Hello all, and welcome to my little art commission thread! Let me start by giving you a brief background; My name is Anna Jameson, and I am a graduate Perpich Center for Arts Education, and will be attending Minneapolis College of Art and Design this coming fall. College is expensive, and I'd like to try and do jobs that I enjoy. Well, as an artist, I figured I'd set up an art shop.
This thread will be specifically for customized artworks. For already made items, I will have an etsy shop for you to browse. (it was supposed to be put up this week, but my mother is taking the artwork I intended to stock it with to an art fair in Brookings, South Dakota instead... soooo that'll have to wait. Again >~<)
My preferred medium for 2d images is pencil and Copic marker. I also work in sharpies, and once in a while paint, soft chalk pastels, charcoal, and colored pencils. I have also picked up a distinct love for three-dimensional works in the past two years spent at Perpich. The sculpting medium I am currently working in is a product called 'Model Magic' by Crayola. It is a lightweight, air-drying clay that is like sculptable foam.
But that's enough with words, onto the pictures!
The following four photos were taken with one of the school's cameras. For the ones thereafter, I apologize in advance for the poor-quality photos; I no longer have access to a better camera, nor the funds to purchase one. I do howeverhave a nice scanner coming as soon as my dad finds it in the maze of boxes from moving!
More photos of the above fish can be viewed on my art thread,here
I shipped out my very first online order on June 18th; it was based off of a beautiful halfmoon betta named Bentley, commissioned by Alisha221.
Bentley is a betta on a simple stand. I also love and enjoy creating bettafish in their own mini-diorama inside a glass bowl. (Please note: I do not intend to advocate the practice of keeping a living betta in poor conditions such as, and not limited to, a tiny bowl. These are works of art and, obviously, not living creatures. They're the only fish that is ok with this setup ;D )
Here are some examples of fish I have created in a glass bowl: "Bumble Buzz"
"Obviously-not-a-betta-fish" ;P I don't sculpt bettas exclusively. For those who don't know or can't guess, these little guys are known as Khuli Loaches, and I absolutely love them! They're all wiggly and adorable and just plain cute.
Those are the photos I have of completed bettas in bowls. I have made several others, but either didn't have the chance to take a photo before giving or selling them, or can't find where I stored them!
And for funsies, here is a sneak-peek at a work-in-progress (WIP) I have going on;
Note: Please hold posting on this topic until I have everything set up... The next post will be some drawing examples, and the one after that is prices. Thank-you for viewing, I hope you enjoyed!
As mentioned above, sculpture is not the only thing I do; I enjoy just as much drawing and coloring images, be it a betta fish or not. However for right now, I'm keeping this thread to just my betta-related artwork. If you're interested in something else, please shoot me a PM ;)
When I draw, I begin with a light sketch in pencil. Then I ink, and erase the pencil. Next I 'flesh-out' the inked lines and make the final lineart. Next (as you can probably guess) is coloring!
First up is one of my favorites, "Crowntail Jewel." He took just over an hour from start-to-finish, and happens to be drawn on sticker-paper, as are all the following bettas.
I know I said that shipping and prices would be next, but I thought it more appropriate to include a post on how to care for and handle the 3d bettas.
For those with experience with Model Magic, you may know it is not the most robust of sculpting materials, but it is what I have to work with. This said, it is not impossible to ship them. The fish are removable from their base (be it inside a bowl or a stand) both for shipping purposes and to allow you to position the fish as you like. The sculpture is lain flat, suspended between two pieces of foam. It takes a while to package them, as I custom-cut the little foam pieces to make sure the fish is supported by the body and large fin areas, and that the pectoral and ventral fins (the most fragile part of the fish, whether sculpted out of polymer clay or model magic) are free of contact and any possible stress points.
Removing from the box:
There are customized instructions included inside the box on how to remove the fish from packaging. Just be gentle, and don't apply pressure on the fins of the fish. (Since each fish is different, there may be slight differences in packaging; little notes step-by-step walk you through the process and make it simple)
Hold the fish either by the toothpick, or by gently pinching the body as shown:
Warning: Do not handle the fish by it's fins. They are the most fragile part of the sculpture, especially the ventral fins. You also don't want to fill their bowl with water or leave them out in a rain storm, because unlike their living counterpart they aren't waterproof. Indoor-decor only ;)
For a two-dimensional betta fish, pretty self-explanatory; don't fold them up or bend them!
