Monday, December 27, 2010

I'll be updating the shop throughout the week with these little rings and some other goodies :)

Friday, December 24, 2010

O Night Divine

A very Merry Christmas to you all ~

Fall on your knees, O hear the angel voices!
O night, divine! O night, when Christ was born!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Fashion Illustration

So wonderful to find today that my lovely friend, Paulette of Miss Charm's Chic, had featured my fashion illustrations with some very talented artists on EnviShoes blog!

Please click this link and check out the article for some amazing works!

click the image for a larger version

Monday, December 20, 2010

Here's where we left off in our livestream... thanks to everyone who came, it was fun! Sorry about the glitches at the end!

Next streaming session is Wednesday, Dec 22nd at 10pm EST :)

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Sketch of a personal piece I've had bouncing around in my head for awhile. Haven't had much time to paint with all that's been happening with the shop... hoping to put together some things after the holidays.

Art (c) Erin McManness 2010
click for larger image

"Then the cold came, the dark days
when fear crept into my mind"

Thursday, December 16, 2010

I must have these. A la { Tabitha Simmons }

Tonight I've been sketching and working up new designs for early Spring2011. Trend forecasts are saying a mix of "edgy and ultra-feminine", so we're embracing black, white, gold, blush, and lacy elements.

The snow fell silently today, but I couldn't help thinking forward to when we can bust out our statement shoes, lacy short dresses, and tailored black sharp-cropped coats. Ready to have sex-kitten hair, creamy pearl necklaces, and punk-rock edge this Jan/Feb/Mar.

Gearing up for a January photoshoot of LOTS of new items.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The only thing I will say about it.

"He didn't even say goodbye, he didn't take the time to lie. Bang bang, he shot me down. Bang bang I hit the ground" ~

Bang bang.

Again, the greatest thing my mother ever taught me holds true for yet another day. Nothing left to do but shake my head, laugh at the irony, and move on.

* designs / photography (c) Erin McManness / Miri-love 2010

On another note, I have been thoroughly busy with custom jewelry and shop orders! It's been great :) Above is a detail shot from a Christmas gift I designed for a client. It's the best feeling when a customer is just thrilled with what you've made for them. I was given so much artistic freedom with this, which was amazing :) Nothing but good things to say! I can show more once the holidays are over, as some works are a surprise and I don't want to ruin it ;)

I am working on trend forecasts for early Spring2011. Sketches and some fashion-y collages are sure to be posted right after the holidays. Get ready amigos ~

Thursday, December 9, 2010

"'Cause I've been there before
and you've been there before
but together we can be alright"

As different as we all are, aren't we all searching for the same thing?

Call me a hug-box, but sometimes I think that the world could have a lot more "right" in it if we just took a moment to love each other a little more.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Greatest Thing My Mother Ever Taught Me

I always seem to find inspiration and something to say at around 2 or 3am. Sometimes inspiration... it doesn't have a normal schedule.

Many can relate to me when I say that the economy has truly taken its toll. I ended up popping on "Cinderella Man" in the wee hours of this morning; for those who haven't seen it, first: go rent it, or download it to Wii, or whatever it is we do now. But for those who haven't seen it, it is the story of James J. Braddock, who was a boxer during the Great Depression, who overcame all odds, and went from an injured, broke underdog to world champion (plus, Russell Crowe is just brilliant).

At this point, I have been freelancing for a surprising 7 months. Read: when I say "freelancing", I really honestly mean "looking for a full-time job, drawing furiously to pay the bills, and drinking lots and lots of coffee." I love the movie Cinderella Man because it really cuts to the heart of the viewer (or maybe I'm just a big softie). For most of the movie, we witness the hardships that the Braddock family endures during the Depression. Watching the movie again tonight, not only was I moved just because it seems like such a hopeless, difficult situation for anyone to endure, but because I feel as though I am living that situation. Perhaps financially not to that extreme, but the feelings of hopelessness, of trying everything you can possibly think of to find work, yet it's not there... those things are such a reality for others, and myself.

I have read that this is "the Great Depression of our time". I will admit to you, honestly, that it has weighed on me. And most of you reading this, I know that it's weighed on you too. I came back East from Los Angeles with the intention to have a full-time job in 2 months. Afterall, it only took me 2 months before to find work. Obviously my skillset is valuable. Obviously I am valuable. Right?


It's been 7 months. After awhile, as most of you know, it's difficult to keep momentum if it's you that you are following. After while, you start to search for something outside of yourself, to renew you, to rejuvenate you, to keep you going when you feel you simply can't do it yourself any longer. You start to search so desperately that you lose sight of yourself, or your reasons for doing anything. All you know is that you need something to keep you high, so you don't sink so low that you can't pull yourself out. I have been here. And I know so many others who are there with me.

When I was a kid, my mother was a single mom. And though my dad was and is a wonderful father and drove 9 hours to see my sister and I growing up every other weekend, I remember my mom making most of my clothes. I remember never ordering soda at a restaurant. I remember laying with my window open at night because we didn't have AC. I remember walking everywhere. But the thing that I remember most is how strong my mother was; and how I knew that I was a strong lady, because my mother taught me how to be.

The greatest thing my mother taught me was that, no matter what, you must always be able to count on yourself, when you could count on no other, and nothing else. That you must be strong, you must make a way for yourself, that you must be proud and confident in who you are and trust in yourself.

