The Saturday before Thanksgiving I had the perfect storm of computer related failures.
In less than the time it takes to say "oops" I lost my main computer hard drive, and one backup drive.
It was an accident. Utterly ridiculous and completely unforeseeable. My husband, who is an experienced IT director with years of IT work under his belt, was upgrading my computer. There was a tiny wire where a wire shouldn't have been. It got cut. Add power. Presto: instant short and boom. Gone. Poof. Up in smoke.
My second backup drive looks like it survived. It has, as best as I can recall, nothing on it but my oldest files. I think everything on it must be from at least three years ago, if not more. I also think it's JUST art files.
I lost over seven years worth of work in the blink of an eye. All my contracted work from the last three years that was under NDA and waiting to be released? Yeah, the original files are gone. (Thankfully I'd turned them all in, but still...). All my digital sketchbooks. All that stuff in my Art Graveyard. Every book cover. Every template I'd built over the years. My brush libraries and texture libraries.
ALL my files for my part-time job.
All of it. Poof.
We sent the drives off to a data recovery center to see if they can get anything off them. The estimate we got back today has left me feeling more than a little sick to my stomach. It might be January before they can get even 90% of the stuff recovered, but there's no guarantee. There's a very good chance that most of the files are corrupted beyond recovery. IF they manage to get at least 90% of the stuff back, though, we're looking at around $2000 (possibly more).
Needless to say, I really don't have that sort of money.
I'm not going to be accepting commissions for the foreseeable future. Right now I need to work on rebuilding much of what I lost for my part-time job, and making sure that I can finish the stuff that I had deadlines for coming up. I will post here when I'm open for commissions again.
DeviantArt is the only real archive I have of most of my artwork now. I know most of the work that's up is old -- I haven't had much time for personal work over the last couple of years, and everything else was under NDAs until recently.
However, if you've ever wanted to buy any of my work, this would be an excellent time to do it. Whatever is up in my print shop is all I've got.
And let my experience be a lesson to all of you out there who do digital artwork. BACK UP your work. Not just to flash drives (my USB drive is corrupted and half the files on it are unusable right now). Not just to your laptop (Because the same day that my main computer got fried, my cats dumped a glass of water on my laptop. Like I said, perfect storm). You NEED an external back up, off site, away from your house. Make copies of your files and burn them to DVDs and send them to your parents or sibling. Use a cloud backup system. Do both. Whatever it takes to make sure that your work is preserved in the event of a tragedy, whether it's a natural disaster or just a wire hiding where a wire shouldn't have been.