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Tips For Commission Artists

Journal Entry: Sun Jul 27, 2014, 11:12 AM


Hello! :wave: I thought of making this small guide, based from my personal experience, to give tips to artists, mostly beginners, to be more successful at selling commissions, since seeing from my previous journal many had difficulty with it. So here are some tips to help boosting your sales.



Have your commission info somewhere visible


Possibly, people won't even know you are taking commissions or if they are open if you don't put your commission info somewhere they can see. You can do this in a journal, that I mostly recommend, since it will be showing into your watcher's inboxes and most of your watchers probably rarely visit your profile page. You could still also use the commission widget, or donation poll to write your info. You can also link to your commission info in your signature or the artist's comment of new drawings you upload.

Keep it simple


Don't add too many unnecessary rules or info. Keep it as short and simple as you can. If it's too long or complicated to read, people might get bored or find it more complicated to do than it is and will go do something else instead.

Be clear about your pricing


If you are not sure what prices you are selling your art for, people probably won't be sure if they want to buy either. Most people don't have more than a specific amount they can/want to spend and like to be sure before requesting. If you, for example, state that you charge $10/hour, you could show some examples of works with the amount of time you spent of them, so people can have something to base on.

Visual examples


This is an extremly important element. Most people are lazy and won't bother looking into your gallery for examples, and they also want to be sure of what they are going to be paying for. Most people won't buy if they are not certain of what they will be getting. For example, I've tried offering a much cheaper commission type in the past, but without any visual examples. I didn't get any sale for it, yet my other commissions with examples got many sales. As soon as I put a visual example up, people immediately started to show interest.

Look good


Don't publicly "undervalue" your art or products. Avoid saying things like "It didn't turn out as good as supposed, sorry!" "This looks terrible" "I could of have done better""my art suck". You need to be more confident or people won't be confident of buying something from you either.

Popularity?


I way too often see people blaming they don't get commissioned on the fact that they are not popular enough. Popularity is only one of the factors, it is a big plus yes, but it is something everyone had to work for in a way or another to reach. People complain that is it much easier for popular artists to get commissioned, they have more watchers, get more favorites, comments and attention... of course, but you know what? Popularity is not about chance. Popularity don't happen magically. I've been on deviantART for 8 years, since that time I didn't stop being active and build myself a fanbase, by working hard and improving my art. You can't get tons of potential clients overnight. It is something you will build over time. keep improving your art, be more active, and you will slowly gain more popularity.

Lower your prices


This is probably the last thing you will want to consider doing. Make sure you don't underprice yourself! Avoid selling anything lower than a price you are comfortable with, otherwise you might end up losing motivation to work on it and procrastinate too easily. Cheap products can make clients think they are not worth it but if it is sold for more expensive, people will see the product as something of higher quality.

Remember that 100 points =$1


 1 point is not one dollar. If you are selling something for 20 :points:, you are only making a profit of 20 cents. If you want to make a profit of $20, the price in points should be of 2000 :points:.

You cannot please everyone


There will always be someone to complain about your prices. Don't bother about them, most likely they have no idea what they are talking about, and see artists as slaves and expect art to be free. Be prepared to receive many criticisms, most often from people who don't agree with the way you do your things and sometimes, from people who are jealous. It might be very hard at first, especially if you already have a very low self esteem, but you will gradually build a better tolerance to it if you keep going.

Enjoy it


If you don't like to draw for others, commissions might not be for you. This is going to be much more difficult (if not impossible) to success at something you don't like doing. You will need to truly enjoy what you are doing. You need to enjoy drawing A LOT. If you do and have the time to draw everyday, your chance to succeed is much increased!

Be patient


Probably the most annoying part that most people fail at. It takes a lot of time, determination and work, more mistakes than successes, to stand out among the rest. You will often be discouraged, feel like it's not working, lose motivation. Don't give up! Persevere, try something different, gather new ideas. Try again. Rome wasn't build in a day. If you want to someday be able to sell your art for as much as all the popular and skilled artists, it is indeed possible! But you need to be very dedicated to your art, spend a lot of time drawing, trying to improve, and constantly gather new potential clients by being active and uploading a lot of art.

Beware the Kitterpillar! by Sarilain

Do you feel like no one cares about your artwork?  That no matter how hard you try, you'll never improve?  Well, I've been there before.

A little less than a year ago, I didn't even have 100 watchers.  It was tough trying to find commissions, even though I priced them around 10 - 100 :points: an hour.  Sure, I had some wonderful people supporting me (thank you very much for that!), but when I looked at the thousands of diehard fans the "popular" artists had, I felt kinda useless.  It seemed like even a thousand watchers, or just being able to earn minimum wage was impossible.  Sometimes I wanted to cry from all the effort I put in.  I kept drawing and drawing but barely improving.  I was frustrated and felt useless.  But instead of giving up, I pushed myself even harder, and by God's grace it's starting to work out for me.

I now have over 16,000 amazing people encouraging me, and I know it's only a matter of time before I'm earning enough to be a full-time artist!  Sure, I'm not super popular yet, and I might not have what's considered "professional" quality art, but there's a lot that I've learned these last few months.  And I pray it can be of use and encouragement to other struggling artists.




Disclaimer and Credit:



This advice is only from my own perspective, and is by no means 100% accurate or at all professional.  This is simply what has worked for me.  I've often been asked about commissions, exposure, and such, so I hope this answers everyone's questions.

All images are linked back to the original artists.  Added them for artist features, inspiration, and to make my rambling a little less dreary.=P






You CAN Improve Your Artwork!



"Practice makes perfect."  I'm sure you're as tired of hearing it as I am, but this is the best advice I have ever received.  Certainly, no one will ever be perfect, no matter how "pro" we get, there's always more improvement to be made.  But practicing drawing is the only way you will actually become better at drawing.  Not practicing your craft but expecting to improve is like trying to win a race with a parked car.

Tourists by pepperin AT : Rurii-sama by Relxion Lemon Drop by camilladerrico I will eat all your night mares by Fraizy-Sama Lux and Frey by laverinne

:bulletpink: Draw as often as you can.

