Thursday, March 19, 2009

Ninja Mountain Podcast #8 - Ninja Army ATTACK!!

This week we present an unstoppable ninja army so huge, so utterly without hope of containment, that we split it into three parts! Joining Jeremy, Patrick, Jon, Andy and Kieran, we also introduce Anne Stokes, Ralph Horsley, and Mattias Snygg. The first segment features Anne, Jeremy, Patrick and Kieran. The second part brings us Ralph, Andy, Jon and Jeremy, and the third is a one-on-one with Jon and Mr. Snygg. Enjoy the bounty!

Or do what the cooool kids do - iTunes!

Show Notes:

Armor links

The Medieval Soldier: 15th Century Campaign Life Recreated in Colour Photographs


thedarkcloak said...

Hey guys, still working through the pod casts, keep up the great work. These are awesome and really great to hear people 'talking shop' to get the creative juices flowing and scribbling urges.

Suggestion/ question:
Do you think you could tackle the topic of Creative Blocks and how you guys deal with them when you run into them? I think it'd be really useful!


Ninja Mountain said...

Hi - great to hear you like 'em!

The idea of addressing the "Creative Block" phenomenon is a good one, which could probably be brought into the larger conversation of "idea generation" and getting your picture from the vague idea stage onto paper. Sounds good.


thedarkcloak said...

Sounds great, Patrick!

Cacodaemonia said...

I'm also listening right now, and very much enjoying the show. :) I think an 'artist block' segment would be interesting.

Here's something else I'm curious about: back when you were starting out, did any of you do commissions for individuals? If so, what was the experience like? That's primarily what I'm doing now, so I think it would be nice to hear other artists' opinions on it.

I may post again later with more questions or comments. ;)

Ninja Mountain said...

OK, that's two votes for "artist's block". Feel free to comment or ask any time! :)

As to commissions - I do take them when I can. I'm doing one now as a matter of fact! They can be fun, and they're a good chance to do something different once in a while. You need to make sure if you're doing lots of "regular" work that your commission client knows it may take a while. But personally I think they're great!


Meredith said...

Licensing can be good, or just as, easily hell (having been through that). Unlike an illustration where you may never have to deal with a bad client again, licensing contracts last 3-5 years and you can have your rights tied up with people not doing a good job. Need to research companies first.

Ninja Mountain said...

I do occasional private commissions as well. They are often great fun to do.
Creative block. idea generation sounds like a winner to me!
Meredith--fair point. I think it pretty much follows the same rules of any freelance transaction. Read and understand your contract. Research the companies you wish to work for ( non-payment to your fellow freelancers is a huge red flag, for instance).

For licensing it would clearly help to know if the licensee has good production values and will reflect well on your own personal brand.

Elin said...

I really like your podcast, keep up the good work!

I wanted to comment on what you said about posting pictures on facebook. Facebook's terms of use says that everything you post on their site you grant them " irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, fully paid, worldwide license (with the right to sublicense) to use, copy, publicly perform, publicly display, reformat, translate, excerpt (in whole or in part) and distribute..."

I would suggest that you read through their terms of use, the "User Content Posted on the Site" part, and maybe make a statement about it in the next episode, as it doesn't seem like a good idea top post your art on their site...

Jon said...

Hey Elin!
Glad you're enjoying the show!

Facebook recently changed their terms of service to be more of a rights grab, then rolled back in the face of much protest. Their license is primarily to let their site function. Without allowing them rights to copy and distribute huge swathes of what interests a freelancer becomes impossible.

Now, two things. One is I'm not saying their user contract is perfect. It's far from that. Two is that I am not offering guidance here. Everyone should take their own decision on this. That said I personally decided to maintain a gallery there because for me the benefits outweigh the risks or costs.

mindfields said...

Hey guys I just found about your blog and I think is awesome. I really dig it! I hope you guys the best.


Meredith said...

I deleted my art from facebook when they changed the TOS. I heard they changed it back but I haven't put art back.

thedarkcloak said...

I'm with Meredith on the Facebook issue. I too took down all my stuff (although it sounds like it stays on their servers for who knows how long, ugh... wonder how their TOS applies to that?), and I have not reposted my work or any newer work there.

I think I'll just try to clearly link to my website or other online gallery from my Facebook for the time being.

Ben said...

Another great podcast guys, here's an idea for a topic:
Illustration rates & Negotiation Etiquette.

Roll on Ninja Mountain Fridays!!

thedarkcloak said...

Ah, nice one, Ben.

That would definitely be good... also if you guys do talk about that, if you could also mention some of the resources out there for downloadable contracts, standard rates, and the like.

Especially for folks who struggle with the legal mumbo jumbo, writing that stuff up, or even figuring out what standard rates should or could be.

