why i’m not a sex worker

so someone over on tumbr asked me to illustrate a story for his girlfriend’s book. this is the work in progress for that.
however, as usual, i said “yes” without agreeing on a rate/price for the artwork.
i mean, i love doing art.
i love seeing if i can illustrate someone else’s ideas.
it’s fun & challenging for me. i like fun. i like a challenge.
but, yes, i need to start being more professional & less quixotic sometimes. like…when i’m done with this, there is going to be that awkward email where i have to say, “um, in order to get the finished piece, i need money.”
and what if they are all–you never said it cost! and yes…they should know artists do not work for free nor donate their talent (except for a good cause.) but i still dread that point when i have to ask for a fee.
crap. i should have settled it sooner.
right?
i can’t afford to give it away for free.
(that’s what she said)

meanwhile, for another commission i am doing without settling on cost first, i am googling images of every cool sea creature i can think of to make a set of greeting cards and getting excited about painting them.
however, there is probably no way someone expects to pay as much as i think they should pay for a hand painted series of greeting cards.
and i do know this person–which makes it even harder for me to ask for what i feel my art is worth.

crap.
i need an agent.

random thoughts on the last day of summer

holy fricking christ that’s a cute puppy, right?

i know, i know, you are all like, but aren’t you kind of overwhelmed as it is, emje? do you really want to be getting a puppy right now?
well…you know…want vs. need. oh my god, i need a puppy!
look how cute she is!
i am due to adopt her next week. she is a cattle dog. my very most favorite breed. i remember the first time i ever saw cattle dogs, & it was love at first sight.
(who has noticed that moses jones has a cattle dog?)
i tried adopting adult dogs, but they were not socialized to our life. it is so so hard to find an adult dog socialized to being around kids & livestock & country roads, etc. i know dog socialization. I know dog training. i can do this.
it might even be good for me?

meanwhile, fall equinox tomorrow! at last! balance! the caterpillars & i shared a crop of basil just now. my garden still grows despite my neglect.

also!
today in the mail i got jars & jars of salmon in exchange for an inking i did. i feel like the luckiest artist in the world! once i got texas pecans for a zine & now i get alaskan salmon for an inking.
i feel so successful & loved right now.

and i started a new page of moses jones & i think i finally got the art the way i want it!! after only a bajillion pages.

meanwhile, i am goofing off on okcupid again–which is always strangely flattering & bizarre in a fun way…and meeting cute local farmer boys through my selling livestock on craigslist.
and it’s finally fall, y’all.

it’s a beautiful day.
(& i’m getting a puppy next week!!)

flower ninja evolution

original ninja

i drew this picture sitting at my kitchen table, while still in high school, apparently before i developed my aversion to pencils. there was a vase of dying flowers on the table. and i was a bit into creating whimsical characters (shocking, right?) so this happened.

then, in my late 30s, living in a cooperative, getting ready to go back to school to study art & writing, i did another version of her in ink & art marker, titling it “flower ninja.”

flower ninja yellow

i have her posted on a page…probably the ancient art by me page…where she was admired & then requested only for me to realize i am pretty sure i gave her to dusty who also admired her. god only knows where she is now.
hence the latest version where i went bigger & updated her per my own evolution as an artist.

i think high school me would be delighted that something she drew at the kitchen table would one day evolve into a work that someone would actually pay for.
of course, high school me would also be utterly pissed off to find out that she is not a world-famous author by now.
“and what’s up with the ex-husband collection–why all the jerks?” she might wonder–albeit somewhat relieved that we did manage to get laid….

hmmm. i think maybe it is for the best if we do not tell high school me very much of what we know of current me.
it’ll just be our little secret.

figures.

today is another experiment with white on gray tone paper. it was kind of a quick one. darker & weirder than yesterday’s super happy one that provoked thoughts of beatrix potter and disney. maybe an antidote to the sweet of yesterday’s ink.
today’s is kind of sparse…but it felt done. so i let it be instead of trying to fill up negative space.

so! now that people are asking for originals (only a couple so far, but i’m hoping it will become a trend) i am having to learn how to price my stuff. from a book about selling art online, i was given the advice today that if you are not a little bit uncomfortable with the price you are asking–you probably are under-pricing your art. that made sense to me, as i’m sure it does to many other artists. so that is going to be my major tell. i am going to imagine asking for prices and see where my comfort zone is–and then push it.