I draw almost every single day.  If you think you don't have time for artwork, that's simply not true.  You don't have time because you don't make time.  This might mean sometimes giving up watching tv, spending time with friends, going out to eat...  If you really want to improve at something, you have to make sacrifices.  Even the busiest person with a family and a full-time job, ask yourself, can't you put aside just five minutes a day to sketch in a notepad?  It might not seem like much, but before you know it, those five minutes will add up into hours, days, months, even years of experience!


:bulletpink: You don't need fancy lessons.

This might be considered bad advice by a lot of professional artists, but you don't have to go to school to become an amazing artist.  Yes, schooling can help you improve much faster.  You have access to trained, seasoned professionals who can work directly with you.  But not everyone has access to, or can afford a professional education.

Instead, check out some of the awesome, free tutorials offered on deviantART alone.  They're made by wonderful people who started out just the same as you and I, why not benefit from their experience and further your own path?  It might save you a little time and struggle trying to figure it out on your own.

For instance, I found this one on colour theory particularly helpful in improving my adoptable designs:

Quick and Dirty Color Theory by DarlingMionette



:bulletpink: Study and search for inspiration!

140724 by fxerie [CLOSED] ADOPT AUCTION 98 - Reflection by Piffi-adoptables Hot Chocolate Teacats .Adoptables. [OPEN] by scribblin Custom Kysvee! ((JaskaTheFennec)) by Will-O-Wisps [closed] Fluffy Adopt Batch by SquiggleCakes

Study things in real life, like how shadows form around objects, how colours reflect off of surfaces, how a cat moves.  If you're an adoptable artist, try mixing weird things together.  If you like drawing cats, try drawing some made of unusual things... like bubbles, rocks, newspaper, socks...  Don't be afraid to experiment!

Study artists you admire, find out exactly what it is about their art that you love.  Then don't be afraid to try similar techniques in your own work.  Just try not to directly copy them.  For instance, as a child, I loved Lisa Frank, Sanrio, and Pokemon.  If I drew a rainbow Pikachu with a bow on its head and called it "Hello Mouse", that would be copying.  But if I drew a colourful picture with imaginary creatures in bows... it might be in a similar style, but it's still completely my own thing.  There's a difference between copying someone or being inspired by them.  Definitely don't be afraid to get inspired.  It's how everyone builds their art style.  It's done over years of taking tiny bits of inspiration and melding it all together.  I'm still finding mine.


:bulletpink: "I can't" actually means "I won't".

If Bob attempts a painting ten times before he perfects it, but Mary tries a hundred times but still can't do it, does that mean that Bob is better than Mary?  No!  Everyone matures at different speeds, some things just come more easily to some people.  And what if Mary says, "oh well, I tried a hundred times, I'll never get it, I give up!" but she doesn't know that on her very next try, it would have been the time she finally painted that award winning masterpiece?

If you tell yourself you can't do something, then most likely you will give up.  It could be right before that amazing breakthrough, but you'll never know.  Yes, we might take one step forward, then feel like we've fallen back three.  But if we keep trying, there's no way to move but forward.  Your artwork WILL improve, because there's no other way for it to go.  You just have to be patient and give it some time.




You CAN Gain More Exposure!



"All the popular artists get all the commissions!  No one will even look at my art!"  Throw that negative attitude out the window.  You CAN gain more watchers, you CAN receive commissions, and you most definitely DON'T have to under price to do it.

Check these out:

Commission: Nerine Charm by SarilainCommission : Princess Ariana Charm by SarilainCommission : Frostbite Charm by SarilainSteelers Pikachu Commission by Sarilain Blaziken Sketch Commission by Sarilain

They were my first commissions.  Maybe you think they're good, or maybe you think they're dreadful.  Either way, they're not what I consider high-end, front page deviantART material.  So how did I gain so many watchers and higher paid commissions?  Here's some tips.


:bulletpink: Make your profile interesting.

Think like a potential customer.  If you were someone else, why would you want to watch you?  They aren't going to dig through your gallery and find that reason for you.  Find some way to display your best and most interesting work.  Even without premium, you can still decorate with the deviant ID widget and latest gallery submissions widget.  If you have an open giveaway, or if you are offering a special promotion like discounted commissions, free sketches, etc., be sure to write a journal and display it with the profile journal widget.

Keep your profile clean, organized, and easy to understand.  Try not to ramble on too much, use proper grammar, and punctuation.  Upload an attractive icon and have a simple, memorable username.  Your profile is usually your first impression on others, so be sure to make it a good and lasting one.


:bulletpink: Be unique and attractive.

FREE Snuggly Icon / Avatar : Pikachu by Sarilain FREE Chubbicons : Kanto Starters by Sarilain Commission: Snuggly Icon for Meli-chan3 by Sarilain FREE Chubbicon: My Little Bunny Fluttershy by Sarilain  FREE Snuggly Icon : Vulpix by Sarilain FREE Snuggly Icon : Espeon by Sarilain FREE Chubbicon : Pikachu by Sarilain

If you want more watchers and hopefully commissions, you need to try to offer something they can't get any place else.  For instance, I'm not particularly skilled in anatomy or high definition artwork in general, so I came up with my own icon style.  It's not particularly jaw dropping, but this is an example of how I worked with my strengths and around my weaknesses.  Because I'm not great with high quality, I kept them simple.  They're cute and colourful because that's what I like most.  And best of all, there may be similar icons, but mine were still different enough to gain some attention.


:bulletpink: Advertise.

You won't gain watchers by sitting on your behind.  There are SO many ways to get exposure, here are just a few:

- Critique and comment on others' artwork; be active in the community.

- Llama badge spam!  They make others happy, and give you the opportunity to attract more profile visitors.

- Submit artwork as often as you can.  Bonus points for fan art, it gives others something to relate to!

- Host free raffles/giveaways.  Everyone loves free stuff, right?=P

- Join groups and fill up their galleries!  The more places your art is, the better chance you have of being noticed.

- Submit to less popular categories.  It's much easier to make it to the front page of deviantART with an icon (especially if it's free-to-use and a fan art), than it is to make it with something submitted to the Digital Drawings/Paintings category.

- Give back to the community.  Whether it's through encouraging journals, picture tutorials, or free-to-use resources, there's so many ways to help others, and gain a little exposure for you too.

