Hello there and welcome to the second part of our glimpse into the world of furry fandom artists. Previously we took a look at three artists in particular, Clockworkcoon, Luthien Nightwolf, and Nastacula, to get just a small glimpse at furry artists and the various styles and mediums they take. Today we’re going to take a small trip backstage and look at some other aspects of the furry artists.
Where to Find?
A good question to ask for anyone seeking out furry art is: where do I go to find it? As mentioned in the previous article an excellent starting point is the website Fur Affinity, and there are other furry-specific sites as well such as Inkbunny, and general art sites that still host a large amount of furry art too, such as Deviant Art. If you’re not looking to add to your current number of accounts have no fear, as there are tons of furry artists that use Twitter actively – in fact some will even have contests and raffles that are Twitter-exclusive. Tumblr is host to a plethora of furry friends sharing their artwork as well, and there’s plenty of blogs that are centered on specific niches in the furry community, which makes finding art that’s more to one’s liking even easier. And sometimes they’re under not-too-subtle names, like Clean Furry Fuzzbutts.
Artists who take commissions is rather commonplace in the fandom, as I’ve no doubt mentioned before. Believe it or not, commissioning can actually be quite an interesting and intricate process – so let’s take a look on the how-to’s of commissioning a furry artist, shall we?
First, you need to know where an artist has their commission information stashed. If they have a Fur Affinity, they’ll most likely either have their status right there on their front page, or they may have announced that they’re open via a journal entry (journals are basically FA’s version of blog posts). For artists on sites like Twitter I’ve noticed that they’ll either have a pinned tweet or include their commission status right there in the bio. If you’re wondering about prices, well furs tend to have different ways of doling out that info: it might be in a journal, they might have drawn a picture or graphic with commission info, or they may have used FA’s Commission tab. If you’re unable to locate information, it never hurts to ask the artist themselves. Most artists I’ve talked to are friendly and willing to work with any potential customer that can act in a polite and professional fashion. If an artist is open and ready to accept commissions, shoot them a message expressing your interest – though remember, some artists might do things differently, such as requiring one to leave a comment on a post to express interest. Always check things out first before acting on impulse! Some artists might have you take additional steps too – Clockworkcoon actually has you fill out a commission request form that helps you detail exactly what you want her to do and gives you a price estimate.
Also, something that bears mentioning is what you should do if you don’t have any pictures of your character handy – something I have to put up with myself as I have tons of characters without pictures (What? I write stories). Getting good at providing descriptions is something that you’ll have to become fairly adapt at, and personally I feel that if you’re going to rely on descriptions you should be more flexible with the final product. After all, someone might perceive “Bulky” differently than you do. I tend to just give the nitty gritty details, so the artist can get all the information they need without having to sort through a bunch of fluff. It pays to be detail-oriented though – I’ve ended up with a character drawn the wrong way on more than one occasion due to miscommunications or misunderstood descriptions…but the art was awesome anyways so I didn’t mind it as much.
And now, some general do’s and don’ts of commissioning artists:
- DO be patient – sometimes real life gets in the way and causes delays, or other unseen things happen that causes delays. Keep watch on them, but don’t badger them every week for progress or to see a WIP (Work in Progress).
- However, if it feels like it’s taking longer than it should, DO NOT be afraid to ask for updates; but always remember to utilize the following point…
- DO be polite – artists have to deal with a lot of trouble customers, just like any other service industry. A little courtesy goes a long way, and trust me artists will appreciate it a lot.
- DO pay attention to an artist’s Terms of Service (TOS) – it might restrict certain things such as how you can use the art you’ve commissioned. If something’s unclear then DO ask and clear things up.
- DO respect what an artist’s limits are – if they don’t draw NSFW art don’t try to convince them to, and if they won’t draw certain things, they just won’t.
- DO be detailed and specific – if an artist draw a goat with hooves but you wanted fingers and you didn’t specify it, then that’s on you. If you have reference images, don’t hesitate to send ‘em, or any images you feel that can help them see how you want your character done.
- DO NOT assume an artist is ignoring you – some artists are busy or can only check their messages every so often. Sending them ten messages asking if they’re open because they don’t respond right away is a good way to irritate artists.
- DO NOT complain about pricing – time and talent is valuable and priced differently for different artists. But trying to guilt them into lowering prices is a terrible thing to do.
- DO NOT try to scam artists – they talk to each other and there’s numerous sites and resources out there and you’ll quickly find yourself on a black list.
- DO NOT be passive – If you feel like an artist is trying to scam you (it has happened before) do not hesitate to take action. There are various sites like the Artists Beware blog on LiveJournal that’s dedicated to helping folks and to chronicling and spread awareness about problem artists.
- DO also keep record of communication between yourself and an artist – sites like Artist Beware require you to have evidence, such as logged conversations and screencaps.
- DO NOT tell them to “Get A Real Job.” They’ve more than likely heard that from other folks, and one more person isn’t going to make them magically change their mind.
- DO NOT pay in “Exposure” – don’t be cheap. Pay your artists.
Follow the above and trust me, a lot of your time with artists will be a smooth one. Of course there’ll be problems and conflicts – but I personally believe a little courtesy can go a long way, even during conflicts and fights. And even if you aren’t interested in furry art, the above can work just as well if you ever want to commission any kind of artist for any kind of purpose.
So, you’ve found yourself some groovy artists that you like following, and want to help spread the word about them and get them some deserved attention or help. Awesome! There’s various ways to show support for furry artists – heck any artist or content creator in general can benefit from this, too.
Patreon is one such platform that you can support artists on. If you’re unfamiliar with it, Patreon is a super cool site that launched a few years ago to help content creators finance their creative endeavors. You pledge money to the creator, and either every month or every time they release something they get paid. You can pledge as much as your budget allows, so even if you can’t afford someone’s awesome $70 commission you can still support them financially on Patreon with even as low as $1 – though keep in mind, Patreon does take a cut. Most artists will also often have reward tiers for patrons that really goes all over the place – getting high resolution art seems to be the standard, and I’ve seen one or two artists even do a “Ask My Characters Anything” tier where those who pledge enough can ask the artist’s character(s) a question and they’ll publicly release the response in the form of a picture.
If monetary support is totally out of the question fear not, there’s still other ways. For example, why not get their permission and post it up on other sites – with permission and credit – such as Reddit? There’s a large furry subreddit, /r/furry, and they love themselves some good furry art. And then of course there’s always the ever classic liking, sharing, retweeting, favoriting, watching, and so on. It might not seem like much, but you never know if you’ll end up giving an artist a new customer because you just had to retweet the picture of that adorable squirrel nerd reading a book.
Well, I feel that just about wraps it up for the second part of our look at furry artists. Hopefully you enjoyed this small glance into what’s a huge part of the furry fandom – seriously, try to get involved in the furry community and not hear about commissions. But what do you think of furry artists? Have any questions regarding them? Don’t be afraid to comment! Thanks for reading, and I’ll see all of you next time.