I will start by saying this is my first online business. I am obviously very new to this, although no stranger to trading and selling as my mother runs her own store, which I have worked in many times. If any of you more experienced online sellers and/or artists have any suggestions or constructive criticism, I am open to it! Please shoot me a PM with your suggestions, the input is much appreciated.
I do work small. Larger bodies of work is not outside my realm of capability, but small detailed pieces are my passion. The largest full-color drawing you may commission, currently, is 3" by 5". For a black and white, a pencil drawing, or another medium, you will have to PM me to discuss your order's special requirements.
Also, please keep in mind that prices are for original works of art - meaning: you aren't getting a print of it, you're getting the real thing.
•3" by 5" - $10, up to three betta fish drawn.
•1½" by 2½" - $3, one betta fish.*
•3" by 3" - $5, one betta fish.
Inked + Full Color
•3" by 5" - $16, up to three betta fish drawn.
•1½" by 2½" - $5, one betta fish.*
•3" by 3" - $8, one betta fish.
*Please keep in mind the small size! For fish not of the short-finned variety, their finnage will be cropped to fit nicely into the picture plane. Please take a look at the previous post for a visual.
• I have a limited supply of sticker paper on hand (I will purchase more in the future if there is demand for it). Stickers are offered in both inked only and full color, however it is only available in the sizes 1½" by 2½" and 3" by 3". If you'd like your drawing to be in sticker-form, please add fifty cents.
You'll probably like this ;) Shipping is free on single or combined orders $8 and up. Images will be safely tucked between stiff paper and then sealed in a regular envelope and mailed via a classic, nice and easy stamp.
Have a special request?
I do wish to focus on betta fish as my subject matter for this art commissions thread, however I am willing to learn to draw other fish! Don't be afraid to post asking for something else, I promise not to bite ;) (be kind of hard to anyways, having to get through the computer screen and all...)
Want something, but the price is a little too steep for you? Send me a PM and we can work out a trade. I'm always open to haggling and bartering.
The decor of the stand is typically whatever I think compliments the betta fish. I generally create and finish the betta before making the environment to house the sculpture in or on. If you have any special requests please do speak with me about it. I am limited currently on what I have for silk plants and rocks to spruce up the base, but I am more than capable of improvising. (I also have a bunch of sea shells small and smaller lying around... just a thought ;3 )
The betta sculptures, as mentioned, are very fragile. I am continually learning ways to make them more durable and stronger through trial and error, and any advice is welcomed. I am aware stronger mediums to sculpt in exist; however, most are out of my (very tight) budget right now, and model magic is what I have a huge supply of. With proper handling and care, you shouldn't have to worry about breaking your fishy friend.
On the subject of crowntails: These are for me, quite simply, the most delicate and hardest to make of betta fish. (They also happen to be my favorite, go figure ) A break in the finnage of a crowntail during shipping is near inevitable. I cannot insure or refund the minor or major breaks in their fins. If your heart is dead-set on a crowntail, it's not impossible. However, to further dissuade you, there is also a $4 additional fee to cover the additional time it takes to carefully cut, shape, round-out-the-edges-of-said-cut-parts, color, and pose a crowntail's fins. For a crowntail I intend to ship, it will most exclusively be in a 'full flared' pose so that the fins lay flat. Not as pretty or fun as the flowy rays twisting about, but somewhat less likely to break. Now to show you that they can in fact be made, and to hopefully bring a less gloomy view on the sculpting of them, here's a happy little crowntail, named "Speckles," I made the other day:
Speckles isn't going to be shipped. He will however be taken to the art fair with my mother, and someone may buy him in his little bowl (which needs to be re-done, as it was made before I figured out how to secure the fish with the fake rock).
Also, I realize because I am a new seller, I do not have the pre-established reputation or credibility. As recommended in the Classified's Sticky, here's a picture of Speckles and the Khuli Loaches each with a hand-drawn note depicting today's date:
Now, on to the pricing:
Betta Fish - Stand Only "Stand Only" meaning: there is no glass bowl, simply the cute betta on it's own little stand. See the blue and white halfmoon Bentley in the very first post for a visual.
