MelissaFindley's avatar


Jack of all trades...
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3 min read
You all may have noticed that I've stopped posting artwork here. Part of that is due to the fact that my output has been drastically reduced thanks to a job that takes most of my artistic energy and doesn't leave me a ton of time for personal projects. Part of that is due to the fact that I've turned my spare time artistic efforts toward a writing project that I hope, someday, to publish in one form or another. 

But a BIG part of it is this: I'm so, so, so tired of being ripped off.

For the second time in the last week I'm having to file a DMCA, this time with, because some asshole has taken something I made and is selling it on a t-shirt. Before this, same image was being sold on Society6 by someone else. These are only the tip of the iceberg. I've had my art used on book covers without my permission, trading cards, and too many t-shirts to count. I had a guy contact me after the fact, to write me a novel explaining why my art was so damn good he had to copy it and do a crappy version of it for a backdrop for some band thing he was working on. Someone else did the same thing with my Red Queen, only they wanted it for Burning Man. With my current day job keeping me busy I don't have TIME to hunt down every single person who is selling my artwork. 

The time has come to start thinking about taking all of it down. Or at least slapping massive watermarks on everything. 

I know that those of you who are reading this are not the people who are stealing my work. I hope. 

But I'm so, so tired of the people who do. It makes me want to stop posting my artwork online. It makes me want to pull down every piece of fan art I've ever done because bizarrely, that's what keeps getting sold on T-shirts and shit. I wish I had the money to hire a lawyer and sue the pants off of every single jackass out there who thought they'd make a quick buck off my back. Or the back of ANY artist out there who keeps finding their work being sold by someone who isn't them. 

I'm going to start with watermarks. 

This is why we can't have nice things. 
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4 min read
So, it's been awhile since you all last heard from me. Over a year ago now, by my previous journal entry, and I left you all on a bit of a cliffhanger. So, over a year later, I suppose I should let you know how things are.

Computer Situation

In November 2012, I went through an experience I hope no one ever has to go through. In a perfect storm of trouble, my hard drives and backups were all destroyed in a single day. And because life hated me that day, my cats knocked a glass of water onto my laptop and damaged it, too. I lost ... pretty much everything. With the exception of a few things I'd had on a USB drive and what we could get off the laptop, I lost over 7 years worth of files, including all of my artwork. All the original PSD files. Everything. 

You have no idea how depressing and discouraging that was. For a long time I couldn't draw at all. It hurt just to think about it. It was exhausting to even come up with a single idea that wasn't work related. I cut back on my freelancing and focused on my day job, and it got me through.

I now have a fully functioning computer again, and a brand new laptop that I can use for work thats even better than the desktop computer. I've switched to cloud/off-site backups and no longer have to worry that a freak accident will destroy everything I've ever done. 

And a couple of months ago, while looking for something else, I managed to turn on one of my older model laptops. One that barely works. And discovered that for some unknown, wonderful reason, I had at some point put a copy of the original PSDs for all of my artwork on that computer. I have my art files back (and backed up properly now). It's a fantastic feeling. It's not EVERYTHING, of course. Anything I'd done in the intervening time between putting those on there and the computer failure was still lost. But it's 95% or so, and that's good enough for me. 


A few years ago I took the plunge and got back into theatre. I studied theatre in college — acting, directing, design, you name it — and actually interned in theater for a couple of years. I burnt out on it a bit, and life forced me to have to make other decisions. However, in 2010 I started acting again, then got involved in other aspects of theatre, and was eventually hired on by my local community theatre as a graphic designer, marketing and social media manager. 

This has been a blessing in a lot of ways. I'm branching out and doing stuff that's incredibly creative and that I really love. It does mean that I've lost time to work on freelancing and my own artwork. But I have some really fantastic design work that I'm very pleased with and would like to show you all. Particularly my set design work. 

So, expect to see a slight change in some of the work in my gallery. I'm still doing some freelance illustration on the side, and fantasy art in my spare time, but I'm also going to be adding some of my set and theatrical design, as well as poster designs and some graphic design as well. 

