Frequently Asked Questions
- Can there be two or more people/animals/subjects in one drawing?
Yes, but I recommend keeping the size of the drawing in mind. If you try to cram ten people onto a 4"x6", they're just going to be glorified stick figures.
- I'm in a hurry, how fast can you finish for me?
That thoroughly depends on how many people are in line before you and what all I have going on in my life at the time. A standard bust portrait of one person can take 4-6 hours minimum and I could finish that in a day (or 2-3 evenings if my seasonal/day job is in) if there aren't too many changes to be made. So under ideal conditions, it could be out the door within three days.
- What happens to the digital copies of my photographs?
They remain stored in your account folder on my hard drive should I ever need to reference it for one of your future orders. I do not repost them to my website or on other websites and I do not use them to create other works without your consent.
- How do I use Paypal?
Visit my payment page. I have a decent overview there.
- What are your copyright and refund policies? Can I use your art for ?
Visit my policies page. I'm fairly lax though as far as artists go.
- Why are you so cheap?
To be quite honest, I wouldn't get hired at fair wages for an artist. Not in this economy. But that aside, I'm just a simple country girl with an appreciation for thriftiness. Keeping my prices low allows me to serve a greater range of people so those who otherwise wouldn't be able to afford pencil portraits can have one.
- Would you draw for me for free?
If you would like to commission me, contact me and we'll get started. I do not work for free. I have a family to provide for.
- Why don't you lower your prices? How many expenses could you possibly have to warrant charging so much?
You work hard for your money. So do I. You have bills to pay. So do I. The $30 8"x10" portrait you ordered potentially has over $10 dedicated to fees, expenses, and materials. Not counting overhead and taxes. Taxes are an additional 31% of my net after expenses. So, of that $30 I am paid, I get to keep less than half to put toward bills and living expenses, and many times I'm working at or less than the American minimum wage.
I do not tell you this to make you feel sorry for me or to encourage tips or gifts. I am happy with my pricing and anybody who's owned a business knows very well how expenses and taxes go. (In fact, as a income tax preparer and bookkeeper at my day job, I can say I'm in the normal profit range.) But I would like for you to understand the calculations behind both my prices and the prices of other artists out there that may seem high priced. Oil painters in particular have some high material costs.
Besides, as far as artistry goes, I'm dang cheap as is. The only reduction you're gonna get outta me is whatever sale or special I'm running.
- Are there any extra charges?
If you mean hidden fees or charges for multiple subjects or complexity of background items, then no. I do have separate charges per type or medium of artwork, such as a graphite or charcoal, or simple human or animal portrait, a house portrait, and conceptual or design work. On third-party websites such as Etsy I do charge a bit extra to cover the fees I am charged.
- Why do you charge a lower price on your site than on other sites where you're listed?
Fees. Short and simple answer is that I'm making up for the fees. Other sites take 10% to 15% of what I'm paid in addition to any listing fees and Paypal fees.
- Can you draw a tattoo for me?
Eh, maybe. I'm not a tattoo artist, but I have made a few in the past for friends. Drop me a line and I'll consider it.
Tools and Equipment
- What is a fixative?
In short, varnish. Similar to the stuff woodworkers put on their products to protect the wood or to the clearcoat women put on their nails. Artistic fixative comes in a spraycan to keep from drenching the paper and is available in varying levels of matte and glossiness.
- Do you paint?
Heavens, no. Liquid media and dry media don't behave the same way. And with pencils I don't have to be constantly dipping my tool into something. Very distracting.
- Do you offer only sketches, line work, no shading, or cell shading instead of just fully finished works?
I have recently begun to offer $5 Sketches. See the pricing page for details.
- What kind of paper do you use?
For portraits, I use Strathmore Drawing Paper, 400 series, 80lb.
For sketches, I use Georgia-Pacific Basic Copier Paper, 88 brightness, 20lb.
For most post cards, I use 100lb - 120lb cardstock.
- What kind of pencils do you use?
Pentel T3 0.5mm pencil and 0.7mm SideCliques.
In 2013 my husband gave me a spare 0.5mm pencil as I gift.
In 2014, my parents gave me a 0.3mm pencil as a gift.
But the lead refills inside are the important part! I stick to hi-polymer leads.
My charcoal pencils are General's.
My colored pencils are anything I fancy to use at the time.
- What kind of tablet do you use?
From 2004 to 2011 I used a Wacom Graphire 4. After it died I started using a Wacom Intuos 2. I miss my Graphire 4. It had buttons I could program to Save and Undo. The Intuos 2 has eight on there somewhere you have to tap with the stylus and it's terribly annoying. I'm looking forward to buying a different model some day.
For those of you curious about my eReader, it is a Kobo ER-701. No touchscreen and no internet capabilities. It is the perfect eReader for me!