*I meant this as in two separate fish, but it's definitely possible to put two or more fish on one base.
Betta in a Bowl:
•One Betta: - $30
•*Two Bettas: - $55, free shipping.
As with the Stand-Only bettas, it's possible to have two fish in a bowl, but it would be trickier.
Will you do a Betta in Another Container?
•Well, that's a good question! For right now, the short answer is no. The bettas are still more-or-less in the beta phase (pun intended), and I'd like to stick to what's working for me. When I have enough experience under my belt and am comfortable with my shipping process, we can talk about different containers.
First off, the price of shipping depends on where the betta is heading to. I do require Delivery Confirmation. ($1.05) Now before you start sweating over how much shipping costs, Bently was just under $3.00, first class. He weighed 5oz, although he was a stand betta and didn't have a glass bowl with sand and rocks.
I'd like to note that it takes about a half hour minimum to carefully package the fish. There is a lot of foam-cutting and pins involves; don't let that freak you out, though: all you have to do is open the box, lift up a few foam sheets, and gently lift up the fishy by the toothpick ;) As mentioned before, there are instructions included in the box that walk you through the simple steps.
So, figure about 5-8 dollars for shipping.
Please note that currently, I only ship to the 48 contingent states of the US. <-- Baby steps. I'm starting small
I think there's only one more post for me to make after this, so hold tight guys! (I know, I know, I said I'd only be making two... but then I got really into it, and realized there was more information I needed to add. ;P )
•How long does it take to make a betta?
A betta takes a minimum of two days to make just the fish. I make the body first and let it harden overnight, so that I don't risk squishing any details. Once hardened, I make the fins and shape them to fit the body. I either let them dry and then color them for a flat or slightly waved/curved effect, or I color them immediately and get very nice, flowing finnage before the clay hardens too much to pose properly.
A Betta on a stand takes two-three days. I may make the stand before beginning the fish, or after sculpting the body, but I do not decorate it until the entire fish is done. This is to make sure the betta fits in nicely with it's environment.
A Bowl-Betta takes the time to make the betta, and then three-four days for the bowl. Why? I want to make darn sure that the glue holding the sand, rocks, and decor in place is fully cured before I even think of shipping it.
Figure for a stand betta: 3-5 days crafting process. If requested, I will send pictures showing the progress of the betta-in-the-works, as well as a photo at the end to make sure it's what you want before you pay for them.
For a betta in a bowl, expect a week crafting time.
•When do you mail artwork?
I require payment before shipping. For a drawing, as soon as you confirm the order is what you want and pay for it, I will pop it in the mail! For a sculpture, I either need to walk or drive to the post office. I try to time my mailings when my mom happens to be driving past the post office. When college starts, I have Tuesdays off of school (however, not off of homework!), so I think mailing days will be tuesdays or the first convenient chance I get.
If you really need or want the fish mailed ASAP once you've confirmed it's what you want and have paid for it, I will run on over to the post office and get it mailed for you. As long as it's not sunday, of course, or really late at night. I don't fancy getting squished by a car or something I happen to live by a busy road, and I rather enjoy living.
I apologize I do not have a more concrete, consistent answer for you, but due to my life schedule (or sometimes lack thereof), I am pretty much always on the move. Also, do note that I take vacations to ;) My mother happens to be a historical reenactor for the Early American Fur Trade era, and travels to places called Rendezvous. She runs her own trade shop, housed in a 18'x18' white canvas tent(well, more gray now, really... Many years of weather exposure kind of takes a toll on pretty white fabrics). And I have grown up going to these events, and love it. However, there is a catch; no computer. (I'm ok with this... a break from technology is nice every once in a while!) I will try to keep you updated on the times I will be unavailable for contacting via email or PM'ing. And as you may have guessed, betta-fish making will be put on hold during these times(usually just weekends, sometimes 4-5 days).
•What Payment do you accept?
Aaah, good question, can't believe I forgot to mention it sooner. I currently accept strictly paypal.
•My fish arrived broken - what will you do about it?
