My artwork is copyrighted
. This means that, no, you do not
have the right
to use it in any manner whatsoever, even if it's just on a personal website,
without my permission in advance.
Therefore, if you do wish to put an image on your site you are legally obliged
to ask me first. If it's a personal site which will in no way attract revenue
or advertise a product, then I may grant free usage, provided that you link
back to me and give full credit, and provided that I do not find your site's
content disagreeable or controversial.
If your site is in any way commercial, then I am still happy to grant usage,
but naturally I expect you to pay a small fee. This will depend
how prominent the image is, how famous the site is, how long the image will be up,
etc. Please contact me
with these details and we can discuss it.
Any usage of my work for which I did not grant permission, even if it's a
personal site, is an infringement of my copyright and is therefore against the
While in the past I have been willing to allow this for free, the sheer number
of requests of this kind that I get has forced me to change my stance. Giving
away my art for free to academics just encourages more requests for free art,
more emails to answer, more high-definition files to prepare and send out. At
the end of the day I don't get a cent — not great when you are somebody trying
to make a living as a freelance illustrator.
I therefore require a small donation for the usage of my art by academics.
If you are still willing to use my work, please contact me
with your requirements
so that I may send the payment details, and any image files you may need. For
more about why I charge for my art, read FAQ #5. Thank you for your understanding.
I do not generally provide any large-format files freely for this purpose. If
you are willing to pay, please contact me
I am so often asked to allow free use of my artwork that it is obvious that some
people seem to think that this is how it should be. They assume
that art is something that one merely does for pleasure, as a pastime or hobby.
'So why should we pay?' they ask.
Let's take an example. A non-profit organisation contacts me to ask me to let
them use one of my images on a poster advertising, say, a scientific conference.
They are unwilling to pay, or unable to. In a situation such as this, I think to
myself, what then does this organisation actually pay for? Do they tell the
company printing their poster that, being a non-profit organisation, they have
no funds to pay them? Do they make a similar plead to the telephone company who
rents them their phone line? Or to the people supplying their gas and electricity?
No, that would be absurd. But it is perfectly acceptable for some such
organisations to ask a working artist, making a living from their art, to let them
have their art for free. The way I see it, I provide a service. I provide artwork
that will liven up a poster, attracting attention. Why my services should be
provided freely while other service-providers get paid is beyond me.
As a professional artist, I am troubled that providing free art devalues what we
do. When an artist does not charge a fee for her work, then it is often expected by
organisations that all artists should also provide work for free. So, to make a
statement and to avoid jeopardising the careers of my fellow artists, I charge a
fee. Artists have mortgages. They must buy fuel to heat their homes, food to feed
their families. Materials to make their art!
To conclude, while I am often willing to allow free usage of my work on, for example,
personal internet sites (with my permission in advance — see FAQ #1), there are
other circumstances when I will expect to be paid.
You don't really need a great deal of astronomical knowledge. But having said that,
you will certainly need some basic knowledge if you are to succeed. And simple
mathematics will help, to enable you to work out how large a moon appears from its
planet, for example. Most professional space artists do have a good grounding in
astronomy simply because it interests them as a subject. But I do occasionally see
space art where it is clear that the artist has no real idea what s/he's doing, and
it's painful. Stick to the laws of physics and you'll do fine.
'Never give up, never surrender!' Seriously, though, it can be tough. And although
it's a cliché, it is also sadly quite often true that 'it's not what you know, but who'.
But don't be discouraged.
First off, join an artist or illustrator association. I am a Fellow of the International
Association of Astronomical Artists (IAAA), and they are great if you want to get
into space art. Then, you need to get to know your potential clients, learn which
magazines, publishers, whatnot, will actually want to publish your work. No sense sending
a beautifully rendered painting of a spiral galaxy to a magazine called, I don't know,
Horse and Countryside. Okay, extreme example, but you get the picture. Once you
know what sort of art you want to do and who will want to print it, get in touch with them.
You can find out how to contact them in publications such as Writers' and Artists'
Yearbook (in the UK, but no doubt other countries have similar tomes). Send your target
clients some samples of your work and then wait. And then wait a bit more. Then perhaps
send a chasing letter. And just keep at it. Eventually, if you have a degree of talent,
somebody will spot it and you'll get in print.
But don't stop there! It is a misconception
that once you have made it in print, it gets easier. Okay, perhaps it's not entirely false,
but it's not that simple. I am constantly sending out samples to people who already know me,
or I email them just to stay in touch. Otherwise they forget about me and they use
somebody else's art and I have to live on bread and water. Most of the samples I send out
to new potential clients just vanish into some black hole somewhere. It's tiring, but you
have to know how to network as well as how to draw. And you need patience.
First, the term 'computer-generated art' is about as accurate as a rusty watch with
two broken springs. The computer does not 'generate' my digital art any more than
my airbrush generates my acrylic paintings. The computer is merely a tool, like the
airbrush. I generate the art, not a box of electronic components.
True, some 3D programs can make very realistic-looking scenes with little input from
the user. But this is not how I work. I use 3D programs sparingly (see FAQ #10), and
always work on the image afterwards in Photoshop. It is here that the image comes to
life as a work of art and where I am able to impart my style. Using a graphics tablet,
I draw on the screen just as I would (well, almost) on canvas with paint. I pick the
colours, I choose the right size 'brush' for the job, I make sure the lighting and
perspective is right and that the composition is solid — all just as with traditional
art. The computer has no say in what the final image looks like. It comes from my
imagination, and the computer merely helps me to translate my idea into an image.
If that's not art, perhaps I should go about chopping up cows, urinating on religious
icons or assembling piles of bricks in posh art galleries.
For the digital art, I work on a PC rather than a Mac. I have 128 GB of DDR4 SDRAM,
a few TB of disk space, another few TB of disk space in a network drive for backups,
and the CPU is an AMD Ryzen 12-core processor running at 3.7 GHz. I also have five slower machines
which I network link to the main one to render animations faster, the PCs working in tandem. Lastly I use
a Wacom graphics pad, although I began with a mouse.
For my traditional art, which is now becoming rare, I prefer to use acrylics with
the occasional sprinkling of airbrush. I have never used oil (well, once or twice,
but I lack the patience) and I dislike the results you get with watercolour.
Gouache is okay. I also love oil pastels
By far the most common piece of software for still images is Photoshop
. Sometimes I start from a blank canvas, but often I
start with a photo or a section from one, adding the rest by hand. Or sometimes I
start with an element stolen from a previous image. And still other times, I start with a 3D
program, such as Blender
or 3DS Max
. In a sense I use the 3D render
as a sketch. I then import the render into Photoshop
and make big changes to it. For
my animation work, I use 3DS Max
, and Photoshop
for making maps and textures.
If you want to see examples of my animation work, check out my YouTube channel
Yes, see here
I sell prints and other merchadise (such as phone covers and greetings cards) through a third-party website called
You order the prints through them. They take your order and send the prints out directly to you. I am not
involved in the process, which frees up a lot of my time. I also sell originals. Please contact me for details.
Yes. I also like to dabble in paleoart (e.g. dinosaurs), a bit of science fiction, some horror, some surrealism,
and other odds and ends. Go to markgarlick.com
to check it out.
Has to be Blade Runner. No this isn't really an FAQ. Made you look though!