Stephen McKim's Custom Graphics Policy

Notification of my decision to limit my acceptance of Custom Art Projects. July 26th, 2009

I'm sad to have to state that my original artwork hopes have not, nor appear that they will ever become a reality. I had hoped that supplying new and fresh artwork to our Fraternity, that the Brotherhood would have been more financially supportive through the donation system. Hundreds of thousands have accessed the site and are using the artwork, yet in 4 years less than $150.00 has been donated. It is evident that my method of creating artwork and the time involved is just not being understood or realized. And I must admit that abuse of present artwork is also being factored in on my decision. As one example(and there are many more), my artwork is "plastered" all over E-Bay with no part being offered, shared with or even giving recognition to the Art's creator..... some are even using my name as a search tag! This is why you've seen very few new items added to the website. No Custom Art request has to date worked out after investing my time, there is just too much time involved. So with this said, I will no longer accept new requests.

It saddens me to say that the phrases, "But how much for a good worthy Brother?" or "Brother McKim, how about donating your work? We'll give you credit!" (so that others can expect the same free work)........has buried a large dagger in my heart and the vison I hold of Freemasonry...... I cherish and love being a Freemason and living the Masonic lifestyle..... and though I never thought I would...... concerning my art, I have come to realize the length and limit of my cabletow.

My Masonic Artwork shall return to being simply a hobby and no more. Custom work shall only be offered to my past and present Brothers Duncan Russell of Scotland, Blake Gardiner of Montana, Stephen Dafoe of Canada and to my home Lodge who have always supported me through the good..... and the bad times on this "artwork rollercoaster".

If I sound bitter, I apologize, but the old adage, "One bad apple spoils the barrel" (Brethren attempting to take advantage of another Brother) has hit home. I do realize that this particular type of Mason is few and far between, but unfortunately I've made acquaintance of too many for my liking.

Humbly, Saddened and Fraternally,

Stephen A. McKim

Dated this July 26th, 2009

Stephen McKim

My graphics philosophy

Let me start with stating that my original intention of making the images contained on this site and its sister sites was and is to supply you, my Masonic Brethren, with better graphics so that you can make stationary, event flyers and other materials special and specific to your webpages.

A method to my madness

I know and understand that the methods I use have probably been improved upon in efficiency and speed, but alas you are talking to an "old dog".

I've taught myself all the techniques that I have used over the past 15 years and they are what I'm comfortable with and I am happy with the results that they produce.

For every image of mine you may see, I have probably 100 that you will never see - because they don't satisfy my personal expectations.

At last "Save", I had in excess of 34 gigs of images, over 12,000 files. Keep in mind that a graphic may have anywhere from 1 to 10 creation files particular to it.

A picture is worth a thousand words

Below are a few examples of images that I have made and an explanation of the time required to create them.

Square and Compasses

This Square and Compass shown to the left, while seemingly simple in its design, took four hours to create.

90 per cent of my creations are in 3D like this one, which is necessary to make the creations look more like art and less like clip art.

As such there is much more to this graphic than you see here - as it contains many levels and layers.

The coat of arms image shown to the right is a more intricate design project and took between 30 and 40 hours to complete.

The helmet, sword, Square and Compasses, Columns, Bible, lamp, roses, wreath and other elements are all individually created elements that I have designed and then grouped together for this final image.

Bigger and better means longer and harder

Below is my largest image to date.

This detailed image took more than 100 hours to complete. Again each object in this image is a picture in itself.

The "working" file on this creation is 284 mb, which - in addition to taking time to create - takes up a considerable amount of hard drive space to store.

Techno mumbo jumbo and a layman's guide to my work

There is more to creating an image like the one above than the time it takes to create the individual elements and mix them together to create the finished image.

It took 4 days and 8 hours to "render" the working file into a file that could be printed out at 20"x30" at 300dpi using a "ray trace" of 36 hits per pixel.

While that may seem like Greek to you - the long and short of it is that printers need an image that is 300 dots for every inch of printed surface so that the finished product looks crisp and sharp.

Custom graphics cannot be used for the general good of the Order

I've recently received several requests for custom graphics. To do so negates my original thought of making the graphics available to all Brethren and honestly I would rather continue in my original pursuit.

Although I am honored that Brethren make such requests, I simply can't do it for free as my time like yours has value.

So do I do custom work?

To the point - Yes, I will do custom design work.

However, my hourly rate is $25 US per hour.

You tell me SPECIFICALLY what you want and I'll give an estimate of time.

Terms of the custom graphics agreement

If you agree with the estimate, I require a 50% non-refundable deposit before I start.

I will present you with a preview within a time table that we agree upon for the finished image and will allow two changes or alterations maximum to the preview image (not a complete re make).

If you accept the image, then you will be required to pay the remaining 50 % of the estimate price.

At that point I will write you a copyright release (the image cannot be used until this release is established by federal copyright law).

While the terms may seem harsh or strict, I am forced to maintain these requirements as I have been burned by three Brethren in the past on projects and cannot allow my time and energies to be abused on any future projects.

Rush hour is for commuters not artists

Because I do my creations after hours from my normal day job, I am unable to do rush orders.

A few final thoughts

Well Brethren? I hope this explains a bit about my graphics and the time involved in making them.

Your interest in my work is appreciated and I thank you for it.

However, please consider the "Donation" button as there is a lot of time that has already been spent on these pages creating the images that I offer freely to the Masonic fraternity.

Finally, if you have an idea for an image that might be used by all, drop me a line and if I can help..... I'm there. Thanks


Stephen Alan McKim, PM

A Special Word of Thanks:

To Brother Stephen Dafoe for an exceptional webpage. Thank you Sir. And also to my "Lil' Brothers" Blake Gardiner and Duncan Russell for their continuous encouragement and support in my graphic ventures....... maybe that should be "adventures"............ If you are looking for Masonic knowledge and information..... visit these three Brothers' websites....... you will be glad that you did.