Like I said before, sometimes, when we feel like we are in so deep, we lose sight of ourselves or our reasons for doing anything. We forget who we are: that we can endure, and that we are strong. We forget that we don't need something else to pull us up, that we can inspire ourselves to rise above, and rise above we shall. That maybe we are the underdog right now, but that we have the stuff inside of us already to conquer whatever we set our mind to.

I have been needing a reminder of my own capabilities, and tonight was an unexpected and welcome realization. So, therefore, I'd like to publicly thank my mother and, of course, Mr. Russell Crowe.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Yea, I know what's on your mind when you say, Stay with me tonight.

As promised, the sample for my upcoming joint auction with the lovely Ana and Jaded. You get to see it before anyone, because you are an awesome blog-watcher. Way to go, you :)

Art (c) Erin McManness / Miri-love 2010
* click for larger

I'm super stoked about this auction, it's gonna be epic. Can't give everything away yet though!

I'm really really good (read: bad) at going to bed on time, so here it is, 2am (again), and I'm updating my little section of the blog-o-sphere. How typical.

Things are changing for me. My mind is changing. My plans are changing?

At this point, my mind keeps changing from day to day, so it's almost not even worth it to officially put my opinion into words; it'll be different and irrelevant tomorrow. Cryptic? Yes. Helpful? No.

For now, let's just enjoy this:
Feel free to get up out of your chair and bust some moves:

Sunday, November 28, 2010

"Let's get rich and give everybody nice sweaters and teach them how to dance."
- Ingrid Michaelson

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving :) - Black Friday Deals!

Go to My Etsy Shop, The Little Bird, and enter
for 15% off your purchase!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

"I am the voice of the past that will always be
filled with my sorrow and blood in my fields.
I am the voice of the future;
Bring me your peace,
Bring me your peace,
And my wounds, they will heal."

- The Voice, Celtic Woman

Sunday, November 21, 2010

I can make you ice cream; we could be a sweet team.

I am getting the craving for black tights with boots, wavy long hair, and 80's sunglasses in turquoise. Basically, let's be totally rad.

Good God, I have so much on my To Do list... and yet all I wanna do is sit here and sketch some fashion illustrations. It's so much fun to be a totally ADD artist.

I feel like I should have something more groundbreaking to say to you guys.

I'm going to be in a Holiday Auction with two lovely, killer lady artist friends of mine. Since I promised to put sketches and process work up here for you, enjoy this chick:

click for larger version

She's a little messy, forgive me. She'll be CG'd.

The final version will be exclusively for my auction sample, which will probably launch Dec 5th or so.

Also working on lots of custom commissioned jewelry for the holidays, which is super exciting because I keep falling more and more in love with accessory and product design. Like I said, ADD. I like to refer to this condition as "Jane of all Trades".
Oh my gosh. I need to move out. For real.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

"And you're a big wonderful tangle of lungs and arms and fingers and toes and broad shoulders and a sweet, sweet face."

And the best cover I've heard in a long time.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

"What I Wore" - Homecoming :)

Latest installment of What I Wore, because I needed a brain break from commissions!

Click for larger version:

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Makin' Friends at Halloween

Happy Halloween :)

Art (c) Erin McManness 2010 - deviantart
Click the image for larger version

"Sing, with your head up,
With your eyes closed,
Not because you love the song
Because you love to sing,
Because you love to sing."
- Copeland

Saturday, October 23, 2010

If I ever won the lottery, I wouldn't buy stuff like a nice car, or designer clothes, or expensive jewelry.

I would travel the world and draw. everything.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

We are who we are.

Anyone who knows me knows that I've been sort of in a slump lately. I'm usually a very motivated, go-get-it person. Lately I've been tired, uninterested. I haven't been me.

I forgot how beautiful the world is, how many good things we have in this life. How beautiful, unique, and different people are. And why things are right that way. It took awhile to sink in, but this past weekend I finally felt like I could let loose and have fun. I'm tired of being serious; I was made to appreciate all the joy in life. Sometimes you just need awesome people to rub off on you and smack some sense into you, even if it means dancing like an idiot under strobe lights in a crowd of drunk people. I forgot how it was to feel this way.

My greatest fear is to have a life of complacency. And above all else, I want someone to laugh with, someone who doesn't take life too seriously. After all, you'll never make it out alive ;)

Never thought a Kesha song would inspire a blog post. Lol.

And just for giggles, my jewelry met former President Bush!
Many thanks to my lovely friend, who was kind enough to share this with me! And to share my jewelry with Mister George!

Monday, October 18, 2010

"some women choose to follow men, and some women choose to follow their dreams. If you’re wondering which way to go, remember that your career will never wake up and tell you that it doesn’t love you anymore"
- gaga-ology

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Best Motivation Ever

I am in a terrible art slump; I feel like I can't paint. Like my knowledge has evaporated. It sucks.

So, trying to motivate myself, I was browsing through the CA forums, and came across someone in a similar situation, in which I read this brilliant response, and knew I needed to keep it, share it:

From Joe Smith:

"Oh, enough with this patheticness!

every thread on here is turning into "i'm a sad emo who can't work up the energy to lift a pencil", where is this generation of weak artists comming from? is DeviantArt telling kids to eat paint chips or something, why is everyone so tired and burnt out? you kids are doing one drawing a week and feel depleted artistically, what the fuck?

eff' that noise! rip off your shirt, stand on your chair, pump your arm into the air. whip back your hair and hold your pencil aloft. the clouds will part and a beam of light will engulf you. golden big-tittied angels will dance around, as super badass looking aura flames shoot from your body. your pencil will start glowing and sizzling with power. AND DRAW MOTHERFUCKER!

you need to be 100% intense all of the time.

draw as though you have to deliver an ass-kicking ninja-style at any minute with your art skill. eat more beef jerky and use a rattle-snake as a condom.


