Monthly Archives: August 2012

Events-International Freelancers Day!!

On September 21, 2012 we celebrate National Freelancers Day!

What is that you ask?

A Day to Celebrate Freelancers the World Over

International Freelancers Day is a day of celebration and education! And the celebrations begin right here, with the largest FREE online conference exclusively for self-employed service professionals.

Actionable Ideas, Tips and Strategies

Join the sponsors on September 21, 2012 for a special online conference like no other. You’ll learn from 13 of the world’s most respected professionals and thought leaders in the areas of freelancing, marketing, social media and personal development. They’ll reveal proven and actionable business-building ideas, insights, tactics and strategies that will help take your “business of one” to the next level.

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Reminder- 2013 Children’s Writer’s and Illustrator’s Market is ready!!

If you are serious about breaking into the Children’s Book Industry there’s a book that comes out yearly that you definitely need to add to your library. The Children’s Writer’s and Illustrator’s Market.

The new 2013 Edition has been released to folks who pre-purchased it.  I got a notice yesterday, since I pre-ordered, it saying that my book would actually get to me earlier than expected! Woo Hoo!  I will be checking my mail!

So, why should you pick this book up? Why is it “Essential”?

Every year this series of books does a fantastic job of listing and categorizing multiple publishers, magazines and agents that have some level of involvement in the Children’s Market.

They go through contact information, the markets that the publisher specializes in, their submission requirements, the number of projects, writer and illustrators that they work with on a yearly basis as well as their payment terms.

Also included are a number of articles from other professionals that give tips, tricks and experiences within the industry.

This book is a great and inexpensive starting place for anyone looking to break into the industry. This book is essential to creating your first mailing list and determining the proper way to approach each publisher you are considering. If you have a mailing list established, this book is a great way to update your mailing lists with new publishers and update contact info for older ones.

So don’t forget to hop onto Amazon and reserve your copy now! Or drop by your local library to check out older issues that may be available to get an idea of the series before purchasing!

Free Tools and Apps to Calculate your Hourly Rates

How much do I charge?? Is a question we receive constantly. There are multiple schools of thought on how to approach this.

This post will explore a couple of tools that will allow you to intelligently assess your situation and determine the amount you should charge per hour to be able to survive and meet your financial needs.

For Illustrators there are books that come out annually to let you know the going rate for varied types of illustrations in various industries.  The prices and fields of illustration covered in these books is updated on a year to year basis.

The book we decided was Essential to this was reviewed by us some time ago in this postThe Graphic Artist’s Guild Handbook of Pricing and Ethical Guidelines. Be sure to check it out for a guide on how much to charge on a project by project basis.

For a guide on how much to charge by the hour we have two tools that basically serve the same function.


1. We have the Freelance Switch Hourly Rate Calculator.

This calculator takes into account your Personal Costs as well as your Professional Ones. You manually enter his information and based on your input it tells you how much you should charge per hour. This calculator is available online for free and will take you around 10-20 minutes to fill out.


2. We also have a newly released FREE app that performs a similar function in calculating hourly rates. It’s called the MyPrice App. It performs in much the same way as the Freelance Switch Hourly Rate Calculator but takes additional information into account for it’s calculations.  A great tool to have on the fly to calculate how much you should be charging per hour or per project.

Both of these tools are free and available right now through the links provided above. So snatch em up and see if you’ve been charging too little or too much. (If too much then keep it to yourself and keep charging! More power to ya!)

One of the great things about the tools listed is that they figure in your cost of living, materials, accounting fees and many other business costs that most don’t think about when coming up with their prices. Let these tools teach you even more about what the value of your work really is.


Wouldn’t it be nice if terms of service agreements were written in plain English

Do you ever wonder what you are agreeing to when you just click the ‘agree’ button on all of the terms of service agreements on social networks or web services? I normally don’t. I just agree and move on, but what if you were signing away the rights to your images, photos, and content? As an artist this is a scary thought. It’s hard to tell what your signing up for these days unless you want to read a 30 page document. “I have read and agree to the Terms” is the biggest lie on the internet or so say the organizers of a new site call ToS;DR. Not the catchiest name, but the name is inspired by the internet acronym TL;DR which means “Too Long; Didn’t Read”. The site is still pretty new so you might not find the social network or web service you’re looking for. ToS;DR is a crowd sourced site that takes the lengthy terms of service agreements on websites and breaks then down into a convenient bulleted list. The best part is they write in plain english removing the legal jargon. The site doesn’t claim to give legal advice and says “we express our opinion with no guarantee and we do not endorse any service in any way.” Their work is funded by non-profits and individual donations. The information gets released as free software and open data.
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Resources – Refinished Backgrounds from Animation

Norm’s recent post about the Art of Tangled Book is what brought this site to mind for me. It’s an amazing resource when you are looking for inspiration or masterfully executed background paintings.

