature content, right? Why not just post it anyway?

Well...you guys might remember the Cutie Mark Cavern series last summer. It got a lot of circulation around various blogs, and a lot of these blogs cited my Tumblr as the source instead of my deviantArt. And because of this, a ton of people who were linked from very family-friendly morally upstanding Internet blogs decided to follow me there. So I'm pretty sure that most people who followed me on Tumblr are not really aware of how much hardcore NSFW material I do (again, hi mom!).

I also update my Tumblr so seldom, I wouldn't fault somebody if they kept thinking it was a SFW blog despite the semi-erotic imagery that lands there from time to time. Amid a flurry of people posting anime screencaps a dozen times an hour, it would be easy to miss.

So I'm posting this notice, and will be posting follow-up notices on my Tumblr. The art will start dropping on Saturday, so if you do not want NSFW material showing up in your Tumblr feed (you know, helping you fight that adorably futile fight of your's), adjust your filters and unfollow accordingly.


Friendly Reminder about Art Theft

Journal Entry: Fri Aug 14, 2015, 7:22 PM


Hey guys!

First off I just want to say thanks to everyone who let me know about other people stealing my work and posting them to their dA pages and Tumblr accounts. If you're ever in a position where you're wondering "should I bother Vest about this? Would he get mad at me for spamming his inbox letting him know who is posting his work as their own?" I assure you, it would be much better if I knew than if I didn't.

I read every note that I receive, especially ones regarding serious issues like art theft.

I would also prefer it if you guys didn't confront the artist and tell them they're being bad. They're art thieves, they either don't care who they're hurting, or they're too stupid to see the error in their ways. I've seen thieves go to tremendous lengths to justify art theft, mostly to their own fragile little ego, with excuses like "I'm protected by Fair Use" or "this is my first amendment freedom of speech."

Oh, the "Fair Use" idiots. Those are my favorite to take down. Really tears a hole in the fabric of their faux reality.

"Fair Use" is a protection that extends to me. To people who make their own original fan art. People who actually put forth the effort to create something from a blank canvas. "Fair Use" is no justification for art theft, and simply putting a couple hue tweaks, Instagram filters, or cheesy quasi-demotivational emo poetry over it doesn't justify the usage of the source material.



Unfortunately, deviantArt has made the bone-headed decision to advise people to tell the offending art thief to kindly remove their work and refer to some "informational journal" of sorts. This is exactly what they request people do if they find an artist ripping off another artist. This is their recommended course of action when you try to send them a report for art theft.



This is ridiculous.

Just tell me directly. Send me a note. I read all my notes.

DA only has the power to give you bad advice that can lead to unpleasant confrontational nonsense that just makes you feel angry and powerless against a stubborn flagrant thief. I have the power to file a DMCA report on my personal behalf and get the work taken down immediately.

And note that I won't DMCA everything. DMCA's are really overpowered, it's almost unfair how easily they can be exploited. We saw such exploitation this week on Vimeo with Sony's scummy IP firm DMCA blasting a wide selection of long-standing films just because they had the word "Pixels" in the title. Yeah, as if a shitty Adam Sandler movie couldn't just have the decency to stay shitty in the safe confines of theaters, it has to waft its shittiness into real life too.

This journal's comment section is 100% open to rants about Adam Sandler.

But I'll be able to review each instance individually and act at my discretion. Somebody showcasing my work on their blog for an art feature? I'll definitely let it stay. Some small-time independent music producer using one of my landscapes for a YouTube upload of their single, and giving me proper credit in the image description? I might open a line of dialogue and get something figured out (if even), but won't go the nuclear DMCA option.

But people just blatantly ripping off my work, claiming it as their own, and dumping a heap of filters on it to try to pass it off as an original piece? People trying to sell prints of my work for money? People using my work to promote their personal commercial projects? That's stuff I absolutely need to know about so I can act accordingly.

But the most important thing is, I will appreciate every single notification that I receive. I won't be getting all trigger-happy with DMCA bombardments against Tumblr. I just like to know where my stuff ends up so, if necessary, I can control on how it's used. Besides, wouldn't you rather be guaranteed some thanks and appreciation by telling me, rather than risking a bitter confrontation with some Internet art thief troglodyte on their home turf?

Thanks everyone.



I'm not Apologizing

Journal Entry: Sun Aug 9, 2015, 2:30 AM


About four weeks ago, I was given the opportunity to contribute to a My Little Pony fan animation as their background artist. Normally, since my schedule was horrifically backlogged, I would have to decline.