Personal Work

On a more personal level, I'm drawing again. Painting. Experimenting. I have a particular character on the brain lately that insists on being drawn. I'll probably be posting some work along those lines in the future. It's been a while, and I feel a bit rusty when it comes to personal artwork. It's been too long since I painted things that made me happy. It's something I don't want to stop doing, though. 

Upcoming Stuff

I've got two set designs coming up at work, one in particular that I'm super excited about because of how creative it's going to let me be. I'm hoping to get to share those things with you all. Hoping enough of you are still watching this gallery to care. 

I'll be posting a backlog of some of my theatrical work soon and doing some clean up on my gallery as well to make room for it. 

Hope you guys stick around.  
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4 min read
The Saturday before Thanksgiving I had the perfect storm of computer related failures.

In less than the time it takes to say "oops" I lost my main computer hard drive, and one backup drive.

It was an accident. Utterly ridiculous and completely unforeseeable. My husband, who is an experienced IT director with years of IT work under his belt, was upgrading my computer. There was a tiny wire where a wire shouldn't have been. It got cut. Add power. Presto: instant short and boom. Gone. Poof. Up in smoke.

My second backup drive looks like it survived. It has, as best as I can recall, nothing on it but my oldest files. I think everything on it must be from at least three years ago, if not more. I also think it's JUST art files.

I lost over seven years worth of work in the blink of an eye. All my contracted work from the last three years that was under NDA and waiting to be released? Yeah, the original files are gone. (Thankfully I'd turned them all in, but still...). All my digital sketchbooks. All that stuff in my Art Graveyard. Every book cover. Every template I'd built over the years. My brush libraries and texture libraries.

ALL my files for my part-time job.

All of it. Poof.

We sent the drives off to a data recovery center to see if they can get anything off them. The estimate we got back today has left me feeling more than a little sick to my stomach. It might be January before they can get even 90% of the stuff recovered, but there's no guarantee. There's a very good chance that most of the files are corrupted beyond recovery. IF they manage to get at least 90% of the stuff back, though, we're looking at around $2000 (possibly more).

Needless to say, I really don't have that sort of money.

I'm not going to be accepting commissions for the foreseeable future. Right now I need to work on rebuilding much of what I lost for my part-time job, and making sure that I can finish the stuff that I had deadlines for coming up. I will post here when I'm open for commissions again.

DeviantArt is the only real archive I have of most of my artwork now. I know most of the work that's up is old -- I haven't had much time for personal work over the last couple of years, and everything else was under NDAs until recently.

However, if you've ever wanted to buy any of my work, this would be an excellent time to do it. Whatever is up in my print shop is all I've got.

And let my experience be a lesson to all of you out there who do digital artwork. BACK UP your work. Not just to flash drives (my USB drive is corrupted and half the files on it are unusable right now). Not just to your laptop (Because the same day that my main computer got fried, my cats dumped a glass of water on my laptop. Like I said, perfect storm). You NEED an external back up, off site, away from your house. Make copies of your files and burn them to DVDs and send them to your parents or sibling. Use a cloud backup system. Do both. Whatever it takes to make sure that your work is preserved in the event of a tragedy, whether it's a natural disaster or just a wire hiding where a wire shouldn't have been.
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7 min read

Character Portraits

So far my character portrait specials have worked out well. At the moment I have two left to finish up, as we head into September.  Interest has been slow, but steady, so I'm not sure if I should continue this a bit longer or try something else. I'm going to leave one slot open for now, but I'm willing to entertain suggestions for other deals, specials, or ideas anyone might have.  What do you think?

Character Portrait Special:
  • Cost: $100 (normal cost for this would be about $185)
  • One character per portrait, shoulders up
  • Simple background
  • Final digital file suitable for personal use: printing or game avatars, etc. May not be used commercially or resold.
  • Full color, digital painting, from scratch. No photomanipulation.