Out of all of those methods, I've found the free-use artwork and llama method the most effective, but see what works for you!  And don't give up if you've given out a hundred llamas, or made five icons, and nothing's happening for you.  I've given out almost a hundred thousand llamas, and by the end of the year I hope to have a hundred free icons.  Everything takes time and effort.


Glam Mane Flutterbabe by Kiwicide Adoptable: Auction 01 [CLOSED!: AB'D TY!!!] by rosanova :Blueberry Lollipop: by PrePAWSterous strawberries by Melonkitten There's a ray of hope beyond despair. by Detrah

:bulletpink: Don't sell yourself short.

Try to estimate the time you spend on each type of commission.  Then price it according to what you would like to earn per hour.  I would recommend no less than minimum wage per hour, however, it's always up to you!  And ignore people who complain and badger you to death that your prices are too high, it's no one's business but your own.  No need to lower your self worth and standards!  After all, it takes years of practice to become a professional quality artist; you shouldn't undervalue all your blood, sweat, and tears.

If you have trouble receiving commissions, then either A) you need to advertise more, or B) you might need a little more practice.  Don't let it get you down though, both things are super simple to fix, you just have to work hard and be patient!  Because, again, I'm no Pixar quality artist, and if I can sell my simple little doodles, you can too!  It just took me a few years of practice, and half a year of advertising.

Here's some more of my old stuff to encourage you:

*Re-uploading* OLD Art: Aria by Sarilain Shattered Glass App 1 by Sarilain Old Sjutin by Sarilain Aisha Glomp *Old Art* by Sarilain*Re-uploading* OLD Art: Baby Chomby by Sarilain





You ARE Special!



No matter what anyone says, you are the only YOU in the whole entire world.  You're the only you that will ever exist!  There's no one who can do what you do, exactly how you do it, and don't let them tell you otherwise.  And most importantly, God already loves you, exactly how you are.  You don't have to struggle to meet impossible standards set by some strangers who don't even know you.

My favourite Bible verse is Zephaniah 3:17 :



I'm always encouraged and amazed over the fact that the Creator of the entire universe, could possible care enough about me to not only remember my name, watch over me... but singing?  Like celebrating and being proud kind of thing?  Wow.  I must be pretty special.

And because we're so super special, there's one more thing to remember.


:bulletpink: Don't let others define your originality.

This is especially prominent with adoptable artists.  There's always someone who leaves a nasty comment arguing that your species or designs aren't original enough, and you're just trying to rob people of their hard earned money.  Nonsense!  What is originality?  According to Merriam Webster, originality is "the quality of being new and different in a good and appealing way" and "the power of independent thought or constructive imagination".  So it basically means different, right?  Well, if everyone else decides that the only "original" adoptables are some super complicated freaky creatures, doesn't this in turn become unoriginal because everyone's doing it?  Besides, there's nothing truly "original", there's always something similar that has been done before.

Instead, celebrate who you are, and enjoy drawing what you like to draw.  With enough practice, your passion will show and it will attract others.  There's always someone else who's into what you're into.  So draw your pudding cats, jello dogs, and super complicated freaky creatures!=P  Your originality is for YOU to decide.  After all, if your designs are "so simple anyone could do it", then why don't they?







Kitten Chocobox by ethe I love chu by Paleona Mlp oc by AquaGalaxy Fizzy Tiger by Pand-ASS Chibi Lava Cake by witchpaws

In conclusion, there are NO secrets, NO shortcuts to becoming a successful artist.  It's nothing more than sheer determination, effort, and for me, constant prayer.  How hard are you willing to work for what you want?

You CAN do it!  You are amazing and one of a kind, never forget that!=)

You’re probably well acquainted with the old proverb “practice makes perfect.” And while I don’t fully believe that perfection is attainable, because the very notion of perfection is somewhat subjective, getting better at anything requires both time and effort. I’m going be very blunt here; if you want to improve your artistic skill you need to actually practice.

My heart goes out to everyone here who is struggling to improve so don’t feel that I’m purposely singling you out here. However throughout my time on dA (and in real life) I’ve met artists begging for advice on how to quickly improve and sadly when I tell them to begin practicing the excuse is always ‘well, I don’t really have the time for that.’

 

And I ain’t got time for yo attitude.

:bulletred: You do have the time

Inb4 “you don’t know my life!!!1one1!!” Listen here young padawon, everyone is busy, everyone has responsibilities, everyone has non art related stuff to deal with everyday. You’re not special because you’re swamped with different things than I. Here’s a little secret: if something is important you will make time for it. 

Referencing Star Wars and Star Trek in the same paragraph ftw.

:bulletred: You are in charge of your success

There comes a certain point where you can no longer blame lack of time, lack of inspiration, other people, etc. for why you aren’t getting where you want to with your artwork. This advice applies for any goal; it’s not unique to artists.

High fives for everyone!

:bulletred: Art block, art schmlock

We’ve all been there. A stifling of inspiration, creative juices, this that and the other. An art block is not a sufficient excuse to stop making art if you’re trying to improve. If I am in the block mode, rather than try to sit there and ‘come up’ with something to draw, I’ll do a still life. I’ll practice mixing colors. I’ll do thumbnail sketches from people watching. Sitting there glowering because I can’t think of anything to draw on my own is not only unproductive, but also depressing.

Kick that art block right in the fayse.

:bulletred: You don’t need fancy materials

That’s one of the oldest excuses in the book. You want to paint but don’t have top grade oils? Train yourself on the $1 pan of kiddie watercolors from the drug store. Want to sculpt but have no clay? Make homemade playdough from water, flour, and salt. Want to draw, but you have no paper? Doodle on junk mail, envelopes, and napkins. Want to do digital art, but alas Photoshop is too expensive? GIMP, Paint.net, hell even MS Paint are there for a reason dude!  Before I got a graphics tablet I did digital painting with my laptop track pad and fingers. You’re apt to be even more creative with a lesser amount of materials.

There are no limits to your creativity!

 

:heart:Xadrea 

:iconprojecteducate:
:iconprojecteducate:


Literature Basics Week

Okay, so maybe not everything. But there's a lot of stuff that I remember learning in middle and high school that turned out to not actually work for me -- or for pretty much anybody -- as a writer.  I'm hoping that if I can lay these lies out for you, we cans turn it around and unlearn some of these bad habits. Because, man, nothing says "noob" like practicing some of these frequently-taught faux pas.

