My friend shared this video to warn other artists about how she was taken advantage of, and I believe this is a very important message that every artist should hear.
I've lost count of how many times someone, be it a big corporation or an individual, have asked me to illustrate for them for free. It will always go something like this "You draw this for us, and we will include your name in the credits. That's good publicity for you!" as if such a pathetic offer holds any merit.
There was one specific case where a guy wanted to use my drawing as a book cover but didn't want to pay. He said he might print up to 50,000 books, so that's like an amazing offer of 50,000 views for me right? Wrong. 50,000 is nothing. We live in the information revolution. Don't forget we have places like Deviantart, tumblr, and all those social networking sites. Sharing art, like sharing any information, has never been easier. You don't have to degrade yourself for some disrespectful publisher to get you art seen.
I know many young artists feel insecure about themselves. Being an artist is not a profession that easily guarantees employment, but that doesn't mean you should let others take advantage of you. Don't work for free to get "experience" or "publicity". The only time you should be working for free is for yourself, friends, or a charity. And by working for yourself I mean work on your own projects. If you're not getting paid either way, then draw what you want, not what others want. At least this way, the name you built is for yourself, not whatever company that's just using you.
For example, when I drew my first comic, 1000 Words and posted it online for everyone to read for free, I didn't get a single penny, but I gained a lot of viewers. And that was real publicity where my name is the creator's name, not some tiny add in amongst of a list of helpers. I did the same with my other comics, projects I wanted to draw, and it wasn't long before publishers started contacting me. Now that little flash comic I posted online years ago can be ordered on Amazon www.amazon.com/1000-Words-Wenq… And honestly, we don't even need publishers anymore since it's so easy to self publish these days. Just post your work online, and if enough people like it, then use Kickstarter to get your work published.
So respect yourself. Charge for what your're worth. Take commissions and make sure you get paid enough for it. If you're working on anything for free to gain publicity, make sure it's your own projects or a charity you believe in. Right now, the mentality of those people who believe we are worthless persists because we don't stand up for ourselves. When one artist rejects them for not paying, they'll just go to another artist until they find one with low self-esteem. Don't be that one low self-esteemed artist who lets them keep that kind of mentality. No body goes to a lawyer, doctor, etc expecting their services to be free, so why should they expect that of us?
Lastly, remember why you became an artist. It's probably not for the money, it's to bring your own visions to life. Don't let the anxiety of finding a job get in the way of that. Do what you love, work on it passionately, and share your work with the world. Once enough people have seen your passion, and it will take a few years so start early and be patient, then the money problem will solve itself.
Great thing to put out there, but your friend's video had no sound. I went to youtube and it had no sound there, either, although the ad did. Maybe I'm just an idiot who can't figure out technology, but I thought I should say something. Otherwise, thank you for the post.
LOVE your kind words and strong heart. Thank you so much for the words or advice. I used to be stubbornly jealous of you before I joined DA because it always seemed so hard to understand where you are from/who you are/what you stand for; it was hard for me to see if you deserved it all. Now, after reading much of your opinions and ideals (your strong stance on animal cruelty and the environment is respectful and scary at the same time, woooo!), it is much easier to see where you are coming from.
You are certainly one of those passionate artists that know you are quite passionate about your art, and you deserve it!
Well, I believe that it depends on the quality of the art you give them. If you don't try hard or you're not skilled enough to give them something great, not getting paid might sound fair. On the other hand, if you're fucking awesome, like yuumei, you MUST get paid, like she says above ^^
So I'm aware this is an older journal entry, but I wasn't sure where else to ask this... The link you have here shows me 1000 Words on Amazon (which is wonderful! Because I had been wanting to buy your books and then I got a gift card for my birthday). But I noticed that Knites doesn't seem to be available through Amazon. Is there a particular reason for this? Are there any plans to make it available through Amazon? It just makes it easier for me to get everything in one place.
Your comics are some of the most beautiful things I've ever seen, in both art and story. I am very grateful to you for posting them for everyone to read, and I look forward to purchasing your books.
This actually happened to me last month where someone wanted me to make some unknown amount of artwork for their rpg maker game. They were expecting a total stranger, someone saying she needs to pay off college loans and bills at that, to do all of it for free. I haven't responded since.
I recently took a class about professional or business practices in the arts. The book we were suggested to read had an entire chapter about why doing freebies 'for publicity' must NEVER be done. For friends I can kind of understand a discount, but I would expect them to pay in full one way or another.
I wouldn't mind doing big projects for free, but it would be for myself or I'd expect some payoff later. Everybody I know says they would expect someone to pay incoming artists for work even if they only have so much on hand to give.
So I just finished having a wee conversation on facebook with an old school friend that i haven't seen in 8 or so years. This is a prime example of what underpricing and people expecting free work has done to people here (I removed the names for privacy)
Expecting an artist to work for you for free is like expecting a prostitute to have sex with you for free simply because you two were friends at school or something.
