pannon: (hi god)
[personal profile] pannon
I don't know who the original writer was, but I thought this was awesome and should be passed along. I can't even say how many times I've had people try to use those same excuses... or people who tell me "oh i found this great opportunity for you to do *blank* for free!" >.<  Even/especially with cosplay commissions.  People get soooo annoyed when I tell them what I charge for costumes and MOST of the time, I'm making less than, or just over minimum wage per hour.  And that's for SKILLED labor.  Not just grunt work.  Sewing is something that took me a long time to LEARN.  *cough*  Anyway... I'll get off my soapbox, but please read this article and pass along if you like!

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

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 [link].

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. Say NO to free art.

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.

If you agree with the above important information, please pass it along. The more people know, the faster we can correct this.

Date: 2007-02-01 11:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] primarchbentley.livejournal.com
Hmmm... I wonder if part of it is the perception of 'the artist.' After all, most artists not only do work for comission/pay/whatever, but also do work for practice and simply "for the Hell of it." Perhaps a lot of people see the 'for the Hell of it' and think "Well, this person is doing work for the Hell of it -anyway-, so... maybe I can ask if they'll do some work for -me- 'for the Hell of it' and free."

I've seen folks take up a 'freebie' project simply because it's interesting, or because they want to be nice to the person asking for one reason or another. That's all well and fine (and certainly says positive things about the artist to me), but I think people lose sight of the fact that the artist is only doing that -particular- thing because they want to. So your "Hey, I'm making this cosplay outfit because I want to" might become "Hey, she must like making cosplay outfits, so she'll enjoy making one for ______ as well."

'course, don't forget us 'other professions' too. I can't count how many times I've been asked (and sometimes, been -expected-) to provide 'computer help' for people. I work with computers, yes. And they're a bit of a hobby, yes. But there are days when I get home and don't want to even -touch- my own computer. IT folk, mechanics, people -do- ask us for 'the freebies' as well, and we sometimes get sick of dealing with the subjects of our professions just like anyone else... ;)

I think the biggest difference is people recognizing how much effort artists put into their craft. Others may not see beyond 'natural ability,' ("She can draw so well because... she just can, right?") or may see it as being a 'part' of the artist and take the effort for granted.

At least, that's what I've picked up from being one of those 'other people' and hanging around 'artsy folk.' ;) Hopefully I'm not too off base... I think most reasonable people will back off a bit/be more understanding once they realize the effort involved, but sadly not everyone's reasonable.

Date: 2007-02-02 03:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mikasaigo.livejournal.com
Ha, that's true too! I hadn't thought of it, but the same thing happens to my brothers. They're into computers as well and get asked to do "freebie" work a lot of the time.

Anyhoo, thanks for adding your 2 cents. ^^

Date: 2007-02-02 02:10 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kanara.livejournal.com
And people think that "starving artist" is just a category like "emo". Fuck them. That being the case, are you taking commissions? I'm looking at finding someone to sreate a unique style of captain's coat to feed my pirate fancy. Let me know, k?

Date: 2007-02-02 03:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mikasaigo.livejournal.com
Haha... I'm screwed then, I'll be an Emo Starving Artist and REALLY get in trouble lol...

I sure am, but there's a bit of a wait. I've got about 3 other costumes to finish first on my list. Send me some designs or ideas for what you've got in mind as far as basics go and I can help design ya something awesome from there on.

Date: 2007-02-06 01:50 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cristya-blade.livejournal.com
*rolls eyes* Everyone is going to flame me for this, but it's your own fault you don't say "no" Shannon.

Date: 2007-02-07 03:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ciambawildcat.livejournal.com
That's ridiculous. I'm in a Graphic Careers Seminar class, where we talk to real people who do real graphic work, and they usually charge over $150 an hour, or a flat rate of several THOUSAND. The professionals don't work for cheap, let alone free, so why should the 'students' who may produce work of just as much quality?

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