Lie #1: Be super duper descriptive!


PLLSpencerSubtlety2

Wait, wait, I know what you're thinking. Descriptive language is good, right? You want your reader to know what you're talking about, and to be able to see, smell it, hear it, touch it, taste it the way you do in your head. The problem is that, when it comes to description, a little bit goes a long way.  Sometimes, it's about finding a better word to use, instead of a string of adverbs and adjectives to go with your verb or noun.  You know, you could say "She skulked through the forest" instead of "She walked sneakily through the heavily-wooded area."  See what I mean?  Now, that's kind of an obvious one, but when you go to write, here's a good trick to keep in mind: modifiers are evil. They are sneaky and they will slip into your poetry and prose without you even noticing. Your job, as a writer, is to keep an eye on those things.

Modifiers -- like adverbs and adjectives -- are words that describe other words. They should be used sparingly. Otherwise, you're going to have a mess on your hands. When you're writing, always ask yourself, do I need this word? Or is there something simpler and equally descriptive that I could use here?

SO HERE'S THE TRUTH: Use descriptive language and sensory details, choosing words carefully. Every word you put on the page should be a word that NEEDS to be there.

Lie # 2: Show off your vocabulary!


PLLHannaBigWords

Some writers I've run into have a penchant for tossing around five dollar words. It's almost as if they want the reader to know that they totally nailed the vocab section on their SATs. The thing is, creative writing isn't about what you know, it's about telling a story in the smoothest way possible. So why use "loquacious" if you could say "chatty?" Think about how your narrator or point-of-view character would think and speak. Think of how the people around you speak. If you can't imagine someone using that word in a conversation, it's probably a no-go. When it comes to five-dollar words, they should be sprinkled, not poured, into your writing.

SO HERE'S THE TRUTH: If you want your writing to feel authentic, use authentic language. Use those five dollar words sparingly!

Lie #3: Spice up your speech tags!


PLLWorsetoWorser

Here's the thing about speech tags: They should be invisible. The reader should pretty much not notice them at all. I mean, there's a reason that you sometimes don't even need them -- like in an extended conversation between two characters.  There are pretty much only two speech tags you will ever need: "said" and "asked." (You can, and should, of course, alter the tense as needed.) You may be able to slip in a "screamed" or a "replied" here and there, but sticking to the basics is always the better option. You don't want your reader getting hung up on speech tags when she should be paying attention to the conversation and the story.

Another word on speech tags: Using simple tags like "said" and "asked" doesn't give you carte blanche to start throwing adverbs around. "She said, angrily" or "he asked, jokingly" is just as much of an offense as not using a simple speech tag. If someone is speaking angrily or jokingly, that should show in the words they're using, and in the body language in the scene.  This is a great case of "show, don't tell," which, thankfully, is a lesson from school that you can hold onto.

SO HERE'S THE TRUTH: You will hardly ever need to use words other than "said" or "asked."

Lie #4: Poetry is about your feelings!


PLLAriaForkInNeck

No. Poetry is about expressing yourself, sure -- just like any other writing. But it's not about emotions. It's about saying something. It's a narrative between the poet and the reader, and it should be full of images and ideas, not simply the thoughts you would write in your journal with some line breaks thrown in. Yes, poetry -- just like any other writing -- can be emotional. But your job as the writer isn't to emote onto the page. It's to get your reader to emote. Again, this is a place where that whole "show, don't tell" thing comes in handy.

SO HERE'S THE TRUTH: Poetry isn't about any one thing. And all writing should evoke emotions. Use your excellent writing skills to make the reader feel!

Lie #5: Capitalize the beginning of every line in your poem!


PLLAriaWeAllGetItWrong

This is actually an antiquated form. If you're reading poetry -- and if you're writing poetry, I hope you are! -- you'll notice that contemporary poets only capitalize where they would in a regular sentence. So lines can start with lowercase letters. You capitalize when you start a new sentence, or for proper nouns -- all the usual suspects. But when you start a new line, and the previous line didn't end with a period, no, you don't need to capitalize. In fact, I'd recommend sticking to the new way of doing things. We both know you're not Shakespeare, after all.

SO HERE'S THE TRUTH: Sure, you can capitalize every line, but it's going to make you look old-fashioned. And not in a trendy way.

Lie #6: Practice writing by writing!


PLLHannaEw

This is actually half true. Yes, you do get better at writing by writing. But you know what's even better? Reading. A well-read writer is going to be a way better writer than a writer who writes every day but never reads.  I promise you, this is a fact.

SO HERE'S THE TRUTH: If you're not reading as well as writing, you're doing it wrong.

Lie #7: A haiku is 5-7-5!


PLLWhat

Yikes! They really stepped in it with this one. Sure, some haiku these days are 5-7-5, but usually these are referred to as senryu, since they are Westernized and have less to do with nature and brevity and more to do with cramming something into that syllabic format, often with a humorous twist. There's a lot of information out there about haiku, but I'll leave you with this: Writing haiku is more about brevity and observing nature than it is about an exact syllable count.

SO HERE'S THE TRUTH: Haiku isn't about the syllables. Do some research and figure out what style of haiku works for you!

Lie #8: The classics are the right way to learn writing!


PLLAriaYouDidNotJustSayThat

Sure, the classics are great. But if you want to write for contemporary readers (like, you know, alive people), it's a good idea to read contemporary work! Enjoy some Emily Dickinson, but make sure you're also checking out Louise Gluck. Feel free to curl up with J.D. Salinger, but don't forget about Jennifer Egan. And, you know, there's lots to be discovered in your local library or bookstore -- not just the bestsellers. Read widely across genre and author background. Read books you like and books you don't like. Just make sure you're reading, and reading more than the tried and true golden oldies.

SO HERE'S THE TRUTH: If you want to improve your craft, read lots of genres and DEFINITELY check out your contemporaries!

Lie #9: Only write what you know!


PLLMonaBoring

If this were true, we wouldn't have, I don't know, any fantasy. Or space operas. Or historical fiction. Sure, it takes a lot of imagination and even more research, but writing outside of your comfort zone can be a good thing. Writing what you know can keep you grounded, and using your life experience to keep your writing honest is an excellent idea. But talking to people with different experiences from you, and reading about other lives and other ideas, and imagining schools for young wizards...well, these are all great tactics for writing richer stories.