For those of you curious about my laptop, it is an RCA Galileo. It has only one proper USB port, but I like it. It has survived longer than other laptops I've attempted.
For those of you curious about my cell phone, it's a basic flip phone because any other phone out there is not properly designed for somebody like me. Not even the optional cases for smartphones with the rubber grips.
I do not own any sort of pad computer that lacks proper peripherals like keyboards, such as an iPad or Kindle. I do not want them. I do not like them.
- Do you do "art streams"?
No. For three reasons.
- The first being hardware limitations. I've had this computer since 2010. It has 3GB of RAM and a 2.80 GHz dual-core processor. My computer isn't really capable of running both Photoshop, a live screen cap program, and a web browser at the same time without lagging terribly and I would be too frustrated to work when my strokes take a few seconds to appear on screen.
- Second being that I don't have a webcam, so I can't offer to let anybody watch me draw on paper. I also don't have a tripod for my camera, so video is out altogether.
- And third, I work from home. This may not seem like a big deal, but I have two small children and three dogs. For those of you unfamiliar with small children, that means every 2-15 minutes I have to get up or tend to something. I have timed it. Food, drink, cleaning, entertainment, education, and rescuing the furniture. I am not putting all of them second to a live stream.
- Did you go to art school?
Nope. Studied what I know all by myself through observation, encyclopedias on bones and geology, and books like Figure Drawing for All It's Worth.
- How did you get good at pencil shading if you didn't go to school?
Cat fur. How to Draw Cats by Janet Rancan. Buy that book and try to make the smoothest, stripediest/spottediest cat fur from her examples as you can. It's a wonderful exercise to train your pressure sensitivity!
And any student that did attempt university will tell you all the teacher said was "Practice! Practice! Practice!"
- Have you received any awards or mentions, or are you in any galleries?
Nope. Not really high on the priority list right now. Maybe when I've had a bit more practice and refined my art a bit more. Fame, status, and publications don't really appeal to me though, so I'll likely never have them.
- How long have you been drawing?
I've been doodling since I was a wee thing big enough to hold a crayon, but I started taking a serious interest in improving in 2002. I started taking custom orders in 2010.
- Why "Ashe Skyler"?
I liked the sound of it and little did I know I would end up sharing the same initials as my married name. It's not uncommon to find a creative person working under a pseudonym. Samuel Langhorne Clemens is better known as Mark Twain and Amantine-Lucile-Aurore Dupin is better known as George Sand. An alias also puts up an unspoken wall between my personal life and my professional life. I am here to create for you whatever I can, but my private life is not public property.
And sometimes you're just not comfortable giving your real name out online. There be monsters out there! Often with horrible English and offering $4.3 million for a $185 paperwork/bank/delivery fee.
- Why do you draw?
I enjoy it! Some people write, some act, some play games, some collect cats. I like to draw.
I've become especially fond of doing commission work. I love getting those little excited and giddy messages when they're waiting for it be done and in the mail. It's like I get to play Santa Claus all year.
- Will your comic get in the way of commissions and office work? Will your commissions be the same quality as your comic?
Do your wear high heels, a tie, or dress clothes all day long? At home? Even to bed when you go to sleep for the night? My comic is my hobby and my time off to relax and do what I want to do. My commission work is my career where I dress up and perform at a higher grade. And like a normal person, I put my work before my play.
- What's your issue with phone calls? Are you deaf?
No, my hearing is fine, and often much keener than the people I'm around. My signal processing, however, is not. I have to actively and consciously focus on every single disembodied sound that comes out of a device like a phone or mp3 player to understand it because I cannot read the accompanying body language. Unlike mp3 players with their wonderful replay button, it gets a little awkward on the phone to keep repeating what I'm hearing to understand what is being said. And often as soon as I hang up the phone, I forget almost all of the conversation because nearly all of my resources were put into deciphering garbled noises instead of a proper amount put into my short term memory. If you are ordering a commission, you do not want me to try to guess at whatever notes I was able to spare the processing power to jot down mid-conversation. Please, just send me an email if we can't meet in person. It's much easier to give you previews that way too.
In this series...
- The basic commissioning process from start to finish.
- Not quite sure what you want? Here are some things to consider when deciding upon a drawing, such as camera angle, background, and optional themes.
- Pricing, Sizes, and Turn Around Time
- A guide to the cost of the different sizes and mediums, along with estimated time of completion. I have a page for rough estimates if you would like a quick ballpark figure.
- The accepted payment methods and a few guides to some of them.
- Cancellations, returns, refunds, limitations, and rights of the artist and buyer.
- What past buyers have had to say.
- Frequently Asked Questions
- If you don't find an answer here, feel free to contact me!