As it is now August, I can look back at last month and go "...holy shit, man."
The first of my Weird Fruit came out on July 3rd. My love affair with clayboard is thus a month old as of today. This love affair resulted in my painting twelve originals on clayboard in the last month, half of which then sold, a rather staggering number for me--six originals in one month? (And I'm not including the Con and the watercolor pieces in this at all, either.) This slew of sales thus resulted in the single best month I've ever had for sales--I actually grossed more than James. Our back taxes have been fought back--they're not quite annhilated, but they're a mere shadow of their former self.
Levels like this are probably not sustainable, but man, it's sure nice while it lasts.
Someone on Deviantart said that I was one of the best traditional artists there, and that threw me--whatever hyberbole aside, I've never ever in a million years thought of myself as a traditional artist. Digital artist is stamped on my brain. If you held a gun to my head and demanded brilliant art, I'd go for the computer, because the odds would be much better. Traditional media is where I do the stuff that I do for a lark, the silly stuff, the stuff that can suck. If it's gotta be good, digital all the way.
Maybe that makes the difference right there. There's not a lot of risk in digital art for me anymore--anatomy, composition, layout, lighting, all those things are still as tricky as ever and I'm no master of any of them, I fumble through 'em going "BUGGERCHICKENS! NOOOOO!", but you get to raw painting technique, and the computer will do pretty much exactly what I want it to do. If I know what I want (and that's the tricky bit) I don't have any problems making Painter do it. The tools are all hardwired deeply into my brain. The art may be hard, but the medium isn't. Paint, though...paint is still scary. Paint requires prayer to the art gods and I spend a lot of it going "Oh, please, don't let me fuck this up..." It took eight years to get the digital shoved down into my hindbrain, it may take eight more to get real media to act the same way. Which is the challenge, and the reason I keep going back to it. I'm very proud of my digital art, but real media feels like a triumph over the forces of suck.
Please note that I don't feel real media is inherently superior--it's what I'm used to. If I was doing real media, I'd probably have that sense of triumph from the digital stuff, too.
But either way, going over to traditional media for the stuff-done-on-a-lark really made a huge difference in sales. A top earning print for me may move twenty prints over the course of several years, making about $200. If I'm lucky. A large clayboard original makes double that flat out if I sell it, plus whatever print sales may arise. And people like originals, as my friend Dave thunders whenever the subject comes up (and being that he and his wife Kathy are in possession of what's definitely in the running for "Largest Collection of Ursula Art On Earth") he's probably right. Not that I'll ever abandon digital--I do all of my professional work there, and if a piece needs to be done to the highest skill level I can muster, digital art wins hands down.
Nevertheless, I think the clayboard's made a huge difference, and as long as my Muse is willing to throw ideas at me that are within my skill to paint physically, I'm goin' for it.
And that's the state of Ursula at the beginning of August.
Oh, also I'm swamped. But c'mon, we all knew that, right?