The premise of the site is to provide character portraits for gamers and writers who might otherwise commission a portrait... but are perhaps a little cautious about commissioning work from a strange artist. Let's face it, artists can be flaky, and commissioning work can be very disappointing. It's an awesome outlet for artists who like to draw 'random people,' but don't like the pressures of having to work with clients or to deadlines. Portraits are uploaded the site already completed, for 'adoption.' Adoption of a portrait gives the client a large, unwatermarked image of the portrait, and (optionally) a high quality print and a signed certificate naming the portrait to their specification and promising that no other prints will ever be made. The client still gets something one-of-a-kind, but there is none of the usual hassle and headache (and sometimes, heartache!) of the traditional commission process.
As the site developed, we added a customization feature - artists can offer to tweak the portrait a little to make it just a little be more like the client was envisioning. And we also added the Submitted Description option. Clients can give the description of their character - along with their price-range and desired size and media - and all of the Portrait Adoption artists have a chance to try their hand at it. No money changes hands unless the client makes an adoption, and if they choose not to, the artist can offer the portrait generally, or remove it from Portrait Adoption altogether and make prints or merchandise to their heart's content. (This icon is an example of that!) Submitted Description portraits have a relatively high rate of adoption! The site has proven popular with art collectors who want something truly unique, as well as gamers and writers.
The site has come a long, long way... at first, we had a team of artist volunteers who hand-made all the images for the site (do you guys remember that?!), and later a brilliant database-driven site was created that automated big, big chunks of the process. It's a few clicks of work for me now, plus printmaking, and my tools are pretty awesomely powerful. I've just finished a big (BIG) security upgrade, and merged the Portrait Adoption customer logins with the overall EMG logins. I also gave the portrait pages a bit of a polish and added ACEO as a print option. This is the first step in a planned attack of upgrades that will include (eventually!): auctions, originals, better browsing, more rights management (ebook covers, for example!), more categories (RPG illustrations that aren't portraits), shared wishlists, better artist tools, and more. SO much more.
I've got two amazing specials for you as part of our 20 Days of 20 Years celebration.
The first is a free drawing: for every portrait (by any artist) that you add to your wishlist, you are entered in a drawing for a free web adoption of any portrait in my gallery. If you are ordering anything this month (or are a Fantastrix Kickstarter backer with any package that includes shipping!), you will be upgraded to a standard adoption. To add portraits to your wishlist, log in here and browse through all the gorgeous portraits available! If you have a good high-speed connection, you can see an amazing page with thumbnails of ALL the portraits available (nearly 1000!). The drawing is good on all wishlist additions from this weekend through the end of the month; I'll do the drawing the first of November. Everything you add to your wishlist counts in your favor, so don't be shy about adding them!
The second special is half off everything in my portrait gallery! This is my personal gallery, and I've got far, far too many portraits right now. This is your chance to grab any of them at 50% off! Through the end of October, I will refund half of your purchase (before shipping) on any adoption of my work. (I'm sorry, I can't extend this special to other artists, too!)
In any cases where I am shipping you a portrait adoption print, I will upgrade you to the original wherever I still have the original in good shape.