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Submitted on
January 31, 2013


2,966 (who?)

Respect Yourself

Journal Entry: Thu Jan 31, 2013, 1:15 PM

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 1000 W0RDS by yuumei 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… 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.

Take care! :hug:

Add a Comment:
ShadowHawk137 Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
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.
ReynaSanch3z Featured By Owner Mar 23, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
The 666 comments were killing me. Had to do something about it XD
AnubisInpw Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Are you Chinese?
Bunny2022 Featured By Owner Mar 4, 2014  Student Traditional Artist
I feel so loved...
What a great piece of advice. Thank you very much Yuumei...
Mezmere Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Well said!!
wizyakuza Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
thats right dude
LaughButts Featured By Owner Dec 25, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
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! 

Keep it up always, yummei!
Dramawind Featured By Owner Oct 3, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
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 ^^
TronLives Featured By Owner Jul 24, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
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.
a0ka0neArt Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
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.
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