After dinner I need to do this

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Work in Progress for Auction Winner :)

Monday, October 11, 2010

Someone told me to call out bullshit when I see it, so I'm calling it out.

Okay, I've poured my second cup of coffee, and I feel like being honest.

I've been EXTREMELY cautious about putting this situation on the 'net, but I feel like I have to just get some things out. I'm terrible when I bottle things up, and it ruins my creative energy. Since this is my personal space, I feel I have the freedom to address this issue; I feel other venues are not the proper place.

I used to not be a person that believed in the "mysterious power of positive thinking", and maybe it was all the sunshine in LA that changed the chemicals in my brain, but I DO believe that having a positive outlook on life, business, my personal hobbies, etc takes you far. As the great Tarina Tarantino said,

"Attitude is everything and if you want to be successful in life make sure you have a good one."

I've been fed up for a long time with people who have bad attitudes towards others. A lot of people will claim that the "Art World" is a scary place, where people exist only to compete with you and knock you down. While there people out there that do do that, my experiences working in the industry in LA have led me to believe (and practice has backed up my beliefs) that the wise designers/artists will collaborate instead of compete. My boss and mentor was always telling me how important your friends are, and how helping them helps you. Plus, it's just the right thing to do. I also read a great quote the other day that I feel sums up the situation:

"It is a wise man who seeks help by helping, and not by threats or tricks"

I disagree with the notion that treating others and their work like dirt is "good for them". I am all for giving critical critique and pointing out the flaws and weaknesses in someone's work when they ask for an evaluation. What I don't agree with are personal attacks on the artist or the way they are progressing. Really, I ask, how does that help them improve? I have been in the center of a situation where my character is constantly called into question (and spread negatively around) by others who simply don't agree with me. What gives these people the authority to judge my character and make claim to "how I should do things"? I am constantly reading how I "avoid critique like it's poison" and other various "truths" about me personally. I am a little confused as to who died and crowned them with the Art World authority.

I guess the bottom line for me is that I get fed up with people like this; that I have the screenshots to prove how much one person just stirs up drama about me for no reason, for over the entire past month and a half when I have not contacted her directly or indirectly. It's pathetic. If this person were to spend less time worrying about me, and put use to that time to improve her work, her work would be so much better. What a waste of time to spend your whole afternoon drawing a picture to make fun of someone else. I'm sorry, but my art goals reach higher than picking fights with others and I simply don't have time to be devoting my whole afternoon to making a picture about you and how I don't like you for whatever reason. And the kicker is that I get to read fun things about me like, "Oh, she always makes everything about her." And I just chuckle, shrug and think, "Why go through the effort? You guys do it for me!"

What makes me just laugh is how these select people will go around saying, "WELL, if she would only listen to US, being the masters that we are, THEN she would improve; but she won't, so OBVIOUSLY she is doomed to die a slow artistic death, since she OBVIOUSLY doesn't get good enough critique anywhere ELSE."

I mean, LOL, really?

If you want me to listen to you and continue to take your abuse, give me a damn reason to. When you can't draw anatomy for shit, I'm not going to listen to you write condescending paragraphs to me about "the proper way to draw the anterior deltoid" and how I'm "obviously not familiar with anatomy at all". I'm just not. I'm also not going to listen to your "wisdom" after you continually take pot-shots at me personally, and back up the people (stated above) who spread rumours about me. I'm just not. You cannot make a sound argument that I shouldn't take things personally about my work when you continually make comments about me personally, and not my work. If you want to crit my work, fine. But keep your words on my work and I will listen.

I will get help elsewhere, from people who genuinely want to help me improve, as opposed to getting "help" from people who only want to knock me down a rung on their ladder by causing a shitstorm when I don't bow down and agree with their critique. The great thing is, I have already found people who are much more skilled and can offer better assistance to me. It is a fair question to ask yourself, "Why spend time being abused by amateurs who have nothing better to do, when you can receive valuable insight and direction from masters who truly see your potential and want to help cultivate it?"

I'll take the latter, thankyouverymuch.

All this to say, I am fed up, I call out this bullshit, and I'm moving on. I can't afford to waste any more time battling people who only seek to tear me down. For all others who have given critique, I am NOT saying that you must be "better" at art to give someone crit, I am simply saying that in order to have any credibility, giving critique respectfully with truly helpful intentions is a must. I love hearing everyone's thoughts about my work, and how I can improve. This is what keeps me going. Constant abuse, on the other hand, I don't need.

I am excited to move forward with my work. This situation has stifled me long enough, and I am putting it behind me. My ears are open to those who want to help, who can offer genuine assistance and suggestions, no matter who you are, where you are, or where you're at with your work. My ears are closed to specific individuals who have proved time and time again that their immature behaviour only spoils what small amount of credibility they had in my eyes.

The same goes for me: I make a promise to never treat another artist with abuse or immaturity. I promise to try my best to be helpful to others and to try and inspire them as others have inspired me. I want to be successful, I want to have a good attitude towards others, and I want to seek help by helping.