Character Portraits

Slot 1. :iconabigailmh:abigailmh "Dermot"
Slot 2. :iconabigailmh:abigailmh "Marcus"
Slot 3. available

If you're interested, please send me a note, via dA, with a brief physical description of your character.

Character Portrait - Acacia by MelissaFindley Character Portrait: Rhiannon by MelissaFindley Smoke by MelissaFindley Sebastian by MelissaFindley Alchemy: April by MelissaFindley Portrait Commission -Mendarien by MelissaFindley

LiveStream Questions

It's been over a year since I did my live UStream sessions, and since then UStream seems to have turned into a steaming pile of unusable crap (sorry, UStream people, but it has). The ads are really intrusive and I can't afford to pay to get rid of them. The streaming quality is terrible on the lowest bandwidth setting, but if I up it any higher it drops the connection. None of this is workable. I've never used LiveStream, and back when I was looking for streaming options, I chose UStream over LiveStream because of a.) ease of use, b.) I liked their TOS better and c.) I liked their online helpdesk services better. Right now only b.) applies.

So my questions, for those of you who use LiveStream:
What's the quality like?
How intrusive are the ads?
How often does your connection drop out?
How good is their customer service?
What do you like about them? What don't you like?

Founding Member of:


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7 min read

Can you believe it's been nine months since I last updated this? Crazy, huh, especially for me. But this year has been full of all kinds of interesting things and I've been busy like you wouldn't believe.

I've done three plays, and I'm getting ready to stage manage a fourth at the beginning of January. I've had a lot of commission work come in (sadly, almost all of it under NDAs, so those will be trickling out as they're released. Two have already been posted to my gallery). I have a print book cover out through Llwellyn Worldwide Publishing:… which should be going up in my gallery at some point. I wrote a novel and a half of a second one.

Basically, I'm busy as a little bee.

But since it's almost Christmas I figured it was time to post an update and talk about, well, buying stuff. From me. 'Cause... uh... money good?


I've been trying to put together a calendar, but having a little trouble coming up with a full twelve pieces that weren't in the previous calendar that I'd want to feature. I think, at this point, I have eleven. If you've got a favorite piece that you'd want to see in a calendar, let me know. I'm hoping to finish it by the end of the week, which may not be in time for a Christmas gift, but if you're looking for something for yourself for the New Year... there you go.

Also, if anyone is interested, I may update my 2009 calendar for 2011 (Same images, different dates).

Zazzle Shop

Also, I've recently started up a Zazzle store to offer things that I can't offer here on dA: . You'll find, mostly, iPhone and iPad cases, though I will eventually be adding things like t-shirts and buttons.

dA Prints

Speaking of my dA store: it's getting to be about time for me to do my usual purge of old stuff that I don't like anymore. Usually these images are paintings I'm no longer satisfied with, or that aren't representative of my work any longer. At least one of them I plan to update or repaint entirely. Others are simply just being retired. Since there's a sale going on, now might be the time to consider picking up one, if you've had it on your wish list. After January 1st the following prints will be retired from my dA Store.

Vainglorious by MelissaFindley Frost Bites by MelissaFindley Suffering Things by MelissaFindley Valentine by MelissaFindley Thirst by MelissaFindley A Darkly Tangled Skein by MelissaFindley


I have a few pieces that I've been working on that are personal pieces. However, with my time so divided, the paying stuff has had to take precedence. Look to see some of them out early next year, and my paying stuff as soon as it's out from under NDA. I've done some work on several FFG card lines this year, and a few pieces that I'm really proud of, so I can't wait to show you them.

I think I'm also going to be working on updating my branding, so expect a few cosmetic changes to my various sites and things in the coming months.

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I'm at the end of my rope by MelissaFindley, journal

Updates and things by MelissaFindley, journal

Let me be a lesson to all of you... by MelissaFindley, journal

Sept. Character Portraits and LiveStream ? by MelissaFindley, journal

Tis the Season, and all that... by MelissaFindley, journal