SO HERE'S THE TRUTH: Start with what you know, use your imagination and your ability to do research to take your writing to the next level.

Lie #10: You're a genius!


PLLAliDontScream

Don't pretend someone in your life hasn't told you this. Someone along the line -- a mother, a teacher, a friend -- has probably read your writing and told you that you're going to be a New York Times best-selling author. And it felt good, I bet. But, you know what? If it's someone like a parent, a teacher, or a friend, they might be looking at your writing through rose-colored glasses. And you need someone who's going to be tough on you if you want to improve and have any chance at being a capital A Author. Are you a genius? Maybe. But don't take this "lesson" at face value.

SO HERE'S THE TRUTH: If you don't work hard and seek critical feedback, and learn to take critical (and negative) feedback, you probably won't succeed no mater what kind of talent you have.


PLLEmilySoMuchGoingOn

Got questions?  Leave 'em below!  There are exceptions to every rule, and there are plenty of rules that might not make sense, which is why talking to other writers is always helpful. (Another lie: Writers can only be successful when they are holed up in a cabin in the woods somewhere.)  And feel free to share some of the lies you've heard before! In the mean time, enjoy the rest of PE: Literature Basics Week!

http://www.ekristinanderson.com

 



deviantART Customisation FAQ

Wed Jul 23, 2014, 11:26 AM

Basic CSS Style Guide

Wed Jul 23, 2014, 11:16 AM

Introduction



CSS is a style language used to define the style and formatting of web pages. It is used in conjunction with HTML.


If we think of HTML as the building blocks of the web then, essentially, CSS is the painter and decorator. Very simply, HTML defines the structure of the page and CSS defines the style.

What I'll be helping you with here is getting to grips with the basics of CSS. I'll be explaining how use CSS as well as providing a number of examples that you can use to style your own web pages and journals. All you need to do is copy/paste the code and replace the sample text with your own content. Along with the quick reference I've also written a brief glossary of terms and provided a list of useful links in case you wish to do some further reading.

A point of note is that while the information and examples I've given here apply to CSS use anywhere on the web, this guide itself is geared towards the use of CSS on deviantART. As such, and given that this has been created as a basic guide and quick reference, you may require further reading to make the most of CSS's capabilities.

As always, if you have any questions or problems just let me know.




How To



CSS is written in the following format.

selector {property:value;}

The selector selects the element to be styled, the property defines the aspect of that element to be styled and the value defines the way the element will be styled. Let's look at a complete example to see how it works.



h1 {color:#4f4f4f;}

In this example we're saying that we want the colour (property) of all h1 (selector) elements to be dark grey (value).

You can specify a number of properties and values for the same element.



h1 {color:#4f4f4f;text-transform:uppercase;}

In the above example we're saying that we want the colour of all h1 elements to be dark grey and written in uppercase letters.

Now, CSS contains the information for styling elements but it can't act on it's own. HTML elements are needed to create content for those styles to then be applied to. Let's look at an example of how this works.



CSS
h1 {color:#4f4f4f;}
HTML
<h1>sample text</h1>


In the CSS we're saying that the h1 header elements should be dark grey. In the HTML we're declaring the sample text as a h1 element. The CSS will read the HTML <h1> tags and colour the text in-between them dark grey.

CSS on deviantART can be used in journal and gallery skins. For journals, the HTML will be written along with your normal journal text in the Sta.sh editor and the CSS will be written in the journal's Edit Skin area. For galleries, the HTML will be written in the description box and the CSS will be written in the Add CSS area.




Selectors



Selectors determine the element to be styled. There are a number of different selector types you can use depending on the desired outcome.

Element Selectors target the content of HTML tags based on the element name. The example below says that all paragraph text should be dark grey.



CSS
p {color:#4f4f4f;}
HTML
<p>sample text</p>


id Selectors target the content of HTML tags based on a specified id. The id should be unique and used for a single element on the page.  Id selectors are signified in CSS by a hash tag preceding the id name. The HTML element should include the text id="..." within the opening tag.

The example below says that paragraph text with the 'intro' id should be dark grey.


CSS
#intro {color:#4f4f4f;}
HTML
<p id="intro">sample text</p>


Class Selectors target the content of HTML tags based on a specified class name. Elements using the same class can be used multiple times on the page. Class selectors are signified in CSS by a full stop preceding the class name. The HTML element should include the text class="..." within the opening tag.

The example below says that any element with the 'info' class should be dark grey. In this case any <a> tag, <p> tag or any other tag including the 'info class' will be styled.


CSS
.info {color:#4f4f4f;}
HTML
<p class="info">sample text</p>


The example below says that any paragraph text with the 'info' class should be dark grey. In this case only <p> tags including the 'info' class will be affected. <a> tags, for example, containing the 'info' class will not be styled.


CSS
p.info {color:#4f4f4f;}
HTML
<p class="info">sample text</p>


You can use your own id and class names. Just remember to make sure that the class or id name you use in the HTML matches what you've written in the CSS.


References



The reference list below gives examples of a number of common properties that you can use to style your pages and journals. Simply replace the green text in each example with your own values. If there are limited acceptable values for a property then the options are given underneath the example. Where a numerical or hex value are required you can enter any valid value.



Text



font-family
specifies the font to be used
font-family: arial;
times new roman, georgia, arial, etc

font-size
specifies the size of the text
font-size: 12px;
insert a value

font-style
styles text as italic or normal
font-style: italic;
normal, italic

font-weight
styles text as bold or normal
font-weight: bold;
normal, bold

color
sets the text colour
color: #000000;
insert a hex value

letter-spacing
inserts space between letters
letter-spacing: 2px;
insert a value

text-align
aligns text
text-align: right;
left, right, center, justify

text-decoration
strikes out or underlines text
text-decoration: none;
none, underline, line-through

text-transform
sets text to uppercase or lowercase letters
text-transform: uppercase;
uppercase, lowercase


Design



background-color
sets the background colour
background-color: #ffffff;
hex value, transparent

background-image
sets a background image
background-image: url(http://website.com/bg.png);
insert your image URL.

background-repeat
repeats background image / used with background-image property
background-repeat: repeat-x;
repeat, repeat-x, repeat-y, no-repeat

border
creates a border around an element
border: 1px solid #4f4f4f;
solid, dotted, dashed

border-radius
creates rounded border corners / used with border property
border-radius: 5px;
insert a value


Layout



margin
creates space around the outside of an element
margin: 10px auto 10px auto;
insert a value for each side (top-right-bottom-left)

padding
creates space inside an element
padding: 10px auto 10px auto;
insert a value for each side (top-right-bottom-left)

float
floats an element left or right
float: left;
left, right

position
specifies the type of positioning used for an element
position: absolute;
absolute, relative

width
sets the width of an element
width: 50px;
insert a value

height
sets the height of an element
height: 50px;
insert a value

display
specifies what type of box to use for an element
display: none;
none, inline, block


Glossary



CSS (Cascading Style Sheet) is a style language used to define the style and formatting of web pages.