Thanks for reading.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

"Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." ~ Dr. Seuss

Friday, October 1, 2010

"Be daring, be different, be impractical, be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the play-it-safers, the creatures of the commonplace, the slaves of the ordinary." ~Cecil Beaton

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Cave of Faces - can you find all three?

Work in Progress deliciousness

If you're an aspiring concept artist, READ THIS BLOG POST: Getting Published by Game Companies

This was so insightful and helpful, and while a lot of things were already apparently to me, the author, Dave Allsop, put them so eloquently! A must-read.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Bring on the Ugly and Fabulous!

I always find that the best time I get ideas is like, at 2am derp derp

I'm really bad at going to bed "on time", whatever that is now that I'm freelancing! This just in: I will be in development stages for illustrating a new children's book. But that's all I'm allowed to say right now. Peep peep!

I'm currently in Philly right now without my trusty tablet, and (of course) I get a big dose of itchy-painter-fingers. I was doodling a bit before in my sketchbook, but I have a wonderful idea for a Halloween image (not that I need to add stuff to my To-Do List, it's incredibly long).

Let's just say that I am tired of painting pretty ladies. They are oh-so-fun to paint because they are all aesthetically-pleasing and gorgeous, but it gets old after awhile. With the advent of focusing on my grad school portfolio, I purposefully want to expand from my norm to put out some KICK BUTT stuff. I just found out about MICA's Illustration MFA program, which is apparently "in development for Fall 2011", which hopefully means applications/enrollment will begin this winter/early spring and the program will be fully funtional for next year. /crossing fingers!

I also ramble at 2am. Halloween image! Toss out those lovely ladies and get ready for some sad, lonely, ugly monsters. Oh yes. I am so excited! Bring on the uglies! I would post my sketchies, but this image will be for my DA watchers, and it will be a surprise :)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Everyone loves jewelry and pretty things * U *

Been working on a lot of jewelry recently, and I just wanted to show you guys some lovely pieces :)

"The Empress' Vision" - a combination of inspiration from one of my favourite colour palettes and the amazingly detailed scroll and leafwork on the antique frames around my father's historical house.

I feel like the name "Rosemary" fits this necklace quite suitably. A wonderful necklace even for winter. The golden scrollwork adds warmth to any outfit :) Plus it's just so pretty!

And finally, a gorgeous pendant I designed for a wonderful Bride-to-Be. Specializing in wedding jewelry has been amazing so far, and I am so honoured to be a part of the wedding in such a special, memorable way. This beautiful pendant is designed around her ceremony colours: rich aubergine and cream. Lovely!

Anyways, just wanted to share a little bit of what I have been doing. I have several bridal custom commissions at varying stages, but alas, I cannot show them off yet! I also have more ideas for fall jewelry, mixed in with working on illustration commissions, and focusing on my grad school portfolio. More to come, as always ;)

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Nightshade - WIP

Work in Progress for my grad school portfolioooooo - any artists see any anatomy errors in there?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Had a wonderful meeting this morning :) :) and then came home home to so many nice comments and support of my work!

Check out this really nice blogpost about my jewelry: Baltimore by Hand

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Golden Luxurious Fall :)

First necklace for my new Golden Fall Luxe items. Sold in 10 minutes! What a happy feeling! More to come on My Etsy!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Lovely Little Boutique Shots

As promised, here are some of the pics of my jewelry in Shamelessly Simple Boutique in Baltimore, Maryland :) :)

If you're in the area, stop by from 5pm - 8pm on Thursday, September 23rd for the Ravens Tailgating Party! If you wear Black & Purple, you get a free gift! :) Who doesn't love free stuff?! AND AND AND you can see my lovely jewelry!

Monday, September 13, 2010


This captures EXACTLY how I feel when I get to go to the zoo! Plus, I love all the fuzzy animals!

"A Day at the Zoo" by T-wei on dA

Dang, I need to get better at drawing animals D:

Heading upstairs to snuggle in my bed with my tablet and work on commissions and little perspective fun things :) Yay o yay o art time!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Miri's (Hopefully) Helpful Guide to Taking Commissions

Why is this here? What are you telling me?

Recently, I have had many people ask about how to set up taking RL (real life) commissions. This is a great way to make a little extra spending money, or to cover that last few dollars of bills your regular job can't cover. Plus, it's just a fun way to use up some creative energy or build your portfolio! Especially with the decline in the American economy, I thought putting it up officially (?) in writing might help those curious about the process to learn more and feel more comfortable. I have been taking private commissions for over 7 years now, mostly with small personal clients, though I have worked on some larger projects. There are many ways to set yourself up taking commissions, here's just a few (or QUITE a few!) methods that work for me.

Before You Begin:

Before you begin, consider what you're going to offer, where you'll offer it, and any policies you might have concerning your work. I suggest making a written list of the types of commission you are planning to offer. I usually type this list up and save it so I can transfer/easily edit it later. These can include Sketch, Lineart, Colour (CG or whatever traditional media you prefer), and include any information about backgrounds (referred to as BG from here on out) and number of characters. Make sure that you have samples of what you're offering. Most times, people will not buy a fullbody from you if they see only headshots in your samples. If you haven't been commissioned to draw a certain kind of sample you want to offer, make one of your favourite fanart, an original character, or something just for fun.