First, email me about the damages received. Photos would be preferable. Some fixes are very easily fixed with a touch of superglue, often seamless. If it is a major break or you are not comfortable fixing it yourself, I will issue a full refund of the fish's cost not including shipping and DC (delivery conformation). On top of the refund, you can ship the fish back and I will repair or replace it for you if you choose. I will cover the shipping to return the sculpture to you.
If it is a minor break, a partial refund of up to half the sculpture's original cost, not including shipping, will be issued.
•What is a 'minor' break, and what is a 'major' break?
A minor break is, for example, the very tip of a fin snapping off, or the ventral fins breaking in half. Both are easily fixed.
A major break is, for example, the anal, claudal, or dorsal fin snapping in half, a third, more than that, or completely separating from the betta's body. This may or may not be easily fixed.
Each fish is unique, so each case of (hopefully few or none!) breakage needs to be addressed individually. Please provide me with clear photos of the betta not yet removed from the box(obviously the covering foam will have been removed, though). I will do my best to quickly and effectively work through this unfortunate incident with you; please contact me via email as soon as you are able to, and we can make arrangements to fix the matter.
Please Note:Damage must be reported within two weeks of delivery to be eligable for refunds. Repairs are always an option, however you will cover all shipping charges to send the broken/repaired betta sculpture back and forth, if damage is reported after the two week period has passed.
•I really love your art, but I cannot afford it!
I understand not everyone has 25 bucks or more to drop on a little sculpture, or some of my drawings. I am open to trading and haggling prices; please PM me and we can work something out for you. Believe it or not, I'm not in this just to make money: I love making these bettas, and I love given them away. Unfortunately, giving all of my artwork away won't cover the cost of replacing the materials used to make them, nor will it feed my tummy or help pay for college.
•Why is your stuff so expensive?
There are two main reasons for this: Time, and materials. I've already addressed the time it takes to create the different art pieces, and I base my time spent on a wage of 8-10 dollars an hour. Then, I add on the cost of materials used. Some things, like the pretty tumbled rocks and silk flowers, I already happened to have an abundance of, so for right now at least, their cost doesn't figure in(for the most part).
•What do you make them out of, again?
Drawings are done in Copic markers, and copic multiliner ink pens. They begin as light pencil sketches.
Sculptures are made out of Model Magic, a product by Crayola. They are painted and colored with a variety of materials; copic markers are the primarily used medium to color them, via either working the ink directly into the clay or painting right ontop of it. I have a limited supply of acrylic paints, namely Lumiere metallic ones; very pretty, very rich colors. Bentley was painted using the blue metallic one I have. Some bettas get a wash of metallic paint to give them the nice sheen real bettas have. I have also used nailpolish. As for other materials, they can include but are not limited to; bits of rabbit fur, pretty rocks and fake gems, silk plants, sand, ribbon, fabric, feathers, and of course, superglue, Elmer's glue(for the sand), and toothpicks.
I have also made bettafish that dangle from a string, so you can hang them up and watch them wiggle and move. However, I am not comfortable with how easily broken they are, so I do not recommend them.
•Can I fill my betta-sculpture-bowl with water?
Well, you can, there's nothing stopping you, but unless you want your fish to melt I highly discourage this. While a live betta rather likes and needs his or her warm waters, my fake betta fish are not water proof. I repeat: not waterproof!
•I have a question that isn't answered here...
Well, either leave a post on this thread if appropriate, or send me a PM! We'll work to get it answered right away =)
~Thank you all for your patience, I think I am done posting! I invite you to give feedback on what you think of the prices, policies, and all the jazz written up above. Some tips and advice for a newbie seller would be greatly appreciated and welcome.
Heads up; I know I just posted the thread, but I will be out of town from June 27th - June 29th late at night. I will stop in and check the thread when I get home, so don't let my absence stop you from posting or PM'ing ;P
Hey guys! ;D I'll be out of town from Thursday morning until Sunday night - going to the Convergence convention! I'll be checking the computer Sunday, so feel free to PM or post while I'm out, I'll get back to you as soon as I can.
I know you said states only.. but would you be able to mail the marker drawings to Canada? I've had art mailed before from the states and I think it's still cheap to do.
And if yes... would you be willing to try goldfish? I've had a lot of goldies in my life and I don't have the room/money/pain tolerance to tattoo all of them on my back, this could be an option. xD So if it's a yes it would be a few drawings, then probably some more in a few months..