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Say NO to free art - The art of Thornwolf — LiveJournal
thornwolf
thornwolf
Say NO to free art
As someone who, when I was still in highschool, was duped into doing free storyboards for an independent film on the promise that I would be hired as a fulltime storyboard artist for the company but after the fact they decided not to pay me as it was a "labor of love" and I should "be happy to see my name in credits", this really speaks to me.

I DID NOT WRITE THIS! I nabbed it from katie_can_draw and astolpho

Every day, there are more and more Craigs List posts seeking “artists” for everything from auto graphics to comic books to corporate logo designs. More people are finding themselves in need of some form of illustrative service.

But what they’re NOT doing, unfortunately, is realizing how rare someone with these particular talents can be.

To those who are “seeking artists”, let me ask you; How many people do you know, personally, with the talent and skill to perform the services you need? A dozen? Five? One? …none?

More than likely, you don’t know any. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be posting on craigslist to find them.

And this is not really a surprise.

In this country, there are almost twice as many neurosurgeons as there are professional illustrators. There are eleven times as many certified mechanics. There are SEVENTY times as many people in the IT field.

So, given that they are less rare, and therefore less in demand, would it make sense to ask your mechanic to work on your car for free? Would you look him in the eye, with a straight face, and tell him that his compensation would be the ability to have his work shown to others as you drive down the street?

Would you offer a neurosurgeon the “opportunity” to add your name to his resume as payment for removing that pesky tumor? (Maybe you could offer him “a few bucks” for “materials”. What a deal!)

Would you be able to seriously even CONSIDER offering your web hosting service the chance to have people see their work, by viewing your website, as their payment for hosting you?

If you answered “yes” to ANY of the above, you’re obviously insane. If you answered “no”, then kudos to you for living in the real world.

But then tell me… why would you think it is okay to live out the same, delusional, ridiculous fantasy when seeking someone whose abilities are even less in supply than these folks?

Graphic artists, illustrators, painters, etc., are skilled tradesmen. As such, to consider them as, or deal with them as, anything less than professionals fully deserving of your respect is both insulting and a bad reflection on you as a sane, reasonable person. In short, it makes you look like a twit.

A few things you need to know;

1. It is not a “great opportunity” for an artist to have his work seen on your car/’zine/website/bedroom wall, etc. It IS a “great opportunity” for YOU to have their work there.

2. It is not clever to seek a “student” or “beginner” in an attempt to get work for free. It’s ignorant and insulting. They may be “students”, but that does not mean they don’t deserve to be paid for their hard work. You were a “student” once, too. Would you have taken that job at McDonalds with no pay, because you were learning essential job skills for the real world? Yes, your proposition it JUST as stupid.

3. The chance to have their name on something that is going to be seen by other people, whether it’s one or one million, is NOT a valid enticement. Neither is the right to add that work to their “portfolio”. They get to do those things ANYWAY, after being paid as they should. It’s not compensation. It’s their right, and it’s a given.

4. Stop thinking that you’re giving them some great chance to work. Once they skip over your silly ad, as they should, the next ad is usually for someone who lives in the real world, and as such, will pay them. There are far more jobs needing these skills than there are people who possess these skills.

5. Students DO need “experience”. But they do NOT need to get it by giving their work away. In fact, this does not even offer them the experience they need. Anyone who will not/can not pay them is obviously the type of person or business they should be ashamed to have on their resume anyway. Do you think professional contractors list the “experience” they got while nailing down a loose step at their grandmother’s house when they were seventeen?

If you your company or gig was worth listing as desired experience, it would be able to pay for the services it received. The only experience they will get doing free work for you is a lesson learned in what kinds of scrubs they should not lower themselves to deal with.

6. (This one is FOR the artists out there, please pay attention.) Some will ask you to “submit work for consideration”. They may even be posing as some sort of “contest”. These are almost always scams. They will take the work submitted by many artists seeking to win the “contest”, or be “chosen” for the gig, and find what they like most. They will then usually have someone who works for them, or someone who works incredibly cheap because they have no originality or talent of their own, reproduce that same work, or even just make slight modifications to it, and claim it as their own. You will NOT be paid, you will NOT win the contest. The only people who win, here, are the underhanded folks who run these ads. This is speculative, or “spec”, work. It’s risky at best, and a complete scam at worst. I urge you to avoid it, completely. For more information on this subject, please visit www.no-spec.com.

So to artists/designers/illustrators looking for work, do everyone a favor, ESPECIALLY yourselves, and avoid people who do not intend to pay you. Whether they are “spec” gigs, or just some guy who wants a free mural on his living room walls. They need you. You do NOT need them.

And for those who are looking for someone to do work for free… please wake up and join the real world. The only thing you’re accomplishing is to insult those with the skills you need. Get a clue.


I agree with everything written here, and yanno, this is better explained than I could ever explain it. Next time someone approaches me with one of these excuses (and oddly about 4 times out of 10 when approached with an offer I /do/ get at least one of them) I will be sure to repeat one of these examples.
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Comments
tarnac From: tarnac Date: January 30th, 2007 02:27 am (UTC) (Link)
Wanna do some work for me? It's a great opportunity for you to have your illustrations featured in the upcoming "FURRY CHAKAT PEE ANIMATED POP-UP EDITION KAMA SUTRA." You know this will do wonders for your resume and reputation, and thus you'll be paid in spades in your upcoming jobs...but not this one.
reyfox From: reyfox Date: January 30th, 2007 02:29 am (UTC) (Link)
There seems to be this pervasive notion that art doesn't qualify as "work". The more people we could divorce from this notion, the better.