HTML (HyperText Markup Language) is a markup language used to create web pages.

Selectors specify the element to be styled. Below we are selecting all h1 header elements to be styled.


h1 {color:#4f4f4f;}


Properties are the different aspects of style that can be defined. Below we are defining the colour of all h1 header elements.


h1 {color:#4f4f4f;}


Values define the way elements are styled. Below were are saying we want all h1 header element to be dark grey.


h1 {color:#4f4f4f;}


Tags are used to define layout and styles. Tag names are enclosed in angle brackets and usually come in pairs consisting of an opening tag and closing tag. The closing tag includes a forward slash before the tag name.
<tag> </tag>


URL (uniform resource locator) refers to the specific location of an item on the internet. It is also refered to as a web address and is used to identify and link to specific pages and content.


http://www.website.com


Hex codes are a string of six digits and letters preceeded by a hash tag used to define a certain colour.


#ffffff


Helpful Links



deviantART Customisation FAQ
A list of the most frequently asked questions regarding customising your deviantART account. Answers include information and instructions.

Basic HTML Formatting Guide
A quick guide to formatting content with HTML.

w3schools
A comprehensive information resource covering all aspects of HTML.

Hex and RGB values
Get hex and rgb numbers for any colour

Google Fonts
A collection of Open Source fonts you can use on your pages for free.


In our continuous effort to improve the deviantART experience, we're publishing weekly Site Updates to keep members informed and to gather feedback. Below is a list of recent changes to the site, bug fixes, and feedback that was brought up by members in the last Site Update.

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    DeviantART is at Comic-Con -- right now!  Every year, Comic-Con International: San Diego hosts a huge gallery of artists in what's known as Artists' Alley, and we couldn't be more excited to sponsor the Alley for the fourth year in a row.  Our aim has always been to keep focus on those who not only make the entire convention possible, but provide us with a world of entertainment across all media: the artists.

    At Comic-Con? View our list of panels.

    Follow us on Twitter and Facebook to keep up with all of our Comic-Con happenings!



        

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    Legendary Pictures interviews spyed about the history of deviantART, with a special appearance by our very own Fella! 

    Change Log

    • Interstitial ads were unintentionally closing deviations on the homepage. Fixed by ArtBIT
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    • Writer documents did not display embedded animated gifs from stash when rendered, only in preview mode. Fixed by Alisey
    • DeviantID profile widget had issue with undesired text centering. Fixed by elhsmart
        

    Discuss!


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    Have you ever attended a convention or deviantMEET? What are some of the events you've attended and which have been your favorite?


    :lightbulb: Have a suggestion, idea, or feedback? Leave a comment here!
    :lightbulb: Check out a list of common suggestions!
    :lightbulb: Want to keep track of known issues? Check out our Status Forum!
    :bug: Find a bug? Report it to the Help Desk(Be as detailed as possible!)




    JULY Challenge WATER last day to vote

    Journal Entry: Fri Jul 25, 2014, 6:35 AM


    :icontransparentplz:
    :iconthefavouriteshowcase:



    JULY Theme_WATER
    All works here 
    thefavouriteshowcase.deviantar…


    Hello deviants :wave:


    This is the new way to find our winner of our monthly challenge: instead using a Poll with the ten most voted of the period, we'll be using a blog to showcase the 20 MOST VOTED on this theme!

    This means, or so I hope, more exposure for your pieces and galleries.


    The idea is simple: each work has a number and all deviants have the opportunity to vote like if it was a poll...with the difference that you will choose not one but 3 favourites!

    All deviants may vote, INCLUSIVE who is participating; the participants may vote for themselves and ask friends and watchers to vote; this blog may have publicity by all means and be submitted in groups. 




    The work with most votes wins 130 points;
    the second place wins 80, the 3rd place wins 50 and the 4th wins 25 :points:.


    These prizes can be updated for the next themes with the help of our friends:

    :iconthe-average-alex: is giving 100 points for every theme during this year, on a total of 1200 :points:.
    Thank you so much Alex!

    You may also help by clicking on our stamp :iconthefavouritecontests::iconthefavouritecontest2: and making a donation.




    Follow the RULES to VOTE...

    EVERYONE VOTING and :+fav:ING THIS BLOG will enter a draw to win 10 :points:.
    The participants may and should click the Favourite Button too - this will give you another chance to win more points!
    And so you can have more possibilities to win I'll give 5 prizes of 10 points!

    Vote and let your friends know about this voting!



    NOTE: The participants who don't vote aren't eligible to win.





    Arrow Bullet (Rainbow) - F2U! Arrow Bullet (Rainbow) - F2U! Arrow Bullet (Rainbow) - F2U! Arrow Bullet (Rainbow) - F2U! Arrow Bullet (Rainbow) - F2U! RULES to VOTE Arrow Bullet Left (Rainbow) - F2U! Arrow Bullet Left (Rainbow) - F2U! Arrow Bullet Left (Rainbow) - F2U! Arrow Bullet Left (Rainbow) - F2U! Arrow Bullet Left (Rainbow) - F2U! 

    (read careful, it's very simple)
    *everyone can participate, you don't have to be a member of TheFavouriteShowcase.



    1. Choose your favourite 3 works from below;

    2. See the correspondent number before the thumb? Comment on this blog by writing the numbers of your favourite works, like this:

    29, 45, 67

    You have 3 votes to give and you must give all the 3 votes, not 1, not 2, not 5 - it's 3 votes!
    Comments with fewer or more than 3 votes will be ignored.

