Category Archives: Commission

Bowling for the Muse

Bowling Octopus by Meg Lyman

8×10″ gouache and ink


So it’s been forever. I apologize. I didn’t do any art for a good long time. Now that I have a few conventions under my belt, this year has started to be productive. I’m going to post a bunch of commissions I’ve recently finished. Wooo, productivity!

Keel-Billed Squid


Keel-Billed Squid by Meg Lyman

11×14″ gouache on Canson board


My commission requests are getting really interesting! This is one of my recent ones, and a favorite. I am having a lot of fun putting various animal patterns on cephalopods (see below: poison dart), and this commissioner wanted me to put the Keel-Billed Toucan pattern on a squid. Birds are so colorful and this one is particularly pretty. The hardest part was figuring out what parts of the squid should correspond to the various bird parts!


Another Step-by-Step

Another quick step-by-step demo, on a simpler piece. This technique is quick and easy and I can do it in my sleep now. When convention time rolls around and I have to do dozens of these, it comes in handy… but it gets old. Makes me want to break out the oils, or at least do a complicated gouache piece with a full background an no outlines.

Luckily I have a dozen of those complicated kinds of pieces I have to get ready for Dragon*Con, which is in a month. A MONTH. Pardon while I go panic and paint all day.


Step 1: Sketch, transfer.

Step 2: Since this is on dark-ish paper and the character is yellow, I lay down a white base layer. Without it, the yellows end up very dark and neutral. My advice when painting on dark paper: do a test sheet so you know what colors might need assistance.

Continue reading Another Step-by-Step


So it’s been a while because 1. I’m on a business trip in Colorado, 2. I just turned in my control sheet for the Dragon*Con art show and ambitiously filled it with paintings I haven’t even started, and 3. I have commissions to finish. Excuses, excuses, I know. So here’s a ridiculously detailed step-by-step view of how I do my “turn your character into a cephalopod” commissions.

Whether your character is a cat-lady, an elf warrior, or a sparkly vampire, I can transform it into a cute octopus with a hobby. The first step is to get a character reference and ask what “accessories” to include – like ears, wings, or game controllers.


Step 1: Sketchy

Continue reading Step-by-Step

Musical Cephalopod

Coulton Squid

Coulton Squid by Meg Lyman

5×7″ gouache on paper

At a recent convention, I was commissioned to create a Jonathan Coulton squid by a fan of his. He’s a cool musician guy who writes fun songs… and some are about cephalopods. How cool is that?

This is one of those commissions I really enjoyed. I love when people ask for cephalopod-related things, because it indicates that I am becoming known for them, but also because I love painting them.

For those artists out there who take commissions, what are your favorite subjects?



The Hairdresser by Meg Lyman

8×10 colored pencil commission – SOLD

Commissions. The double-edged sword. They are often an essential part an artist’s living, but they can be so draining creatively. When someone wants me to do custom artwork for them, I am thrilled and terrified at the same time.

I am beginning to set myself up with a style – the more work I do for myself, the larger my portfolio, and the more likely I am to get commissions that I will like. However, there are always commissions that just suck it out of me. If I accept a commission about which I am less than enthusiastic, can I use it to practice a new technique or style? I’m at risk of providing the customer with a product unlike any of my others… and they hired me after seeing my existing work. If an experiment goes wrong, I’ll have to start over.

Luckily, this hairdressing cephalopod commission was right up my alley.

For the artists out there, where do you draw the line when accepting commissions? Do they have to interest you, or do they simply have to pay the bills? For the potential commissioners out there, how much leeway would you give your artist in terms of style?


Yarn Squid

Unraveling by Meg Lyman

8×10″ gouache and ink on Canson

Commission: SOLD

I’m not sure what happens when it runs out of yarn. A disembodied but cuddly yarn-squid head? A rip in the space-time continuum?

Actually, I don’t want to know.

A commission for a “yarn skein” squid, all nestled into a basket and knitting itself a new arm.