Are illustrators really that scarce though? I always figured there were too many people coming out of art schools.
thornwolf From: thornwolf Date: January 30th, 2007 02:34 am (UTC) (Link)
i think thats a misleading statistic actually, and I wanted to comment on that further, thank you for reminding me.

I think, as with everything, there are "popular" artist niches being overpopulated right now where other areas are lacking. Go to conceptart.org and most people there work for the gaming industry and very very few do books (some do magazines though). I think it all depends on what people are looking for.

Illustrators as a whole though, I dunno. Perhaps its people who do solely illustration and not other things as well?
sfinder From: sfinder Date: January 30th, 2007 02:38 am (UTC) (Link)

YES!

AMEN to all of this. Recently I had a kid who wanted to use some photos I took of his car for a potential magazine submission. He wanted me to process them ALL (20+ photos) within a day..and he texted my phone to tell me this right during FC. I told him no, and that I am at an 'artshow' where I get paid for my hard work at a proper rate. He said he'd give me $20 for all the photos. I told him no, and that it is WAY too cheap. I then proceeded to explain that my rate is $75/hour for most photo-related works. He insisted $30 then, and said he will 'pay more if the magazine accepts his submission'. Still, I said no. Then he said it's a 'great chance at exposure and he will tell the magazine to credit me for the photos as a favor to me'. At this point I got pissed and explained that him/the magazine crediting me for the work is a legal 'must' unless he/the 'zine wishes to be sued. It is not a favor, it's a right. Grr. Eventually he backed off and left me alone.

Still, I deal with idiots like the one I described and the kind your post mentions on a daily basis and it is seriously annoying.
kitsuken From: kitsuken Date: January 30th, 2007 09:15 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: YES!

Is it just me, or is that guy insanely stupid for offering you "exposure" for no pay when you said at the start that... you were at an art show getting exposure and reasonable pay?

And $1 per photo? Hah! he'd probably have to pay more to buy a disposable camera and take his own
tyrrlin From: tyrrlin Date: January 30th, 2007 02:43 am (UTC) (Link)
Hm, good points.

I'm always happy to pay an artist to do work for me...after all, it's your *time* and *expertise* I'm paying for.

Unless it's for the Army (and therefore part of my responsibilities as an NCO), no WAY would I give lessons for free.

People should pay for your services, plain and simple.
altonwings From: altonwings Date: January 30th, 2007 02:59 am (UTC) (Link)
It was very well written--unfortunately a lot of places do not teach students good business conduct, and so really outstanding artists can get their butt handed to them through the rest of their lives. Hopefully people will learn from this.

And hopefully some of the numnuts out there will realize you are paying an artist to create something from thin air for their benefit! A gift is one thing--but only 2-year olds ask for gifts (I have a 2-year old, and even SHE knows better than that). If I go to McDonald's I still have to pay something if I want a bite to eat.
(Deleted comment)
randerzoid From: randerzoid Date: January 30th, 2007 03:03 am (UTC) (Link)
:]

This tl;dr material touches on the same subject.

http://povonline.com/cols/COL209.htm
http://povonline.com/cols/COL210.htm
eski From: eski Date: January 30th, 2007 04:34 am (UTC) (Link)
Amen... I am going to have to post this to my journal as well, to remind myself of this everytime I look back on the entry. =3 THANK YOU for posting this!
ultra_taboo From: ultra_taboo Date: January 30th, 2007 05:45 am (UTC) (Link)
Ya know, I just recently got into the school paper as the cartoonist, and haven't yet mustered the balls to ask to get paid for it. I'm not entirely sure if they can, but because of this, I'll go ahead and give it a shot.
drake_anaya From: drake_anaya Date: January 30th, 2007 07:21 am (UTC) (Link)
University or high school? My university's paper most definitely compensates its cartoonists. If you're at that level and not getting paid, you should encourage your boss to be more progressive. ;)
halcyon_flight From: halcyon_flight Date: January 30th, 2007 11:24 am (UTC) (Link)
It's even worse when it's a friend asking for free art -.-.
swandog From: swandog Date: January 30th, 2007 11:31 am (UTC) (Link)
*adds to memories*
thewingedshadow From: thewingedshadow Date: January 30th, 2007 01:04 pm (UTC) (Link)
*signs under every word*
chenneoue From: chenneoue Date: January 31st, 2007 02:04 am (UTC) (Link)
Well said! I love this person! Whom ever wrote it. This should be posted on every artist's web page. :)
tormentedartist From: tormentedartist Date: February 10th, 2007 04:19 am (UTC) (Link)
Hey thanks for posting this ! I'm gonna help spread it myself.
spiffystuff From: spiffystuff Date: February 28th, 2007 09:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
Very true!

All that being said, there is one exception; guest comics! They usually do give you lots of exposure.
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