The History of a Commission

COMMISSION: Charmy’s Army at Wurst-Fest!


This weekend, I completed the most amazing commission I have ever created for one of my fans. One reason it was so amazing was because I truly believe this was my best work to date. The most meaningful reason for this being the most amazing commission was the fact that the recipient was so overwhelmed with the result. I cannot tell you the feeling of euphoria when someone reacts they way Rudy reacted. They smile on his face surged a rush of adrenaline which coursed through my veins all weekend long!

For this commission, Ruby requested a scene where Charmy and his friends were celebrating Wurst-Fest in New Braunfels, Texas. Rudy is proud of his town and wanted to have a sketch book where artists drew their characters enjoying New Braunfels. Here, in my art, you see my cast wearing authentic German outfits and enjoying pretzels and sausage on a stick. The walking stick was added as a personal touch to tie in Rudy with the drawing, making this commission extremely personal as well as entertaining. Then to make it silly, I added the phrase “Wurst for Wear” in the sign.


I want to share how I produce my commission work with everyone. Here is a detailed, step by step record of my most recent commission created for Hill Country Comic Con. This commission features 5 cast members from my comic strip Charmy’s Army.

In this case, the commission was drawn in Rudy’s sketchbook. In most cases, I draw the commissions on blank sketch covers. In other cases, I draw them on bristol board sized varying per commission. Once the paper and size is selected, I pick the buyer’s brain for what they want. Pricing is discussed based on more options. A drawing using pen and ink with gray Copic markers is the basic option. If the buyer wants color, then the price of course increases based upon the detail involved.

It all begins with a loose sketch. When I say the sketch is loose, I mean it looks kind of like chicken scratch. To the left is the loose sketch I sent over to Rudy. This is just to insure my brain is locked into the brain of the buyer. I will write notes all over it and send it over for approval or updates.

Getting the layout down is the most important reason for this stage. The next step is the tight pencils and that process is very detailed. You do not want to get the detailed pencil sketch completed only to find that you are not seeing what the buyer sees in their head.

This loose sketch must provide enough detail that the buyer will feel comfortable with the results of the tighter pencil drawings. I will chat back and forth with the buyer at this point, making them feel as though they are creating this along with me. Making the buyer feel like they are helping create this will also make them very happy with the final product.

Click images to enlarge.

Above are the tight pencil sketches, step by step. If you look, There are a few changes going on. I tried a few different outfits for Frenchy. I tweaked the lettering back and forth as the drawing progressed. This is the step where I take the most time prepping the commission. Getting the pencils tight takes a lot of effort. The most important element is the line width. I try to capture the brush strokes with the pencils. I do this so the buyer is seeing exactly what the inks will look like. Never leave your buyer guessing!

Once the tight pencils are completed, it is time to fund my Paypal! I was burned once two years ago when the buyer vanished on me and stopped responding after the art was finished. The tight pencil work is the most time consuming process of the commission, but inking and adding Copic Markers is the most expensive part. Copic Markers are very expensive. I cannot proceed to the next step before full payment is funded.

Commission InkedThe next step is to ink the drawing. The tight pencils is NEVER drawn on the actual surface of the commissioned art. I always draw it on a separate sheet of paper. I take the completed, tightened pencil drawing and I have it scanned into my computer. I print it out full size and tape the print out to my light table. I do this so that the pencil lead from the original drawing doesn’t dirty up the back of the commissioned artwork. If you are drawing in someone’s sketchbook, you never want to dirty up the next page.

I use a very thin light table. It is so thin that I can easily slip it between pages of a sketch book. The entire page won’t be lit up, but the light table will allow me to ink enough of the page for this step. I end up with a 1 inch strip near the book’s spine where I have to draw the inking by hand. Once the inking is completed, it is time to let the art dry.

We are almost done! – Time for the Copic Markers!!!

I love using gray markers. The tones look amazing. Color is always fun, but the way I create color is very expensive. I layer colors and use a lot of markers. Color can easily double the cost for the buyer. Most commission work ends up being created in Black and White. To me, the gray scale really does look better.

Here is the final commission! Rudy was so happy especially because I filled the page. Rudy wanted my to be the first page of his sketch book so I was so honored that I had to go the extra mile here. I wanted to set the bar VERY high for every artist to come.


If you are interested in a commission from me using any of my characters from Charmy’s Army, just email me. I am always ready to make art for my readers!

Just write COMMISSION REQUEST in the email header and I will contact you within a few days.


#comics #commissions #artistsalley #charmysarmy