I'm grateful to the very cool people who asked for the image below; I am glad I could make this for them. It was commissioned by a lovely couple that met in Seattle during the convention. They were great: they paid in advance, the got a pre-paid mailer and they brought reference. I also learned a valuable lesson from doing the piece so I can thank them for that too!
Before ECCC I had read Chris Samnee's guidelines for commission work and I was surprised that he wouldn't do likenesses or non-licensed characters and clearly lists 'some background' amongst his bullet points. I found it curious but I now understand why.
Once I finished the painting on this piece, on Tuesday, I knew it would be difficult to take on similar jobs in the future; It was a ton of fun but it took a crazy amount of time. It ended up being two full work days of trying to match likenesses, put together a pose that would work with the faces I found in the pictures they provided, nail down the complicated details of the characters costumes, work out appropriate full/divergent themed background worlds for each side and lay in the colors so that each side was balanced without competing excessively.
I now understand that I have to put constraints on my commissions (and on myself) from this point out or I'll end up taking precious time away from deadline-dependent projects. If I were to charge my normal commercial rates no one would want to pay; I want to make sure I can offer something people will enjoy without compromising my own financial and scheduling needs. Freelance work is full of these moments of learning and that is a good thing. I also think that the final image turned out pretty cool!