Buuuuuuuuuut...

...Let's be frank. This just needed to exist.



Couple of fun facts!

This animation is featured in PONIES The Anthology V, and is the closing bit. It starts at 1:00:22.

I was not given specific direction on where the animation took place, so I opted for a movie theater. This was done with the express intent of dropping "Fluttershia Labeouf" into existence, since I already had the PSD open and couldn't find a pen to write down that pun. One of the fake movie posters in the background is for the film Saddleship, which is directed by Michael Neigh. Horse puns.

The Fluttershia Labeouf joke escalated, evolved, and now has its own trailer. I didn't do the background on this one, but I did do the big metallic lettering and the Saddleship logo at the end.

The Saddleship trailer is also in PONIES The Anthology V. It starts at 29:23. That means there's a very subtle bit of continuity in the anthology, where our silly trailer later comes back as a movie poster. Most would think we thought to add the poster as a nod to our other animation near the end, but the opposite is true. The whole damn trailer is a nod to that one background gag.

Fluttershia Labeouf is designed after the Friendship is Manly rendition of Fluttershy by Kanashiipanda.

The other movie poster is Cutie of the Beast. Instead of saying A Walt Disney Masterpiece at the top, it reads "A CopyRighted Masterpiece" in the style of Walt's looping signature. Due to the lack of timing to come up with any additional horse puns, the bottom print simply repeats "please don't sue" multiple times.

In reverence to the audio's source material, I drew the backgrounds in the style of Chuck Jones, though I did not study his Looney Tunes work. These were based on his later pieces for Tom & Jerry.

This animation started several months ago, and a lot of the animation process was streamed by Pikapetey on his Picarto channel. This animation was originally not intended to appear in the PONIES The Anthology series, but was just Pikapetey blowing off steam. It was during the clean lining phase of the animation that the Anthology team invited it for inclusion.

Some are complaining that this animation is ridiculing and insulting all Bronies as being fat red-headed sacks of horror. It's a fair criticism, but this is not a blanket jab against the fandom (sorry haters). Unfortunately, the truth is far worse. It's actually based on a real person who I won't consciously single out, but will affirm he made quite a name for himself for his ridiculous antics and harassment of other fandom artists.

King Sombra really loves his stairs.

The animation was originally going to end with Sweetie Belle clawing and yowling in the fight cloud. The sequence of Sweetie Belle kicking the Brony off screen, and the Brony falling down the stairs, was added at a time when an intelligent person would consider it too close to deadline.

Artists are not "an intelligent person."

Pikapetey unfortunately lost two hours of hard work one evening because he couldn't stop laughing at the Brony's cheeks getting forcibly pushed behind his teeth.

I opted to keep the backgrounds loose, simple, and establish staging using only basic shapes of light from a single source. Or, to quote my instructions, "half ass everything, this is due next week."



How to Remove that GHASTLY Orange 'Core' Tag

Journal Entry: Mon Aug 3, 2015, 8:01 PM


DeviantArt seems to be raising the price of premium membership, and are now renaming it to what I'm sure they were hoping would be indicative of their pseudo-edgy brand, but in reality, is just confusing the hell out of people. We all know what premium membership is. But core? Sounds extreme! Do we all get skateboards, pogs, and a complimentary Pennywise album bundled with it?

Christ I'm old.

Now, I don't have a problem with dA changing their prices. Inflation is a real thing, and a business has to do what it must to stay afloat. What astounds me, though, they're making such a big deal out of it. Aren't you supposed to not have some big front-page celebration of raising prices? Aren't you just supposed to sneak it in, not say a word, and hope nobody really notices? And if people do raise a fuss, make some business-ey statement about "operating costs" and "economic trends" in some big-worded pile of lip service to quell the peasant folk?

And not only are they making a big deal out of it on the front page and header. It's now speckled all over the site in these bright eye-gougingly orange tags beside the names of premium dA members. Congratulations, dedicated and loyal denizens of the community! You've been promoted to "visual nuisance" status! Not only are you involuntarily parading about the unfortunate revelation of deviantArt needing to raise the prices of their membership, but you're mucking about with the whole site's aesthetic in the process!



BECOME AN





Can I cut the snark here? We good? Did I get it across that I don't fault dA for charging more money, but wish they'd not announce it in such a baffling display of bombastic orange nonsense?

Alright. Good.