Animation Backgrounds!! I ran across this site a while ago and what a wonderful resource of inspiration and masterful paintings it is! An amazing collection of backgrounds from animation features from Disney, Warner Brothers and various other traditional animation companies. He covers both long and short formats. From Feature length movies to Saturday morning shorts!

Rob Richards is a professional award winning organ player. Imagine That! Thank goodness for us that he also has a huge love and affection for animated fare.

Rob was a fan of animation cells. This online collection grew from that adoration. He would take multiple snapshots of a single scene and combine them using Photoshop to recreate the backgrounds sans any characters.

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Coming Soon-Once Upon A Sketch launches their first Season of Podcasts

We are happy to announce that we will soon be launching Season One of our Podcast Series.

Each season will be dedicated primarily to covering a particular aspect of the Children’s Market. We’ll be interviewing professionals from each industry and letting them share their wisdom and knowledge with you, our future listeners. We’ll also be giving insight into our freelance experiences and answering submitted questions from you!

Season One of our Podcast will focus on Toy Design and the people working within the toy industry in varied capacities.

What we’d like to know from you is if you had the opportunity to ask a professional within the toy industry a question about their work, what would it be?

Please feel free to post your questions in the comments or e-mail them to us at We’ll do our best to include your name and questions when we interview.

Also let us know of any questions you may have for us in particular about any aspect of the children’s market. We’ll do our best to answer it on air or in a future article! So let us know!

News- Tom Bancroft Offers Online Character Design Class for 10 dollars!

Tom Bancroft has almost 25 years of experience in the animation industry, most of which was for Walt Disney Feature animation where he was an animator for 11 years. He is the author of several character design books and he is now offering his services and wisdom in an online class of sorts to be available to the public. The course is an hour and a half, has a homework assignment, prizes and costs ten dollars.

WORKSHOP #3 is on
Thursday, August 23rd, 8PM, CST

THIS THURSDAY Night! August 23rd, 8PM Central Time Zone (check your time zone for your time)$10.


Book Report – The Art of Tangled

If you’re a fan of Disney’s animated films and their art style I’ve got a book for you. The art of Disney’s Tangled is a beautiful book full of character designs, set designs and storyboards. If you were to walk into my office this book would be on my table for inspiration.

You can’t beat character designs by Glen Keane and a host of amazing other artists like Victoria ying, Claire Keane and Jin Kim. There are pages and pages of sketches of expressive characters like Rapunzel, Flynn Rider, Maximus, and Mother Gothel. Continue reading

Icons and Legends -Joe Kubert -1926-2012

Joseph Kubert (September 18, 1926 – August 12, 2012) was an American comic book artist.  He is best known for his work on the DC Comics characters Sgt. Rock and Hawkman. His sons, Andy Kubert and Adam Kubert, have themselves become successful comic-book artists.

Kubert’s other creations include the comic books Tor, Son of Sinbad, and Viking Prince, and, with writer Robin Moore, the comic strip Tales of the Green Beret.

Kubert was inducted into the Harvey Awards’ Jack Kirby Hall of Fame in 1997, and Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame in 1998.

Kubert passed away on Sunday, August 12, 2012 in Morristown, N.J., of multiple myeloma.  His eight decade legacy in comics made him a legend. A legacy he helped to pass on by founding the Kubert School, a school he founded with his wife, Muriel. Founded in 1976, the Kubert School is the nation’s only accredited trade school for comic book artists. With courses in commercial art as well as traditional sequential artwork.

For more info please visit his wiki page.

Tips and Tricks – Protecting yourself and your artwork using Google Image Search


A friend introduced me to a neat way you can utilize Google to search the web easily for your images.

In this day and age we as artists have to be vigilant in keeping an eye open on the web for our artwork to show up in places we didn’t give permission for it to be.  Largely to be sure our work isn’t being sold or misappropriated in any way. (It happens quite a bit.)

The tool Google offers is a search engine that doesn’t use keywords but instead uses images. Nifty huh!

Let me give you a quick walkthrough of how you use the tool!

Please note you can see larger versions of the images by clicking them!

1. Find a place online where you are hosting an image of the artwork you want to search. (You can also drag and drop an image from your desktop. Thanks Tanja!!) Most likely your web page or online gallery of some sort. You will need to copy the image location. To be sure you are getting the address for the image itself and not the web page it is on, right click with your mouse over the image. You’ll get a list of options one of which should be “View Image”. Select this and your image should show up alone in a new tab or window. Copy the address of this image from your address bar. (At top of page.)


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