Setting Up:

Most artists I am friends with set up their commissions on their DA Journal. The things that you need to include in this entry are:
- Samples:
Those things we talked about above - make sure you have one for every type you're offering! If you have a subscription, it's best to use the Thumbs feature DA provides to show a preview of your work. I list starting with the smallest commission (like headshot sketch) and work my way up (to like fullbody couple CG with BG). This keeps things organized and gives a logical structure for the client to browse through. You may also want to give a small description of what the final product will look like (ex: Fullbody CG: Fully detailed and coloured, full-body up)

- Prices:
Take a moment to think about your prices. How much time are you spending on each type of piece? Do you spend 15 minutes on a headshot? 20 hours on a fullbody? Give yourself a fair look at the time you spend on your work. Time IS money here. Look at many artists who you feel are artistically at your level and research what they are selling their work for. Also make sure your prices increase logically with each step up in the "sample ladder". It makes no sense to charge $5 for a headshot sketch and $10 for a fullbody CG. You prices may seem really cheap at first, but after some experience under your belt, you will be able to raise them. *If you are a traditional artist, you may also want to account for any material usage that comes from creating the commission, or any cost of shipping if you choose to ship the original to the client. (If you do this, I highly suggest getting Delivery Confirmation on all items you ship - it costs about $0.75 and you can enter the tracking number online to confirm that the client received it. It also ensures that if the post office loses it in the mail and your client is having a WTF moment, you can pull out your receipt and say "Aha, I did my part!")

- Slots:
This is where you will list who is actively commissioning you, plus any open slots that are available for commissioners to take. I usually have 5 slots open, but you can do more or less depending on your schedule and availability. For my own reference (and sometimes my commissioners) I will list the name of the commissioner (linking to their request thread/DA page/character desc), what they purchased, paid/unpaid/halfpaid, and the stage of progress. For example, one of my current commissions looks like this: "Allariele on GO: CG Fullbody w/BG: paid: Sketched; approved; starting more painting" This tells me all of the critical info I need to remember about the commission in a glance. My commissioner can also see "Oh, Miri is now painting my piece! Yay o!"

- How to Request:
I ask potential commissioners to send me the following info in a note/PM/email: Order info (what type of art they'd like), a description for what they would like drawn with several reference pieces (if possible), total the commission. Sometimes I also like to ask if there is a certain date they need the work by, like if it's for a present for someone.

- Rules:
I have several rules stated clearly in my journal in regards to the use of my commissioned work. The first states: "YOU WILL NEVER USE MY ART (even art I have created specifically for you) ON YOUR WEBSITE/BLOG/ETC WITHOUT GIVING ME CREDIT (either stating my name or linking to this gallery) AND GETTING WRITTEN PERMISSION FROM ME FIRST." Loud and clear. I've had issues with this.
- ALL orders must be paid upfront to reduce scamming (I'll talk more about this in the pricing section)
- All requests must have a reference piece (more than one preferred) or a detailed description. (I can't draw it if I don't know what it is!)
- Couples cost double the original price for whatever amount you're ordering. Any others in the piece (after the couple price) are half the original price. If you do not understand, please send me a note and I'll talk it through with you.
- Will/Wont: This is where you will customize what you are and aren't willing to draw. Don't like cluttered avis but LOVE to draw animals? Put it in here! Open to yaoi/yuri but not erotica? Let your commissioners know.
- If there are any other questions, I have this at the end: "Anything else? Feel free to send me a note and I'll be more than happy to answer any questions you may have."

Okay, so you're set up in your journal and ready to go! Don't forget to make some spiffy, eye-catching banners so people know you're open for commissions (you can upload graphics for free at Photobucket)! And now you've gotten your first customer! But how do you set up payment?


If you don't already have a Paypal, get one. They're extremely easy to use, completely secure, and will be critical to your success in taking online commissions (you do need a bank account to set one up though - if you are under 18, you should talk to your parents about this first). Buyers will not pay for art that they have to jump through hoops to get. And most people have a paypal account. I've used mine for 7 years and have never had even the smallest problem with it. NEVER send cash through the mail, and even personal checks I don't feel comfortable accepting. Once it's in the mail, there is no guarantee it will get to me, and I cannot be held responsible for funds lost in the mail. And that just equals an unhappy everybody. If the commissioner insists, have them make out a Money Order for the exact amount of the commission and mail it to you. They can do this quickly and easily at any local post office.

For smaller commissions (like CG headshot), I let the commissioner know that all the payment is due upfront. Most people have absolutely no problem with this, as I have a 7 year track record of finishing every commission I've taken. If you're new, your customers may not feel fully comfortable with this. For this (and for my larger commissions), I separate payment into two installments. I take half of the commission price upfront to start the sketch. Once I have finished the sketch, I upload it and let the commissioner make any small changes they'd like. Then I request the second half of payment, and I finish the painting portion (once I have received it!) and send them the highres file. (Traditional artists, you may choose to offer to send the original - make sure you've covered your shipping costs in the price of the commission!) The two-installment payment plan ensures that you, the artist, do not make work you're not paid for, and it ensures that the commissioner does not pay for something they don't receive. I NEVER start a commission without some part of the payment. Even if you know the person and think they'll never disappear, it can happen (sadly).

I do have a Highres File Agreement that I ask each commissioner to acknowledge with an "I agree". I take a screenshot of their agreement, and save it so that if they end up taking my file and using it commercially, I have proof that they are directly violating our contract. I've never had someone do this, and it may be something you don't feel you need just starting out, but it's helpful for me.