Dude: Hey man! I havn't seen you since Boys high! Dude your work on leather that you posted was sick! I have this idea for this tattooed mask, you should hook me up and I'll show it off to all my mates up here, free publicity man! I want it to look like this:
Me: Hey! yeah it's been years. I haven't seen you since 3rd form. Cheers for the compliments, $60 and I'll sort you out happily
Dude: Shit that's a bit pricy! Come on man we were tight back then. I'll get you customers. How about $20 that's heaps!
Me: Well what you're wanting is something a professional artist would charge hundreds to do. Yeah I can do it, It'll take a few weeks worth of work, the materials alone would cost $40, plus the labor would be around $150 if i charged less than minimum wage. so $60 is giving you serious 'mates rates' I can't tell if you're taking the joke or what?
Dude: HA what bulshit. stop trying to extort money from society,. You just missed out on a chance to make it big, I could have shown so many people your stuff. but no. you ruined your chance . and lost a valuable cuctomer
In the last few time I saw many peoples work that is outstanding, but problem with that is the members who stole their work without giving a credit. At least send a link location that you using it already, they stole work, remove watermark and claim it as own. Thats why professional artist don't aloud their work to be used in any way shape or form. They didn't post all those rules about using their work for nothing. First they don't show respect to them and other thing is, the artist get disappointed because they stole his work and posted without a prior permission. Which means, all hours of working on that project is failed. I wish there's more wise and clever people like you are yuumei. But unfortunately, world is full of stupid people who don't understand what they are saying them.
Even charity you don't do for 'free'. When you do something for charity pay yourself what it's worth and really understand that what your giving to the charity is your valuable work and time. Because you don't charge for something only means giving that value to the people your working with.
Thanks so much for sharing this. I'm a freelance hobby artist and just two months ago, when I was getting low exposure, I was approached with the offer of designing a book cover. They said they would give me 'artistic credit' and were very good at persuading, but I kindly declined and they never spoke to me again.
Frankly, I was proud of the decision I made, and this post made me realise that I did a good thing for myself. I hope no one else makes this mistake. Make a name for yourself, don't let anybody take advantage of your talents. Remember, you're an artist.
This is a reason that I don't enter contests that don't have anything in it for me. I got the badge, but that's as far as I'm willing to go with that project.
I've sold work before, and I know that it can be tough to sell work. You take your talent, put it where it counts, and you don't just give out your talent for free. It's like giving someone who has a lot of money your brand new HD TV, and saying "Here, take this. Just make sure that you tell people where you got it." You don't do that. The people who would come over would be more interested in what was on the TV than where the TV came from, that's just human nature. Besides that, there are good chances that the person you gave it to has a lot more of the same thing in other places, and you don't know if they paid for it or not. So my advice is to make sure that you know what you're getting yourself into.
tl;dr: Don't do work for free; you're worth more than that.
Well said. Thanks for sharing. I'm only starting a freelance career and sometimes I feel I'm short-changed even if the clients pay, but they expect you to revise too many times, which is also time and effort consuming. I should know better and draw the lines clear enough, despite the 'trust' culture and 'long-term partnership belief' I have as a beginner.
I had no idea poeple did this stuff. Also had no idea it got under people's skin like this. Another issue is that people may not do it for free, but make it cheaper than the next guy because people just do whatever they need to for cash, which is unfortunately the way 80% of the human race is. Great job for spreading one of the many peices of simple information that if people would actually follow it could make the world better, too bad people just don't trust eachother enough to listen, but this info is a lot easier to follow so maybe it'll work.
This journal, just speaks for every artist out there, and we all thank you for it; especially me. I'm a good artist by hand, and I do not have the tools necessary to make good stuff on the internet, but believe me I'm pretty good off the computer. This is a beautiful journal, and it's very inspiring!
Your artwork is completely amazing. Keep doing what you do, because it's beautiful.
you're totally right, I'm a high school student in the Philippines and my classmates is asking to draw them anime's or doodle but I am really shy of asking money because I feel that you are aiming for fame and money but I can't receive that. When our teachers ask who is the best artist in class they pick other except me but I'm not telling that I'm the best but according to my visual seeing I am better than those people because I have won may poster making contest in school.........this is my experience so EVEN THOUGH THAT YOU ARE NOT SEEN, KEEP DRAWING BECAUSE THEY MIGHT CHANGE THEIR MIND.........THANK YOU!
Because of this I remembered why I used to watch you in my old account. Because you don't draw to get more views by drawing fanart/porn.etc. you draw what you want to draw and your art always touches everyone in some way. Thanks for sharing this and you've just re-gotten another watcher. You will be the one artist I'm looking forward to meeting again and supporting at Fanime.