Maybe 5 years ago, I had the drive and energy to spend afternoons and evenings complaining and touting the end of days when subtle aesthetic alterations would trigger me timbers.  But I'm now a lazier, quieter, generally apathetic kind of person, and I just can't muster the passion or rage to give a piece of my mind to deviantArt. Ultimatums? Boycotts? Internet Petitions? Feh, you silly kids and your whimsical desires to change the world.

Me? Don't care in the slightest. I just fix shit and make jokes along the way.




Getting Rid Of All These
Horrible Orange Tags

(In 3 Simple Click-Bait Title-ey Steps!)

If you'd like to browse dA with that soothing shade of "seemed like a good idea in 2002" grey-green we're all used to, you will need to download and install two things.

1: Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox. Download one of these and install if you haven't already.

2: Adblock. This is an extension for one of the two browsers above. Adblock for Google Chrome or Adblock for Mozilla Firefox. Download and install the one pertaining to your chosen browser. Remember to restart your browser when the installation has completed.

Note that these steps were initially performed on Adblock for Google Chrome. The steps for Mozilla Firefox are slightly different and can be found below the steps for Google Chrome.



Google Chrome users:

Step 1:
Download and install Google Chrome.

Download and install Adblock for Chrome.


Step 2:
Select the Adblock icon in the top of your browser, and select options. This will open the Adblock options page.





Step 3:
On the Adblock options page, go to the "Customize" tab at the top of the page.

Scroll down to the "Manually edit your filters" section, and press the Edit button.




In the text box below, add the following two lines (you can copy/paste them from here).


deviantart.com##[class="user-symbol premium"]
deviantart.com##[class="user-symbol beta"]


Press "Save."

Load or refresh your deviantArt page.



Update: Firefox users! I got you covered.

Step 1:
Download and install Firefox internet browser and Adblock Plus extension. Note that I could only find Adblock Plus for Firefox, which is why the steps are slightly different. I could not find a normal version of Adblock for Firefox from a reputable source.

Step 2:
Click the Adblock Plus icon at the top of your browser window, and access the Adblock Plus filter preferences.



Step 3:
Select the "Custom Filters" tab at the top of the filter preferences prompt.



Create a new filter group by selecting the "Add Filter Group" button.

Select the new Filter Group, then select the "Add Filter" button over the right column.

Input the following two filters separately:


deviantart.com##[class="user-symbol premium"]

deviantart.com##[class="user-symbol beta"]



Close the Adblock Plus Filter Preferences prompt, and refresh deviantArt.

And now you're all set! Inflation is still crippling the economy, digital media is floundering to stay afloat in a viciously competitive environment, our future as deviantArt users still hangs by a fragile thread dangling precariously over a rapidly churning dot-com economy. But hey. At least we don't have to wince uncomfortably at those atrocious orange eyesores!



Congratulations to America on Gay Marriage

Journal Entry: Sat Jun 27, 2015, 2:41 AM


I'd like to voice my commendations to the United States Supreme Court for finally bringing America into the 21st Century, and requiring the nationwide recognition of gay marriage.



I remember back in 2008 when California passed Proposition 8, I knew the backlash from that passage would cause something big to happen. We had seen a number of states prohibit it, but those states were in parts of America where it wasn't surprising to see such laws passed. But when it was abolished in California, that was the big wake up call (well, to me at least). If a state as liberal and contemporary as California could be persuaded against a fundamental human right that its own state courts had mandated previously, and turn against its own allocation of gay marriage, the rest of the country would see just how powerful some lobbying groups and propaganda peddlers could be.

In light of Prop 8's passage, I saw something unprecedented. I saw an entire nation find a cause they could unite for, and many people on the fence or empathetic to the cause were now seeing a systematic persecution against a group of people tried to be made criminals for the act of loving one another. It didn't take a lot of effort to see how low bigots were willing to stoop to relegate others as second-class citizens because of their romantic interests, but when they made California their business, America made gay marriage their business.

I thought the decision would have been overturned within the year. I even heard murmurings that the Federal Supreme Court was going to hear it within six months, hopefully making it a national human right before the next election cycle could edit together their latest volley of smear commercials.

I'll admit, I'm pretty disappointed that it took America this long to figure itself out on something so obviously apparent. There was no harm in saying yes to gay marriage, and a horrific precedent set forth by abolishing it. It took seven years for our most prestigious courts to determine this, but hey, seven years to make it happen is better than California's approach of six months to make it go away.

It feels weird to be "disappointed" in something so monumental just because it took so long to get here. But there's a lot more to this ruling than just giving a thumbs up to homosexual marriage. Maybe this decision took so long because of what it means beyond the very topic it addressed.