So you're all set up and ready to go, but how will people find you? I spent the last year working in the industry in Los Angeles, and one of the biggest lessons I learned in business is that, "If you don't tell people, they won't know." Don't wait for people to wander across your DA page. Don't be shy - get your work out there! Let people know you're open for commissions!

- Advertising on Deviantart:
The BEST THING you can do (on any site) is make friends. If you're going through DA, start commenting on other artists works and journals. People will start to recognize your icon.
- In your journal, sponsor an artist feature (first 5/10 comments get their icon and 3 thumbs featured for 3 days/1 week/whatever), and ask other artists to feature you in their journals with a blurb about your commissions. Provided I have time, I will always help an artist who politely asks me to include something in my journal about them.
- Check out the Job Services Forum. Here you can list a blurb about your commissions and link to your journal.
- If you're willing to hunt around for the perfect project, stop by the Job Offers Forum, where you can browse through other deviants looking to hire someone with your skills for pay!

- Advertising on GaiaOnline:
If you're a GO user, friends and a lot of exposure are just as important!
- Most of my watchers come from Gaia because they click my sig. Take your most eye-catching work and make a little design; put it in your sig with "RL Commissions" on it. People will click! (Make sure it is under 500x500 pixels, though, or someone could report it and have it removed!)
I also scour the Requests&Commissions forum for Request threads. Make sure to read the fine print, though. Spend some time looking through their rules and characters. If they consider RL or do not explicitly say "Do not offer RL", then go ahead and post and politely ask if they would consider RL commissioning you. Link to your site/commission journal, or provide examples in the post. (Do NOT include RL price in the post; Gaia will get mad) Also, do not post about RL in any old thread without reading. It's extremely rude to inquire if the OP has already specified that they do not consider them.
- Post your work in the PicturePost, ask for feedback, and link your DA in the first post. Not only will you receive feedback that will most likely help you improve, people will click your DA and see your commission info.
- If you have the time, participate in joint auctions and contests! This will not only give you an excuse to draw and build another sample or work for your portfolio, but it will connect you with other artists who can help get your name and work out there!

- Advertising on Twitter/Facebook:
A lot of my personal friends recently have been messaging me for commissions on Facebook. It's been a great source of exposure for me!
- Create a photo album of your artwork; name it something cool and catchy (mine is "La Bella Vita: the beautiful life"). Upload new works when they are completed. Facebook resizes your images automatically, so I always provide a link in the comments for the full version on DA. You can also link to your commission information journal in the comments! Same goes for Twitter - link it up!
- Talk about your commissions on Facebook and Twitter! People buy personal nowadays, and you're selling your personality and spark as much as your art. Be excited - others will feel it and get excited too!
- Follow other artists on Twitter and sync it up to your DA page; if you feel comfortable, include your Twitter and Facebook info in your DA journal.

After a certain amount of time, you will get a natural feel for where most of your commissions come from. For me, I get most of my commissions through Gaia, so I focus my advertising efforts primarily on that audience (but still don't ignore my other opportunities!).

Sealing the Deal:

It's exciting to get those first few commissions in the door! But this is a business, and if you expect your client to hold up their end of the bargain, you must hold up yours. Most commissioners are aware that you have a life outside of commissions, but it is always best to be respectful of their time.
- Always deliver the quality you promise. This is #1. You will have a very unhappy customer who will tell others very unhappy things if you give them mediocre work in comparison to your sample image(s). Treat every client as your most important client and deliver work to the best of your ability every time. You never know when that one commission will turn into a long-time business relationship.
- Be upfront and honest. If you know that you are going on vacation without your tablet/materials for 2 weeks, let the commissioner know upfront. 99% of the time, the commissioner will say, "That's cool! No problem! Have fun!" It's always good to be honest. If you're finding that you've gotten busier than planned and the commission is taking a long time, just shoot the commissioner a small PM ("Hey, just wanted to let you know that I've been busy but that I'm really excited to continue working on your piece - I haven't forgotten about you!") There's nothing worse than having someone simply disappear and most commissioners will demand a refund after a certain period of silence. This will also spread unhappy tales to potential new clients. If in the end something happens and the commission will just not be able to be completed, be open with the commissioner and tell them what's going on. Offer to refund their money.
- Honour deadlines. In the event that the client needs the piece by a certain date, make sure it is there a few days ahead of time (if possible). You never know if the client wants to get it printed or giftwrapped. At the absolute latest, get it to them the day-of. *Traditional artists, if shipping the original, factor shipping time into the deadline!
- Be friendly and courteous. It sucks to work with someone who is negative. Be positive about your work and don't be afraid to talk with the client a bit. Most people feel more comfortable if they feel like they're communicating with a real person, as opposed to an avatar on a screen.
- Say thank you. They truly are golden, magical words. It is always good to be gracious about your work, and to let the commissioner know how much you appreciate their support (they did just pay you afterall!) Those fuzzywuzzy feelings will be returned, especially if the client is happy with the quality of the work, if it's on-time, etc.
- If you feel comfortable, you can let them know that you have more slots open and politely say, "If you have any friends who might be looking for commissioned work, I'd be so flattered if you'd mention me" Most people will speak about you or show your art off to their friends anyway, but it's okay to ask if they would consider doing a little word-of-mouth advertising for you :) Most people would love to!