    3. To have the possibility to win 10 :points: entering a draw, FAVE THIS BLOG!

    4. You don't have to do anything else :thumbsup: 
    This voting will be open until the 30th July and the winners will be announced on the 31st July.


    Thank you for participating!



    1

     Traditional Art:icontransparentplz::icontransparentplz:
     Living Water by AmBr0 
    by AmBr0



    2

    :icontransparentplz::icontransparentplz: Traditional Art
    Splash by Paul-Shanghai
    by Paul-Shanghai

    3

    :icontransparentplz::icontransparentplz:Photography
     Nature's tears. by mylittlebluesky

    4

    Traditional Art:icontransparentplz::icontransparentplz:
    Summer Rainfall by lemgras330  
    by lemgras330



    5

    :icontransparentplz:Traditional Art
    Color Wave by AmBr0
      by AmBr0



    6

    :icontransparentplz::icontransparentplz:Photography
    Freudentraenen by SchwarzWieEbenholZ


    7

    :icontransparentplz:Photography
    Summer Night in Vancouver by dashakern 
    by dashakern


    8

    :icontransparentplz: Photography
    Snoqualmie Falls 2 by jxsnyder


    9

    :icontransparentplz: Digital Art
     sleepy mermaid by Lolita-Artz


    10

    :icontransparentplz: Photography
    Heart of the Whitsundays by Questavia
    by Questavia



    11

    Traditional Art:icontransparentplz: 
    Splash! by lemgras330  
    by lemgras330



    12

    :icontransparentplz:Photography
    Golden drops - Strange world by AStoKo
     by AStoKo


    13

    :icontransparentplz:Traditional Art


    14

    :icontransparentplz::icontransparentplz:Photography
    Listening to the Sea by Brightsmile-didi  
    by Brightsmile-didi


    15

    :icontransparentplz:Photography</span>
    Lake Tahoe 140527-72 by MartinGollery 


    16

    :icontransparentplz::icontransparentplz:Traditional Art
    Water dream by marcobusoni



    17

    :icontransparentplz::icontransparentplz:Photography
    She holds her pose by gigi50 
    by gigi50


    18

    :icontransparentplz:Traditional Art
    Waterfall by diana-0421 
    by diana-0421


    19

    :icontransparentplz:Traditional Art
    Ichthyosaurs by EsthervanHulsen 
    by EsthervanHulsen

    20

    Traditional Art:icontransparentplz::icontransparentplz:
    Wet 3 by Paul-Shanghai 
    by Paul-Shanghai








    NEXT THEME: TRAVELs
    Submissions open here thefavouriteshowcase.deviantar… on the 1st AUGUST






    Elsa, Egil21 :iconpinklilyplz: on behalf of  :iconthefavouriteshowcase:



    :icontransparentplz:
     



     
    Realm of Fantasy

    :+fav: Fav this Feature for a chance to get your artwork presented in our next feature!
    We will pick one Member that faved this article to be in the next one.


    Of Angels and Demons

    presented by the Realm of Fantasy

    (Volume 2)





    As the duet between Good and Evil plays on...

    Please Support The Featured Artists


    88grzes, yuchenghong, AniaMitura, Toru-meow, ChrisCold, anotherwanderer, streetX222, Verehin, yigitkoroglu, crow-god, kir-tat, Eddy-Shinjuku, bayardwu, DanielaUhlig, AlexandraVBach, t1na, Cryptcrawler, Kashivan, bayardwu, Exphrasis
    Be sure to visit the featured Artists, comment and fave their works.
    And if you like this art feature please :+fav: this blog to help spread the word.

    More RoF Feature Series:


    "Of Angels and Demons"
    Volume 1
    Volume 2
    "In the Shadow of Dragons"
    Volume 1
    "From Myth and Legend"
    Volume 1
    "The Warrior and the Mage"
    Volume 1
    "Rise from the Dead"
    Volume 1
    "Amongst the Elves and Fae"
    Volume 1
    "To Battle the Horde"
    Volume 1
    "Into the Realm"
    Volume 1



    :iconrealm-of-fantasy:
    "Free your imagination, and the world will follow"


    A few weeks back while thinking about this journal, I came across a forum for paid photojournalism jobs. I left it some time later in complete shock. There I found posting after posting about jobs paying nothing, next to nothing, or promising payment and then paychecks never arriving in the mail.   I sat there, closed the laptop lid, and thought for a long while.

    I know I’m fortunate to be paid for what I do.   A big part of this is because I specialize in something very few photographers are doing at a professional level. But what most people don’t realize is that even at this level a large percentage of my workload involves pay negotiations.  There are contracts that took months of negotiation.  Some took weeks, or a single week, or several days, or a flurry of emails or texts in just a few minutes.

    Every single one of those initially low-balled me; offering me starting contracts at 10-20% of my regular rate.  And despite publications threatening to walk (and at least half will threaten to), I often land the print run anyway...and at what I was asking for or close to it.

    Why?

    Negotiation.


    The Myths of Freelance Photojournalism Pay



    Myth: “The internet (translation: your photo) should be free!!!”   

    Reality:  Well then cameras should be free too, shouldn’t they? Also, lenses should be free. And monopods. And filters. And batteries. And memory cards. And rain covers. And hotel expenses and gas and food and plane tickets and the various licensing fees I have to pay and any injuries I incur or damage to my machines.  It takes real time, effort, experience and money to get a single fraction of a second like this.  I'm a serious professional in my industry and my work is not and should not be free.  I contact every theft I find.  Sometimes I invoice them.

    Myth: “No one pays for freelance work.”  <---this is bullshit. See it. Smell it. Touch it. Remember it.

    The Truth:  Actually, yes, they do. All publications worth their salt have a photo budget and an established standard day rate or individual photo rate.  This rate will vary depending on how established a photographer you are, how unique your photograph is, and the terms of the editorial license itself (for example, do they want exclusive rights to print it, or first run only, etc.)

    Remember these publications have been in business for decades. They’ve published tens of thousands of photos in that time.  They have a photo budget and a rate and they negotiate like pros. Negotiate with them. 

    Myth: "Photojournalism is dying. Therefore, we can't pay you."

