About LadyMishka and Picsfordesign.com
Illustration store picsfordesign.com was conceived and launched as a personal project of a freelance artist Rzhevskii. Before the store was ready, it became clear that one single artist will not be able to offer the required number of works to the potential customers, and this is why I decided to offer cooperation to all the artists I was acquainted with. However, at that point they were not sure my store would be successful and were concerned about wasting their time drawing PSP pictures (the main source of income for artists was drawing works ordered by customers and drawing commissions). The store was launched in mid-August, but only my works were offered. At the end of August, I was enjoying a holiday with my family at the seaside, when I hurt my right shoulder, which resulted in 3 weeks in a plaster cast. I could not draw during that time, there were no new images at the store, and I was very sad to see my project die before getting a chance to prove its worth.
This is when I started thinking about how I could offer advantageous conditions to artists so that they would be able to draw PSP without being worried about their income. I came up with the idea of using the art-credit program. This means that the artist can get paid 50% before the picture even starts selling, and gets certain percentage of sales made by the store. That way, the artist's risk was much lower. Even if the work were to be sold just once, the artist would get financial reward, and if it were successful, the profit would be much more significant.
At that time, LadyMishka had serious trouble getting orders from customers, because the end of summer is traditionally a 'low season' in web design. Many taggers think that an artist makes a lot of money, while it is not exactly true. You can work for a company or on your own, but in general, an artist from Russia, Ukraine or Turkey makes about $1000 a month. In the 'low season' this it's even less, and even the place of residence can be an important factor of the artist's wellbeing. The cost of living may vary, in some Russian cities exceeding that of European capital cities. So, I offered LadyMishka to work with the website under the art-credit program. At that time, an exclusive illustration cost $40, so I paid her $20 for each plus percentage from every sale made. I ordered works from her worth $200. This amount made it possible for LadyMishka to postpone drawing pictures ordered by others and get down to drawing PSP's.
The fist work of LadyMishka appeared on PFD on September 3, while the website was functioning from August 15. She did not take part in its creation, testing and launching. Later, other artists also took part in the project, including Grafik, Alehandra, Antoneka, and OrkusArt. There were quite a lot of young people who would learn from me. I purchased their works to support their interest in working and drawing, and these images are now available under Rzhevskii_art. Over time, the number of artists increased, and calculating how much each one was supposed to be paid was very time-consuming and inefficient. We had an urgent need to switch from Payloadz.com platform to something more flexible and customized for actually selling pictures. This is how we found the wonderful team of Pix Technologies that supplied scripts, hosting, programmer support and customer support. Switching to the new script made it possible for the artists to see how their works sold and how advantageous it was. Many artists switched to drawing PSP full time.
LadyMishka was the leading artist for some time, so creating her own store and getting all the profit without using the art-credit program was a logical stage. Picsfordesign.com does not require exclusive copyright from the artist to sell their work, which is why any artist can sell their work here and at any other store of the kind. Every artist also has the right to remove any of their works from the catalogue without any explanation due.
There were two technical difficulties with LadyMishka leaving the project
1. How to give customers that already bought her works the possibility to download them again in case the pictures were lost and impossible to retrieve? We found a solution to that together with LadyMishka.
2. Half of profit made from selling certain pictures belonged to an artist named Gery. We used his photo references without permission, but were sure to compensate the damage.
3. LadyMishka's work copyright (pictures created within the art-credit program). I have 50% of copyright, while LadyMishka's share is another 50%. At first we agreed that each one of us will be selling those works at our respective stores, and that way we will not have report to each other how much works each one sold, dividing the profit every now and then. At some point, LadyMishka demanded removing her name from PFD and selling her works under a different name. I was unable to agree to that, as what kind of tagger would want to buy the works of LadyMishka in my store under some different name? Besides, there is her store right around the corner, where the same images are sold with proper copyright and all the information required.
4. I fulfilled LadyMishka's requirement and removed her work from our website, but the problem with works under the art-credit program has not been solved so far. Neither myself nor LadyMishka have the right to sell those works without each other's permission. I am hopeful that we will reach a compromise.
I also heard some rumors about LadyMishka being left out and not given proper credit in our magazine. When the first issue was being prepared, the images of LadyMishka were already unavailable at our website, so it would be really strange for us to offer non-existing pictures to our customers. Nevertheless, I acknowledge that LadyMishka played an important role and I am prepared to publish an interview with her in the next issue. It will be interesting for our readers to know how she is finding her work in PTE team and what kind of interesting projects or promos we should be looking forward to.
As you can see, there is no confrontation between us two, there is just one issue that's unresolved. All other technical difficulties we already sorted out.
I can only add that I have only good memories about working with LadyMishka, and I hope she will enjoy working with such an experienced and reputable manager as Jolene Burke.