ATOM said...

Great stuff once again! Well done guys!

Ninja Mountain said...

Thanks folks! That is a good idea for a future episode!

Ninja Mountain said...

I really waffle on Facebook. I left for a while when the TOS stuff happened (I didn't have any art up there anyway...) and sort of came back after it changed. But I don't really use it much so I can't say I have a dog in that fight. Seems linking to your site from there is probably the best idea.


Renessa47 said...

Hello guys! :) Great podcast you've got going here, it's managed to answer many questions I have about similar areas of work in the gaming/fantasy/sci-fi industry, as well as just freelancing in general. I now have some more questions to add to your pile, which may or may not pertain enough to illustrators to be air worthy (I'm perfectly happy with text answers ;) ).

Is the only face of the company you know the art director? Or do you sometimes meet and work with the other people behind the scenes, like the graphic designers, conceptual people, and writers? If you have worked with someone else, could you share any stories about how they helped or hindered your progress and final product? I've already heard a few disparaging comments about writers ;P and being more of a writer than anything else, I'd like to know how I could make it eaiser for the artist should I ever end up in story or character concept dream job. Other Illustrators might like to know what lameness to watch out for as well.
In a different vein: Print specifications! What dpi are you all most often asked to submit your work in? The biggest ever and the smallest ever? What file format are you most often asked for when sending off for the printing stage (whether it's the same you prefer to work in or not)? For you guys who didn't start out as graphic designers and may not have dealt with prints much before hand, did you have a steep learning curve on dealing with resolution, screen tones, process and spot colors, etc? Or were you just forgiven for your skills and someone else on the other end prepped your painting as long as you got the resolution right?

Ninja Mountain said...

Hi Renessa - welcome to the show!

those are some good questions - they may be good grist for discussion on the show one of these days for sure. :)

As for me, almost every contact I have is through an Art Director. Once in a while I get to speak with a designer (Like Eric Lang, formerly of Fantasy Flight) but usually the AD is the hub of contact between the different talent. I'd say that artists should basically just assert their rights (if any) with the AD to receive feedback from the artists. I don't know if that will help but what the heck. Nothing's written in stone at these companies, much as some would like it to be so.

DPI - I'm out of the ordinary on this, but I send in the very smallest allowed. The less DPI, the faster I go, and frankly these days the dot screen is high enough that it seldom matters anyway. On the other hand, most of my fellow ninjas work VERY large, so there you go.

Finally, I did not start out as a graphic designer and all my print skills are self-taught. However, I didn't really have a problem - I just read books! I've heard horror stories from pre-press guys about how bad some artists are at the tech end of things. ARTISTS - READ THE MANUALS!!! It's all there. You may not be an expert right away (goodness know I wasn't and still am not), but at least you'll learn about the things you don't know and you can ask the right questions. :)


Angela Sasser said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Angela Sasser said...

This post makes me want Mcnuggets...and nuggets of wisdom combined. Curse you, golden archfiend!

I've been listening to these while I work and they've been so fun and enlightening at the same time!

I personally would love to hear more from you guys about the process of licensing art. Do you need an agent or can you approach companies yourself? Also, do other artists look down on licensing (and similarly stock illustration) as 'selling out'? Is it selling out? When is licensing not appropriate for your work?

Just some thoughts spawned by this episode.

Ninja Mountain said...

Thanks Angela! Very nice of you to comment. :)

Somewhere along the line - and I'm pretty sure this was one of the Anne Stokes episodes - we did touch on the subject of licensed art. Of course Anne makes most of her living from that sort of thing, mostly for t-shirts and the like. And she's making a great living with LOTS of creative freedom, so it's certainly a wonderful thing. Next time we have her on I'll go back and see how much we did on the subject and perhaps delve into the ideas you brought up.

As to 'selling out', I'll bet you can guess my response to that - THERE'S NO SUCH THING!. :D We're in business to sell our art, so as long as we're making a living we're doing it right. And that gives us more freedom to do our personal stuff in our spare time. Everybody wins!


Angela Sasser said...

Patrick, it's good to hear your response about the matter of 'selling out'. Which, I think, could be an interesting topic in and of itself!

I know a lot of folks, including myself, came out of a collegiate fine arts program with the fear that switching to a more commercial form of art would get us sneers of disapproval from the fine arts community. It's been a slow adjustment for me learning that it's quite okay to draw a gothic fairy or a design for a bag. There's a market for these sorts of things and people who do enjoy doing them!

I think in the end, that's what counts, but it's so discouraging sometimes when you first start out to have the fear that people will point and chant 'sellout'.

Thanks for your reply and I look forward to listening to more NM:)

I think I will possibly redirect some licensing questions to Anne as well. I'm sure she is a well of information on the matter.