There's a lot of symbolism behind today's decision. It's not just about wanting to see people express love towards one another, or get invited to the most fabulous wedding reception you could possibly imagine. It's a uniform declaration between a country's citizens that we are concerned about equality, that we as a country do accept you for who you are, and regardless of creed, orientation, or your awkward taste in Taiwanese moombahthon music (holler at me boys) we don't want laws preventing you from simply being who you are.

Because then what happens when similar lobbying groups decide it's sinful to be a fan of comics?

What happens when similar lobbying groups feel society would be better with the prohibition of alcohol?

What happens when lobbying groups want to ban videogames they deem not enriching enough by their standards?

Time and time again, Americans have shown that they do not want to be held down, limited, prevented from being who they really are and enjoying what makes them happy. And today was a major victory, not just for the millions of couples who can now make their "civil union" into an official marriage, but to all who don't want scheming pundits and shills representing the outward perception of one nation to the rest of the world.

Today we tell the world we're at least catching up a bit.

And maybe some of the other slackers in the industrialized world will catch up, too. Nothing influences progress quite like "well if those idiot Yanks are doing it."


Commission Status Update

Journal Entry: Fri Jun 26, 2015, 12:08 AM


Hey guys, just thought I'd send a courtesy update.

I have been getting a lot of notes and Emails from very excited, wonderful people giving me lots of uplifting words and encouragement, but they are also quite eager to set up a commission with me.

Unfortunately, I've hit a certain "mental limit" where I can feel myself on the verge of burning out, and need to recover. I have been working two jobs non-stop seven days a week, about twelve to sixteen hours a day. One of the jobs is the commissions and comic work that I do, and for a while, it was my relaxation. It still is. It's a great way to unwind.

However, the ability to unwind in art becomes difficult when I get too much stuff backed up and see no foreseeable day off. It has been several months since I've had a "do nothing" day.

What this means is that I'm going to be locking my commissions for now, keeping the people I have scheduled, and not taking in any more until my current load is cleared and I get some time off to recover.

I appreciate everyone's patience and encouragement.


Cutie Mark Caverns: Wallpapers Available

Journal Entry: Sun Jun 21, 2015, 3:10 PM



Since a good number of you folks requested it,
I have created wallpaper packs based on the
recent Cutie Mark Caverns series.



[DOWNLOAD ALL - 75 MB .ZIP FILE]



Individual download links below.


This isn't just a simple crop/resize job.

Each picture has been expanded, adding new details beyond the original
margins. This is so the original images are untouched, there is no
image resize distortion, and to ensure the most possible natural transition
from the lit areas to the black edges.

__________




[1366x768] - [1680x1050] - [1920x1080] - [1920x1200] - [3840x2160]
[Mobile 640x1136] - [Mobile 750x1134]
[Tablet 2048x2048]

__________




[1366x768] - [1680x1050] - [1920x1080] - [1920x1200] - [3840x2160]
[Mobile 640x1136] - [Mobile 750x1134]
[Tablet 2048x2048]

__________




[1366x768] - [1680x1050] - [1920x1080] - [1920x1200] - [3840x2160]
[Mobile 640x1136] - [Mobile 750x1134]
[Tablet 2048x2048]

__________




[1366x768] - [1680x1050] - [1920x1080] - [1920x1200] - [3840x2160]
[Mobile 640x1136] - [Mobile 750x1134]
[Tablet 2048x2048]

__________




[1366x768] - [1680x1050] - [1920x1080] - [1920x1200] - [3840x2160]
[Mobile 640x1136] - [Mobile 750x1134]
[Tablet 2048x2048]

__________




[1366x768] - [1680x1050] - [1920x1080] - [1920x1200] - [3840x2160]
[Mobile 640x1136] - [Mobile 750x1134]
[Tablet 2048x2048]



The Cutie Mark Caverns

Journal Entry: Wed Jun 10, 2015, 2:55 AM





After a month and a half of off and on work,
they have finally been completed...








  Aspire - o - Transcend






Emanate        - o -        Sustain







    Endure        - o -        Encourage







Thanks everyone for the uplifting words,
sage advice, and motivation to compete the set.








Saturday Night NSFW Livestream

Journal Entry: Sat Jun 6, 2015, 9:08 PM

_______________________
______________________________________________





[JUMP IN.]



______________________________________________
_______________________


Copyright Claims Have Gotten Overwhelming.

Journal Entry: Fri May 29, 2015, 10:35 PM
Hey guys.

I know I don't advertise it that much in my journals or deviations, but I actually do quite a lot of landscape paintings on my spare time. And not just any landscape paintings, but paintings that I create alongside the oil-based legend himself, Bob Ross. These landscape paintings are kind of an easter egg of my gallery, and I'll add a couple to the collection every month.

But I have also given all of these landscape paintings their own YouTube channel to document their creation from the ground up, and to show how I convert Bob Ross's traditional painting techniques into digital. It's an evolving process.


The videos aren't terribly popular, most not even passing 100 views. But I don't advertise them. They're more for my own humor, and for the handful of people on Livestream and Picarto who collectively do these Bob Ross challenges in Toxic-Mario's stream as well. And while it's all for fun and none of these videos are monetized, a problem has arisen.

A recent wave of automated copyright claims hit my YouTube channel. All of them pertaining to the fact I used music. It's kind of a pain since I'm not making any money from these videos, and YouTube automatically posts links to the musician's page in the video description. Hypothetically, I'm giving them a signal boost, so I was a little surprised that such small unknown videos were even getting reported. But, I don't want to load the conversation with anti-consumerist pro-piracy sentiments, because as inconvenient as it is, I fully recognize the right these artists have to control the distribution of their music and (as a content creator myself) should honor their desire for such exclusivity regardless of how small the infraction is.

In response, starting next week, all of my time lapse painting videos will be muted.

The bad news? You don't get a fun little tune to coincide with your viewing experience.

The good news? You probably have a buttload of way better music anyway, so you don't have to pick one or the other. It also means you use less bandwidth watching my videos.

I actually prefer it this way, and I think you guys will prefer it like that too. I've watched a good number of time lapse videos, and I always mute their music anyway. So I guess I'm just saving you all that step. Also, if any of these video do end up blowing up in popularity for some reason or another, I'd like to hopefully monetize off it one of these days (wouldn't we all?), so keeping it respectfully muted would help circumvent any problems that could arise.

The CEhnot and Vest Compendium is totes 4real!

Journal Entry: Wed Apr 22, 2015, 9:15 PM
Hey guys!

It's with great excitement that I get to announce...oh wait, already said it in the title. That's right, I struck out my original clickbait "Big News in Irritable Bowel Research" headline for something more descriptive. But that's because I want to save time! Your time! Time much greater than value OF HUMANITY ITSELF BUT NOW also time lesser than if I just got to the point like I intended.

Oh but it's how excited I am! I am wasting time explaining why I'm saving time in a manner that wastes even more time in the long run!

CAFFEINE! TAKE ME AWAY!


Guilty Pleasures Artbook production photos by cehnot


"Waaaaw!" I hear you gasp, spitting out your double shot venti caramel macchiato frappuccino you drank four hours ago. "How do I acquire such a devastating piece of barbaric weaponry!?"

To which I chortle, "Why simple, young flooperdooper! You can catch Chris Ehnot at C2E2 in Chicago this weekend and work that dapper magic of your's that wins hearts, minds, and restraining orders. Or, you can get it straight from the source! Just send an Email to cehnot@chrisehnot.com, and he will respond with the necessary details to PayPal $40 (plus Shipping/Handling) to have a copy mailed right to your hovel!"

"Neat!" I pretend to hear you say instead of checking your Twitter for more Drawponies hilarity.

"And it's not a weapon," I assure you, suddenly drawing disappointment, "But a good wallop over the head could slay the most vicious of house cats. It is 64 jam packed pages of bombastic pin-uppey silliness, measuring an impressive 8.x25 by 12.x25 inches, and contains a staggering four and a half pounds of magenta ink alone."



This is the largest and most comprehensive collection of my work ever organized, and considering the costs of individual prints, it's a steals for reals.

And if you get it signed by Chris Ehnot and myself, you also get the honor of upgrading your "Guilty Pleasures Art Book" Ebay listing to "Guilty Pleasures Art Book (minor sharpie damage)".

Help support your fellow small-time self-made freelance comic artists. We may be just a couple guys, we may be teeny under the shadows of the great Marvel and DC titans eclipsing the spotlight, but we got a lot of fight in us!

And we're also not famous enough for ThePirateBay so that ain't an option either.

Thanks for your patronage!

The Thing I Love Most About Being in Comics...

Journal Entry: Sun Mar 22, 2015, 12:41 AM
The thing I love most about being in comics is that I find myself work alongside some of the greatest people whom I have looked up to for years. Nothing makes me squeal like an obsessive dork quite like going through my watchlist, finding an awesome comic cover from some guy I admire tremendously, then realize that it's an alt cover for the same book I did a cover for.

That's like finding out your long lost brother is Han Solo.

It's...it's not creepy to foam at the mouth while gurgling "we're family now..." Is it?

Some People...

Journal Entry: Thu Mar 12, 2015, 1:35 AM



Wednesday Ni-...wait Thursday morning Late stream

Journal Entry: Wed Mar 4, 2015, 11:53 PM

_______________________
______________________________________________





[JUMP IN.]



______________________________________________
_______________________


'Why Pony Fanart?'

Journal Entry: Sun Mar 1, 2015, 1:50 AM
It was an innocent enough question.

I'm lucky to work in an environment of people who are their own sort of nerd about something. We have an in-office D&D campaign going, a league of Pokemon collectors, a bastion of Trekkies (who really had a difficult week, bless their souls)...and of course we've got a few Bronies in the stable too. I'm among pretty good company. And while the question "why all the ponies?" wasn't asked in any manner of hostility, I've seen message boards ignite this inquiry not with curiosity but frustrated rage.

I've got my own reasons. The character designs are easy to draw. They're bright with bold colors allowing me to flex my palette more. They're just so darned expressive. There's a massive talent pool of artists whom I can collaborate with if I'm not doing a pony image of my own. But one of the biggest reasons, and this is important for somebody who makes a part of their living freelancing alongside other independent entities (that's you wonderful folks) is exposure.

The fandom, by some amazing miracle, is actually bigger than it was a couple years ago. It's still going strong, and with the source material allegedly given the greenlight for another two years, it shows no indication of slowing down. But the same applies to any of the fanart.

Bronies are absolutely ravenous for new material. And with the hiatus lingering six months longer than usual prior to Season Five, the wait's especially difficult (especially considering how well of a high note Season Four ended on, sweet Mohammed H. Ali). The IDW comics are doing well holding the fandom together, but a lot of the demand is going to need to be satiated by the fan artists. Equestria Daily is still going strong. The /r/MyLittlePony subreddit is still as active as ever. Derpibooru is just as weird as its always been (turn on that NSFW filter before jumping in that gutter, kids). Conventions are still churning along and netting top-tier show talent for panels. It's not often a show as young as this one maintains this sort of momentum for half a decade, especially considering how conventions are looking more towards branching out across entire genres to fill a guest roster, while Brony conventions can remain centric to a single specific brand.

All these avenues exist and are still incredibly active. They're full of energy, and crave as much content as possible.

Let's say I upload a comic book cover. Yes there are a ton of comic book readers out there, but when it comes to fan sites of specific comic books, there's not much for small and independent publishers. We're pretty much on our own. So when that cover goes up, it's pretty much seen by my deviantArt followers, my Tumblr followers, and my Twitter followers. It plops onto the Internet, it slides down your inboxes, it disappears without fanfare. Maybe it'll get a little boost through some comic blogger, a publisher's Email newsletter, or someone's posting on Comic-Vine. Little pops in activity, but nothing that exciting. It goes up, gets about 1500 views in the first day, 300 the next, and then is done.

However, if I upload a pony, something different happens. The first day is usually the same. In fact, pony images tend to do worse on their first day. Most of my followers aren't fans of the show; they're fans of comic book characters. They'll get about 1000 views on the first day. But something strange happens on the second and third days. It doesn't slow.

On the second day, a pony image will get distributed around the different avenues as more people in the fandom trip over it. It gets posted to Reddit, 4Chan, EquestriaDaily, and several other sites. And this distribution doesn't happen all at once. It occurs over the course of a week. And each avenue it gets posted to, that's another substantial hoof-full of viewers pouring into the image. All the deviantArt MLP #Groups request it for their galleries, and these #Groups have between hundreds to tens-of-thousands of followers. Getting your work accepted by a group like PoniesPlus or MyLittlePonyFIMGroup can net an easy 500 views alone.

The lifetime of an MLP piece is unpredictable, but it's never quick. An image I did a year and a half ago, 'Git Down Here!', got reposted to the MLP subreddit this week, hit the top spot, and got quite a significant booster. Images I drew years ago are still getting posted by prominent individuals and popular blogs, so every now and then they experience a bit of a "rebirth" like they were completely new again.

So why ponies?

Because the fandom is abso-feather-lutely insane.

Of course, all that being said, I'm now curious to see what would happen if I feed the Rick and Morty zealots.