also! in learning to value myself & my art, i am going to have to invest in more good paper. yesterday’s was done on watercolor paper whereas today’s was done on lighter weight paper. when i use the pad i used for yesterday’s, my work is almost always of a better quality. the stain works better & the paper holds the ink better. the mixed media & sketch ones i like to goof off in do not translate as well. which is fine, until someone wants to buy one & i am all like, “well, the paper is crap.” so i really need to invest in more of the good stuff. though i do like how the ink messes with the weaker paper. i would probably mount/back the lighter paper with thicker paper or mat. i did that today with one that was done in my journal, “jar of hearts.” i removed it from my journal and affixed it to a heavier piece of colored paper.

img_3177

because that journal paper is so thin, there is some noticeable glue marks however. fortunately, the buyer was okay with it. i need to play around more and figure the best way to do this. make sure i can present my art in a marketable & professional-ish way.

i have a lot of stuff on mediocre paper. but i think the art is good even if the paper sucks. so i think i will just price them accordingly.

i can do this. this is not scary. i can do this. this is not scary. i can do this.

jam!

iggy will tell me i am cheating when i do something like color in the eyes, to make them more visible, lightening them with white or yellow ink. he thinks that is cheating.

iggy doesn’t understand that i make up the rules…or lack thereof…in both my art & my parenting. iggy is always ready to challenge me.

iggy is mad at me for selling an inking that he really likes. he says that if i loved him i would give it to him and not sell it. iggy is always ready to challenge me. always.

i am thrilled that i sold an original. i also sold several prints. so…i’m actually doing it. i’m actually making art for money…or making money with my art…depending on how you look at it. tonight i was able to say to the minions who were of course squabbling right on top of me as i worked on this one. i yelled, “hey! i’m working here.” then i added that i could call it working now because i am making some money at it now. yay!  it’s hard for me to wrap my head around. it gives me  hope that i am actually doing something right. i really need to make a store on this site. i have the directions…i’m just waiting for the inspired moment to make it happen.

on the topic of minions & art, i really think i must have a guardian art angel. or a horde of fairy guards helping me. for as much as they wreak havoc, they really don’t destroy any art or even fuck up the art i am working on. i mean, i get slammed into. my desk gets jiggled as they crawl under it. my elbow must have a target on it. plus i will leave art out to dry, and they (almost) never smear it or jostle it or spill anything on it. it’s amazing.
also, once the dogs got ahold of my journal and only chewed off the spine.
and one night the cat who likes to sit on my desk while i sleep actually puked on my art journal and managed to not destroy any of the inkings inside.
and i, of course, have ample opportunities to fuck up my own art…and i don’t.

i need to remember to set out a little offering to the angels or fairies that protect my art.

so i showed y’all this stain in my last post. this one is a good example of how sometimes i manipulate the stain. and sometimes i stay true to the stain. sometimes the stain just gives me the idea. sometimes the stain is the idea.

here it is again:

img_3168

my first beluga whale

so there was this open space in the upper right hand corner that kept me perplexed through quite a few episodes of offspring today.

(now i feel defensive about the fact that i am sitting in a chair zoning out to dramadies when maybe i should be doing something productive…or at least cleaning the fucking living room or scrubbing out the toilet that has some mystery staining going on…earning money towards my building debt? fuck. this all started when i became a stay at home mom…the feeling defensive if i’m not doing ten things at once. thinking someone is going to say something snide…well, okay, because the ex always did.
so now i am sitting on my ass crying over a tv show because they pointlessly killed off my favorite character.
fuck.)

beluga1

so anyway. this blank spot. i found so many things on the left side of the paper and it was getting so lopsided. but all i  could see were more dragons and i just could not do another dragon inking. so i looked & looked & looked and then realized there could be something getting ready to dive into that pond there.

and that’s when i found my happy beluga whale.

tada.

i like this picture. it seems…happy-ish.

my dogs should come home tomorrow. from the vet. they are almost fully de-toxed. i don’t know how much it will cost, but i did manage to sell eleven prints in my first attempt to make money with my art. so that’s exciting.

and terrifying.

and i am terrified.

i might have a deep fear of happiness & success & being loved & being able to love…. i don’t feel worthy, i guess. like i’m too badly damaged to do the stuff that normal people do.

fuck.

but i did this inking today. and started getting an order ready for printing….
wait.
maybe i should dress up & pretend i am someone else when i try to sell my art. that always worked when i used to wait tables…hmm. maybe i am on to something.

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