Wrapping it Up:

I may add more sections as I think of more helpful things. If you have a question I haven't answered, please feel free to ask in the comments of this entry :)

In the end, there are many, many ways to go about taking commissions. You may find that using these policies works for you, or you may develop a process that better suits your needs. Either way, I hope you've found this information helpful and relevant!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

"You're mad, bonkers, off your head. But I'll tell you a secret: All the best people are."

Thursday, September 9, 2010

My fingers are covered in krazy gluuuuuue....

I just want to toot my own horn here a little guys...

In 4 hours I did all this stuff:

- Made 2 bow rings; made, backed, baked, glazed, finished!
- Made most of a custom wedding pendant; not quite finished!
- Designed a Custom Jewelry Advertisement for the lovely little boutique I'm in now; uploaded and sent off to print!
- Redesigned my in-store tags for jewelry packaging; printed, hand cut, stamped!
- Got all of my packaging/inventory stuff together for visiting the boutique tomorrow!

Wham bam thank you ma'am!

And to think, when I sat down, realizing I had more work to do than I had planned, I was like "Eeeeeecchhhh do I really have to.....?!" I guess sometimes we inspire ourselves just by the process of doing.

One of the best things I've learned in life is that the chores/tasks/projects/whatever you're dreading doing, really don't take that long at all. (Ex: I used to HATE to do the dishes, but I started to realize "Hey, that only took me 10 minutes to do that whole sink!" Now, I really don't mind. When the water is soapy and warm, I almost like it!)

Ahhh, what a beautiful life :)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Boutique - Time :) Now my jewelry is in a lovely boutique!

So yesterday I had my first meeting with a boutique here in MD,
{ Shamelessly Simple }
The night before, I had organized all of my rings and necklaces into their containers, printed up my inventory sheet, and packed my business cards. After living in LA for a year and working for two designers, it felt natural making my list and packing it up. I went with my bosses to countless boutiques in Los Angeles, so I was excited that I had a little experience under my belt - I am so thankful for it!

The morning-of, I loaded everything into my car and set off to meet up with the store's owner and buyer. Once I stepped inside, I fell in love. This was just my kind of place! Lots of home decor and boutique-y gifts filled colourful tables, and the walls were bright aqua! I was greeted by the owner quickly, and she was really nice. After unloading all of my pieces onto her counter, I began to talk about my inspirations and ideas behind them. I have been doing a lot of market research for the trends surrounding this Fall/Winter 2010 and watching a lot of runway previews, so talking about my colour choices and style came easily.

(I've learned that that's the best thing to do when you're meeting a buyer - be knowledgeable and enthusiastic about your pieces and the story behind them - it will come across!)

Of course, I gave a lot of the technical information behind them too (like what sort of materials were used, how to care for them, etc). We talked for a little while, and I just loved that she was on track with my pieces, specifically the colours. In Baltimore, we are all about the Ravens (sorry non-Bmore-readers!), so it seemed that one of her main focuses for the store was purple/Ravens items. My purple and violet pieces were a great fit! We talked a little about packaging (which I agreed to provide - if you're speaking with a buyer, it is always good to ask if they'd like to provide the packaging, or to be prepared to offer it), and display in-store. I will be going back on Friday to drop off a few pieces she requested and to take some photos of the boutique and of my pieces on display.

All in all, she selected quite a few pieces from me for consignment (which is why my { Etsy } dropped a bunch of items!). I am hoping they do extremely well so that we can continue to build our business relationship by increasing inventory (perhaps for the holidays)! She was so generous and helpful - she even offered to put up a special sign for me above my work that instructed buyers on how to contact me for custom orders :) It was so nice of her! I am also being included in her newsletter for new arrivals!

I left the adorable store with the happiest heart, only to come home to the lovely surprise that I had broken over 900 watchers on my { deviantart } ! What a marvelous day! :)

* If you're looking for a unique gift for a loved one or friend, or just want something cool to spruce up your home, check out Shamelessly Simple Boutique on 10712 York Road, Cockeysville, MD 21030!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

This captures everything that I fell in love with that started me singing.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Exciting stuff in the works! :)

Quick little entry, guys - sorry, I've felt like I've kind of been in a slump the past week or two... Hopefully with the changing leaves and new waves of inspiration, I can be much more motivated and active. Vlog coming atcha hopefully within the week, and I'll get a chance to blog about my upcoming meeting with a local boutique on Tuesday. I'm crossing my fingers!!!

Been seeing a darling new gent, too :) [girly face]

More and more I've had people asking me to take custom art/jewelry commissions - and I'm having wayyyyyy too much fun! It is so flattering when people come specifically to me to help them make something special for their lives :) Gives me the fuzzies!

So without further ado, here are some lovely new bridal necklace designs for a wedding next spring! The bride's colours are a luscious, rich aubergine and lovely creme. Just beautiful!

{ click for larger view / all designs (c) erin mcmanness 2010 }

And I haven't forgotten about my illustration commissions - several are in the works now in varying stages. I find I can keep inspiration and flow up when I work on multiple pieces at once. Although I often tend to get crazy-inspired by one piece and just sit down for a whole day and bang it out. I try not to do this often, as it results in laziness towards the end sometimes, but some characters/pieces just make me so excited I have to get it out there on the canvas!!!

One of the things that really inspires me is ProjectRunway - that is such an awesome show :) Does anyone else watch it like their second religion? Lol

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Most of all, I want a life filled with joy.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Featureddddd AwesomeSauce

What a lovely surprise to come home to! I am a Featured Seller today on

Here's my interview! :) Yay make yourself beautiful!
{ Click the image for a larger view! }

"Erin McManness' cute flower, cookie, and bow - inspired accessories are great to pump up the style on your outfit. From a hot pink bow ring to multi colored magnolia necklaces, every piece is adorable."

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Focus; Get on the Ball!

A lovely little promotional ad I designed this evening for some new things in my Etsy Shop: The Little Bird.

Things have been going better. I guess I'm just at that point where I'm just questioning things. I recently found out that a few friends and acquaintances are sort of in the same boat, so I don't feel so alone.

The best times of my day are when I get to go outside and take photographs of my pieces :) Yesterday and the days before were a gazillion degrees that seemed to hang in the air, and today we woke up to drizzle and very cool breezes. I opened the kitchen windows (which face out onto our gorgeous screened-in porch), brewed my pot of coffee, and took my rascally dog Rufus (affectionately named "Rufus the Dufus"; I don't think I have to give the details of why) out on the porch to shoot my necklaces.

Tomorrow I really need to get on the ball. Despite the fact that I spend most of my day job-searching, designing, and working on social media upkeep/uploading images/etc, I feel like I haven't been very productive. Time for that to change! I've got an uber To-Do list tomorrow! And it all starts with an egg-and-cheese on a plain toasted little bagel. I could (but shouldn't!) eat one everyday of my life and die a happy woman. I am a breakfast addict.

What's your favourite food? :)

Monday, August 23, 2010

I'm Running Out of Time D:

As we near the end of the summer, I'm left feeling like I'm running out of time. For what? I don't know. With the advent of everyone going back to school and kicking it into high-gear at the office, I guess I'm just feeling a little left out. (All of you in that boat are going, "Lucky you!!!" The grass is always greener, right?)

Throughout the past year, I've been all over the place. I was full-time salaried at a job that wasn't taking me where I wanted to go in my career, took a huge leap of faith and worked as an intern after moving to Los Angeles, spent some months freelancing, got a designer/PA job in Beverly Hills, and then traveled back East to Maryland to freelance again.

A recent conversation with one of my dearest friends has led me to question what exactly I'm doing. This summer in particular I've been trying to launch and develop my budding yet humble little brand, and the deeper and deeper I get into it, the more and more I realize that it is something I'd like to seriously pursue. I am emotionally ready to commit, but financially I know that it is not the best decision at the moment. I am a planner; I am very very futuristic and do not make big decisions without a lot of council, thought, and prayer. In the meantime, I do still want to go back to school to get my Masters in Illustration.

I guess this is all to say that, while I love freelancing and developing my own product line and business, I think at the heart of the issue is that I feel a little lost. Do you ever feel this way? Just had to get that out there.

* Here is my latest piece for an auction I was selected to participate in around the movie Inception. My character is Mal:
{ Image (c) Erin McManness 2010 / Character (c) Inception Movie }

* And please enjoy my newest addition to my Etsy Shop: The Little Bird: Wedding Tags!
{ Image & Designs (c) Erin McManness 2010 }

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Guys I got the CUTEST new shoes :D
I forsee a "What I Wore" in my near future!

"The most valiant thing you can do as an artist is inspire someone else to be creative."
Joseph Gordon-Levitt
{ via Viet-My Bui }

* Stay tuned for more product & art pics later tonight! Got a bunch of stuff to show you guys!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

w e d d i n g | j e w e l r y

Sneak peek of my dear friend's custom bridal jewelry
Designed by yours truly ~

{ check me out on etsy }

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Stormy WIP :)

Work in progress of a commission I'm currently working on. I loooove painting water :)
Figure work happening in the next few minutes * U *;;;
Still fleshing out the background

{ see more of my work on deviantart }

c l i c k | f o r | l a r g e r | v e r s i o n

Friday, August 13, 2010

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Happy little ad I designed around an order of special custom Funky Flower Rings shipped out for the weekend.

{ Shop Miri-love on Etsy }

Monday, August 9, 2010

Absolute darling must-have! Wish I wasn't broke!
{ via "Etsy Stylist: Lovely Lingerie" }

lol YES

Saturday, August 7, 2010

AMAZING stop-motion painting about the Big Bang Theory, with a surprising and interesting ending.

BIG BANG BIG BOOM - the new wall-painted animation by BLU from blu on Vimeo.

Visually stunning and absolutely enchanting.
Would LOVE to have this in my bedroom!
{ by AttilaDesign }

Friday, August 6, 2010

Be a Photo Wizard !

I've been taking photographs for awhile, and even have a nice digital SLR camera! (That's all there is to it, right? Wrong.)

Luckily, I ran into this article on Etsy: 6 Common Photo Mistakes - And How to Avoid Them.

A lot of these things sort of shocked me (what? white backgrounds can throw off your products' colour balance?), and the whole article (picture examples included! Good for visual people like me!) was very helpful and dead-on. I already feel like I have a better grasp for the next time I photograph my products (which will be soon - batch of rings in the oven right now!). Check it out now and go take some fabulous photos :)

Shop Miri-love * click below

Here's a pretty decent one of my photos that I dolled up ~ onward to more photo greatness!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...