    Reality: Photojournalism is evolving....like all industries (transportation, education, medical, etc.) as we make the switch to ever changing technology.  But it's still a profession, will remain a profession, and professionals in any industry, even in the middle of change, are compensated appropriately for the service they perform. 



    But What am I worth?



    That is the big question.  Most people fail because they have no idea. I was in that place very early in my career, but it changed quickly when I figured out I did have worth and I charged accordingly.

    How do you determine your rates? First, there are five things to consider:

    YOU.   How established are you? Are you an amateur? A hobbyist who got lucky? Are you looking to be pro?  Are you already professional? How long have you been in business?  Who are your typical clients? What is your typical subject?
    THE CLIENT.  Is this a newspaper? A magazine? A book? Online? Print?  How long have they been in business?
    THE PHOTO SIZE/COLOUR.   How big will the image be on the page? Are we talking a quarter page? A spot?  A half page? Is this the front cover?  Black and white?  Full colour?
    THE CIRCULATION.  How many people purchase this publication? Do they have fewer than 1000? Over a million?  Obviously, the number of customers gives you an idea how much a company might be able, or not able, to pay for your image. Do your research.
    THE PHOTO.   How unique is this shot?  How valuable is it? How quickly do they need it?  How difficult were the conditions to get the shot.  Did you have to climb Everest for it? Or could any joe schmoe on the street have gotten a lower quality but still useable photo of the same subject?

    I have a sliding scale for all of my images based on that five criteria. At the lower end of the scale might be an image that isn’t entirely unique, feeling more stock-like, or where I know I have a lot of competition.  At the higher end of the scale, might be a unique image I know only I got or one I can tell they really want and for good reason.  If images switch to colour or suddenly become a front cover, that price goes up accordingly.  I also may lower my scale slightly as a courtesy, one that is purchasing multiple images, or one that is at a very low circulation rate.  Often we make up the difference in various add-ons that can be converted to monetary value such as advertising in the publication, tickets, or being forwarded to another potential client. Remember these are negotiations.  Negotiate until both parties are happy, and don’t freak if they don’t talk to you for a day or two. It’s normal.  
     
    Second,  don’t be afraid to ask what their standard rate is.  Like I said before, if this publication is the real deal (and their answer to this question will give you either good flags or major major bad red flags) they can and will have an answer. But always ask and ask first if you can. They’re used to being asked this question, and they will have an answer for you.  And it’ll probably be lower than what you want to hear.  But just because they do have a rate, and it’s lower than what you’re expecting, don’t be afraid to mention what your own rate is and that you're willing to compromise.  You never know. :)


    How much should I charge?



    This is the worst question. lol. Hard to know without knowing you personally.  I will, however, forward onto you information that was given to me by fellow pros when I first started.  There ARE actual photo quote products out there. They are good and almost all decent publications are familiar with their invoices.  It’s an option.  

    There’s also these free options, but they aren’t perfect:

    National Press Photographers: nppa.org/calculator  
    Editorial Use Calculator:  photographersindex.com/price-e…

    Remember to always consider your unique criteria. And don’t be afraid to ask other photojournalists what they charge.  Some might tell you or help you find a honest quote.


    Should I ever work for free?



    This is obviously controversial.  For me? The answer is yes.  And no.  In my mind, nothing is ever free.  Everything is a negotiation.  Even if it’s “free”, it’s not. If I’m not receiving real money, there needs to be something of comparable value involved in terms of future work.  I typically only do one or two charity events per year for foundations that mean something to me personally. That’s it.

    If you work for free...a lot....

    1. You aren’t going to make any money.  That’s logic. Please accept logic for what it is. Logic.  Reality. Inescapable sadfest.

    2. The tax service of whatever country you belong to is going to kick your butt and shut you down within a year or two, I promise you.  So...stupid stupid stupid idea.  Still want to risk it? You better be able to explain why you gave away your work for free and have it make sense.  No, you probably won’t be able to.  So don’t do it.  

    3. You really are undermining others and especially yourself.  Remember how much it hurts to be told again and again that you and your work aren’t worth anything? Why on earth would you ever agree with them?  Why would you ever agree with them on behalf of all of us?  And why on earth would you reinforce it?!!  

    If you're going to work for free remind yourself you should be getting something of comparable value.  And never, ever, ever, take paid work away from another photographer. If someone has a bid that involves pay and you offer to do the same job for free?  Don't. Please.  It's unethical and it's cruel.  When no one is paid, no one pays their bills.  Not them. And not you.


    What about AP/Getty?


    For the average photographer with a shot to sell, their criteria are often very difficult to meet.  You have to have a very solid portfolio, a truly great image or a mega-useful one.  They WILL require a model/property release form for some shots.  Sure, the likelihood that you will be sued is very low without one, you don’t have the money, so you probably didn’t even bother at the time you took the shot, but these big firms do have money and they will want those forms to protect themselves. Sometimes even for editorial...just in case.   This is a pain.  Why? Because most people, especially strangers, freak out the moment you hand them a form with lots of legal mumbo jumbo. You will need to learn how to get these forms in case these agencies require them.

    Second, if you’re a college student and you worked for a college paper your work might have been published with them.  Remember the college owns your work and they can and will sell it if the big boys ask.  It’s still portfolio points for you, but you probably won’t see a dime unless you’re lucky.


    Respect your Potential Employer (even if they insulted you)


    This will be a short section because it's common sense.  I always handle negotiations with complete respect. If negotiations get tense, it's okay to take a break.  Be firm in your value, compromise only where you're comfortable with it, but treat them with respect.


    GET IT IN WRITING


    Another short section.  Also because it's more common sense.  Get any agreed terms in writing, with clear statements and the words "I accept these terms" from both parties.  There are dozens of templates for editorial licenses online, please research them and use them. Don't release it until you are paid or a clear contract has been established. 


    Lastly.....



    So that’s really the gist of it.  I can’t tell you how to negotiate word for word, because it’s a craft and it varies.  But I can promise you that all negotiations, all successful negotiations, begin with knowing what you’re worth and committing yourself to defending it.   Yes, it’s stressful, but when that first real paycheck comes...you just might frame it.  After all, it’s the first one of many and you can cash those future checks instead. ;)

    :heart: Like the information provided here? Please favourite, comment, and help spread the info! :heart: